Presenting the IPCC For (Not Quite) Dummies!

Sat, 2007-02-10 08:22Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

Presenting the IPCC For (Not Quite) Dummies!

You don't need to be a computer modeler to understand what the IPCC really is, how the peer-review process really works, and what standards inform the work of the international scientific body.

A new resource spells it all out – in plain language. The website,, has just been launched by the United Nations Foundation with help from Fenton Communications, to help de-mystify the process. It's clear, simple, easy to navigate and thankfully not dumbed-down!

And it blows away scads of misrepresentations by skeptics who continue to characterize the Panel as a front for liberal, tree-hugging enviros.



I would like some interpretation or verification on what Sen. John Kerry said on Feb 7 about the new IPCC consensus.

Something like with 0.8 Deg C global temperature rise since the beginning of the industrial revolution and an additional rise, based on current CO2 conditions alone “no matter what we do”, we’ll get a global increase of 1.5 Deg C.

The new IPCC precautionary increase since pre-industrial time is now only 2.0 C not 3.0 Deg C.

The new IPCC consensus is that CO2 must be kept below 450 ppm not 550 ppm in order not to exceed the 2.0 Deg C increase over pre-industrial global temperature. That leaves only a 0.5 C cushion.

Kerry asked William Brennan where is the plan to hold CO2 below the 450 ppm level?

Webcast link below, about 2:15 minutes into the program, first 10 minutes blank.

Webcast: About 2 and 15 minutes into the video is John Kerry questioning William Brennan, Acting Director US Climate Science Program and NOAA Deputy Director.

U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation

Climate Change Research and Scientific Integrity
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
10:00 AM
SR - 253
View Archive Webcast
Launch Application

Why does this site indicate that the WG1 “full report” has been released on Feb 2nd? This is entirely incorrect, is it not?

J I K, just where on this blog has anyone stated that the WG1 of AR4 was published on February 2nd? All I can find is the statement “SPM of WG1” has been released and all discussions focused on the SPM.

Nice try at more obfuscation.

where it says under IPCC Timeline 2007: “Full report and Summary for Policy Makers, February 2, 2007”. What is the full report? The same as SPM? Surely not, the full WG1 report will be published later, in May or so, I believe. I have not been able to locate any other reference to the WG1 full report (the one still to be published (after being edited to fit the SPM)), so it seems this site is mistaken.
The IPCCfacts website does not say that the WG1 report was released on 2 Feb. It may be unclear but what it is saying is that WG1 met to finalise the final report and the SPM on 2 Feb. Only the draft SPM was released. Go to for the expected relase date for the full WG1 report. Once again without any source you state, as a fact, that the full rreport will be edited to fit the SPM. Please provide a creditible source for this claim or STFU.
the WG1 did not finalize the report and the SPM in one day (Feb 2). Feb 2 was the release day of SPM, so the claim there about the “full report” on Feb 2 is incorrect, as is your statement about the same. I suspect you know that. Further, please take a look in ipcc's own guidelines, and you will see that I am right about the “fit the facts to the report”. If you are too lazy to do that, then STFU.


“Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis

Full Report and Summary for Policymakers
February 2, 2007, Paris, France ”

The full report and SPM were presented to policymakers only in Paris on Feb. 2. It never mentions that the actual full report would be published or printed on that date.

Now Johan, try and be a typical Swede and stay civil. You’re giving the rest of us a bad name by saying stuff like “STFU”. My grandfather would have been appalled by the hostility that you are showing here on DeSmogBlog.

Dear Stephen It was me that originally lost it and used the offending term. I apologise to you for that. However, the reason that I lost my temper was that Kanada consistently lies about how the IPCC process operates and attempts to bring into disrepute a lot of sincere people who have done a lot of hard work. Some of whom I know personally. Once again I ask Kanada were is his evidence that the full WG1 report will be amended to fit the conclusions of the SPM? Here is a link to the “PROCEDURES FOR THE PREPARATION, REVIEW, ACCEPTANCE, ADOPTION, APPROVAL AND PUBLICATION OF IPCC REPORTS No mention of any such procedure in this document.

Apology accepted. I can understand why you lost your cool there, as Johan tends not to accept rational arguments. He also has a bone to pick with the IPCC as, in his mind, they have a lack of balance (i.e. they have 2500 scientists who agree with the general premise that global warming is occurring, that it is primarily the result of human activity, and that it imperils life on this planet, while not having 2500 other scientists who disagree with the facts).

Johan needs to be honest with himself and with others. He cannot be throwing out logical fallacies, misconceptions, disinformation, or other junk in order to cloud our way to allowing life on this planet to recover or at least to stay stable. It is time for us to ignore his ramblings (though it may be difficult) and get back on our horse and find our way. People like him will only send us on a route of no return (or at least a path which is not a straight line out of this mess).

Doug, keep fighting the good fight!

is what I am looking for, as opposed to slander and insults, such as the use of the “climate change denier” term for your opponents, or the overt accusation that everyone on the opposing side is “bought by Big Oil” (or something to that effect). On this web site, I intend to point out the logical fallacies, misconceptions, and desinformation coming emanating from Jim, Ian, et al. If that is too offending to you, so be it.

Johan, Doug has apologised for uncivil behaviour. You haven’t, however. Will you do the right thing and apologise as well for your behaviour?

Also, where is the “slander and insults”? I certainly have never done this to you.

Regarding the “logical fallacies” in which you claim the DeSmogBlog (DSB) and its supporters are engaging is absolutely wrong. Your side has failed to get anything published in peer-reviewed journals which opposes AGW, which must mean that there are fatal flaws and fallacies in these “reports.” Jim, Richard, Kevin, and the rest of the DSB staff are simply identifying and publicising the inappropriate methods and “research” of the “contrarians.”

We're trying to keep the nasty language dircted to shoddy science - and delighted that our posters generally rise above profanity in the process. Though I do admit to getting a little &^%$# irritable myself.
, evidence of, can be found in It says “Changes .. made after acceptance by the Working Group .. shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers”. I.e. if the SPM says one thing and the actual report something different, then the actual report shall be changed. Which is quite extraordinary. In what other setting does one of first write the conclusion, and then adapt the supporting documents to fit? In a political context this is common, of course, but IPCC claims to be scientific and impartial…

J I K, English may not be your first language but I have to believe your understanding of it is far better than you are showing here. Anyone with any knowledge (or supposed knowledge, in your case) would know perfectly well what that statement means. They are not talking about scientific interpretations or conclusions but ensuring that the non-scientifically written words (more or less anyway) say the same as the scientific language of the WG1 report.

The technical jargon and language has been dumbed down to the level of the politicians and bureaucrats (that’s why it is called “Summary for Policymakers”). Obviously, it should have been dumbed down even further to a kindergarten level so you and others like you could understand it too.

I would welcome the opportunity to have a “rational discussion” about the science but you and your cohorts (surprise, surprise) always dodge out of that challenge.

I think (hope) that Mr Kanada’s concern is one of just one of confusion and a lack of familiarity with UN speak. The impression he has is that the body of the report will be changed after the SPM is agreed upon. However, this is not case both are considered together and any inconsistencies are sorted out as the SPM is written. In all cases the SPM must be consistent with the underlying science. The authors of the SPM are scientists (the lead authors) and have their professional reputations at stake.
They fell they have achieved this is despite the pressure being put on them by representatives of the governments of the United States and China to write the SPM in such a way as to minimise the potential effects of climate change.
Speaking to one of the authors of the SPM he felt that the SPM while accurately reflecting the science presented the more conservative view of the risks. The full WG1 report will raise the potential for greater and swifter impacts.
I copy from the IPCC document the section Mr Kanada partially quoted, my emphasise added (assuming I have got the coding right),

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. These changes shall be identified by the Lead Authors in writing and made available to the Panel at the time it is asked to accept the Summary for Policymakers, in case of reports prepared by the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories by the end of the session of the Panel which adopts/accepts the report.

which is the site the article discusses.

Problems caused by climate change are likely already dangerous and global warming may be irreversible, according to a draft science report by a United Nations committee.

The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report, leaked earlier this week to a number of major media organizations, said continued greenhouse gas emissions caused primarily by burning oil, coal and natural gas will probably increase the likelihood of  “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

The New York Times...

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