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IPCC AR4

Update: see a posting from February 2nd, after the IPCC summary was released... You can also see the interview with the Czech president about the climate.

Imagine that the results of some scientific research are relevant for policymaking. What is the right ordering of the events? Do we first find out the technical results by the scientific method and determine the conclusions for policymaking afterwards, or do we first determine what the conclusions for policymaking should be, and then do the research so that it will agree with the policymaking goals?

That's a stupid question, isn't it?

I guess that most high-energy physicists and perhaps even most scientists would answer that the first scenario is correct while the second one violates every basic principle of science. It is simply impossible to assure that scientific research will confirm some predetermined political conclusions without committing scientific fraud. The whole point of scientific work of any kind is that it can change some of the assumptions we started with. And any research usually does change these things unless it is useless.

Steve McIntyre has figured out that the climate science follows very different rules than science. On 2/2/2007, i.e. next Friday, the summary of the IPCC international climate report for policymakers will be released. However, the full report won't be released until May 2007. What will the IPCC people do in these three months? Well, the answer can be found on page "4 of 15" of this

Search for "grammatical". It explains their version of the scientific method unambiguously:
  • Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group or the Panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers or the Overview Chapter.
No kidding. Steve has correctly predicted that it would make my jaws drop. ;-) Those 2500 people first determine what the "big" conclusions should be and then they will spend 3 months by "adjusting" the technical report so that it is consistent with the summary for policymakers and with the overview chapter. We are probably expected to believe that it is physically impossible that anyone among these 2500 people has a chance to find any inaccuracy in the overview in 3 months.




These people are openly declaring that they are going to commit scientific misconduct that will be paid for by the United Nations. If they find an error in the summary, they won't fix it. Instead, they will "adjust" the technical report so that it looks consistent. Very nice. Is it legal according to the existing laws? I don't know. But I am sure that the people behind this outrageous plan are something that I won't write here. ;-)

And that's the memo.

Related:
  • Resignation letter of Chris Landsea from 2005 complaining that IPCC is politicized and scientifically unsound
Update:

Fred Singer argues that the story is scandalous but not unprecedented. In 1996, lead author Ben Santer was told (?) to revise Chapter 8 of IPCC-SAR to "conform" to the politically adopted Summary. He did so - and admitted it. (See this PDF file for the authorization by the Clinton/Gore administration and for the detailed changes made by Santer). Fred Seitz exposed these shenanigans in a WSJ op-ed and has been attacked over this ever since. So has Fred Singer.

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