Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Trust and credibility...

...are qualities we value highly in our advisers. Whether we are dealing with our mechanic, accountant, doctor or lawyer, we pay them on the basis of their reputations. Has greenpeace or the WWF or the IPCC earned our trust ? Do they enjoy wide public esteem ? In this editorial from Spiegel Online, authors Richard Tol, Roger Pielke jnr. and Hans von Storch itemise the fatal shortcomings of the IPCC and call for its reform and the resignation of its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri......

...We have seen a crisis of confidence gathering momentum around climate science in recent weeks. Following the unauthorized release of e-mails from the University of East Anglia, showing climate scientists not at their best, ( cue pathos alarm !) now comes a flurry of attention to errors in official reports and accusations of conflicts of interest. The crisis centers on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), set up by the United Nations Environment Programme and World Meteorological Organization, and its chair, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. Without significant institutional reform, the IPCC, and climate science as a whole, risks more than just bad press. It risks losing its credibility and trust...Sustaining a climate policy that is effective, acceptable and durable can only be based on sound and impartial advice from institutions that do their science sustainably over many decades. The IPCC was supposed to provide that advice, but its standards have slipped, its procedures have turned out to be insufficient and its credibility has been questioned. Climate policy matters, and so too does the IPCC. Its importance means that reform is needed before the reputation of all of climate science is irreparably damaged...more here...

...while a new broom may be perceived to be sweeping the IPCC clean, it is vital that a new ethos of open, accountable science is also instituted. Pachauri mustn't simply be a fall guy, taking the rap for the decades old pseudo-scientific scare of "global warming". If, as the alarmists say, man made climate change is the "issue of the century" we demand the highest scientific standards involving reports based on transparent and open science to help deal with it. The old tactics of corrupt science, fear and scare stories won't work any more. Without real reform we can be sure another whistleblower waits and another Climategate looms just around the corner...

3 comments:

Ron Russell said...

I have never believe in pure scientific research. I doubt it exist anywhere in the world and in any group of scientist. That in itself is a fraud that many have brought into. Objectivity is a myth and a myth that will continue to exist in the minds of dreamers and fools. Save me from the man who claims objedctivity, spare me from the scientist who works in research and claims he is independent from the group that pays him. These people no not exist and anyone who thinks differently is really drinking the koolaid as O'reilly would say.

MK said...

Spiegel Online is definitely putting a nice, warm spin to this, how they can even say that the IPCC risks losing credibility is beyond me. What bloody credibility, they have none, they deserve neither respect nor our tax payers money to fund their deceit and lies.

Ayrdale said...

Good points Ron and MK.

I think it's very likely that we will see the emergence of so called "honest brokers." Scientists who have carefully hedged their bets and positioned themselves astride a razor blade. Pielke jnr is one.