Donna Laframboise audits the IPCC

Laframboise’s book on the IPCC came up in the post on conspiracies. Rather a strange title The Delinquent Teenager: Who was mistaken for the world’s top climate expert, you can imagine it being placed on the Psychology or Social Work shelves by mistake. [Please don’t derail this thread by reference to the other conspiracies].

It is such a thorough and revealing piece of work that it will be helpful to extract the main findings. You should also get copies for the warming alarmists among your friends and relations. The ebook is only $5!

The author comes with a first-rate track record in human rights, non-conformism and fair dinkum feminism compared with the damaging and intolerant version (she supports father’s rights).

It is possible that the efforts of the climate realists are getting traction in some quarters. Recent projections from the IPCC look like a significant step back towards realism (with a long way to go). But the titanic of the climate change empire will not be turned around any time soon. Even if there is a strategic retreat among some scientists, the ideologues and their political allies around the world have put enough dollars, bodies and policies in place to ensure that things will get much worse before they get better.

The book contains 26 short chapters plus extensive documentation and her explanation of the efforts that she has made to ensure that her claims can be checked, unlike many alarmists and the IPPC itself.

In the first chapter Laframboise explains the “spoiled child” analogy. The IPCC has been allowed to have its own way despite bad behaviour and so has become far too big for its boots. And as it grew it became harder to contemplate discipline! How do  you handle a naughty child when it is bigger than you?

In the second chapter she explains how the child has been showered with praise, including the ultimate – the Nobel Prize (if that counts since Yasser Arafat).  Everyone, especially the journalists, know that the IPCC has achieved:

phenomenal success; a remarkable history of accomplishments; there is not a parallel on this planet, in any field of endeavour; its place in the history books is clear; if the IPCC says something, you had better believe it.

In the Chapter 3 – the top scientists and best experts? she examines the repeated claims by Rajendra Pachauri (IPCC Chairman from 2002) that the people and the processes are all the very best and so the science in the output must be settled and beyond reproach.

How many times have we been told that all the thousands of legitimate climate scientists have reached a consensus and the only dissenters are unqualified outsiders, ideologues, cranks, or doing it for money from Big Oil?

So what do we find when we examine the processes which convert data and the raw material of science into IPCC papers? Who are the key people who control the process? What the the checks on the quality of the input to the reports? How are the thousands of legitimate climate scientists used in this process, especially if they have concerns about the quality of the data or the processes involved in writing and reviewing the papers?

And what do we find about the background and qualifications of the insiders who turn out to have far more influence on the final reports than the most eminent and experienced scientists in the relevant fields if they are not key figures on the report-writing teams?

Cutting to the chase, the insider circles are dominated by bureaucrats and ideologues. Science and the scientists are used and abused to fit the agenda of the insiders. You can get a hint of the way this works from the experience of some scientists during the campaign against uranium mining years ago.

The UN has been penetrated by people dedicated to the anti-nuclear doctrine, as demonstrated by the sabotage of papers that scientists submitted to the UN Environmental Programme conference on nuclear energy at Geneva in November 1978. Over 20 consultants submitted papers in advance and when they arrived in town they found that the conference report had been printed and the conclusions could be read in the local press. The report did not represent the material that was submitted. It was heavily edited with anti-nuclear bias. A running battle ensued with letters from the  Chairman of the panel of scientists demanding a re-write. This effort was stonewalled by the Secretariat, led by a Mr El Hinawai, who gave out press releases which continued to misrepresent ;the situation, prompting more letters from the Chair of the panel, to no avail. The message of the scientists did not get officially accepted but Grover reported that an article by Mr Hinawai on the dangers of nuclear waste appeared in the official journal of the International Atomic Energy Agency and was quoted by an anti-nuclear letter writer in an Australian newspaper in 1978. Bad news travels fast and far!

So if you have key people inside the organiztion you can run rings around scientists outside who have other things to do apart from dealing with obstructive ideologues. Laframboise found that this kind of thing happens all the time in the IPCC. Nothing is easy to find out due to the lack of transparency but with persistence some patterns emerge, of which the most significant include the selection of key people in report-writing, the handling of material which is not peer-reviewed (given the emphasis on peer review), the experience and qualifications of many key people (given the emphasis on the role of  the very best and brightest climate scientists), the way that rules on quality control and deadlines are manipulated and the way that efforts to improve quality control are blocked.

Lack of transparency

On page 26 there are quotes about the superb transparence of the IPCC processes including a statement by over 250 US scientists but the evidence is clear from other sources that lack of transparency (and the failure of  journalists and science writers) is a major problem.

The Climate Bible authors are chosen by a secretive process for starters (p 27). The IPCC receives  nominations from governments (that should be a warning!). The  names are not made public (another warning!). Finally the only information given out about the selected authors is their country of origin (never mind about qualifications and experience, that is assumed in such a reputable scientific organization). Resumes are submitted as part of the nomination process, why not put them on the website?

The key people in producing the reports

There are three classes of writers (p 10). Coordinating lead authors (usually 2) are in charge of each chapter. Lead authors, ranging in number from a handful to dozens, do the bulk of the writing. Contributing authors provide material, usually on very specific topics, to be incorporated, cited or re-worked. Depending on the chapter there may be no contributing authors or as many as 20. Typically they do not attend the meetings of the other authors.

Obviously the coordinating lead authors are overwhelmingly the really key figures, followed by the lead authors.  Some of these are incredibly unlikely figures, in terms of experience, qualifications and background. Like Richard Kline who achieved the status of a top world expert and coordinating lead author long before completing his doctorate. And Lisa Alexander, who in 2008 was still completing her PhD at Monash after she  had been a contributing author to the 2001 Bible and a lead author in 2007.

To be continued.

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14 Responses to Donna Laframboise audits the IPCC

  1. Jim Rose


    Would it not be easier to get a hold of the average ages at time of hiring as lead-authors? Failing that, year of PhD, if they have one?

    The names you quote seem to suggest that a number of the reports were written by graduate recruits filled with a lively anticipation of further preferment if they got the answers their patrons wanted.

  2. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Exactly right, Jim. They spotted the gravy train early and have been living the high life ever since.

    it’s an excellent book.


  3. Johno

    I read the book last weekend and recommend that everyone should read it. You will never have to take another word from the IPCC seriously again and will have loads of ammunition whenever some warmerist starts telling you ‘but the science is settled’.

    NO IT ISN’T !

  4. wes george

    You sold me. At $5 bucks, I want one for holiday reading at the beach.

  5. jumpnmcar

    My copy is in the mail as we …erm.. type.

    (so I pay extra for a dead tree version, wot of it.,,?)

  6. Winston Smith

    Jumpnmcar, a lot of people are getting those electronic book thingies. Are they worth it?

  7. Louis Hissink


    Depends on whether you are opining on the value or the price of the book. Apparently the two are different, and hence complicated choices are implicated.

    So, according to the resident dwarfed Marxists commenting here.

  8. I do think the comparison to nuclear is probably the best and we are still more fearful of that than need be 30 years later.

  9. Captain Queeg

    Rafe. I agree with your last comment and would go further to say the cause is almost getting too big to fail. Scary stuff.

  10. Rafe

    Jim, I will eventually post on the chapters which reveal more scandals about unqualified activists getting on the inside. Once you have the names of course you can do searches to find out stuff but the point is that all this should be clearly visible on the website without need to dig.

  11. Rafe, Sinc did a post on this book 3 or 4 weeks ago. It’s available on Kindle for $2.99.

    I have read it myself – excellent stuff.

  12. Pingback: Laframboise audit of the IPCC no. 3 at Catallaxy Files

  13. Pingback: Laframboise on the IPCC No. 6 at Catallaxy Files

  14. eveningperson

    My comments to a posting by Rafe in the Critical Cafe mailing list, in which he cites his review of the book here. I have not had time to respond to everything he wrote there, but so far I have written this much. The citations are of Rafe’s article in the CC.

    > The Canadian journalist and human rights activist Donna Laframboise has written a critique of the IPCC titled “The Delinquent Teenager: Who was mistaken for the world’s top climate expert”. On the blog Catallaxy there is a series of posts to summarise the book.This is the latest.

    There are many ‘sceptical’ books. Many of them re-hash the same old material over and over again in different ways. I am not familiar with this one. Perhaps Rafe can explain why he thinks that a critique of the IPCC (as he says this is) has a bearing on the scientific case for AGW?

    I think the title might be a warning, though. Apart from the implied ad hominem, there seems to be a suggestion that there is a ‘top climate expert’. What comes under the heading of climate science actually covers a wide range of disciplines, involving thousands of scientists, and the science is not the scientists, but the body of theory and research results, published in thousands of papers. So the title, to me, suggests spin and propaganda.

    > It is essential to realise that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political body, created by that most political organization, the United Nations to do the work of two of their subsidiary bodies, one concerned with weather and the other with the environment.
    > Every country in the world sends delegates to its occasional meetings: these are political representatives, not scientists. The inner workings of the committees have very little to do with genuine science and the organization is not restrained by democratic accountability.
    Nobody doubts that the IPCC is a political organisation. It was set up to advise governments on the science and likely policy implications.

    The main work of the IPCC – producing the Assessment Reports is done by scientists – using input from scientific research. The actual reporting of the IPCC has been a model of openness – anyone with something to contribute could add their criticisms, and these were publicly recorded. As a results of criticisms following the fourth AR, changes have been made to the procedures for the fifth AR due in 2014.

    But criticisms of the IPCC can easily be a diversion. The IPCC is not climate science, it does not do climate science, and although climate scientists contribute to the reports, it does not publish climate science papers. And, as a result of the governmental requirements for the IPCC, it is likely that the assessments underestimate the effect of AGW.

    The reality of climate science is exposed in the published scientific literature. Sadly, a lot of this is not available to the general public because it is published by private companies at excessively high access fees. However, much of it is, and sites like Skeptical Science and RealClimate make much of it accessible to the lay person. And it’s open to any competent person or group to address the science quite independently of the IPCC – as for example in the recent BEST review.

    It is, of course, quite reasonable to criticise the IPCC on its own terms and performance. But it is a fundamental mistake to suppose that this amounts to a refutation of any or all of the science. Even if you consider the IPCC totally unreliable, this does not make the science go away.

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