US Science Committee Asks IPCC to Implement COI Policy

Judy Curry draws attention to a letter from the Chairman of the Oversight Subcomittee of the US Science Committee to the UN Chairman asking that IPCC not be permitted to delay implementation of Conflict of Interest policy until after AR5 – press release here.

Judy observes that a distinction should be made between Lead Authors and reviewers. The issues for WG3 seem harder – involving not just COI but “bias” – but that doesn’t mean that they should be postponed until after AR5 as the IPCC foolishly decided at the last plenary.


  1. Don B
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    Why should the IPCC have a conflict of interest policy? The activist leadership of the IPCC has similar if not identical goals to those of environmental NGOs and green policy makers. They are all in bed together. There is no conflict.

    All of this is making me grumpy – apologies to the non-activist scientists.

    • stephen richards
      Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 3:25 AM | Permalink


      Don’t apologies to the non-activist scientist. It is precisely because they are non-activist that we have the problem. There are 1000’s out there who have failed to speak out.

  2. KnR
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    That the IPCC does not have in place already a COI , merely shows how seriously this organization should be taken. And that its leader is seeking to delay imposing one shows why they should have already had one , as this delay is needed to cope with the existing COI’s found at it. When lead authors are promoting and validation their own papers which are in practice little more than articles of political advocacy, IPCC scientific credibility is seen as the joke to often can be.

  3. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    Just a note that it’s the US *House of Representatives* Science Committee.

  4. mpaul
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    In the US, the reality is that it will be all but impossible for any politician to use AR5 to influence policy given Pachauri’s position on COI. Pachauri can’t last much longer. This is his third strike.

  5. pesadia
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    The reason given for not implementing the COI part of the reforms is that this would be unfair to those who have already been appointed. Insofaras implementation would only effect those who had a conflict of interest, what is wrong with immediate implementation?

    • mpaul
      Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

      “what is wrong with immediate implementation?”

      The logical conclusion would be that Pachauri feels it would be “unfair” to those authors who already have conflicts. It’s a bit twisted to say that its unfair not to allow people to exploit conflicts — but there you have.

    • Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

      If the rational for not implementing a COI for AR5 is as you state, then it would seem to infer that some of those people already appointed would fail a COI examination.


  6. Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    I wonder how many food for oil vouchers the UN will have to print for Pachauri’s pension?

  7. Ed Snack
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    Just a query, anyone else getting a Virus warning when going onto Climate Audit ? I’m getting a Worm.JS.FBook.a warning from Kaspersky ? Supposed to be a and originally spread through facebook. Maybe a false alarm but worth checking.

  8. Lo
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    kasp also detecting that worm =S

  9. Ed Snack
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    Apologies for the OT, it does look like Kaspersky is “detecting” this threat on all WordPress blogs. As other AV products are not seeing it I strongly suspect that this is a false alarm on some form of JS query that WordPress runs.

  10. Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    Since noon today I’ve been having problems accessing my blog at WordPress. I can’t make any blog posts because Kaspersky is detecting a malicious software called Worm.JS.FBook.a. I’m using Firefox 5.0.

    I wrote WordPress about this problem, but radio silence all afternoon. Do you know more about this worm, and how to get rid of it? Kaspersky is unable to clear it from my system.

    Thanks in advance,


  11. Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    My system started doing it as well – right after I updated to Windows 7 SP1. I’m wondering if Microsoft’s patch is triggering something?

  12. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 2:29 AM | Permalink


    Its done

  13. Konrad.
    Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 3:01 AM | Permalink

    I can understand the IPCC’s reluctance to address the issue of COI either in the past, before AR5 or indeed anytime in the foreseeable future. As Donna Laframboise pointed out in April on her blog NoFrakkingConsensus, senior spokespersons and other personnel from political advocacy groups such as WWF and Greenpeace are being hired as lead authors and reviewers by the IPCC prior to AR5. The only thing the IPCC watermelons have learned from previous problems is “We almost got away with it!” They know they are doing the wrong thing and they only intend to try harder.

  14. Les Johnson
    Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 3:34 AM | Permalink

    This could be posted on several threads here, dealing with COI and ethics. I also posted it at WUWT.

    This is hilarious, in the deeply ironic sense. Pachouri, amongst other jobs for multiple oil companies, had this duty with the Oil and Natural Gas Company -2006-2009

    Member of Audit & Ethics Committee

    HT Jimbo.

  15. Garry
    Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    No surprise that Pachuri wants to delay COI, given that he has so many conflicts on his own, and in a way he represents the pervasive conflicts and corruption within the IPCC as a whole. TERI and his several Greepeace report prefaces come immediately to mind.

  16. Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    The problem with WordPress and Worm.JSFBook.a finally solved. I downloaded latest version of Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 (Version 11.02.556) and the problem was solved. Now I can navigate through all WordPress without a hitch. Apparently the old version created a false alarm with WordPress sites.



    • Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

      I’m running fine, too. No Kaspersky threat detections on WordPress. 🙂

  17. golf charley
    Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Even if they do introduce a COI policy, who is going to enforce it?

    A committee set up by the IPCC, with no accountability perhaps?

  18. Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    When Edenhofer was elected co-chair of the WGIII we could read on the homepage of PIK (Potsdam Institute of Climate Change)

    “Edenhofer will invite companies and non-governmental organizations to participate in experts’ workshops so that their knowledge can benefit the IPCC’s assessments and special reports. “We need this expertise,” says Edenhofer,

    In case someone wonders what the agenda is Edenhofer makes it very clear in the same interview:

    ”First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

    This has nothing to do with enviromental policy, its about redistributing the world´s wealth. But where to?

  19. Latimer Alder
    Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    I’m almost beginning to feel sorry for the honest (if any) authors on AR5 who should be genuinely and justifiably upset by Pachauri’s remarks

    He has effectively said

    ‘Look we all know that at least some of the authors for AR5 are crooks, but it would be too embarrassing for us institutionally to name them. So we’re going to shut our eyes and hope it’ll all go away till after I’ve retired’

    The honest author might reasonably think that Pachauri is smearing his good name by association. And Pachauri must be very naive not to think that one or two blogdenizens with an hour or two to spare won;t be looking very hard to see exactly who the authors are and which ones are dodgy.

    Perhaps there may be such investigative types inhabiting this blog as I write? Or is everybody far too well mannered to investigate a gentleman’s affairs without his permission?

  20. Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    It’s nice that Congress is sending a letter to the IPCC, but considering the US provided almost no critical input in response to the Task Group reports back when the files were open, it’s a bit late. If I were Pachauri I’d point out that the US had ample opportunity to speak to these issues in the lead-up to the Abu Dhabi plenary and if they couldn’t be bothered at the time then tough luck now. I think Broun needs to write a letter to the State Dept, asking why the US IPCC rep was just another apathetic rubber stamp in the hands of the IPCC Bureau through the whole IAC reform process.

    Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    Senator Broun’s letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will likely fall on deaf ears as both Ban Ki-moon and IPCC’s Pachauri have been doing a kabuki dance about who or what oversees the IPCC.

    Although the IPCC website states that the IPCC was established by the UNEP and WMO, that it is funded “by regular contributions from its parents’ organizations WMO and UNEP, the UNFCCC and voluntary contributions by its member countries”, and suggests that the IPCC Trust Fund is administered under the “Financial Regulations of the WMO”, it’s clear that Pachauri has had other views about an overseer for the IPCC. Consider his exchange with the Economist on 2/1/10, transcript at:,
    reading (in part) as follows:

    “The Economist: ….I was asking what are the procedures for dealing with conflict of interests within the IPCC, rather than whether you perceive yourself to have a conflict of interest …

    Dr Pachauri: Well I don’t think there are any procedures of this nature but the fact is this is a group where decisions are taken by consensus. I’m responsible to all the governments of the world, if there was a conflict of interest, I’m sure some government or other would bring it up in a meeting of the panel.

    The Economist: That seems odd compared to the standards of scientific publication, or the standards of the United Nations Environmental Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation, which both have conflict of interest rules. Isn’t it rather remarkable that you should have this organisation [IPCC] that does not have any procedure for dealing with conflict of interest, regardless of whether there is conflict of interest.

    Dr Pachauri: Well, those are UN organisations and they are bound by UN rules, and you know that the IPCC is not a UN organisation, it is an intergovernmental organisation and in that sense we are distinctly different from UNEP and WMO or any of those organisations.

    The Economist: And it’s your position that distinct difference means that there is no need for any official procedure within the IPCC for dealing with conflict of interest?

    Dr Pachauri: I think if the governments who govern the IPCC determine that there should be something of this nature I’m sure that will be put in place.

    The Economist: And would you welcome that?

    Dr Pachauri: Of course, absolutely. I would have no hesitation. In fact, I would suggest it myself if I got the opportunity.

    The Economist: Well you’ve had the opportunity, surely, sir?”.

    Consider also the following report of the Inner City Press on 3/22/10 at:

    reading in part, “But shouldn’t Pachauri at least be required to formally disclose who he works for on the side, and how much he gets paid? He has resisted even this.
    Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon and his spokesman for the UN view on this lack of transparency. The answer was that the IPCC is not a UN body, and that Pachauri would answer the questions himself. But when he came to the UN, seeking to use Ban Ki-moon as a prop and character witness, neither took any questions from the press.”

    Until it is decided who or what oversees the IPCC, it’s reasonable to assume Pachauri and his crew will continue to act autonomously. According to Pachauri, it seems “the governments who govern the IPCC” must stage a coup to bring about any more immediate change.

    • Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

      Dr Pachauri: Well, those are UN organisations and they are bound by UN rules, and you know that the IPCC is not a UN organisation, it is an intergovernmental organisation and in that sense we are distinctly different from UNEP and WMO or any of those organisations.

      And what, one wonders, is the UN if it is not an “intergovernmental organization”?! And will his next brilliant move be to order the removal from the IPCC website of the UNEP and WMO logos?!

      But speaking of the IPCC and conflict of interest … readers might be interested in:

      Is the IPCC conflicted? Let us count the ways

  22. StuartR
    Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    There seems to be a bit toning up of environmental reporting muscle lately – a bit more forceful slapping of the hands and enquiry rather than submissive sighing into the arms of the latest press release 😉

  23. sherro1
    Posted Jun 26, 2011 at 6:46 AM | Permalink

    The letter from the Chairman of the Oversight Subcomittee of the US Science Committee to the UN Chairman asking that IPCC (see first line of Steve’s intro)is a repeat in many ways of a 2005 letter that related to the Barton Inquiry back in 2006. I had never read the initiating letter and found it most interesting. I’ve filed it on my little web site here:

    Apart from the hearings, is anyone aware of a written response from any of the recipients, to the US Government, as requested? If there is a letter in reply, it should cover Conflict of Interest and if so, should have set a precedent for forthcoming AR5 in 2012.

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