Such is the pressure finally beginning to bear on the IPCC that Pachauri has been forced into the ridiculous position of trying to rescue credibility by contradicting most of their past PR campaign. He’s taken the extraordinary step of admitting they don’t have hard numbers, hey, but it’s all OK because the IPCC is really a government agency to make policy, not to write scientific reports “that don’t see the light of day”.
So he’s admitting that the IPCC was all about policy prescriptions all along? And the science was just fudged-up window dressing to provide an excuse? Well, who would have guessed.
Hidden beside Pachauri’s declaration that he’s happy about the IAC report, he let slip a corker of a line:
Times of India asks: Anything in the UN probe report you completely or partly disagree with?
They have talked about quantifying uncertainties. To some extent, we are doing that, though not perfectly. But the issue is that in some cases, you really don’t have a quantitative base by which you can attach a probability or a level of uncertainty that defines things in quantitative terms. And there, let’s not take away the importance of expert judgment. And that is something the report has missed or at least not pointed out.
So if you can’t quantify uncertainties (like is climate sensitivity say 0.5 degrees or 6.5 degrees, and with what probabilities) just go with your best guess, call it expert opinion (especially if you only pick and pay the “right” experts) and say that there is a 90% certainty, even if there are no numbers you can add up to get that.
Then after all these years of saying the IPCC is a scientific body, now that they’re exposed as being unscientific, suddenly the excuse is that really they’re policy driven. Watch how far away from science Pachauri is trying to position the IPCC:
Times of India: Stifling politics out of science, does that make it devoid of its real social purpose?
Let’s face it, we are an intergovernmental body and our strength and acceptability of what we produce is largely because we are owned by governments.
If that was not the case, then we would be like any other scientific body that maybe producing first-rate reports but don’t see the light of the day because they don’t matter in policy-making. Now clearly, if it’s an inter-governmental body and we want governments’ ownership of what we produce, obviously they will give us guidance of what direction to follow, what are the questions they want answered. Unfortunately, people have completely missed the original resolution by which IPCC was set up. It clearly says that our assessment should include realistic response strategies. If that is not an assessment of policies, then what does it represent? And I am afraid, we have been, in my view, defensive in coming out with a whole range of policies and I am not saying we prescribe policy A or B or C but on the basis of science, we are looking at realistic response strategies.
But that is exactly what this committee has recommended that we get out of — policy prescriptions. It is for this reason that I brought out that this what is written in the IPCC mandate. This is a misperception on the part of some people in the scientific community. And I hope I can correct it.
Thanks to Benny Piezer and to Robin G.