What were they thinking? Greenpeace and the IPCC are both bleeding credibility over this one. The silly thing is, if they weren’t so arrogant, they could have hidden this so easily. The obvious conclusion is they are not even trying.
Steve McIntyre discovered that a lead-author on an IPCC report was also a Greenpeace employee, and worse, he reviewed his own work. A recent IPCC report claimed we could get 80% of the world’s energy from renewables was thus founded not on a selective peer reviewed paper written by independent scientists, and not even on a shonky economic “study” issued by a big-government-loving-university, but, gasp, on a Greenpeace sponsored wish-list for world peace. Hello?
The IPCC issued a press release (May 9th) though as usual, with no details or sources at the time. They got the media headlines, then quietly “backed” it up a month later with a 1000 page report they figure no one will read. Certainly, they must be a little surprised that within two days of quietly releasing the tome, it is spreading like fire across the blogosphere, and some of it’s deepest secrets are already out of the bag.
Let’s be clear about this, Greenpeace is a $200-million-euro-per-year machine (see the Greenpeace annual report for 2009). Their charity status was recently revoked in New Zealand. They are a big political animal, like the IPCC. But both are claiming to use science to support them. And both, it seems, cite each other as if they were scientific. Greenpeace openly, but the IPCC hides the reverse-citations in invisible ink, between the lines.
As far as bang for your buck, goes, this scheme is quite a money multiplier. A Greenpeace donation is a neat “investment” (especially if it’s tax deductible). If you wanted to lean on many western government agendas (or the Western public at large) for a paltry percentage of your future profits (or tax revenue) here’s the plan: set up a “foundation”, donate to Greenpeace, and encourage them to write a report saying that all your products or favourite policies (carbon certificates, honky windmills, electric-cars, unsellable solar panels etc etc) are attractive, economic, brilliant, and absolutely essential or else the world will be consumed in a hot acid bath (or something like that) and “Voila”.
Basically Greenpeace writes what you and they want to hear, the IPCC pants in excitement, and before you know it, the PR agents who call-themselves-journalists have reprinted the IPCC declaration in the mass media, then Western Governments are quoting the IPCC, and saying how the idea has been reviewed by 120 scientists and 22 supercomputers, and we should be grateful to spend $2 trillion a year now and even more in the future. If you question it, you’re a cane-toad-like-farting-fool-idiot-denier-who-ought-be-tattooed-jailed-tied-to-a-post (or insert variation here).
The 1000 page report: Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN). Hmmm.
Steve McIntyre has an update on the responses from the IPCC SRREN.
Bishop Hill hammers the stake in a bit further with a post from Ben Pile of ClimateResistance. (h/t Barry woods).
The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), which co-authored the report with Greenpeace, turns out to not only represent the renewable-industry it also gets funding from the public trough (to push for policies that get even more funding, from the public, for the trough).
The lines between governments, companies, trades associations, ‘non-governmental’ organisations such as Greenpeace, and supranational organisations such as the IPCC under the FCCC are now fully blurred. A greedy ecosystem of organisations have been created across the EU, each with the appearance of independence, working in cahoots with radical environmental NGOs and governments. Yet few, if any, of these organisations offer accounts of their funding sources, let alone explain what kind of organisation they are: how accountable they are, how independent from government they are, and who they really represent. It is as if no membrane delimits their functions from the functioning of the state, except to conceal its operations.
So where does that leave the report from Greenpeace and the EREC? Greenpeace are proud of their independence from government and industry. Yet here we see them working with a trade association in the development of advice to policy-makers that will benefit that industry. The advice it produces will further the agendas of those policy-makers. The suggestion here is not that money has changed hands — Greenpeace doesn’t need the money; what it gets for the favours it does the establishment is influence. The service it provides is to give government-funded, agenda-ridden ‘research’ the superficial appearance of independence and legitimacy: ideological money-laundering. It makes clean the millions of Euros of public money given to the renewable energy sector for its PR.
It is no surprise that the EU and governments, spurious quasi-autonomous organisations and NGOs are in cahoots. It has long been known that organisations such as Friends of the Earth and WWF are paid by the EU to lobby the EU in favour of the policies that the EU wants. And it is no surprise that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change takes research that benefits the agendas of governments. We all knew this much.
What is surprising is the sheer scale of this shameless enterprise.
ADDENDUM: Look out, is this man about to uncover the matrix?
File this under curious studies of human nature: keep an eye on Mark Lynas. He is very much a fan of the IPCC and the theory of man-made disaster (he’s written books, and speaks on climate change) but despite that, he sounds like an upstanding honest sort of guy. Plus, he thinks nuclear is not so bad, so he doesn’t fit the bill of the religious greenie. He’s suddenly been thrown in the hot seat, because he wrote a piece about the current IPCC-Greenpeace fiasco which nakedly calls it like it is, a disaster for the IPCC. He sums up things well:
The 80% by 2050 figure was based on a scenario, so Chapter 10 of the full report reveals, called ER-2010, which does indeed project renewables supplying 77% of the globe’s primary energy by 2050. The lead author of the ER-2010 scenario, however, is a Sven Teske, who should have been identified (but is not) as a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace International. Even worse, Teske is a lead author of the IPCC report also – in effect meaning that this campaigner for Greenpeace was not only embedded in the IPCC itself, but was in effect allowed to review and promote his own campaigning work under the cover of the authoritative and trustworthy IPCC. A more scandalous conflict of interest can scarcely be imagined.
The ER-2010 study would count for me as ‘grey literature’, despite being published in a minor journal called Energy Efficiency (link to PDF here). This is because it was initially written as a propaganda report by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council…
A curious thing is happening in the comments
Watts Up linked to the Lynas take on the situation, and a blog that normally gets a few comments has been inundated with the skeptical community, but it’s better than that, not only does Lynas do the honorable (time-consuming) thing of getting into the comments (see, you can tell he doesn’t normally get this many) but none-other than Bob Ward (paid PR agent and apologist for the IPCC) gets in too.
Could this be another Judith-Curry-conversion in the making? (Not that I want to categorize Judith 100% in the skeptical camp, but you know what I mean.) Lynas is discovering (maybe) that those nasty deniers are actually friendly, reasonable people. Commenters are offering to drop in books to Lynas; they’re commending him, and asking good questions, being generally well informed and helpful. And it’s all a bit new for him. He wasn’t aware of Donna La Fambroise’s blog, nor has he read Montford’s cutting summary of the HockeyStick.
Who knows? In a month or two he might be finding reasons to say why this incident has been blown out of the water by skeptics and some all-new-IPCC-policy “will finally fix this mess”, or he might be getting snarky hate mail from the IPCC-fan-club, while he posts other reasonable common sense type pointers and asks awkward questions, and if that happens we’ll know he’s on the way to becoming a climate-apostate.
If you visit, please be polite and understanding. Remember, I used to think CO2 was a problem. Be gentle.