New IPCC error: renewables report conclusion was dictated by Greenpeace

STOP PRESS – See 17 June update: ‘Questions the IPCC must urgently answer‘…

The headlines were unequivocal when the IPCC renewables report came out a few weeks ago. Here’s the first line of the BBC News piece:

Renewable technologies could supply 80% of the world’s energy needs by mid-century, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Guardian led with the same conclusion:

Renewable energy could account for almost 80% of the world’s energy supply within four decades – but only if governments pursue the policies needed to promote green power, according to a landmark report published on Monday.

And so on. But what you weren’t told was that the actual report had not yet been released – the headlines were based on a ‘Summary for Policymakers (PDF)’ which referenced statistics and scenarios which journalists would not be able to check until the entire full report was released a month or so later.

That release of the full report happened yesterday. And a close reading of it shows that the IPCC has made an error much more serious than the so-called Himalayagate and associated non-scandals last year – it has allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by a campaigning NGO. Moreover, the error was spotted initially by none other than Steve McIntyre, who has been a thorn in the side of the IPCC and climate science generally for a long time. Yet this time McIntyre has got it right.

Here’s what happened. 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 – the latter are are of course enthusiasts for renewable energy’s prospects because they make money from selling wind turbines and solar panels, so hardly count as an unbiased source. It is sadly ironic that the original ‘Himalayagate’ IPCC error was the result of an uncritical reliance on exactly this kind of campaigning ‘grey literature’. Then, however, the mistake was deeply buried in the report. This time, it was used to headline the entire thing – and the source was not obvious to media at the time because the full report was not even released. So the ‘80% by 2050’ headlines were repeated far and wide with no-one realising their original true source.

So what to conclude? My view is that the IPCC renewables report has told us nothing – except that Greenpeace thinks we can solve the climate change problem entirely with renewable energy, which of course we already knew. But whilst I still hold the hard-science Working Group 1 of the IPCC in very high regard, I have lost a lot of confidence in Working Group 3. That it allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by a campaigning NGO is an extraordinary failure, and one which cannot simply be forgotten.

The IPCC must urgently review its policies for hiring lead authors – and I would have thought that not only should biased ‘grey literature’ be rejected, but campaigners from NGOs should not be allowed to join the lead author group and thereby review their own work. There is even a commercial conflict of interest here given that the renewables industry stands to be the main beneficiary of any change in government policies based on the IPCC report’s conclusions. Had it been an oil industry intervention which led the IPCC to a particular conclusion, Greenpeace et al would have course have been screaming blue murder.

Additionally, the Greenpeace/renewables industry report is so flawed that it should not have been considered by the IPCC at all. Whilst the journal-published version looks like proper science, the propaganda version on the Greenpeace website has all the hallmarks of a piece of work which started with some conclusions and then set about justifying them. There is a whole section dedicated to ‘dirty, dangerous nuclear power’, and the scenario includes a complete phase-out of new nuclear globally, with no stations built after 2008.

How is this achieved whilst also reducing carbon emissions at the same time, which is after all the supposed point of the whole exercise? By assuming a totally unrealistic global consumption of energy, with total primary energy use in 2050 actually *less* than the baseline of 2007. The magic trick of getting rid of nuclear whilst generating 80% of the world’s energy from renewables is performed by making an absurd assumption that primary energy use will fall (from 469 exajoules today to 407 in 2050) even as population rises from 7 to 9 billion and GDP per capita more than doubles. I doubt this is even thermodynamically possible, let alone the basis for good policy.

One last thing: McIntyre points out that the Greenpace propaganda report which has regrettably destroyed the credibility of the IPCC’s effort on renewables contains a preface – written by none other than R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC itself. I have great respect for Dr Pachauri, as for the IPCC as an institution. I only wish he – and it – would be more careful.


The IPCC of course has a conflict of interest policy, and is in the process – so far as I can tell – of updating it. This document (PDF), adopted at the recent session in Abu Dhabi, states:

The individual and the IPCC should not be placed in a situation that could lead a reasonable person to question, and perhaps discount or dismiss, the work of the IPCC simply because of the existence of a conflict of interest.

I don’t know if I count as a ‘reasonable person’ or not, but that is precisely what I have done in the above post. Having looked into this issue in a bit more depth, it appears that Working Group 3 in particular – but not exclusively – is riddled with NGO people (hat tip Donna Laframboise here and here). This really has got to stop. No campaigners or industry people (those with either an ideological or financial interest) should surely ever be allowed to be IPCC lead authors. Why has this situation been allowed to develop at all?

Later update – and clarification

The story has now been picked up by the Independent, and seems to be snowballing in the blogosphere. I should say for the record, since I seem to be the sceptics’ new best friend (courtesy Watts Up With That), that this in no way undermines my commitment to phasing out fossil fuels in order to urgently tackle global warming. Indeed, my upcoming book argues for a ‘planetary boundary’ of 350ppm – which is going further than most green groups would. It is precisely because I am concerned to protect the integrity of the IPCC and climate science in particular that I worry about any involvement of vested interests from any side – whether from campaigning NGOs or industry – in what should be an unimpeachably neutral body.

Yet another update, 11.20 GMT, 16 June

Following an email discussion started by Andy Revkin over at Dot Earth, I have sent the following four questions to the IPCC renewables report lead author Dr Ottmar Edenhofer:

  1. what was the process for writing the press release, and who decided whether it faithfully represented the main conclusions of the SPM/main report?
  2. why was the SPM released more than a month before the full report?
  3. was Sven Teske in any way involved in the decision to highlight Teske et al, 2010 as one of the four ‘illustrative scenarios’ explored in greater depth as per Section 10.3.1?
  4. what is the IPCC conflict of interest policy with regard to lead authors reviewing their own work, and having affiliations to non-academic institutions, whether campaign groups or companies?

I am indebted to Garry in the comments below for spotting the fact that Greenpeace did make some play of the fact that ‘their’ scenario had been highlighted by the IPCC – despite the claim by many that the fact Teske et al, 2010 was published in a peer-reviewed journal meant it was no longer anything to do with Greenpeace. Here’s the press release from 9 May:

Abu Dhabi, 9th May 2011: Just 2.5% of viable renewable energy sources could provide up to 80% of world energy demand by 2050 with currently available technologies, according to a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Sven Teske, Renewable Energy Director from Greenpeace International, and one of the lead authors of the report said: “This is an invitation to governments to initiate a radical overhaul of their policies and place renewable energy centre stage. On the run up to the next major climate conference, COP17 in South Africa in December, the onus is clearly on governments to step up to the mark.”

The Energy [R]evolution scenario – a joint project of Greenpeace International, the European Renewable Energy Councile (EREC) and the German Space Agency (DLR) was chosen as one of the lead scenarios of the report. Since the first edition was launched in 2005, Greenpeace has published the Energy [R]evolution in over 40 countries and developed national scenarios, as well as three editions of its global version. [link in the original]


  1. Jack Savage

    “So what to conclude?”

    That some sections of the IPCC have learned less than nothing from previous criticisms?
    That their contempt for the fact-checking abilities of policy-makers and the mainstream media is total?
    That they believe they are preaching only to the converted?
    It would be fascinating to parse the internal processes at the IPCC that apparently consider this is a proper way to proceed.

    I am gob-smacked. Expect a maelstrom in the blogosphere over this monumental gaffe.

  2. Phillip Bratby

    “So what to conclude?”

    That the IPCC is corrupt and should be disbanded forthwith.

    That yet again Steve McIntyre has come up with the goods.

    1. Paul D

      Phillip Bratby,
      As an ex-nuclear energy consultant/employee…
      How is your anti-wind advising business going?
      Pension paying well?

  3. geronimo

    “So what to conclude?” The only conclusion is that the IPCC is in the hands of Greenpeace and other campaigning NGOs and the conclusions drawn from the science are seriously swayed by the politics of the scientists. They, the NGOs don’t care, they believe, probably rightly, that they have enough politicians in their pockets to carry on making sure people are made to live their lives the way Greenpeace et al tell them by, frankly, lying about the state of the climate, and our ability to replace fossil fuels by renewables in anything under 50 to 100 years.

  4. Mike.

    Kudos to Mark Lynas for having the honesty to call it like it is though. If both sides were willing to be this open and up-front about things, we might start to get somewhere.

  5. Latimer Alder

    Are the IPCC really so removed from reality in their own little alarmist bubble that they never expected anybody to find this flagrant deception?

    So convinced of their own invincibility that they thought their word was Law?

    Or just so far up their own arses that they don’t care any more?

    I suspect that more digging will find plenty of other transgressions of normal standards of scientific objectivity. McIntyre and his excellent crew of followers are just the right people to wield the shovels. After more than ten years of dealing with climatologists, they know the shabby ways of the beast inside out.

    1. MIke Haseler

      “McIntyre and his excellent crew of followers are just the right people to wield the shovels.” … couldn’t disagree more. The right people to wield these shovels are the supposedly “scientific” institutions who ought to be enforcing the highest standards.

      Instead, what have we seen? We have seen the royal society colluding with an inquiry on the “science” by agreeing that the papers they should examine should exclude any that the sceptics were complaining about.

      All sciences have their episodes where individuals try to “hide the decline”, that’s only human nature. What is so different about climate “science” is … well let’s just say it wasn’t the burglary that brought down Nixon, it was the way the cover up was orchestrated from the top.

  6. FergalR

    You’re surprised by this? The Inter-Academy Council’s investigation recommended that the IPCC Chair should only oversee one report. Yet Pachauri – who, for some reason, you have great respect for – is still sitting there.

    “Yet this time McIntyre has got it right.”

    But Climategate vindicated what McIntyre has been saying about the Hockey Stick since 2003.

    On the subject of getting things right; how long will it be before we get 6°C hotter? My calculator reckons the 24th century at the post-1970 warming rate. Or never at the 21st century rate.

  7. Atomic Hairdryer

    Well said that man. If climate science is to be trusted, these conflicts of interest need to be handled far better than they currently are. Yet it appointed ex-WWF PR person Jennifer Morgan as an AR5 review editor on policy. This is a gift to sceptics.

    I think there’s also an increasing danger that the big green NGO’s will lose credibility and support if they’re seen to be acting as PR people for ‘big renewables’. Many traditional supporters object to the environmental impact of large renewables and may start questioning whether the science behind green NGO anti-nuclear campaigning is true. The NGO’s could find themselves in a rather awkward position as more people notice their energy bills rising.

    1. MIke Haseler

      One mustn’t forget that the head of the UK Met Office which has been so vociferous in pushing this alarmism is also an ex official of the WWF.

      Then we had the amazing global temperature forecasts, each predicting warming of around 0.05C, and 90% failed to even get the sign right, and then they had the audacity to say: “the forecast were very good because they were only wrong by an average of 0.06C”.

      This is what you get when you put politically biased spin doctors in charge of formally robust scientifici institutions. TOTAL CARP … which is they then spin in a silk purse!

  8. Alexander K

    Nice to see the scales falling from your eyes, Mark, but there is still a long way for you to go. Your grudging compliment to Steve McIntyre is reprehensible and in my opinion your high opinion of Dr Pachauri is rather odd when one considers that he sets the tone for the IPCC and defends the its indefensible behaviour – most commenters remember Pachauri’s despicable ‘voodoo science’ comments re the Himalyan Glacier errors that were not errors but strident and wildly inaccurate advocacy.

    1. Joe V.

      Well said there Alexander K. One couldn’t have put it better one’s self
      Be gentle on Mark though. He has had an enormous shock.

  9. Steeptown

    I’ve seen Greenpeace thugs in action first hand. It’s not a pleasant experience. And these people think they have the right to tell us how to behave. They are political activists of the worst kind – think Pol Pot, think Stalin, think Idi Amin, think Greenpeace.

  10. Peter Walsh


    In New Zealand recently, Greenpeace had its position as a registered charity withdrawn by the Government.

    They confirmed that it is in fact a political organisation.

  11. Bob Ward

    This is pretty weak stuff, Mark. As you readily admit, the work by Teske and co-authors was published in the peer-reviewed journal ‘Energy Efficiency’. There are 5 co-authors on the paper, of whom four are based at research institutes. It is the paper, not the Greenpeace report, that is the source for Chapter 10 of the IPCC report. And remember the 77% figure is offered alongside three other scenarios which are also fully discussed in the report.

    You are also hinting that Teske used his role as lead author of the Chapter to promote his own work. Do you really think his work would have been given an easy ride by the two co-ordinating lead authors, 8 other lead authors, and 2 review editors?

    And your comparison with the mistake over the melting of the Himalayas is over-stated. In that case, a Greenpeace report was cited as the source, when it actually quoted another report and did not offer any evidence to support it. Here the citation is to the primary source, a journal article.

    As for excluding NGO employees from all IPCC reports, that is an interesting suggestion. To be consistent, one would then also have to exclude all researchers who are paid by any sector of the energy industry. Do you really think that would make for better reports?

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      I certainly think no NGO campaigners should be lead authors of IPCC reports, if that is your question. Nor should industry-funded people. We want authoritative, credible science! Otherwise it is indefensible.

      And having an NGO person as lead author basing headline conclusions on their own NGO-sponsored work is not just bad practice, it is scandalous. I don’t see why you can’t admit this? Don’t circle the wagons – it just makes the IPCC easier to attack for those who aren’t interested in proper science.

    2. John Hewitt


      Bob Ward’s comment displays the classic CAGW believer technique. Admit nothing at all and subtly change the issue. Lukewarmers and sceptics have been aware of this for many years.

      Well done for the critique even if the faint praise for Steve McIntyre is niggardly.

    3. Annabelle

      Niggardly, but better than The Independent who gave no credit to Steve at all, referring only to “critics”.

    4. Xin

      NGOs should not be in there – i agree. And journalists like yourself should not be advising Presidents of small island countries and making them attack other countries because that undermines their credibility as sovereign states and makes you look like a spy from London. Think Copenhagen green room. Think spy. Think Mark Lynas. Good advice if you can learn to take it too.

    5. Dead Dog Bounce

      Bob, love the straw-man of “As for excluding NGO employees from all IPCC reports, that is an interesting suggestion.”

      Mark is only advocating excluding them from the lead authors’ groups.

    6. chris y

      I must add my voice to Bob’s in defending the current practices at the IPCC. In fact, with the climate science peer-review system becoming less reliable than we’d like, I strongly encourage the exclusive use of NGO-generated reports for the entire upcoming AR5. Not using them would be a travesty equivalent to ignoring the death trains that carry coal to power plants.

      The UN IPCC, by definition, focuses exclusively on publications that support regulating the production and use of energy on a global scale… by the UN. Reports provided by alarmist NGOs are, by definition, beyond reproach. Clearly the choice of lead authors for the various sections of the upcoming AR5 must necessarily be chosen from the authors of those alarmist NGO reports, to ensure that the subtle details of the reports are accurately portrayed in the IPCC report. This approach must also be applied to the carefully selected peer-reviewed literature, for the authors of these proxies of cutting-edge climate science are the only people capable of ‘translating’ the subtle details for the IPCC document. The hockey stick graph is an excellent example of the need for the article’s author to ‘champion’ the results during the writing of the IPCC report. The practice of releasing the summary for policymakers before the detailed report is released is particularly noteworthy, as it eliminates the possibility of embarrassing gaffes…

      So, I say keep the existing IPCC policies and the steadfast adherence to same, as they accurately reflect the core of what the IPCC truly represents…

      Or as IPCC advocate Maurice Strong quipped-
      “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”


    7. New Zealander

      Bob Ward, paid PR flack, defending paid PR flacks.
      All in the interests of ‘we know better than you’.

    8. Garry

      Bob Ward 15 June 2011 at 1:22 pm: “[T]he work by Teske and co-authors was published in the peer-reviewed journal ‘Energy Efficiency’…It is the paper, not the Greenpeace report, that is the source for Chapter 10 of the IPCC report.”

      This is false.

      According to the May 9 press release from “energy [r]evolution,” the main web site for the Greenpeace/EREC reports:

      “The Energy [R]evolution scenario – a joint project of Greenpeace International, the European Renewable Energy Councile (EREC) and the German Space Agency (DLR) was chosen as one of the lead scenarios of the report.”

      Bear in mind that the above statement links directly to this Greenpeace web site, and not to “the peer-reviewed journal ‘Energy Efficiency’.”

      It is somewhat more than disingenuous to assert that this “work” comes from peer reviewed material, when the authors themselves state that it is a Greenpeace/EREC “Energy [R]evolution scenario” and link that claim directly to a Greenpeace web page entitled “The Energy [R]evolution.”

      See the original May 9 Greenpeace/EREC press release here:

    9. Hilton

      Bob ‘Fraud’ trying to do damage control as usual. Sorry Bob you and your cause are toast!

    10. Pete H

      As a pure mouthpiece for a lobby group I see no point in you even posting here.

      It seems to me that Mark Lynas has had the honesty to point out yet another conflict of interest whereas you duck the science and the way it is reported.

      Had the likes of Greenpeace and the group you represent stayed out, the whole of climate science would have been held up to true peer review instead of the farce we now see, dragging what would have been young, promising scientist into a political mire.

  12. Dead Dog Bounce

    I respect your integrity for reporting this. It can’t be easy for you.

    I don’t share your view of Pachauri (or of McIntyre), but I hope that you’ll dig slightly deeper into issues like the Divergence Problem and the Yamal magic tree now.

    1. TanGeng

      I read through that and the DeepClimate author is being obtuse. The same might be true of Austin who responded to a post about Yarmal with a link that made no mention of the place.

      The core critique of McIntyre is the omission by Briffa of all post 1960 data without strong rationale – not some of the other peripheral topics covered. The omitted tree ring data conflicted with the instrument record. Prima facie, the divergence invalidates the core hypothesis of paleo-climatology that tree are effective thermometers.

      Without a strong rationale to back the omission, everything the scientists do is a cover-up of the failure of paleo-climatology at its basis. If these scientists don’t know why their tree thermometers are different from the instrument record in the present era, then how can they have confidence in reconstructions of past temperatures? That’s bad science.

      That said the validity of paleo-climatology might be interesting and the relevance of these tree ring specialists to the debate might be in jeopardy, but it doesn’t matter too much. What will happen next is a far more important question to answer.

  13. Bob Ward

    Mark, your argument does not make sense. Your suggestion that the 80% figure was the headline is based entirely on the media release. The 80% figure (actually 77%) isn’t mentioned until page 18 of the 25-page Summary for Policymakers, and not until page 142 of the 178-page Technical Summary. Or are you suggesting that Teske wrote the press release?

    As for the involvement of NGOs, this is really a question of how to deal with potential conflicts of interest – have you seen the IPCC’s new guidance on dealing with such conflicts?

    I made a mistake in my previous post – it was a report by WWF, not Greenpeace, which was the source of the error about the melting of Himalayan glaciers.

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Here’s the first line of the press release:

      Abu Dhabi, 9 May 2011 – Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

      So this headline figure was completely unrelated to the SPM, and was written by entirely different people with no links to the lead authors of the main report? I don’t think so. I was looking for something credible and independent from the IPCC, not a Greenpeace conclusion dressed up a science.

    2. Bob Ward

      Well Mark, I am very sceptical that anybody from Greenpeace was involved in drafting the IPCC press release after governments had approved the Summary for Poluicy-makers line-by-line. But I guess we will only know for sure if somebody from the IPCC offers an insight into the drafting process for the media release.

    3. LDLAS

      His masters voice.

    4. Hilton

      The IPCC’s attack dog, sorry attack bob, in action.

    5. RDCII

      Bob, are you saying that the person or people who wrote the press release misrepresented the report?

      That…sounds like a serious problem. A very serious problem. It has made the IPCC look very bad, and has caused the scientists to lose credibility.

      What would you propose be done to fix this terrible problem, and make sure it never happens again?

      And…are you saying that you believe, in general, that the people who create an IPCC report have no input, overview, or say in the press release that attempts to communicate the results of their report to the press?

      That…sounds like a serious problem. A very serious problem. That leaves non-scientific people the final responsibility in conveying scientific results to the press. No wonder a disaster like this has occurred. No wonder the press has so much misinformation.

      What would you propose be done to fix this terrible process and its results, and make sure it never happens again?

      You seem very sure that the process of writing the PR did not have the oversight of the scientists, even though you have no first hand knowledge…wait, you’re a PR guy…is that then how you do business, doing your PR without any input from the scientists you represent?

    6. Joe V.

      RDCII, Does the repeated use of ‘are you saying’ indicate an inability to understand whats been said, or an attempt to put other words in the mouth of the commenter ?
      Leave Bob alone. He’s still in denial. If one can use that term any more, in it’s original therapeutic sense – a defense mechanism against unpalatable realisations.

    7. Dave

      Bob, for the purposes of full disclosure, would you mind telling us how much you got paid to write your comments on this blog? I understand this may involve estimating your hourly rate from your yearly salary, but any ball-park figure would be fine.

  14. Andy

    Kudos to you Mark.

    It’s not often you see such honesty in the AGW/sceptic stand-off.

    Whilst I am a sceptic with a complete lack of belief in the AGW hypothesis, I hope I can still respect the opinions from someone on the ‘other side of the fence’ such as yourself.

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Thanks Andy – I guess what we can all share is an interest in the scientific method being applied as rigorously as possible. And some ‘sceptics’ are doing great work in holding the IPCC and others to higher standards. Here’s another sceptic site, for instance, raising some equally valid issues:

    2. Barry Woods

      Donna has done a lot of good work, you are aware that many of the usual suspects consider her a ‘climate change denier’ and smear her at every opportunity?

    3. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      No, I didn’t know that. Skimming through her site it looks very much like fair comment to me. I haven’t come across it before. But she’s unfortunately right that too many Greenpeace people wear the ‘scientist’ hat when it suits them.

    4. Barry Woods

      No offense, IF donna isnew to you, may be you should step outside of the green bubble a bit more….. Take some time to read her blog, and Bishop Hill

      May I ask
      Have you read ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’

      Professor Judith Curry (climate heretic now) challenged some other climate scientists to read this book (Gavin of Realclimate, etc) their reasons and excuses not to read a book recommended by a fellow profesional were both amusing and profoundly depressing. She said that it seemed fair comment and at the very least explained where sceptics like Steve Mcintyre were coming from. They would not read it… if interested I find the link..

      PLEASE tell me you are aware of Judith’s blog Climate Etc, if not you must consider yourself part of the green bubble.. go there read her views.

    5. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      I haven’t read the Hockey Stick Illusion, but I will if you send me a free copy!

      Same with Judith Curry – I have seen her being vilified, but I haven’t gone deeply into it.

    6. mrsean2k

      Mark, if you email me with an address, I’ll happily send you my (slightly foxed and dog-eared) copy.

    7. Anders M

      “Skimming through her site it looks very much like fair comment to me.”
      Not to me.
      Same one liners we have read a million times from the same disinformation sources.
      And carbon dioxide is not responsible. It’s all a house of cards:
      “Buying into the CO2-is-the-villain story requires intelligent people to trust that, in each and every one of these disputes, the IPCC is right and its critics are wrong.”

    8. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Thanks mrsean2k – I think someone else is going to drop round a copy at my academic address, so you can hang onto yours!

    9. Judith Curry

      Mark, as an introduction to Climate Etc., check out my recent thread regarding the IPCC’s detection and attribution argument

    10. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Thanks Judith – it’s a long post, but I’ll have a go!

  15. Alexander K

    Mark, well done you! You have gone up in my estimation by sticking to your original statements re the 80% figure when challenged by the illogical mentalist, Bob Ward. Ignore him and he will wander off, shouting silly stuff as he goes.

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Alexander – thanks for the compliment, but please be civil to Bob Ward! I have great respect for him, and his motivations.

    2. Maurizio Morabito (@omnologos)

      with all due respect then Mark, would you mind figuring out what kind of Greenpeace – IPCC relationship would be considered a scandal by Bob Ward, since his threshold level is obviously not everybody’s?

  16. Alexander K

    I am amazed that Bob Ward can present the insertion of the silly and wildly inaccurate ‘Himalyan Glaciers gone by 2035’ report as a ‘mistake’. Pachauri was warned that the report and it’s provenance were both dodgy in plenty of time to remove it, but he preferred to go on the attack with the dreadful ‘voodoo science’ slur on a reputable official from his own country, which he later apologised for.

    1. Marco

      The “voodoo science” remark had NOTHING to do with the Himalaya error in the IPCC report, and everything to do with a report in which the melting of a few selected glaciers in the Himalayas was claimed to have no connection to climate change, without even a hint of an attribution study, and willfully ignoring essentially all recent scientific papers on Himalayan glaciers.

      It’s like claiming growth hormone injections into animals has no impact on the increasing length of Americans. There’s always a chance the claim is correct, but the claim is made without providing any evidence. Voodoo science.

    2. Joe V.

      True. The Ministry of the Indian Government who commissioned the scientific report being referred to was deeply offended by the intemperate remark.
      Release of the IPCCs own questionable ( & now discredited) report on the matter, is what prompted the Government Minister to intervene & refer to a scientific study.
      The knee jerk reaction of the IPCC to that helpful intervention, was particularly unfortunate.

  17. Barry Woods

    Mark people like Greenpeace and Bob Ward started the whole climate change deniers, anti-science thing, to close down any debate or question. You seem to have believed that in the past.

    Yet the same people woul call you a chernobyl death denier, or like just now, ( Bob Ward) defend the indefensible are the same as those using the climate change deniers smear.

    We now have Media/PR like the Carbon Brief, claiming independance, yet backed by theEuropean Climate Foundation, spreadin PR hit pieces about sceptics, with those involved writing anonymously, Tim, Verity, Robin, Neil, Luke, hiding behind the Carbon Brief but attacking others….

    Are they neutral or lobbyists,who knows, who can trust anonymity like that, backed by the multi million Euro ECF (campaigning for 90% CO2 reduction in the EU by 2050, yet they claim to be a neutral media source!)

    Just maybe the sceptics, were only everin ‘denial’ about the greenpeace Al Gore version of AGW…. That would include me and I’m a guest author at Watts Up now. Since reading the climate gate emails and getting involved

    At the time, I asked a friend, a climate scientist, who was a co editor of an ipcc summary for policymakers about it, and I went to Realclimate on their recommendation with an open mind, yet 18 Months on, I write for Watts Up and my own what would be called a ‘denier’ blog

    Ask yourself is all well inside the green bubble. Am I Anti-science?
    BSc Applied Chemistry, MSc Cybernetics, but more importantly an IT career with welldeveloped BS detection, by those that would try by all means to shut people up from asking ‘inconvenient questions’

    May be you need to go back and read The Hockey Stick Illusion, to see where else Steve Mcintyre got it right?

    You now have Bob Wards attention, my symphathies….

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Hmm, yes, I sort of agree with you. In principle, anyone can call anyone else they disagree with a ‘denier’ and shut down the argument, like you say. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the term, though I have used it admittedly. I did side with Mike Mann on the Hockey Stick thing, without personally having the expertise to really go in and check the argument about statistical methodology. But I have to admit that McIntyre is right about this, and that I and others should have spotted the problem earlier. There should be no campaigners or anyone else with a vested interest on the ‘lead author’ team for any IPCC publication – ever.

    2. Barry Woods

      Without the Hockey Stick would we be here now, it was at the time suspect, not reflecting climate science, a PR tool for AR3 and Al Gore and everbody on the NGO side….

      Would politicians have responded so well, if it wasn’t in that Summary for Policy Makers?

      My friend edited that report, somehow I’m sane enough to look after theirr children, but to many I would be smeared as an anti science. Flat earther, climate change deniar, words of my Prime Minister Copenhagen time… or an evil exxon funded fossil fuel denier, or creationist, aids deniar, holocaust denier, by Bob Ward, New Scientist and Sir Paul Nurse……

      I’m an ordinary member of the public, with no influence, can you tell Im cross at this whole attitude..

      My friends in climate science and the green party, know me, they would not abuse me, yet everybody who doesnt Know me would..

    3. Dave


      You should be aware that the ‘denier’ tag is intended to legitimise holocaust denial. The whole idea is to take a phrase with unequivocal meaning and use it for something equivocal in order to make it appear that holocaust denial is a genuine scientific debate. The first uses of the phrase are provably from well-known neo-Nazis and anti-Semites – google is your friend – and the widespread use is inexcusable. Anyone who uses the term is a dupe of the neo-Nazi holocaust deniers, plain and simple.

    4. Nick Palmer

      Ridiculous far fetched spin. Denier means someone who is in denial of reality – who ignores mountains of inconvenient evidence and instead fastens on hair-splitting nit-picking ambiguities to bolster their case. Being in denial is widely recognised as the psychological profile of such as alcoholics or drug addicts who simply avoid the right conclusions because they wouldn’t like them.

    5. Dave


      If we’re going to debate this, first I’ll require a clear statement from you that you abhor Hitler, the Nazis, and everything they stand for. In the absence of that, I’m afraid I’ll be forced to assume you’re actually a neo-Nazi stooge of some kind. My apologies, but it’s the internet…

      Anyway, you’re quite wrong. Look at the evidence – who are the first people to use the term ‘denier’ in a non-holocaust-related context? The answer is shocking if you’re not one of them.

    6. Nick Palmer

      Hitler and the Nazis were responsible for a helluva lot of unpleasantness pushing their personal beliefs which were based on cherry picked biased “evidence”. Holocaust denialists ignore mountains of evidence and concentrate on cherry picking, hair splitting and nit-picking ambiguous “evidence” and ideas. So do the majority of climate change denialists. It’s the same psychological defect. Holocaust deniers are a sub-set of the much larger human tendency to arrogant denialism.

      It’s all matter of totting up the total evidence for any position and seeing which side uses most and which side discounts most – the latter are deniers.

    7. Jonathan Jones

      Mark, where would you like your free copy of the Hockey Stick Illusion sent to? I work near OUCE so could easily leave you a copy there.

    8. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      You are very kind, and I would appreciate that. Please leave a copy at OUCE reception, addressed to me. I’m only a visiting scholar, but I think I have a pigeonhole somewhere!

    9. Barry Woods

      When Sir Paul Nurse stood side by side with Phil Jones in the Horizon BBC program and defended ‘Hide the Decline’

      Professor Jonathon Jones explained why it was not acceptable at Bishop Hill….. (below) following quite a ‘debate’, with Michal Mann and Gavin Schmidt (Real Climate ) arguing with Judith Curry about why she thought Hide the Decline was unaceptable.

      The question that goes unasked by Phil Jones / Paul Nurse is of course, not the ‘trick’ not the ‘hide’ but why the NEED to ‘hide the decline’….

      ie hide from policy makers that tree ring proxies temps fall, when real thermometers temps rise, demonstrates there unreliability at reconstructing past temperatures (hockey sticks) eventhe dimmest politician can work tha out.

      Professor Jonathon Jones:

      “If you’re wondering who I am, then you can find me at the Physics Department at Oxford University.”

      “People have asked why mainstream scientists are keeping silent on these issues. As a scientist who has largely kept silent, at least in public, I have more sympathy for silence than most people here. It’s not for the obvious reason, that speaking out leads to immediate attacks, not just from Gavin and friends, but also from some of the more excitable commentators here. Far more importantly most scientists are reluctant to speak out on topics which are not their field. We tend to trust our colleagues, perhaps unreasonably so, and are also well aware that most scientific questions are considerably more complex than outsiders think, and that it is entirely possible that we have missed some subtle but critical point.

      However, “hide the decline” is an entirely different matter. This is not a complicated technical matter on which reasonable people can disagree: it is a straightforward and blatant breach of the fundamental principles of honesty and self-criticism that lie at the heart of all true science. The significance of the divergence problem is immediately obvious, and seeking to hide it is quite simply wrong. The recent public statements by supposed leaders of UK science, declaring that hiding the decline is standard scientific practice are on a par with declarations that black is white and up is down. I don’t know who they think they are speaking for, but they certainly aren’t speaking for me.

      I have watched Judy Curry with considerable interest since she first went public on her doubts about some aspects of climate science, an area where she is far more qualified than I am to have an opinion. Her latest post has clearly kicked up a remarkable furore, but she was right to make it. The decision to hide the decline, and the dogged refusal to admit that this was an error, has endangered the credibility of the whole of climate science. If the rot is not stopped then the credibility of the whole of science will eventually come into question.

      Judy’s decision to try to call a halt to this mess before it’s too late is brave and good. So please cut her some slack; she has more than enough problems to deal with at the moment.

      If you’re wondering who I am, then you can find me at the Physics Department at Oxford University.

      Feb 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM | Jonathan Jones”

      the debate continued at Climate etc

      My own thoughts and some explanatory graphics (courtsey of Professor Richard Muller – Berkeley)

      which also ran as a guest post at Watts up With That (different title)

      but hey, anybody who ask questions or criticises are nothing but a bunch of ‘climate change deniers’, flat-earthers, or anti-science cranks according to some, or exxon funded/tobacco pr/ fossil fuel deniers according to others.

      More hideing of declines have been found….

      Dot Earth is running this story now, so is Lucia’s Blackboard.. I hope the ‘green’ feedback is not to nasty.

    10. Jonathan Jones

      Now delivered; see your gmail account for details.

  18. Zeke Hausfather


    From an energy systems perspective, the report itself generally does a good job in summarizing the different realistic future scenarios, with the notable exception of the Teske one. I’d suggest that most of the failing here lies in the press office (something unfortunately common in the academic press), as I find it hard to believe that some of the folks on the lead author list would have agreed to the “up to 80%” framing.

    The main conclusion from the report is that “More than half of the scenarios show a contribution from RE in excess of a 17% share of primary energy supply in 2030 rising to more than 27% in 2050”, which seems reasonable under a future that is characterized by concerted international policy on climate change, something that is itself admittedly less likely these days.

    So while mistakes were certainly made, I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water and disregard most of the content of the report itself.

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Fair enough, but so far as I can tell the main illustrated scenarios in Ch10 aren’t really scenarios at all – they’re stuff picked at random from the literature (and fairly grey literature at that). I actually think the whole exercise is a bit pointless – particularly when not conducted in the context of an assessment of other technologies, like nuclear, CCS etc. What actually is it meant to achieve?

    2. Zeke Hausfather

      It doesn’t seem random per se, as:

      “The bulk of the scenarios in this assessment (see Table 10.1) come from three coordinated, multi-model studies: the Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) 22 international scenarios (Clarke et al., 2009), the Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies (ADAM) project (Knopf et al., 2009; Edenhofer et al., 2010) and the Report on Energy and Climate Policy in Europe (RECIPE) comparison (Edenhofer et al., 2009; Luderer et al., 2009).”

      Frankly, this is where future energy scenario work is published for better or worse. The choice of the Teske et al scenario as one of the four illustrative scenarios in Chapter 10 is pretty idiotic however, though the other three scenarios are more realistic. Its like the SRES report all over again, with the silly B2 and A1T scenarios included.

  19. Shub Niggurath

    Bob Ward,
    The IPCC Conflict of Interest document is not yet adopted by the IPCC. It is yet to be taken up for discussion at the 34th plenary, and to be implemented at the most, by the 35th plenary.

    There was also extensive discussion on the timeline for the
    IPCC to implement the Conflict of Interest Policy. Noting a
    sense of urgency and the need to send a positive signal to the
    public, the US, with the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada,
    Slovenia and others, called for implementation “no later” than
    the 35th session. Peru and others opposed, preferring the more
    general reference “as soon as possible.” Zambia and others
    suggested “preferably” by IPCC-35.

    The UK noted the irony that “individuals in the room” were
    involved in negotiating a Conflict of Interest Policy to which
    they themselves could be subjected to. Addressing Peru’s and
    others concerns that the IPCC would risk criticism again if, for
    whatever reason, the Panel was not able to deliver on time, the
    Netherlands offered to provide an explanation to the public if
    the Panel does not meet its deadline. The Panel then agreed to
    implement the policy “no later than the 35th session.”

    If the CoI policy is implemented only by the 35th session (c. 2013), it may well not apply to the upcoming IPCC reports. So, Lynas is right. We may be stuck with the same problem as the lead authors have been selected.

  20. Shub Niggurath
  21. Alexander K

    Mark, one of the very important things I learned as a classroom teacher over many years is that respect must be earned and can never be demanded.
    Bob Ward has made so many utterly fatuous and factually inaccurate attacks on individuals he does not agree with that any respect I may have felt obliged to show him has been frittered away by his own statements.
    ‘By your works shall ye be judged’ works for me!

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Well OK, but this is my blog classroom and I make the rules! 🙂

  22. Magnus W

    I think you are exaggerating, but I agree that it might be best that NGO/Industry should be exuded so speculation does not happen. Some competences will be missed but I guess that is better to live with. However if there where some thing wrong here it is up to the (Several) other authors to spot that.

  23. bigcitylib

    1) It seems to me that “Gray Literature” would be hard to eliminate from WG2 and WG3, since much of the information necessary to these stuff is not the kind of stuff that gets peer reviewed (I am thinking specifically of a B.C. Gov report quantifying the economic effects of a particularly bad forest fire season).

    2) This ER-2010 is not gray literature in any rigorous sense of the term. As Mr. Ward noted, the document was peer-reviewed. What “Gray Lit” means is not determined by Mark Lynas.

    3) The fact that Greenpeace’s report can be turned into a peer reviewed piece strikes me as a sign that the underlying material is fairly solidly done to begin with (something you can’t typically say of a CATO inst report or MCI’s ramblings).

    4) Are you suggesting that lead authors in general not be allowed to include their own work? This seems impractical.

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      No, I don’t have the right to determine what is ‘grey literature’ – but I have the right to offer an opinion on it. You are correct that the Greenpeace report was whitewashed by getting into a minor journal – but my beef is not so much that it was used in the report, but that it became the headline, and that one of the Greenpeace authors was allowed to become a lead author in reviewing his own study!

      Loud and clear: No NGO lead authors at the IPCC! (I can see the banner now.)

    2. Jeremy Harvey

      bigcitylib, you ask, “4) Are you suggesting that lead authors in general not be allowed to include their own work? This seems impractical.” The tradition in academic circles is that reviews of the literature are written by experts in the field, who inevitably cite their own work, and almost equally inevitably do so in a (slightly) self-serving way. Clearly the same happens with IPCC reports. Yet these reports are not supposed to be just another set of academic reviews, for use by other researchers – they are used as a basis for developing policy. In many areas outside academic research, it is not considered to be great practice to have people assess the quality and impact of their own work. So it might be impractical to stop this happening in IPCC reports, but it might be healthy also.

    3. bigcitylib

      Healthy perhaps, but my feeling is–and this just from reading others close to the process, not being part of it myself–that there simply aren’t enough bodies in the relevant fields to make this possible and if you did insist you might not have enough willing bodies to put out any kind of report. So yes it might be healthy. But not practical.

    4. Jeremy Harvey

      Hmmm. Some degree of adversarial assessment is what is needed. If there are not enough experts on a given topic, maybe that should be made clear, and maybe non-experts should be brought in to stress-test the conclusions? The sense from this particular report is that it was written by a bunch of like-minded people, some of whom were far from disinterested.

    5. ianl8888

      “As Mr. Ward noted, the document was peer-reviewed”

      The article is paywalled and you know it

  24. golf charley

    “So what to conclude? My view is that the IPCC renewables report has told us nothing – except that Greenpeace thinks we can solve the climate change problem entirely with renewable energy, which of course we already knew.”

    Mark, thank you for engaging in the debate. From your quote above, what is it that “we” already knew? What Greenpeace believed, or that what they believed was based on something backed up by prpoer science?

    I would also recommend the “Hockey Stick Illusion”

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      I mean ‘we already knew what Greenpeace believed’ – and that it has nothing to do with science.

    2. golf charley

      Thanks for the clarification! I hope you are enjoying your blog today, and can appreciate that those of us that do not support AGW are interested in serious discussion

  25. Zeke Hausfather


    Its worth pointing out that (unrealistic as it may be), the Teske scenario has been published in a more respectable journal (e.g. Energy Policy) in the past:

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Yes, the Energy Efficiency one seems to be an update or something. Anyway Energy Policy is only *slightly* more reputable – they publish all sorts of crap, I have to say, as an occasional reader 🙂

    2. Zeke Hausfather

      Fair enough, and having read Chapter 10 more closely I’d have to agree with you that it seems pretty weak.

      I’ll ask my old energy systems mentor Arnulf Grubler (a former IPCC lead author and someone who generally knows his stuff and isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade) for his thoughts.

  26. luminous beauty

    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.

    Teske’s affiliation with Greenpeace is noted in Annex IV.

    He is not THE lead author, but only one of eleven. Regardless of your personal opinion of Greenpeace, he is a qualified engineer with over ten years experience in the field.

    Mitigation Potential and Costs 

    Coordinating Lead Authors: 
    Manfred Fischedick (Germany) and Roberto Schaeffer (Brazil) 

    Lead Authors: 
    Akintayo  Adedoyin (Botswana), Makoto Akai (Japan), Thomas Bruckner (Germany), Leon Clarke (USA), 
    Volker Krey (Austria/Germany), Ilkka Savolainen (Finland), Sven Teske (Germany), Diana Ürge‐Vorsatz 
    (Hungary), Raymond Wright (Jamaica) 

    Contributing Authors: 
    Gunnar Luderer (Germany) 

    Review Editors:  
    Erin Baker (USA) and Keywan Riahi (Austria) 

    I certainly think no NGO campaigners should be lead authors of IPCC reports, if that is your question. Nor should industry-funded people. We want authoritative, credible science! Otherwise it is indefensible.

    That would practically eliminate all researchers from the US, since virtually all research institutions rely on partial funding from private foundation[NGO]/corporate/industry sources.

    Seems someone has been snookered by McIntyre’s dichotomous exaggerations. 

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      I didn’t say he was *the* lead author.

      No-one who is funded by either Exxon-Mobil or Greenpeace should be a lead author (or the lead author) of an IPCC report. Why is this so complicated?

    2. bigcitylib

      Because it seems ad hoc?

    3. Barry Woods

      Mark do you really believe the exxon smear! Exxon are spendinghundred of millions on pro agw research mitigation alternative fuels,etc

      Exxon funded Stanford for a 100 million dollars

      Exxon even fund the Science and Media Centre,ask Bob Ward he is on the Board!

    4. Barry Woods

      Mark do you really believe everything said about Exxon and sceptics.

      Exxon are spendinghundred of millions on pro agw research mitigation alternative fuels,etc

      Exxon funded Stanford for a 100 million dollars

      Exxon even fund the Science and Media Centre,ask Bob Ward he is on the Board!

    5. grayman

      Because that is not what they want to hear! You will probrably now be listed as a shill and not to be lisened to. Sorry to say, since you now want to see more transparency from the IPCC.

    6. Marco

      Mark, is Richard Tol’s function as advisor to the Global Warming Policy Foundation then also enough to throw him off AR5?

    7. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      I don’t know. Depends who he’s paid by.

    8. bigcitylib

      The GWPF has refused to disclose it funding sources.

    9. M

      “No-one who is funded by either Exxon-Mobil or Greenpeace should be a lead author (or the lead author) of an IPCC report. Why is this so complicated?”

      Ah, but this would, for example, eliminate anyone in the MIT Joint Program on the Science & Policy of Global Change from serving as a lead author ( – ditto for the BP-funded Berkeley biosciences institute – ditto a large number of other organizations.

      Care should be taken such that the lead authorship is not made up entirely of experts from one type of interest group, but there are times when the best expert is from an NGO, and as long as there are other co-lead authors, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

    10. luminous beauty

      The lead author of the ER-2010 scenario, however, is a Sven Teske…

      That’s a direct quote from this very post. It’s not that complicated.

  27. grayman

    Mark a fine posting that gets to the heart of the matter, Bob Ward not being a scientist himself but a paid PR attack dog, lost respect and trust from me and many others long ago. Those 2 things are earned, but once lost are VERY hard to get back, and that includes the IPCC. Just found out about your site from Tom Nelson and look forward to reading it more and hoping that you keep up the debate with out adhomien attacks. My self i am a climate realist, climate changes and nothing we do can change that. My proof is in the fact that with all the retreating glaciers they are finding early settlements that have been covered for centuries, possibly eons. So man can not be the cause IMHO. I am not a scientist but a man with common sense enough to see thru the BS.

  28. FarleyRusk

    Nice blog Mark – easy on the eye and full of reasonable discussion too (BW’s rants excepted).

    I too recommend the HSI by Andrew Montford as an easy- to-read account of the “climate shenanigans ” that underpin Mr. Mann’s stick and all the alarmism that stemmed from it. I read the HSI almost a year ago now and if I recall correctly, it even has some well-explained information on statistics and why a theory failing an R-squared test is not to be relied upon and why passing an RE test (only used in climate science) is quite meaningless. I’m also at home with PCA now – thank you Bishop!

    Why not BUY a copy Mark – afterall you seem to have done quite well from alarmism until now it seems and Montford appears to need the financial support to run his blog – despite supposedly being “funded by big oil” like all “holocaust deniers”

    If you want to find out even more about the pseudo-science behind this green madness then I can happily also point you to the famous “Harry read me txt ” file leaked under the “climategate” scandal. I wonder what’s taking the boys in blue so long to finish their investigation at the UEA though??

  29. BlueRock

    > …the IPCC has made an error much more serious than the so-called Himalayagate and associated non-scandals last year – it has allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by a campaigning NGO.

    An error? The headline is based on the findings of a peer reviewed paper from a report “compiled by over 120 leading experts from all over the world for IPCC‘s Working Group III”. The fact that the paper is derived from work done by an environmental NGO does not make it an “error” and does not diminish the fact that it is peer reviewed.

    It seems your definition of “error” here is something which comes from a source that you do not like or that has an agenda you disagre with or reaches a conclusion that you do not agree with. Why are you not seeing an “error” because the IAEA (mission: “seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy”) is cited in the same report? Or does your logic only apply to headlines?

    Your line of reasoning for what constitutes an “error” means almost every source of information and opinion should be excluded. It’s nonsense. You have exposed no error – only your own bias. Citing Steve McIntyre because he agrees with you does not strengthen your argument – even if it is clearly playing well with the climate change deniers who are now applauding you.

    > …what you weren’t told was that the actual report had not yet been released…

    It was made perfectly clear that the summary for policy makers was released ahead of the full report. It seems like you’re imagining some conspiracy theory.

    > A more scandalous conflict of interest can scarcely be imagined.

    Oh, you can think of one if you try really hard. A non-profit environmental NGO is small fair in comparison to the nuke industry’s propaganda department – the IAEA. Their data is copiously referenced in the IPCC reports. Where is your outrage at that conflict of interest?

    > Had it been an oil industry intervention which led the IPCC to a particular conclusion…

    The report was the work of “120 leading experts from all over the world” and “had to be agreed line by line and word by word unanimously by all countries”. You’ve stated without proof that one environmental NGO dictated and rubber stamped the entire process! It’s a ludicrous conspiracy theory!

    I note that throughout your outraged, hand-wringing screed you offer not a single fact that refutes anything in the report. Personal incredulity is the best you can do – that’s it’s an “absurd” “magic trick” to think we could use less energy. I’ll quote US Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu: “Energy Efficiency isn’t just low-hanging fruit; it’s fruit lying on the ground.”

    P.S. If you don’t like the report from the IPCC or the one from Greenpeace, there are *many* other reports from credible sources that reach similar conclusions. Here are a few starters:

    * 100% renewable energy? We are spoilt for choice.

    Also, if you’ve not heard, entire countries are now targeting 100% renewables. See e.g. Germany, Denmark, Scotland, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, etc. Perhaps they are all in on ‘the Great IPCC Headline Conspiracy’? 😉

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      How you can not see a conflict of interest in someone from an NGO being a lead author and reviewing their own work… which then mysteriously ends up headlining the report in the entire world’s media is strange. Your preference for nuclear industry conspiracy is also somewhat revealing.

      As a matter of policy it is surely bad practice for an SPM to be released before a main report anyway. What is the point of that? I’m not suggesting it is intentionally misleading, but it certainly doesn’t assist the need for transparency.

    2. NewYorkJ

      “How you can not see a conflict of interest in someone from an NGO being a lead author and reviewing their own work”

      If that person was the only lead author, that would be an obvious problem. There are more than 20 lead authors of the IPCC summary report in question. Are they all in on it? That certainly is your implication. The study he published has 7 other co-authors. Are they all evil Greenpeace drones too?

    3. ferd berple

      All lead authors are equal and some are more equal than others.

    4. Marco

      Mark, have you had ANY experience with the press before? The last time I checked, the press loves to start with the most extreme part.

      And you essentially continue to claim, without evidence, that Teske pushed his report in. I expect more from someone who calls himself a journalist.

    5. BlueRock

      > How you can not see a conflict of interest in someone from an NGO being a lead author…

      What is wrong with a highly qualified engineer – Sven Teske – being part of a team that compiles a report? There are 38 lead authors from all over the planet that produced the report. Are you suggesting that just one of them hijacked the entire process and that the others remained silent?!

      Let’s take a look at a few of the other authors:

      * Jean‐Michel Devernay works for EDF – conflict of interest!
      * Barry Goldstein is South Australia’s Director Petroleum & Geothermal – conflict of interest!
      * John Huckerby owns a consultancy that works with the oil and gas industry – conflict of interest!
      * Lourdes Maurice works for the US Federal Aviation Administration – conflict of interest!

      Dig enough and I’ll bet that every single author has or had a connection to an organisation that has some vested interest in the results of the report. The fact that you imagine that the only one guilty is the Greenpeace rep. says more about you than it does the validity of the report.

      > …Teske … was in effect allowed to review and promote his own campaigning work…

      Where is your evidence that Teske reviewed his own work? You make the ludicrous insinuation that all the other authors remained silent and that the entire process is corrupt. I note that you use weasel words: “in effect” – which means he didn’t in reality. A pathetic bit of sophistry.

      Again: why are you not raging about the inclusion of data from the nuke industry’s propaganda department? Their open and stated agenda is to protect and promote one of the wealthiest industries on the planet. That’s a *real* conflict of interest.

      > …which then mysteriously ends up headlining the report in the entire world’s media is strange.

      There’s nothing mysterious outside of your bizarre attempts to find a conspiracy where none exists. The IPCC reported their best-case scenario. The world’s media echoed that. What do you think should have happened? They all report the worst case?

      > Your preference for nuclear industry conspiracy is also somewhat revealing.

      I have suggested no conspiracy.

      Are you denying that the IAEA has a conflict of interest? Or are you denying that the IAEA’s mission statement is to “seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy”? No, that’s documented fact, published on the IAEA’s website. Look it up.

      After your gross misrepresentation about radiation deaths resulting from Chernobyl, it’s curious that you now imagine a conspiracy directed at the poor, defenceless nuke corporations. You appear desperate to defend and promote the nuke industry – even to the point you now imagine some conspiracy involving the IPCC, Greenpeace and at least 37 independent experts around the world.

      > As a matter of policy it is surely bad practice for an SPM to be released before a main report anyway.

      It’s bizarre that you’re focused on such a trivial detail, as though it might be further evidence of your imagined conspiracy. If not, why bring it up?

      > I’m not suggesting it is intentionally misleading, but it certainly doesn’t assist the need for transparency.

      So you had to wait a few days for the full report to be released. So what? You’ve had access to it now for some time. Is there anything wrong with it?

      In all of this you have *still* not detailed the “error” you claim that you and your new buddy, Steve McIntyre, have uncovered. There is no error.

      What as been exposed is your transparent bias against renewable energy and for nuclear. Has it not occurred to you that the Greenpeace report was technically sound and that is why the IPCC report reached similar conclusions? Many other reports from credible sources have also reached similar conclusions. Is this all some giant, global conspiracy?

      The fact that you are imagining a conspiracy here is because you do not want to accept that you’ve got it completely wrong on energy. Nukes are going nowhere, renewables are the solution we need. The sooner you accept that reality the sooner you can abandon conspiracy theories to explain why credible sources don’t agree with you. And you can then stop citing global warming deniers to try and bolster your non-existent case.

    6. Latimer Alder

      There seems to be some confusion about Herr Teske’s actual qualifications.

      You say that he is a ‘highly qualified engineer’

      Please could you list thise qualifications and the institutions that granted them so that we can all have a definitive understanding of them. Tx.

      PS. It would also be good to see his approved CV published in this forum.

    7. Carolina

      “The fact that you are imagining a conspiracy here is because you do not want to accept that you’ve got it completely wrong on energy. Nukes are going nowhere, renewables are the solution we need. ”

      Blue Rock you are mighty certain of things. How do you feel about the amount of land that is needed to run renewables, however? How do you feel about the ugly industrialization of vast amounts of rural and wilderness land for electricity? How do you feel about living next to a 40/50 story high wind turbine, having its sound and its light flickering in your life, breaking your peace? How do you feel about the 50% drop in value of a place that you call home and which you love? How do you feel about the massive sacrifice of nature under your preferred “solution”, the abuse and scarring of the hills and vales, the ridges and the mountain sides, the fields and the awesome expanses of our planet ? How do you feel about the impact on species after species, the breaking up of their last enclaves of intact habitat, the noise and the flickering and the heat of solar thermal towers creating mayhem, damage, death to our fellow members of the Earth community? Instead of Greenpeace activists (and Sierra Club and nearly every other environmentalist NGO) being out there, doing something to stop the destruction of the Mojave living desert and adjoining areas for dozens of renewable projects (owned by the fossil fuel business in the main), they are busy trying to stop nuclear material traveling to be reprocessed in France…. Can anyone smell some hypocrisy and profound intellectual confusion at work?? How can this be a leadership to trust and to follow? No way!

      You are quick to dismiss major concerns and are busy promoting your form of ‘denial’ which I believe is more dangerous to human and planet than any nuclear power plant, whether existing or new design. I have come to believe that those who wish to close down the nuclear power plants of the world so that they can smash their ideas of ‘clean and green’ into the faces of humans, animals and CO2-absorbing plants are sounding more and more like right-wing, fascistic and dangerous destroyers. It is most ironic given the stated mission of being so deeply caring about the planet.

      I therefore celebrate the New Zealand Gov stripping charitable status from Greenpeace and would wish that the whole world now follows suit because unless you can be held accountable, you are abusing the freedoms of Western societies to impose your will. History is full of zealots who justify their extremism in the name of ‘saving’ the world – or a race, or a nation or an ethnic group. To tell me that renewable energy is the ONLY solution – at any price, no matter how destructive – and that nuclear MUST be terminated is identical with totalitarian danger posed by other types of fundamentalists. Let Greenpeace be stripped of all charitable status. Then we can do things with better accountability, democracy and transparency.

    8. Hilary Ostrov

      >”The report was the work of “120 leading experts from all over the world” and “had to be agreed line by line and word by word unanimously by all countries”.

      Except that [the SPM] wasn’t “agreed line by line and word by … word by all countries” . Only by those countries that were represented during the “plenary” session of Working Group III. The IPCC plenary merely “Accepted” the report – or as the annotated Agenda for the IPCC indicated:

      “Under this agenda item, the Panel will formally accept** the Summary for Policymakers of the SRREN. Section 4.3 of the IPCC procedures stipulates that “for a Summary for Policymakers approved by a Working Group to be endorsed as an IPCC Report, it must be accepted at a Session of the Panel. Because the Working Group approval process is open to all governments, Working Group approval of a Summary for Policymakers means that the Panel cannot change it. However, it is necessary for the Panel to review the Report at a Session, note any substantial disagreements, (in accordance with Principle 10 of the Principles Governing IPCC Work) and formally accept it.”

      So I suspect that one should not give credence to this claim – at least not until the IPCC’s “open and transparent” proceedings provide some public accounting of the actual attendance at the WG III “plenary”


  30. Barry Woods

    BW’s rants?

    Bob Ward ?
    Barry Woods 😉

    Does this make me the anti-bob

    Sorry, climate sceptic attempt at humour

    1. FarleyRusk

      Barry, of course I don’t mean you! To be honest you are one of the people who first switched me on to the depth of the climate scam. Some of your enthusiastic climategate posts on PH led me to look further myself. And oh boy, what a treasure trove those leaked emails were. Can’t believe the CAGW religion survived it.

  31. Pingback: A Deeper Look at an Energy Analysis Raises Big Questions -

  32. Shub Niggurath

    big city
    Your point about the GWPF funding is completely facile.

    Let us say, that the authors who contribute to the GWPF participate in the IPCC, and as a result, are required to disclose information pertaining to any potential or actual CoI. That would complete the picture vis a vis any conflicts, irrespective of their membership of the GWPF. The same applies to other advocacy organizations as well. Talking about whose sympathies lie where, is only a red herring.

    You are also right in saying that it is hard to define what is admissible into the IPCC reports. By the same account however, it is easier to define what is not admissible. Many of ‘us’, in the skeptic camp certainly desire an improvement in the basic quality of its reports so that it can be easier to argue the science, rather than be distracted by criticism of IPCC practices. To this end, your advice to Bob Ward to avoid wagon-circling in the face of attacks, is a pointer in itself – the attacks themselves are directed at such weaknesses.

    The problem as far as the IPCC is concerned, w.r.t to grey literature is its connection to environmental pressure group literature.

    I wrote about it here: The IPCC and grey literature
    and here: IPCC: Peer-review? What peer-review?

  33. HLx

    “Yet this time McIntyre got it right”

    As in “he didn’t before”??!?!??

    Have you actually read up on anything Steve has been saying?!?
    The man has gotten it right over and over again. Shame on your ignorance. :(…

  34. PaulM

    WTF, Mark Lynas agreeing with Steve McIntyre!
    That’s some real progress in the right direction.
    You’ve gone up in my estimation.

    It is remarkable that the IPCC seems to have learnt nothing from the previous fuss about this back in January 2010.

  35. Jim Prall

    The link in this article that claims to point to Teske’s article in Energy Efficiency instead goes to a PDF of a report by Volker Krey and Leon Clarke in Climate Policy. It’s rather a good article, in fact, and I don’t know why Steve McIntyre has posted this copy on his ClimateAudit website. Read section 8: Conclusions for a good overview of how far many experts believe renewables really could go in coming decades.

    So to clarify things, you might want to link to Teske et al. 2010 itself, which is:
    “Energy [R]evolution 2010—a sustainable world energy outlook” by
    Sven Teske, Thomas Pregger, Sonja Simon, Tobias Naegler, Wina Graus and Christine Lins (subscription required – I haven’t found any open posting of the full text online)

    I second the notion that you go too far calling the journal Energy Efficiency “grey literature.”

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      My mistake – I pasted the link from the wrong window. Fixed now. Oddly, I get through to the PDF without a paywall.

  36. NewYorkJ

    “New IPCC error: renewables report conclusion was dictated by Greenpeace”

    I’m still trying to figure out how any part of the Summary for Policymakers, which has more than 20 lead authors, was “dictated” by one of them. Seriously? I also don’t see where in the report where the 80% conclusion is given any great prominence. It seems like your beef (if any) would be with the media – you know, the same media the grossly exaggerates every IPCC “error” (real or perceived). I hope you are careful not to do the same.

    Your other beef seems to be with the study that was published in a peer-reviewed journal. If you find it flawed, fine. Publish a rebuttal if you’d like. No reason to trash the report and engage in McIntyre-style rhetoric that makes insinuations over bias. As I recall, you made a serious error recently regarding renewables in Japan.

    An error I believe was made entirely in good faith. Why then slam the integrity of others?

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Perhaps the IPCC can enlighten us in fact as to who wrote the press release – as I doubt that was approved line by line by the world’s governments. I’ve emailed the main lead author (Edenhofer) to check this and will report back if I get any response.

      Yes I made an error in the LA Times piece – and admitted it in some detail when I realised. (Plus I would hold the IPCC to a higher standard than myself – I’m not peer reviewed!) Are you agreeing then that the IPCC has also made an error here? Let’s hope a similar admission is forthcoming then.

    2. Marco

      Mark, your asking the wrong people. The press release, which is notably available on the IPCC homepage, makes it clear who to ask:

      See last page.

    3. patsi baker

      don’t forget Marco that Mark isn’t a journalist

      this is becoming more obvious as he doesn’t understand the norms of calling the number on the bottom of a press release to find out who wrote it – or, for that matter, calling the Greenpeace person accused by a climate denier of writing it, to check the veracity of what he’s been told.

      Heaven help us, that would be called “factchecking” wouldn’t it. Can’t let that get in the way of an incendiary blog.

    4. NewYorkJ

      I’m still unclear as to what you think the error or errors are. You don’t like the Energy Policy 8-author study, although that’s not the IPCC’s fault. You don’t think anyone involved in any NGO should be a lead author on any of the reports, and go as far as to say no study cited should have an author that is an IPCC lead author, to which you believe is a conflict of interest in having the author “review” their own work (something that would be the case if there weren’t 20+ other lead authors). Those aren’t “errors” but disagreement over IPCC policies. This leaves the IPCC press release. You believe it unfairly emphasizes a part of summary report, which I think is a valid criticism, but note that it does state that there are 4 scenarios, and says the following:

      “The most optimistic of the four, in-depth scenarios projects renewable energy accounting for as much as 77 percent of the world‘s energy demand by 2050”

      Key word “optimistic”. Can’t we all agree on that?

      Quite frankly, your headline here and some of the claims are a massive overreach, but I’m glad you’re at least contacting the relevant people now. I understand that such provocative headlines increases web traffic and brings in “skeptics” by the droves to try to “convert” you, but I hold a much higher regard for your work.

      I do agree that WG3 relies too heavily on grey literature and could strengthen its review process. Both problems lead to the 2035 error. But it seems that stories on the 2035 error exceed stories on the 2035 pre-error reporting by several orders of magnitude. I’m afraid that when the IPCC sneezes, and doesn’t dot their I’s and cross their T’s, the criticism is way over the top, and various media outlets and blogs are a part of that.

    5. Latimer Alder

      ‘I’m afraid that when the IPCC sneezes, and doesn’t dot their I’s and cross their T’s, the criticism is way over the top, and various media outlets and blogs are a part of that.’

      That;s the price they pay for pretending to be the authoritative source of all climate-related information. It is not possible to claim that and also for the to hide behind the ‘you’re all being unfair to us poor downtrodden climatologists’ story when they screw something up bigtime.

      Either they are big boys playing with the grown ups and should act professionally and transparently to demonstrate it, And acknowledge their mistakes. And expect the highest level of external scrutiny. Or thy can skulk away playing in the sandpit. But they can’t flip flop just because the going gets a little tough.

      Shape up or ship out.

    6. Latimer Alder

      This argument would be more convincing if the IPCC also made ‘good faith’ errors that diluted the alarmist case. Not only those which increased it. Overall I’d expect genuine errors to work out at about 50/50 in each direction if genuine mistakes.

      Can you list the dilutionist errors from IPCC over the last 10 years for me please?

    7. Marco

      The easiest one: leave out ice melt dynamics in the sea level rise projections. That one was in essence not even an error, it was deliberate. Heard no one from the ‘skeptic’ side complain about that one.

    8. Latimer Alder


      If it was deliberate, it wasn’t an error. It was a decision.

      Maybe your scientific training didn’t get as far as understanding errors and how you can compensate/correct for them?

    9. Marco

      I call deliberately not including ice melt dynamics an “error”, too, as it was rather poorly described what this meant for the projection.

      Of course, the supposed “grey literature” that Donna Laframboise et al found, included prior IPCC reports (not grey literature), and any and all books and book chapters (not grey literature either). Greenpeace reports are not grey literature either, according to the definition of grey literature of librarians. If “not peer reviewed” is the definition Laframboise et al used, they also falsely labelled the IPCC reports, many books and book chapters, and a long list of reports from NGOs and governmental agencies.

  37. kramer

    Yet this time McIntyre has got it right.

    Are you kidding, what has he got wrong? That guy is very careful and methodical in his approach.

    He showed that there were issues with how the Hockey stick graph was constructed.

    1. NewYorkJ

      I don’t think optimism (erroneous or not) over the potential penetration of renewables is alarmist at all. It’s quite the opposite of that. Alarmism is assuming we can do nothing about the geologically rapid climate change that is occurring, or that it’s too late (Lovelock variety).

      The IPCC gets some things right (climate sensitivity estimates) but other things are way too conservative, such as sea level rise. When there’s uncertainty, they sometimes go with LCD estimates.

    2. NewYorkJ

      ^Meant as a response to Latimer’s post above.

    3. Latimer Alder

      So that’s a ‘NO’ then. You can’t list any ‘genuine errors’ that IPCC has made in the last ten years that were on the side of diluting the alarmist message rather than extending it.

      That they chose to be more conservative than you would have agreed with o some matters are not ‘genuine errors’ (eg making the ‘misprint’ of 2035 for 2350). They were actual decisions about what to publish. Real ‘errors’ are not.

      And the sea level is just carrying on going up at the same very slow old rate it always has been here in Lil Ol Lonodn, England (at one house brick depth per generation). Maybe NYC is underwater by now, but I haven’t seen it on the news yet.

    4. NewYorkJ

      The 2035 error is only one error. Small sample size.

      1 meter of sea level rise is what the growing body of evidence indicates by end of century, much higher than IPCC reports project. Recall that Siddall et al. issued a retraction after correcting errors that lead to the same conclusion.

      So I’d say the IPCC is in error. They should publish best estimates, not lowball ones.

    5. New Zealander

      What evidence?
      1m. of sea-level rise by the end of 2100 implies (is exactly!) 10mm./annum between 31Dec2010 and 1Jan2101.
      Where, pray, does this show? Worldwide?

      Please, do not use the words ‘may’ or ‘might’ or ‘predict’ (remember, ‘scenarios are not predictions’, said some well-respected organisation) or talk about dates later than 1Jan2101 in your response.

    6. Latimer Alder

      1 m in 100 years is the depth of one housebrick every generation.

      The tides in the River Thames, London by my office go up and down 14 feet every 12 hours. The Victorian river wall successfully accommodates these. Tides are common in very seaside town or city around the world. City engineers are used to dealing with them…an d have done so for centuries.

      I do not believe that it will beyond the wit of man to put another 4 bricks on the top of the wall between now and the likely birth of my great-great-great grandchildren.

    7. Latimer Alder

      PS. Love the clever ‘geologically rapid’ climate change phrase.

      Apart from geology itself are there are any processes you can think of that aren’t ‘geologically rapid’.

      Because if not, the ‘geologically rapid’ bit is entirely meaningless. Designed to impress the layman but not to have any substance?

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  39. patsi baker

    A question Mark:

    Did you call Greenpeace and discuss before writing this to get their side of the story? Or did you take McIntyre’s claims as gospel?

    1. Latimer Alder

      Part of the reason that Steve McIntyre is so well respected is that he lays out his working in detail for all to see. The facts are clear..he uses the IPCC’s own work. Where a remark is his just his opinion is also clear. You can read the (very short) piece here

      Steve’s direct and transparent style should be a model for all climatologists wishing to lay out an argument for all to see…and to be able to disagree with if they have objections.

    2. NewYorkJ

      Observations of McIntyre’s rhetoric, manufactured “Yamal controversy” and other incidents indicates that this individual constantly misrepresents the works and words of others, is loose with the facts, reaches erroneous conclusions, and constantly insinuates misconduct on the part of others, without good evidence to support it. His has a good audience for this sort of thing. Just a few examples:

      Also notable is his ties and inexhaustible defense of Wegman, who has engaged in academic misconduct.

      While one might use the excuse that bloggers don’t hold themselves up to high standards and thus these lapses are ok, many blog commenters, along with organizations like the Heartland Institute, seem to hold McIntyre in high regard (as he certaintly does), so a bit of scrutiny is warranted. Be skeptical of the skeptics.

    3. Latimer Alder

      Strangely enough I prefer to give more credibility to somebody with the cojones to publish under his real name rather than a mysterious ‘deep climate’ who doesn;t identify him/her self.

    4. NewYorkJ

      Like Jeff ID at nonconsensus, or perhaps Steven Goddard of wuwt blog fame?

      In blog-land, I personally prefer to examine the arguments made, which you don’t appear willing or able to do independently.

    5. New Zealander

      Greenpeace has an acknowledged policy agenda. Does one have to consult them? In the interests of balance? Tell that to ABC, BBC, NBC, ABC (again!), MSNBC, etc.

    6. patsi baker

      depends on how much you the facts to get in the way of a good story, I guess.

    7. New Zealander

      ‘Tell that to ABC, BBC, NBC, ABC (again!), MSNBC, etc.’

    8. New Zealander

      And the NYT, WaPo, LAT, Puff Ho’ (& I’d go with the rappers on ho’) etc.
      Balance? The ‘other’ side?
      You crack me up.

  40. Marco

    Let’s check Donna (“is PNAS peer reviewed?”) Laframboise’s claims:
    1. Richard Klein, was a campaigner for Greenpeace. For less than a year, before he became part of the IPCC. By Mark Lynas criteria, not something to even discuss, right?
    2. Bill Hare: is not employed by Greenpeace, but has done things FOR Greenpeace (as in: advising and writing reports).
    3. Malte Meinshausen. Same as Bill Hare (note that he has been advisor for many organisation and governments).
    4. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, it’s getting a pattern, has done some things for Greenpeace, but is a very highly respected scientist at the University of Queensland.

    Not on the payroll of Greenpeace, as far as I can determine, and thus not Greenpeace personnel (contrary to Laframboise’s claims)

    5. Donna also complains about the “expert reviewers”, but the IPCC had little influence on who were the expert reviewers. Heck, Steve McIntyre was an expert reviewer. Vincent Gray was an expert reviewer. Hans Labohm(!) was an expert reviewer.

    That leaves Teske and Von Goerne. And nobody attacks their science, only their affiliation.

    Thus, the claim that the IPCC is riddled with NGO people is a bit of an overstatement…

    1. Latimer Alder

      So they are all currently or have recently been affiliated with Greenpeace..the political entity that was once a charity. They may even have taken money for ‘some things that they have done’

      Slam dunk. All lackeys of the well-funded alarmist propaganda tendency at Greenpeace. Not independent at all.

    2. New Zealander

      Try substituting ‘Exxon-Mobil’ (or ‘BP’, or ‘a Koch-funded foundation’, etc., etc.) for ‘Greenpeace’ in your rant and see how it reads to a true warmist.

    3. Marco

      It’s going to be easy to find anyone who indeed complains about that. The fact is that Mark Lynas complained because Teske is paid by Greenpeace, and then tries to tar a lot more people with the same brush. This is simply false.

      I personally have no problem that certain people are paid by an organisation, until their data and analysis is shown to be wrong. I know that most people look at it the same way as I do.

      Take the case of Ian Plimer: he’s been shown wrong in many of his claims (his book is riddled with poor understanding and outright errors). People who then look for a motive as to why someone who is supposedly so bright can be so wrong and unwilling to accept he is wrong, will find he’s a mining executive, and thus has a vested interest in not accepting he is wrong.

      Of course, it is also quite amusing to see Mark Lynas attack the credibility of Sven Teske because of his relationship to Greenpeace, while not doing the same to Steve McIntyre (heavily involved in mining consultancy, IIRC he even recently director of a mining company). The same goes for Donna Laframboise, who has no trouble attacking anyone who has any kind of relationship with Greenpeace, but does not care if anyone has any relationship with, say, a mining or oil company.

    4. NewYorkJ

      Skeptic Richard Lindzen once brought in thousands per day as a consultant for Exxon, and was also an IPCC lead author.

      The brilliant geology professor Richard Alley once worked for an oil company. Guess he should be thrown out too.

      Pachauri had oil industry ties.

      I agree that the criteria is getting ridiculous.

    5. Latimer Alder

      Rearrange the following into a well-known phrase or saying:

      Both ways
      Can’t have it

    6. NewYorkJ

      Incidentally, I recently read an outstanding book by Richard Alley “Earth: The Operator’s Manual”. Strongly recommended. Excellent references and lots of discussion on the energy challenge.

    7. patsi baker

      Von Goerne works for the German Government

  41. New Zealander

    Anyway – to the hysterical critics of Mark Lynam:
    How are you going to handle the coming Maunder Minimum?
    (Oh, for those who object, it is much more scientific than anything produced by ‘pal’ review……..)

    BTW, we’ve had a couple of court judgements recently …. not often NZ leads the world ….

    1. NewYorkJ

      Please learn to spell Mark’s last name first.

      As for the possibility of a Maunder Minimum, while I’d like to say it would buy us some time, it really won’t. The human impact is now dominant on that scale.

      There’s a pretty good recent article in the AP over the MM.

    2. New Zealand

      I see the warmists are reduced to using typos as their arguments.
      Contempt. Beneath.
      Even Hansen wants to re-adjust the forcings! Unpublished. (as yet – not peer-reviewed! – as yet)
      We’ll see.

  42. Bishop Hill

    Bill Hare’s name crops up in the Climategate emails with a Greenpeace email address.

  43. Hobbes

    Sigh. Look at the company you’re starting to keep Mark. This thread is full of climate change deniers, hell you’re even linking to one in your first post…

    1. New Zealander

      Takes a long time to learn.

    2. Latimer Alder

      ‘Quick quick, scurry away! The bogeyman have arrived! And we have nothing to say. Hide and save yourselves from the contagion!

      Isolation from The Sceptics is our only hope. Pray to Mother Gaia that they shall be smitten with a fiery (but strictly renewable and no-emissions) thunderbolt!’

    3. NewYorkJ

      Doesn’t take more than a provocative headline from who they consider an “alarmist” to get the wolves taking cues from their masters and descending, looking for fresh converts to the pack.

    4. Latimer Alder

      Apart from in ‘Due South’, wolves don’t really have masters. This is where alarmists make a fatal assumption…that all sceptical climate realists think the way they do because somebody or something tells them or pays them to do so.

      Nothing could be further from the truth,

    5. coniston

      “Sigh. Look at the company you were keeping Mark. Previous threads were full of natural climate change deniers, you’re were even linking to some..”

      Still agree Hobbes?

      This is why the argument doesn’t progress…it’s all about pointing fingers at the other side. Not the science.

      Why Climate Audit is so refreshing is that when Steve/moderators are around they delete alot of this useless stuff. I would suggest doing the same, Mark.

      And I have a feeling that you, like Dr Curry, will start to understand the policy debate from a different perspective as your previous supporters turn and savage you. Not because you have really changed your position, you have questioned only the vetting of one report, and for this you have been attacked as if you had renounced everything you once held dear. I’ve got a feeling you might start to read “the other side” more now.

      Climate Audit and Climate Etc is what I would start with. Steve doesn’t post frequently, and some posts will make your head swim technically, but the arguments are well thought out, the data made available for all to see and he admits his mistakes immediately. Dr Curry’s posts sometimes are very long but that is because she includes long sections of papers in the post interspersed with her comments. As befitting her position as a top academic there are, well, a great many academic papers and articles. But there are also policy threads as well. There are alot of heavy duty people that hang at both places as well as the usual group of amateurs who sometimes post well and sometimes, well…you scroll by them. Both require investments of time and analysis, but you are rewarded. (I suggest SM and JC as their blogs do less of day to day stuff and more analysis.) They present/have various positions on specific issues such as statistical methodology and Artic sea ice. They have different writing styles and perspectives. Yet both are searching for robust answers i.e. ones that can stand up to scrutiny, and they welcome it.

      And read the Hockey Stick Illusion, you won’t regret it!

      PS Nice blog, easy to read.

  44. Latimer Alder

    Happy indeed to examine real arguments put forward by real people. But not from those afraid to stand up for their views in public.

  45. Pingback: IPCC: These People Haven’t Learned a Thing « NoFrakkingConsensus

  46. Foxgoose

    Bishop Hill says:
    15 June 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Bill Hare’s name crops up in the Climategate emails with a Greenpeace email address.

    “Climate Policy Director, Greenpeace International” – no less

    H/T Donna Laframboise

    Methinks Marco above is blowing smoke.

  47. Hector Balint

    It’s a pity that the writers at the BBC and the Guardian allowed themselves to be spoonfed their headlines from the press release, but having read the two articles I fail to see how anybody could be seriously misled. The one in the Guardian said who Teske is and what his role was and the BBC article stated that the headline scenario is just one of 164 (sic) presented. I must say I am not experiencing the slightest temptation to read the report or even the pompously-titled “Summary for Policymakers”. The IPCC has done a valuable job but anyone who imagines that it can become some kind of incorruptible scientific priesthood which will impartially determine energy policy on a world scale is going to be disappointed.

  48. Judith Curry

    I have a new post at Climate Etc. on the subject of this thread

  49. golf charley

    Mark, thank you again for opening your blog in this way, to an alternative view.

    As Judith Curry discovered, and simply shrugs off, you will have to get used to vitriolic attacks from the committed AGW supporters. I would again urge you to read The Hockey Stick Illusion, and hope you have a copy very shortly.

    The book does not disprove AGW, which some of its harshest critics would have known, if they had read it.

    1. NewYorkJ

      “As Judith Curry discovered, and simply shrugs off, you will have to get used to vitriolic attacks from the committed AGW supporters. I would again urge you to read The Hockey Stick Illusion, and hope you have a copy very shortly.”

      A book that dishes out vitriolic attacks on climate scientists.

      Notable is Judity Curry’s empty and dismissive comment on that thread, starting at #74. You see, she doesn’t tolerate dissent towards her select group of “honest skeptics”, especially when they are wrong. Critique Montford or McIntyre and you get attacked. Dare to support key IPCC conclusions (you know, fundamental things like climate sensitivity) and you aren’t “open-minded”.

    2. golf charley

      Thank you for proving the point. You have read it, haven’t you? You wouldn’t just be repeating someone else’s opinion?

      You do support the right of scientists to hide inconvenient data?


    3. NewYorkJ

      You responded how I thought you would – dismissive and with zero substance. Thanks.

    4. LC

      So NYJ, what’s the answer to the question? Have you read it? If so, perhaps you can point me to the bit where the book “dishes out vitriolic attacks on climate scientists”, because I must have missed that bit.

    5. Latimer Alder

      Please identify, by page number, all the ‘vitriolic attacks’ that you can find in HSI.

      Since you know it so well, I;m sure that you will have no difficulty pointing out the really juicy bits for me. Thanks,

    6. Bishop Hill

      Must say, I’m keen to hear about the “vitriolic accounts too”.

      Also it would be remiss to mention Tamino’s article at RC without mentioning the rebuttals at ClimateAudit and my blog.

      Really, I think it does you no credit to cite an article with quite such an outrageous quote out of context.

  50. Green Sand

    Mark, I would like to thank you for your open stance on this matter. It is refreshingly different to the “circling of the wagons” approach which can only fosters blind resolve.

    I would also recommend reading the Hockey Stick Illusion, not only is it informative, and a good read to boot. It’s chronologically structure makes it a very useful ongoing reference tool. So unlike a previous offer, get your own, I am not giving up mine.

    Once again thanks, we are all getting closer and closer to falsification …..of something!

  51. New Zealand

    Mark (I shan’t try your surname for fear of getting it wrong – see earlier).
    Highest commendations for taking a fair-minded position, and for not censoring the skeptic responses (unlike other ‘believer’ blogs).

    1. Latimer Alder

      And from me.

  52. bigcitylib

    “it appears that Working Group 3 in particular – but not exclusively – is riddled with NGO people (hat tip Donna Laframboise here and here). This really has got to stop.”

    This statement is a measure of your own naivety about how the IPCC functions, I think. If you were to strain for purity the way you are suggesting here, I don’t think you would not have enough competent bodies to do WG3 (and maybe WG2 either). Now, there are some who would argue there shouldn’t be a WG2 or 3. A few WG1 types that blog, for example (perhaps W. Connelley, if I remember correctly). But if you don’t want to go that far, then you are stuck pretty much with the people you’ve got. There are some sub-topics of this issue that folks from GreenPeace have probably studied more thoroughly than anyone else. Or that private sector entities like Munich Re have studied.

    You’re like the reporter that covered the CRU Hack and found how cheaply the whole research unit was run, and was SHOCKED!

    Again, naivety.

    1. Green Sand

      “Or that private sector entities like Munich Re have studied.”

      O Yes, they have studied and studied and studied and how well they have transposed their learning.

      “The $82 Billion Prediction”

      Please, please read it all

      I will leave you with just one piece of the article:-

      “Joining them was British climate physicist Mark Saunders, who argued that insurers could use model predictions from his insurance-industry-funded center to increase profits 30 percent.”

      No longer about risk management on previous occurrences, it is now about what the models predict going forward, whether or not the last prediction came to pass or not, you will pay.


      “use model predictions from his insurance-industry-funded center”

      Not to reduce risk but to “increase profits 30 percent.”

      O the altruism of insurance industry! One wonders why they are such supporters of the AGW movement?

    2. Latimer Alder

      Insurers make no pretence to be altruists. Accusing them of not being so is as useless as chastising a dog for not being a cat. They are in business to make a profit.

      You can choose to use their services if you want..or not to do so if you don’t. Your choice. If you don;t like insurance companies, don;t use them and take the risks yourself.

      NGOs however are different. They make great play of their supposed altruistic objectives, but frequently act in entirely non-altruistic and damaging ways. Often they are hypocrites…and I really really dislike hypocrisy.

    3. Alexander K

      So true, Latimer. I have now reached the age where I have lived too long for my life insurance to be affordable – another birthday and I suspect my insurance premiums will be almost equal to my age benefit.. The fact that I take the time and trouble to keep myself fit and very healthy has no bearing on the cost whatsoever, so the option is clear – I must cancel my insurance and work hard and profitably to protect my potential widow, while my adult offspring indulge themselves in all manner of high-risk sports, ranging from Snowboarding to Motorcycle racing. Life (and insurance) is so bloody unfair!

    4. Latimer Alder

      Sadly nobody is going to give you odds on achieving immortality 🙁

      I would it were otherwise…….

    5. coniston

      Your naivete shows BCL if you believe that not enforcing conflict of interest guidelines and including activist literature in any of the WGs helps the cause of science or even “your cause”. Think again.

      BTW what happened to all those thousands of climate scientists? Are they all also working for NGO’s? Greenpeace has written hundreds of advocacy papers over the years, but saying that there are sub-topics that Greenpeace has studied more thoroughly? Hmm.. A. Name one or two. B. sauce…goose and would, following your logic, support the inclusion of studies done by tobacco companies…after all it is highly likely that they have studied that field more throughly than anyone else.

    6. Latimer Alder

      So you concede WG3 is corrupted through and through with NGO shills, activists and propagandists.

      But your argument is that there’s nobody else around so we ought to let them get on with it anyway?


      An alternative might be to get rid of the aforesaid SAPs, declare their conclusions null and void, then start again with some competent scientists.

      Better to spend ten years getting it right than rely on corrupted and damaged ‘work’.

  53. Noelene

    My view is that the IPCC renewables report has told us nothing – except that Greenpeace thinks we can solve the climate change problem entirely with renewable energy, which of course we already knew.
    Imagining all the solar and wind turbines spread across the world.
    That’s so funny.
    Need to bulldoze a lot of houses.
    Japan had better start clearing some land.I hear it’s a scarce commodity there.
    Thanks for the laugh.
    Got a scientific paper to show us how 77 percent of the world can be powered by wind and solar?
    How many windmills to power a city of 4 million?How many forests to be cleared?
    The new urban sprawl-windmills and solar!

  54. Rob H

    Steve McIntyre got it right this time? When has he been wrong? Once again he has exposed global warming “science” as public relations and media manipulation.
    The never ending scare mongering and exaggeration of the “climate science” lobby (long on theory and short on supporting science) is used to generate government funding for “science”, with a quid pro quo of more government power over the economy and related tax revenues. Neither side want to mess with that cozy relationship.

  55. Michael Larkin

    Good for you, Mr. Lynas. I’m one of a number here popping over from Judith Curry’s blog. A number of the opinions Judith holds are not shared by me, but despite that, I regularly visit her blog because I’m persuaded that she has integrity and therefore respect her.

    I think I can say the same about you, and that I will be making further visits to your blog.

    There are a lot of folk like me who are primarily interested in open debate, hence there are certain blogs there’s no point visiting,

    What is all this stuff about not having open and vigorous debate that I see one or two of the contributors here seem to favour? How did we ever come to such a pass? That’s a crucial question; reasonable people perceive that and recognise the signs that the topic is prone to polarisation and dogmatism. which makes Joe Sixpack suspect there’s much more politics than science involved.

    I’ll just say one last thing: Steve McIntyre, for anyone who will actually read what he says, comes across as someone of high integrity and forensic intellect. I read the dismissive things some people say about him and just by the fact of their doing that, I know that they haven’t read him. This doesn’t mean he’s infallible – no one is – but he does not say things without having done meticulous research and analysis, and is, more often than not, extremely measured in the tone he adopts.

  56. tonyb

    Hi Mark

    I ran a long thread over at Climate etc that tackled this very subject of the impossibility of relying on renewables citing such people as Professor Davd Mackay-Chief Scientist at the UK’s Department of Enenergy and Climate change .

    The article also goes into the mind bending costs of curbing our carbon and lastly deals with the question of what temperature reduction we can expect in the next 100 years if the world went on a severe carbon diet.

    As only a small proportion of the world is ever going to follow the UK’s lead it makes our expenditure of some £30 billion a year in order to secure a temperature reduction of 0.03C seem very foolish.


  57. Pingback: Congratulations to Greenpeace | Lenz Blog

  58. Roger A Pielke Sr.

    The identification of a bias in the WG3 IPCC community is not isolated to that community. Despite your continued support of the “hard science” of WG1, I urge you to read peer reviewed studies that refute the narrow CO2-centric, global climate model focused view of WG1. These papers include, for example,

    Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

    Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairuku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2011: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. AGU Monograph on Complexity and Extreme Events in Geosciences, in press.

    Specific documentation of the 2007 WG1 IPCC bias is reported in

    Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp.

    1. Nick Palmer

      Roger Pielke reminds us that direct CO2 emissions are not the only climate forcing down to us. Other aspects such as land use, agricultural policy, diet changes should always be kept in mind.

      I think that what a lot of the commenters above forget, who give Greenpeace a rough ride for advocacy that is not completely based on peer reviewed bullet proof science, is that Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth etc have been going for a long time. They have been warning about the many environmentally threatening human behaviours for decades before most had even heard of climate change. They know that informing the general public of the situation, risks and potential solutions is very important and things should not be left to a bunch of quarreling scientists and industrial forces to decide the public’s future.

      They do not just campaign on CO2. Crucially, they also campaign for changes in the other aspects that Roger Pielke highlights (and many others not related to climate change too). Long experience has shown that simply pointing out the threats and consequences does not result in the threatening behaviours being stopped or modified but unleashes a barrage of countering propaganda, misdirection and defensiveness from powerful industries etc. Long ago Greenpeace et al realised that real changes only come about when the political environment is conducive to it. That demands that a significant number of people democratically accept the necessity for change, unfortunately the democratic majority simply do not have the detailed expertise or knowledge, nor are ever likely to, to figure out which “side” is right yet they also have a democratic right to vote on things that will affect their lives, their families lives and their children’s lives.

      The message from Greenpeace and some other NGOs is necessarily simplified so that ordinary people can have a say in what powerful forces sometimes impose on them. As a consequence, it is trivially easy to nitpick and split hairs in what Greenpeace say and do but it is unfair because they don’t really pretend that their views are exclusively peer reviewed science. They are a people’s organisation with people centred values.

      Simplified, the NGO type case for action on climate change for the general public can be boiled down to this. CO2 has a measured greenhouse effect which no credible “sceptic” should deny. The only difference between the IPCC position and the credible sceptic scientists, such as Lindzen, Spencer, Christy et al is in estimates of the climate sensitivity, whether the feedbacks are positive or negative, strong or weak and how they change over the short to long term. If climate sensitivity is high, then we’re screwed… 6 degrees plus. If it’s low, then we’re not. If it’s somewhere in the middle, then things MIGHT be alright but, then again they MIGHT not be. Do you feel lucky, punks?

      Knowledge of how Earth reacted to past climate forcings such as Milankovitch cycles, sustained vulcanism, solar irradiation changes, continental shifts etc suggests that, in the past, climate sensitivity to CO2 and other warming forcings was high enough to suggest that we should be worried today (if it has not changed). Lindzen’s work on clouds etc in the tropics suggests that the sensitivity there is lower than the mean 3’ish degrees that multiple lines of other evidence leads us towards. Do we gamble that his conclusions can be extrapolated to the whole Earth? Which is the wisest course to take?

      Remember that short of using a time machine and making multiple trips back several hundred years and persuading industrial history to alter multiple times so that we can empirically measure the climate sensitivity, we are stuck with inferring it and, by the time it becomes unequivocally clear to all what the real figure is, it would be way too late to stop any nastiness that had started.

      In short, we’re not completely certain and, by the time we are, it will be too late to avoid any consequences. Pre-history suggests things could get nasty. Do you want to gamble your future and your kids’ futures? Do we feel lucky, punks?

  59. Tom Curtis

    The paper was prepared by the Institute ofTechnical Thermodynamics, part of the GermanAerospace Center (DLR). Of its authors, at least two have straightforward academic affiliations. Consequently treating this as simply a Greenpeace propaganda report is unwarrented.

    Its supposed major shortcoming is that it assumes energy use will fall while population will rise. It does so by assuming in the reference scenario that energy intensity (energy use per unit GDP) will decline at the same rate it has fallen in the EU over the period 1990-2004 (1.25% per annum), and that it will fall to the level of energy intensity already achieved in Japan in 2007 within the next 30 years. For the most aggressive emissions reduction scenario, it assumes that active policies will further reduce energy intensity so that the total reduction is 1.4% per annum.

    These assumptions are explicitly stated in the paper.

    The apparent counter argument to these assumptions is simply an undefended assumption that energy intensity cannot be reduced.

    My response would be that this is a storm in a tea-cup. Unfortunately Steve McIntyre has a very big megaphone and will turn this gnat’s fart of an issue into a major controversy.

    Having said that, I would in no way be adverse to excluding people (and the papers they author) from any IPCC process if those people have a direct connection to an advocacy group such as, for example, Greenpeace or The Heritage Foundation. If all the key deniers want to kick a home goal that will permanently exclude themselves from the IPCC process, who am I to stand in the way.

  60. NewYorkJ

    A nice critique from Susann of the “off with their heads” McIntyre piece:

  61. Rattus Norvegicus

    I hate to say it, but I think you all are getting your panties in a wad over nothing. None, not one, of the authors of the “Greenpeace” Scenario are authors of the SRREN report, which can be found here.. Steve, as he so often does, conflated issues and made a mountain out of a molehill. I have difficulty in seeing the issue here. They headlined a scenario which could keep us below the politically agreed upon goal of 450ppm and 2C total warming, a target which, AFAIK has no solid scientific support. I haven’t had time to read the SPM, much less the full report, but just on the surface it does seem as though Steve’s charges, and Lyna’s echoing of those charges, is a bit misplaced.

  62. Simon Marsden

    I too would urge you to read The Hockey Stick Illusion. If it doesn’t shake your faith in climate science and open your mind to a more critical way of thinking, nothing will.

    Some of the revelations of shoddy science within the paleo-climate community are nothing short of scandalous.

    Please, please read this book.

  63. MIke Haseler

    The evidence that turned me into a sceptic was when I devised a simple test to determine how much of this global warming was science. I said: “OK warming is harmful, but it will also have benefits; if the science is really science, then it will be impartial and outline the benefits as well as the harm”.

    So, I started looking online for every single pdf document from universities on global warming effects. After reading about 100 and finding only one that mentioned benefits – but as I recollect it was mentioned rather than treated in the same “systematic” as the harm. It dawned on me that: NONE OF THE “SCIENCE” WAS REALLY SCIENCE. NONE OF THE WORK ON GLOBAL WARMING WAS IMPARTIAL.

    This is incredible when you think of the clear and obvious benefits of warming. In the UK 23,000 people die a year (according to Age concern who have an axe to grind like greenpeace … but somehow I think are more honest and the figure does seem to have logic based on actual death figures). In recent cold winters figures of nearer 40,000 were being published.

    Compare that to the 2,300 deaths in the one seriously warm summer we had and there’s absolutely no doubt that at least in the UK, a move to warmer climate would reduce deaths … or at least no doubt that given the evidence on deaths due to extreme weather, the rate would reduce in a warmer climate.

    And this is not some idle backwater of “science” which can harmlessly delude itself. This has been probably the highest profile “science” in the last decade, heavily promoted by all the “scientific” institutions, and if any subject should have been cast iron water tight and checked and crossed checked it was this.

    But no. It is undoubtedly the most corrupt aspect of modern living. Even politicians occasionally admit they are wrong, even politicians will resign when there is a clear conflict of interest. But look at the IPCC, it is so corrupt that it doesn’t even care how corrupt it is. Nor do the “scientific” establishments care. It is literally like discovering the pope has a brothel in his palace … and when it is discovered the response is: “what’s wrong with that?”

  64. MIke Haseler

    Mark: Here’s a joke you might begin to appreciate:

    “How many warmist’s does it take to have an argument?”

    Only one! And enough time for nature to change the climate.

    Let me explain the various points:

    1. There is no “argument” in climate “science” because it is essentially a one party state which has total control over what happens and only brooks mild dissent.

    2. So, the real “opposition” is nature itself … and time. The one party state of climate “science” can deluge itself with whatever groupthink it likes over the latest decade of results, but given the nature of nature, that “consensus” will have to change when real data comes in.

    3. At which point climate “scientists” will find that their biggest opposition to the “current thinking” is what they and their colleagues were saying was the established science just a few decades before.

    But, whilst I’ve every sympathy for the difficulty of the subject in that it does allow “groupthink” and “bogus consensus” to develop because of the slow rate of change and lack of new data to challenge such trends, that doesn’t mean we outside should tolerate that kind of behaviour. Indeed, in the most difficult subjects, it is precisely because they are so difficult, that you need the highest standards. Unfortunately, climate “science” as I said above has probably the lowest standards of any public institution. That may be an inevitable consequence of the problems of this new subject, but as I said, that’s no reason why the public should have to tolerate such abysmal standards.

  65. Richard Tol

    I’m not worried about Greenpeace authors in the IPCC. There are ExxonMobil authors too. I’m not worried about Greenpeace scenarios being assessed by the IPCC. There are Shell scenarios too.

    I am worried, though, when the most extreme scenario in the sample is highlighted in a press release — and that is exactly what the IPCC did.

    It should be noted, though, that the chairperson of IPCC WG3, Ottmar Edenhofer, is at PIK. Bill Hare, another Greenpeace employee, has long been detached to PIK — masquerading as an independent academic while in fact being on Greenpeace’s pay roll. This arrangement was put in place by Edenhofer’s then boss and PhD advisor.

    1. Marco

      Richard, I don’t think anyone who attaches himself to the GWPF should ever lecture anyone else on ethics.

    2. Latimer Alder

      Care to expand on why?

      Or are we just to leave that as a (supposedly) intriguing throwaway line? An attempt to muddy the waters? Or just a comment with no substance behind it?

      Do tell.

      Otherwise I’ll treat it with exactly the weight it deserves.

  66. Mark Lynas (Post author)

    Note to everyone!

    I have had to start deleting comments, because it has turned nasty and people have started making personal attacks on mine and others’ integrity. I would rather not censor, so please be constructive, have a point to make, and assume good faith.


  67. New Zealander

    I should not expect unbiased contributions on ‘Climate Science’ or any report associated therewith from Prof Dr Otmar Edenhofer. He is, after all, on record as saying:

    Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14 November 2010

    I shall be extremely interested in how the PR flack, Bob Ward, spins this.

  68. PaulM

    An important question is simply this:
    Who wrote the IPCC’c 9th May press release?

  69. Hank Roberts

    > most extreme scenario in the sample is highlighted in a press release

    Are you shocked, shocked, that a press release headline picks the most dramatic possible claim and overstates and oversimplifies the content? Or that journalists rely on headlines rather than read the content?

    This is not exactly a newly discovered problem with press releases or journalists.

    “At Pharyngula there is a science journalism thread worthy of your attention.Dissatisfaction with journalism among scientifically literate people is widespread. It’s not just climate people. My favorite comment there is by llewely, who quotes Carl Zimmer saying “It’s always important in these situations to bear in mind that reporters almost never write their own headlines.” and responds

    As a result of this practice, the headline is often the stupidest part of an article – even when the article itself is really, really stupid. Often times, the article goes to press with the equivalent of a fresh turd sitting on its head. Yet another case of an industry-wide practice that is blindingly stupid.

    Ben Goldacre (“Bad Science”) is piling on as well ….”

    That’s from

  70. Josh

    Great article, Mark, well done for speaking out.

    Steve’s story inspired a cartoon

    but it is not nearly as comic as the actual story, is it


  71. MartyY


    the irony is that while you are correctly requesting that the IPCC implement procedures that are correct, and avoid gray literature, you are just feeding the ‘skeptics’ who are demanding the IPCC incorporate all manner of gray literature and outright incompetence, as well as vastly more compromised individuals as participants in the process. A quick perusal of WUWT, Climate Audit and Bishop Hill will reveal endless parade of poor science, partisanship and ignorance on a scale that makes the errors that the IPCC makes pale into insignificance. Anthony Watts, for example, has published a paper that accuses reputable climate scientists and the IPCC of deliberately falsifying temperature records by selectively removing temperature records of sites that show cooling rather than warming. Bishop Hill’s list of the top ten climate books is a list of the worst climate resources. Your message to the IPCC is going to generate far more hatred and denigration of scientists than improvements in the processes of the IPCC.

    Bishop Hill includes the eye boggling “State of Fear” as one of the candidates for best skeptic books.

    What I do want to know is, can we, if we make a concerted effort, reach that 77% goal? I know that it’s not going to happen, we just don’t care enough, but is it really possible. I would guess that it is, although it would require a change in our use of energy that many would find impossible, even if it did not materially affect our quality of life.

    1. New Zealander

      So your opinion of ‘skeptics’ (and their blogs/writings) puts the IPCC beyond (above?) any and all criticism, however egregious the IPCC’s conduct?


    2. Latimer Alder


      The whole edifice of the IPCC and the climatology industry trembles before the might of a retired weatherman from California and an English accountant and part-time author living in Scotland!

      You really really must be very very very scared that everybody else will soon notice that your Emperor has No Clothes.

      I guess your only hope is suppression and intimidation of anybody who doesn’t follow the ‘consensus’. Worked well for the catholics when the protestants came along didn’t it? Or the communists when solidarity got going. Or just about any authoritarian rigid regime when people started to question its foundations?

      Good luck with that,

    3. Latimer Alder

      Sorry – forgot the retired mathematician and miner from Canada.

  72. New Zealander

    I share your disappointment at the necessity of deleting comments. It is not common practice at ‘skeptic’ websites (excepting, of course, the most egregious trolls).
    Let me guess:
    All of the personal attacks on you, and the majority of those on others, originate from members of the ‘believer’ (a.k.a. ‘warmista’ or ‘alarmist’) communties. I’m afraid that you can, in future, expect many more of the former. And this purely for taking an open-minded view of an issue.

    1. Barry Woods

      I’m sure their would be a few ill-informed people from the sceptical side as well..

      ignore the extremists on either side (actually very few, but very vocal) their tribalism is why people like Judith Curry are called Heretics, distrusted by the extreme for being in the middle…

      Ihave had some truly mad comments on myblog, from all sides of the debate (not as much as the rubbish A Watts has to contend with though)

    2. New Zealander

      See my comment below (follows yours pointing to the Bishop Hill post on ‘money laundering’ – which I strongly recommend to all readers – and, not least, the owner of this blog).
      I didn’t hit the ‘Reply’ button as I should.

    3. Marco

      Yup, on ‘skeptic’ blogs it is no problem accusing people of fraud, manipulation and a whole range of other nasty things, without even the tiniest shred of evidence. After all, the target is the intended target: those darn climate scientists who say inconvenient stuff.

    4. Latimer Alder

      Would you like to give some examples from your extensive knowledge of popular sceptic blogs of the behaviour you so deplore?

      AFAIK I haven’t seen your name much in evidence in defending your colleagues on those blogs. Perhaps you have just been lurking?

  73. Ian Campbell


    The last few lines of ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ should ensure that you read this book. You have admitted in comment replies above that you do not feel qualified to question statistical methods – and I am not pretending that I am. But read this and then tell yourself that this book is easily dismissed.

    “The [Climategate] emails establish a pattern of behaviour that is completely at odds with what the public has been told regarding the integrity of climate science and the rigour of the IPCC report writing process. It is clear that the public can no longer trust what they have been told.”

    This means that the very process by which decisions that have already resulted in massive sums of taxpayer money being spent on major changes to energy policies across the globe is fundamentally called into question. How the IPCC and wider Climate Science has conducted themselves and the decisions that have resulted are now a major political sore that will be outed. The politicians will ignore this at their electoral peril.

  74. David Bailey

    Now hat you have discovered that Steve McIntyre is not quite so biased as you thought, I suggest you ask him for a little help unraveling some of the other problems with the global warming theory:

    1) The statistical blunders of Michael Mann – and the obfuscation of the truth that has followed.

    2) The incredible graphical trick that Mann was able to use in a Nature paper, in which the part of a curve which he didn’t want to show, was truncated in a way that concealed what was going on. This also provoked a very strong public reaction from Professor Jonathon Jones (a different Jones!), professor of physics at Oxford University:

    3) The extreme lack of clarity in the way the global temperature data is collected – in particular the fact that many measuring stations have been removed over the years, and replaced by software estimates!

    4) The fact – at last begining to be acknowledged – that there are other factors that produce climate variation, in particular the sun!

    Those of us who love science, detest what has gone on in the name of science. You have an interesting few months or reading ahead!

  75. Barry Woods

    Steve Mcintyre has an interesting follow up from his previous article.

    “Some follow-up on responses to yesterday’s post by IPCC and others.

    My interest in SRREN had been attracted by the following lead to the IPCC press release announcing SRREN:

    Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.
    This claim was widely covered as googling ’80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables’ will show.

    I commented acidly on the execrable IPCC policy of issuing the press release before the report itself became available. I’d made this criticism previously, but this time Andy Revkin agreed. In my post, I observed that the scenario highlighted by IPCC was an extreme case among the scenarios, that the extreme scenario came from Greenpeace and that a Greenpeace employee was a Lead Author of the chapter supposedly carrying out an independent assessment.

    The post was covered by Mark Lynas and Andy Revkin among others and has led to responses from IPCC. None of the responses rebut any of the criticisms.

    Again, let’s start with the statement that had originally caught both my eye and the eye of the world’s media:”

    follow the link, for the rest.

  76. Barry Woods

    Ben Pile has more about Greenpeace and the renewable industry here…

    ends with this,

    “…..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 benefit the agendas of those policy-makers. Greenpeace doesn’t need the money; what it gets in return 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.

    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 scale of this shameless enterprise. We all knew that ‘grey literature’ — non-scientific and non-peer reviewed ‘research’ — found its way into IPCC reports. What surprises is the extent to which ‘grey organisations’ — institutions with public functions, but little or no democratic accountability or transparency — are involved in the production of policy and evidence-making, benefitting a narrow industrial sector and serving a particular political agenda.”

  77. New Zealander

    Your views are well known (not least from your comments at other blogs) and long-standing. You are not in the process of becoming an ‘agnostic’ (the beginning of a slippery slope which leads [in some eyes] inexorably to ‘non-believer’, ‘heretic’, ‘skeptic’ and [heaven help us!] ‘denier’). Read Dr Curry’s experiences (I’m sure you have already!) when she followed a similar path to that which Mark seems to be contemplating.
    Mark has been meticulous in replying to comments. I should be interested in his response.
    Incidentally, it is interesting that the ‘believer’ community seems to understand that there is ‘no way back’ – the merest smidgen of doubt = lost forever. Completely.

    1. David Bailey

      I suspect there is indeed “no way back”. Once the truth starts to seep out – once journalists actually start to look at the evidence in the ‘climategate’ emails – the shock will be immense!

      It has always amazed me, that consensus journalists failed to ask themselves why an organisation like WikiLeaks would host those emails, if they contained nothing of interest! WikiLeaks is famed for exposing scandals – killings in Iraq, and Afghanistan – why would it want to host irrelevant material?

      I’d like to add, that I used to belong to Greenpeace, when it campaigned about real issues like nuclear weapons proliferation, the burning of the rain forests, pollution (not CO2) etc. The global warming fiasco has been a tragedy for real environmentalism – a tragedy of their own making.

  78. Hinh San

    Is this also propaganda do you think?

    Depending on your definition of propaganda of course, everything that is well designed and use top notch communication language, from marketing techniques down to great typography would possibly qualify, but OMA is serious business unlike Greenpeace activists, OMA is not known for (sometimes) exaggerating facts that they like…

  79. NewYorkJ

    Teske’s response (h/t revkin):

    Responding to questions about Greenpeace’s influence on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, Sven Teske, Senior Energy Expert at Greenpeace International said:

    “Each country was invited to propose authors for the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN). Germany suggested eight people – of the seven chosen, I was, as far as I am aware, the only engineer working with an environmental NGO”.

    “The IPCC SRREN report went through four review rounds, with review rounds of six to eight weeks. With more than 120 contributors, each tasked with dealing with lists of comments, the idea of Greenpeace being able to ‘dictate’ a conclusion is clearly absurd”.

    “With Exxon, Chevron and the French nuclear operator EDF also contributing to the IPCC, trying to suggest that this expert UN body is a wing of Greenpeace is preposterous. In fact, Greenpeace has criticised the IPCC for being too conservative over the years. On this occasion our advice was given weight, but that’s hardly surprising given that it was developed with the German Aerospace Centre while the London’s Imperial College, and companies like Oxford Economics and McKinsey have also outlined the vast potential of renewable energy.”

    “The Energy Revolution scenario project was a partnership between Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), an umbrella group of organisations within the renewable energy industry, which provided key data for the project. The actual modeling was performed by the German Space Agency (DLR).

    “The report has been peer reviewed by energy experts and its data, methods and conclusions are entirely transparent and open to public scrutiny. EREC’s members represent a wide range of corporations with interests in renewable energy including Siemens and the French nuclear manufacturer AREVA. Greenpeace features the report prominently on our website because its conclusions show the potential of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out the use of fossil fuels, while also eliminating nuclear power dependence in the coming decades.”

  80. NewYorkJ

    h/t revkin…

    Ottmar Edenhofer, the co chairman of Working Group 3 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the fifth assessment, sent this note:

    he criticisms by McIntyre and Lynas relate to the headline of the press release that was drafted by the WGIII and the Secretariat and that accompanied the publication of the SRREN SPM on 9th May. It is important to note that the press release put the 80% figure into perspective:

    “Over 160 [164] existing scientific scenarios on the possible penetration of renewables by 2050, alongside environmental and social implications, have been reviewed with four analyzed in-depth. These four were chosen in order to represent the full range. […]

    The most optimistic of the four, in-depth scenarios projects renewable energy accounting for as much as 77 percent of the world‘s energy demand by 2050, amounting to about 314 of 407 Exajoules per year. […]

    77 percent is up from just under 13 percent of the total primary energy supply of around 490 Exajoules in 2008. Each of the scenarios is underpinned by a range of variables such as changes in energy efficiency, population growth and per capita consumption. These lead to varying levels of total primary energy supply in 2050, with the lowest of the four scenarios seeing renewable energy accounting for a share of 15 percent in 2050, based on a total primary energy supply of 749 Exajoules.”

    Sven Teske was nominated as an author by the German government and selected by the WGIII as Lead author in the IPCC’s continuous effort to draw on the full range of expertise, and this includes NGOs and business as well as academia. Chapter 10 has been thouroughly reviewed by independent experts and governments. He is one of nine Lead Authors, with two Coordinating Lead Authors overseeing the process of writing the chapter. He has made substantial contributions, but was neither the only nor the leading person in this team effort.

    Kind regards,

    Ottmar Edenhofer

  81. Wastrel

    I guess some people think that this really matters — that a fantasy in a report no one will read turns out to have been misrepresented by one of its authors prior to publication. Does anyone really expect a report like this to be free from bias? Does anyone think that any organization with a “I” for International doesn’t have an axe to grind on their favorite issues? Or that any member of such an organization doesn’t have his own agenda to promote? Bah. This is “dog bites man” news. Find an instance of honesty and I’ll praise it to the skies.

  82. Turboblocke

    According to the final report, Figure 10.3, Teske was also responsible for the 15% scenario mentioned in the press release. How come no one is complaining about that?

    Table 10.3 | Overview of key parameters of the illustrative scenarios based on assumptions that are exogenous to the models’ respective
    endogenous model results. Green marks exogenous input; orange marks endogenous model results. Note that the concentration categories are
    defined in terms of CO2 (only) concentrations, while other metrics, predominantly CO2-equivalent concentrations—of Kyoto gases or of all forcing
    agents—are used in the literature. (Sources: IEA-WEO2009-Baseline (IEA, 2009; Teske et al., 2010), ReMIND-RECIPE (Luderer et al., 2009),
    MiniCAM-EMF22 (Calvin et al., 2009), ER-2010 (Teske et al., 2010)).

  83. Richard S Courtney

    Mark Lynas:

    Sincere congratulations on your diplay of honesty and integrity in your article which is the subject of this thread. However, I write to inform you that the basic information concerning IPCC Working Group 3 (WG3) is not news. I published a paper about it in 2001 (n.b. a decade ago).

    That paper explains and assesses the IPCC SRES “scenarios” as they are described in Chapter 2 of WG3 in the IPCC Third Assessment Report (the TAR published in 2001): that chapter describes the origin and nature of the “scenarios”. The following are some of the points reported in my paper:
    (ref. Courtney RS, ‘Crystal balls, virtual realities and ‘storylines’ ‘, Energy & Environment (2001) )

    TAR WG3 Chapter 2 says a sub-committee of IPCC WG3 produced the scenarios with no input from the climate scientists (IPCC Working Group I) who were invited to comment on the TAR. It says most of the scenario authors involved are “economists” and “futurologists”, and many of those invited to comment on their work were “activists”.

    The assertions in that Chapter are so extraordinary that in my Expert Peer Review for the IPCC I recommended;
    “TAR WG3 Chapter 2 should not be published”
    and I commended that
    “the ‘Writing Teams’ of other TAR Chapters should object to publication TAR WG3 Chapter 2. In my opinion, their failure to object could risk damage to their reputations as a result of association with Chapter 2”
    because it
    “is the most disingenuous and dangerous document it has ever been my misfortune to read.”

    But it was published, and the Vice Chairman of IPCC Working Group 2, Martin Manning, then spoke out to make clear that he also disagreed with it.

    The concluding paragraphs of my paper (which I referenced above in this post) said;

    “The Chapter states that, “Most generally, it is clear that mitigation scenarios and mitigation policies are strongly related to their baseline scenarios, but no systematic analysis has published on the relationship between mitigation and baseline scenarios”. This statement is in the middle of the Chapter and is not included in the Chapter’s Conclusions. Failure to list this statement as a conclusion is strange because this statement is an admission that the assessed models do not provide useful predictions of effects of mitigation policies. How could the predictions be useful if the relationship between mitigation and baseline is not known?

    Also, the only valid baseline scenario is an extrapolation from current trends. The effect of an assumed change from current practice cannot be known if there is no known systematic relationship between mitigation and baseline scenario. But each of the scenarios is a claimed effect of changes from current practice. So, the TAR itself says the scenarios are meaningless gobbledygook.

    The Chapter is honest about one thing, though. It openly admits why it pretends such mumbo-jumbo is science. Its Introduction states that the Chapter considers “societal visions of the future” that “most share a common goal: to explore how to achieve a more desirable future state”. There are many differing opinions on what would be a “a more desirable future state” (c.f. those of Mussolini and Marx) but the Chapter does not overtly state its definition of “desirable”.

    And the Chapter concludes: “Perhaps the most powerful conclusion emerging from both the post-SRES analyses and the review of the general futures literature is that it may be possible to very significantly reduce GHG emissions through integration of climate policies with general socio-economic policies, which are not customarily as climate policies at all.”

    Simply, this conclusion of Chapter 2 of WG III TAR calls for changes to socio-economic policies that are not climate policies (at very least, this conclusion provides an excuse for such changes). And the Chapter’s Introduction states that these changes are intended to achieve “a more desirable future state” based on “societal visions of the future”.

    This conclusion derived by the method that generated it for the purpose stated in the Chapter is an abuse of science. Indeed, it is not science to make predictions of how to change the future by use of selected scenarios when “no systematic analysis has published on the relationship between mitigation and baseline scenarios”: this is pseudo-science of precisely the same type as astrology.”


  84. Joe prins

    Thank you for an honest and forthright piece, Mark. No screaming and yelling, no foul language. I may even decide to come back here again.
    I hate to disappoint you though. Unless and until an alternate energy source is discovered that is reliable and will provide power during peak times the current energy generating ratios will persist. A personal power pack for your home and transportation would be ideal.

  85. Mike Goad

    “So what to conclude?” Seems like par for the IPCC course. (poor quality control and questionable sourcing)

  86. NewYorkJ

    Mark Lynas: “Greenpeace did make some play of the fact that ‘their’ scenario had been highlighted by the IPCC – despite the claim by many that the fact Teske et al, 2010 was published in a peer-reviewed journal meant it was no longer anything to do with Greenpeace.”

    I don’t think that’s the claim. Just because something originates with Greenpeace doesn’t make it wrong. The fact that it (or a modified version of it) was published in a peer-reviewed journal, means that it’s gone through a few rounds of reviews, and that material was used in the IPCC summary. This by no means guarantees robustness but it’s an important step. The report also went through several rounds of reviews at the IPCC level. The Greenpeace website material (which you term “propaganda”) isn’t really relevant at that point. Pro or anti mitigation NGOs can write whatever they want, but in the end, they need to face the same scrutiny of the peer review process at each level.

    Richard Tol has commented. It’s worth pointing out that he’s part of a NGO “Global Warming Policy Foundation” and is (or at least has been) an IPCC lead author, and his work has been cited. By your rationale, he should be “terminated” as well. There are oil industry people contributing to the reports. What you don’t seem to acknowledge is that none of them can “dictate” the content of the reports, and why your headline, which seems to stem from a hasty acceptance of a McIntyre post, remains in error. Are you not willing to acknowledge that many of your conclusions here are way overboard? Can you set aside your personal opinion on this particular scenario (which I might even agree with) and Greenpeace for a moment, and not fall for the same tactic that so-called “skeptics” engage in – they disagree with the conclusions so everyone’s corrupt?

    1. FarleyRusk

      Peer (pal) review is totally discredited of course, I can’t believe you still think it relevent. Remember Phil Jones’ quote: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep themout somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !
      Phil ”

      I don’t believe Einstein was peer-reviewed and his theories turned out relatively ok, I believe.

      Also its a shame that the tactics Greenpeace engage in haven’t been mentioned yet. After all who can forget

      “We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many, but you be few.”

      A comment which was a reaction from Greenpeace to Climategate, which was quickly taken down as the threat was apparently been quoted out of context! LMFAO.

    2. NewYorkJ

      The papers (which have not held up over time, by the way) Jones was talking about were not kept out, discussed and cited in fact in Chapter 3 of AR4. That helps confirm my point above. Individual lead authors don’t have the power you think they do.

    3. NewYorkJ

      “I don’t believe Einstein was peer-reviewed and his theories turned out relatively ok, I believe.”

    4. Robert E. Phelan

      I have a lot of problems with your arguments here, but oddly enough it’s your screen name I’m having real problems with right now. Would you consider switching it to something like “NewYorkJoe” or (just to spite me) “NewYorkJerk”? You can even, for the sake of continuity, add “the troll formerly known as ‘NewYorkJ’ “. If the source of my concern is not immediately apparent to you, Mark has my permission to send you my e-mail address and we can discuss it off-line.

      Best regards,

      R.E. Phelan

    5. Latimer Alder

      You have posted a link to a long list of papers by Einstein.

      Interesting though this list is, it does not speak to whether those papers were ‘peer-reviewed’. And that is the point at issue.

      Please explain how yuu feel this list speaks to the point in question. Tx.

    6. Latimer Alder

      And a few moments further research in Wikipedia showed this

      ‘Peer review has been a touchstone of modern scientific method only since the middle of the 20th century, the only exception being medicine. Before then, its application was lax in other scientific fields. For example, Albert Einstein’s revolutionary “Annus Mirabilis” papers in the 1905 issue of Annalen der Physik were not peer-reviewed by anyone other than the journal’s editor-in-chief, Max Planck (the father of quantum theory), and its co-editor, Wilhelm Wien. Although clearly peers (both won Nobel prizes in physics), a formal panel of reviewers was not sought, as is done for many scientific journals today’

      which kinda shows your implicit assertion to be wrong.

    7. NewYorkJ

      Perhaps you should note the column “Journal, volume, pages”. That’s a start.

    8. Latimer Alder

      Did you note the piece about ‘peer-review’ being a recent innovation? And perhaps your knowledge of scientific history extends as far as remembering that Einstein did hi smost important work on the 1900s/1910s. Well before peer-review was a regular or expected part of publication.

      So juts listing a set of papers doesn’t prove your point about Einstein’s peer-review. you still have to show that such a thing actually occurred.

      Instead, it show a lax and superficial approach to letting the evidence show you what you think you want to see, But wait – with such an approach you are ideally qualified to be a climatologist! Perhaps you is one already 🙂

  87. patsi baker

    This from a European climate campaigner:

    “I’m informed that Lynas-Monbiot statements have now become essential advocacy material for the business lobby/conservative politicians in the European Parliament to undermine plans for more climate action (e.g. EU -30%). A vote on parliamentary support for unilateral EU -30% by 2020, to happen next week, is now close to being lost. Partially through a powerful business lobby.”

    Mark, surely you find this worrying? While I’m sure many posting on this blog will cheer that statement – is this REALLY what you’re wanting to achieve?

    For someone so hell-bent on stopping climate change, your actions appear to be achieving the opposite.

    I’m honestly confused here. Why on earth would you want that?

    1. NewYorkJ

      I think the argument (if I interpret it right) that Mark shouldn’t say something because deniers or anti-mitigation ideologues will use it is somewhat off-base. Deniers distort, use, and misuse anything and everything they think they can get away with. This week blogs and various media sources took a prediction of low sunspot activity and turned it into talk of a coming little ice age.

      The validity of the argument is what’s most important. What Mark said here is largely inaccurate, yet the headline of this post remains.

    2. Richard S Courtney

      patsi baker:

      Your question is interesting.

      Have you not considered the possibility that Mr Lynas may be an honourable man and, therefore, he does not agree the ends can justify the means?


    3. Ron Cook

      Maybe Mark is interested in the Scientific Truth, and not just “The Cause du Jour”.

    4. Latimer Alder

      Not capable of naming the ‘European Climate Campaigner’?

      Just an an anonymous activist skulking in the shadows?

    5. Average Joe

      “I’m honestly confused here.”

      I’ve no doubt that you’re being complete honest with that statement. If you start shortchanging the truth to reach a good end then just maybe you’ll lose the ability to recognize what a good end is. So without realizing it, in short order, you’re shortchanging the truth to get to a bad end and left with nothing.

      “Why on earth would you want that?”

      Because truth and integrity matter.

  88. The Policy Lass

    This is a war and as we all know, the first casualty is truth. This means that well-intentioned supporters of AGW who point out errors, perceived or real, serious or of no consequence, find their words used as ammunition to attack them and AGW in a cynical effort to affect public policy by raising unfounded doubt about the science. If you decide to speak out, you have to remember that no matter what your motives or intentions, your words will be spun to suit the needs of your opponent. Unfortunately, when you are involved in a war, you have to think strategically. Those who are naive about this become tools for their enemy’s advantage.

    1. pointman

      In other words Mark, you should have stayed quiet. How’s that for integrity?


    2. Barry Woods

      The Policy Lass – Would that make people like me ‘the enemy’ !!!

      ‘I’m allready a ‘climate change denier’ what next.. !

      Mark is allready a ‘chernobyl death denier’ for having different views on nuclear than the ‘consensus’

      Seriously this sort of attitude is why respected scientists like Professor Curry are labelled ‘heretics’ or accused of ‘jumping the shark’ (William Connelly – ex RC, wiki-climate-gatekeeper) for ever so slightly stepping out of line, or even asking the faintest of questions.

      Professor Curry’s warning/advice to Mark on her blog is a wise one, learned from (bitterr?) personal experience of this sort of destructive (intellectually) thinking

      As Mark Lyans criticism has made it into the Daily Mail (of all places) with a photo, I expect many more people will have the same thoughts of aidingthe ‘enemy’ in the ‘war’, is that ‘climate treason’ 😉 ?

      Even though the Daily Mail seems to have reported Mark Lynas quite accurately, I imagine they picked it up from The independants story of the other day. I expect Mark to be criticised for giving ammunition to the ‘enemy’.

      The ‘enemy’ are people to, just with different ideas. Of course the word will be that Mark and George have sold out to Big Nuclear (instead of Big Oil) rather than because they have actually been thinking for themselves and found problems with Energy Policy

  89. john of sunbury

    You know there is no going back once you have glimpsed the matrix!

    It is instructive that skeptics get so excited about a conspicuous act of intellectual integrity. Thank you for expressing your honest assessment.

  90. scas

    Let’s hope that the IPCC’s prediction for 2050 energy needs are more accurate than their 2050 temperature and sea-ice melt models. The ESAS is degassing 3.5 Gt of methane, this will only increase with time. We need to be a zero emission society now. Is a build-up of 2 nuclear power plants a week impossible? What about a race between nuclear and renewables. Let’s do a huge build up of both, right now, and shut down all our fossil fuel plants and cars. An anti-nuclear stance is not compatible…we will not be 80% renewables by 2050. We will be dead because abrupt climate change destroyed farming, desertified the equator and killed us all. It it so sad that a 91 year old man can do better forecast than a giant slow moving politicized institution

  91. Jay Alt

    This is an old McIntyre PR strategy. SM ‘proved’ on his blog in Jan 2007 that the entire IPCC AR4 WG1 science report was being ‘rushed’ into approval and therefore flawed. (The ‘rushed’ summary was already written after 4 levels of effort and review.) How did that claim work out? Apparently the same as the current one? Ample studies support the IPCC conclusion that generational Clean Energy development can replace fossil fuels, given the application of serious political will and policies.
    Popeye had a saying which applies to these guilt-by-association mentality & unsupported contrary claims: Salami, salami, baloney.

    1. Latimer Alder

      Hammer, nail, thumb.


      Missed the point bigtime.

      And by attempting to divert attention from the substance of the complaint to the fact that you don’t personally like the complainee, you lend credence to the idea that the complaint is absolutely valid.

      If your case were strong you would robustly defend the IPCC and show that the complaint was baseless.

      Instead, having no other defence, you try the line ‘it must be wrong because the Bogeyman pointed it out’

      Weak, lame, spineless. And totally unconvincing.

  92. mike stone

    Mark: I applaud you for intellectual honesty. You’ve shown that, first and foremost, you believe in scientific rigor.

    I can sympathize.. I work with life-safety-critical systems, where the mindset boils down to, “I don’t care whether you *wanted* the bad thing to happen, show me what reasonable measures you took to *prevent* the bad thing from happening.”

    The views you’ve presented fall in line with that way of thinking. You’ve pointed out signs of inadequate effort to prevent an appearance of bias. Those who argue that a potential appearance of bias isn’t proof of actual bias are — to my mind — just saying, “I text while driving and haven’t crashed yet.” Whether the report is somehow tainted, or whether the suggestions you’ve made are truly feasible and reasonable, are probably open to discussion. I congratulate you for suggesting that the discussion is worth having.

    Reading through the comments left me with the impression that I was seeing a microcosm of discussion about AGW in general, and that led to an interesting idea: treat this series of comments as a data set and analyze it.

    Allow some time for the furor to die down — six weeks or so should be more than enough — then come back to this page and try to characterize the comments. Rate them for pro/anti-AGW bias, friendliness/hostility, citation of sources/statement of opinion, etc.

    Obviously the ratings will be subjective, but hey, this is an informal thing. Run the numbers a few times and tune your model until you think you have a decent summary of the statements above. I think, but can’t say for certain, that the numbers will say something interesting about the AGW debate.

  93. Stephan Singer

    Yes, I am biased as well, I am Director for Energy Policy at WWF, we “scandalously” dared to publish a global energy scenario a few months ago showing how the world can go to even 95% renewables by 2050 and even more “shocking” we also showed in that scenario how global energy consumption can indeed be reduced globally with substantive energy conservation and efficiency policies without curtailing growth and economic activities. All on our webside ( No need to say that this requires substantial investments and policy agreements among nations and that there are many open issues to be addressed.
    Is that all wrong because our research (by ECOFYS) is commissioned by NGOs? What is the precise point of blaming Greenpeace? What is specifically wrong in their scenario? Where are the flaws? And what is right in other scenarios? Has anyone of you guys even dared to read the report, the underlying literature? Can you point me to anything concrete that is wrong in GP’s research? I have read the stuff myself and am happy to receive further “advice”. And only then we can have a serious debate – but not this way when Mark Lynas and others hear ‘Greenpeace’ and act irrationally with a ‘Pavlow’ reflex.
    My strong feeling is that this is not about content but form. NGOs are biased, full stop! and if Greenpeace says 2 and 2 equals 4 it MUST be wrong…..and the rest of the world are all neutral and lovely people….How naive can you get?
    I even dare to say – and you would not expect this from me – that the inclusion of business scientists which by the way outnumber NGO scientists by factor 5 to 10 in many IPCC reports, is usually productive and have contributed to quality in many cases. Its a fundamental myth to believe that “lobbyist scientists” from business and NGOs alike are all biased and university scientists are all neutral.
    Again, before we and governments do not hear precise criticism on the IPCC substantive work and the GP scenario, policy makers will ignore this debate. There was not a single government in Abu Dhabi even not the Saudis that questioned the selection of the GP scenario as one of the four outstanding ones in world’s scientific community
    Moreover, if we want to combat climate change effectively (which I realise not everyone supports on this exchange), what is wrong with showing that renewables can contribute 80% or even more to global energy supply? Mark Lynas, in case you take that serious, you should thank Greenpeace and NGOs to drive that debate.
    Stephan Singer, Brussels

    1. Jeremy Harvey


      I see that Ben Pile and indeed Mark himself, on the new thread, have responded very well to this long comment of yours. But I can see that you may think they do not directly respond to your closing question:

      “[…] what is wrong with showing that renewables can contribute 80% or even more to global energy supply?”.

      I have to agree with you, if rigorous proof that this is a plausible outcome could be provided, then the nature of the people making that claim would not matter. What upsets sceptics so much here is the combination of these three things:

      1. We do not believe that strong evidence for this claim has in fact been provided, and there is evidence from elsewhere (e.g. Professor Mackay’s work) that such an outcome would be stupendously hard to achieve. OK, you might say, there is room for argument here: predictions are difficult, especially about the future, and making an incorrect prediction is not a crime.

      2. We believe that the prominence given to the claim in the IPCC report results from an inappropriate situation where the person who contributed to making the claim also played a large role in assessing the seriousness of that claim in the IPCC report. Here, you might say, it is difficult in practice to avoid all conflicts of interest, and if the identities of the authors are known, and a good enough process is in place, then the conflicts might be dealt with.

      3. The clincher is this: We believe that people from some NGOs are far from disinterested when they want to make such claims sound more likely to be true than they in fact are. Mr. Teske is involved with GreenPeace energy. The renewable energy industry and its various associates make a lot of their income from what are effectively subsidies. Portraying a desirable outcome as likely to occur provided that subsidies are increased is in the financial interest of GreenPeace energy.

      Your whole comment seems to ignore point 3. completely.

  94. pointman

    Investigative journalism may have died in the MSM but it’s been reincarnated in the blogosphere. Well done yet again Mr. McIntyre.


  95. Ben Pile

    I am glad Stephan Singer is aware of his own biases. The lack of such self-reflectivity has been a characteristic of the environmental movement for most of its history. Hence it has established a bubble around itself, through which criticism does not seem to pass. Included in that bubble are great number of policy-makers, and a huge number of public political organisations, with a great deal of influence over global and national policies.

    Why the involvement of NGOs bites, Stephan, is that there seems to be no democracy in this process. You will remember WWF’s role in ‘Himalayagate’, and you will know, I’m sure, the extent of dramatic claims that were made for political action on the basis of the claim that there may be no ice remaining on the Himalayan glaciers by 2035, and by consequence no water for millions of Asians living beneath them.

    My concern is that — for want of a better way of expressing it — ‘environmental ideology’ is smuggled into the policy-making process at every level through such claims. At face value, these claims appear to relate to an objectively-defined problem, which demand a policy-response. I.e. they are presented as imperatives, which are insurmountable. Never mind that the claim itself was wrong, even if it were right, the presupposition was that there could be no other outcome than resource wars, climate refugees, drought, famine, and chaos. In other words, the ‘ideology’ here is a form of environmental determinism.

    Meanwhile, the other argument is that plenty could have been done, without the need for global environmental political institutions. More and better water management infrastructure could be built (and should be built, anyway), so that it can be better saved upstream, and perhaps taken from the sea at lower levels. There is no shortage of water in the world, after all. The difficult things are holding it, and getting it to where it is needed.

    NGOs appear to be about the ‘issues’ at face value. But their treatment of those issues is rarely so objective. Perhaps the worst expression of this were the WHO and GHF’s interventions, where they claimed that 150,000 and 300,000 (respectively) people die annually in ‘high mortality developing countries’ (HMDCs) from the consequences of climate change. This led to the claims that ‘climate change will be worse for the poor’, and gave campaigns much moral weight.

    But aside from the fact that these numbers reflect perhaps the smallest problems facing HMDCs, this again presupposed a deterministic relationship between society and climate, which was insurmountable. The obvious conclusion seemed to escape the politicians, NGOs, organisations and media who glibly reported the statistic: remove the problem of poverty, and you have removed the problem of climate change. The consequences of climate change studied by the GHF and WHO were malaria, diarrhoea, and malnutrition. These are FIRST-order effects of poverty, but Nth-order effects of climate change.

    These studies may well have had a good grasp of the objective facts and science. My argument here is not that they were ‘bad science’ as with the glacier case. My argument is about what premises and presuppositions the science proceeded from. Indeed, their presentation as objective treatment of the facts precluded criticism of the reports premises. That premise, again, is that there is no other possibility than ‘climate change causes death’ — we can’t do anything about poverty. I find that idea repugnant. It makes moral and political capital out of the idea that poverty is somehow natural.

    Finally, there is the question of legitimacy. I can’t help but think, when I see reports and statements on climate policy from WWF and other NGOs: who the hell do you think you are? Who are you to dictate policy in this way? Is it right that unaccountable and undemocratic organisations should have such influence over the policy-making process? I really don’t think so, and I think most NGOs know they shouldn’t either. Hence, I think we know what the concern for 150/300,000 lives in HDMCs, and the people living below the Himalayas is really about: it legitimises the proximity of NGOs to policy-making. Without millions of victims, and without catastrophic consequences, the mutually-beneficial relationship between NGOs and government’s collapses.

    That is why I am suspicious when I see NGOs so closely involved in the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, and everywhere else. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to wade through every last report that you’re able to publish, thanks to your millionaire benefactors, and the people who donate money to you to save the animals. But when I have had the time, I find the same thing.

  96. tonyb

    Stephan Singer says

    “Moreover, if we want to combat climate change effectively (which I realise not everyone supports on this exchange), what is wrong with showing that renewables can contribute 80% or even more to global energy supply? Mark Lynas, in case you take that serious, you should thank Greenpeace and NGOs to drive that debate.”

    Where is the objective evidence to support this contention, or are you saying the view should be promoted because you want it to be true? In that you appear to be at variance with those of Profesor Mackay of DECC and other reports cited in my artice here;

    I am a fan of renewables but we also need to take a reality check on its current state of technology and the worlds increasing popuation and its increasing hunger for energy


  97. Dingo

    Frankly I don’t see why a Greenpeace guy can’t be involved or even the principle in an IPCC analysis. My impression is, and that includes you Mark, most people involved in the global warming controversy and related matters have staked out some position. Are we supposed to discount the contributions of say, James Hansen, because of his strong advocacy, which many folks find extreme? The critical point – was there a peer review of the matter of 77% alternative energy as a reachable goal by 2050? Apparently there was. So what’s the problem?

  98. Dingo

    Sorry, I should have reviewed what I said more carefully before I submitted it. Please substitute “principal” for “principle” and “renewable energy” for “alternative energy.”

  99. tonyb

    Spephan Singer

    Can you be more specific as to where your report is on renewable energy?

    I went to and was faced with numerous choices which I explored but didn’t seem relevant. Th page’smarter energy use’ wasn’t working.

    Could you provide a diret link to your 7.49.comment concerning ‘95% renewables.’ Thanks

    1. Stephan Singer

      Some folks asked for the detailed website address of our report: Here you go:

      One comment though on Mark’s EXXON case which is inherently flawed :

      The IPCC has a mandate by the UN to regularly review Climate Change (sic!) and regarding its science, impacts and adaptation and the overall economics and technologies (the three Working Groups).
      There would not be a report by EXXON – or anyone else – in the context of the IPCC to show that fossil fuels will be able to provide 80% of all energy needed by 2050. In theory, this may be actually possible, but would not contribute to climate change mitigation unless you assume that all of that is subject to highly-efficient CCS which is highly unlikely given the technological and financial status of CCS presently and the growing geological uncertainty. Also, such a scenario is rather unrealistic. The world is moving increasingly to renewables. We can debate whether this is happening fast enough or not. Fact remains that almost half of all new installed power capacity in 2009 was wind and solar. With decreasing costs for renewables and increasing oil & gas prices, the appetite for renewables and energy efficiency grows continuously.
      A few weeks ago, Deutsche Bank Research which is certainly not a tree hugger projected that solar PV alone – and based on substantive reduction of feed-in-tariffs and installation rates observed today – will contribute up to 10% of Germany’s electricity supply. Not capacity, supply!
      Similarly, SIEMEMS recently at an IEA hearing in Paris showed that based on maintained cost reduction for both onshore and offshore capacity, wind power alone could contribute half of all global electricity demand by 2030 – based on substantive increase of power demand in next 20 years.
      So, any assumption that there is an argument to make that by 2050 we would have 80% fossil fuels running the show is close to astrology. The trend goes in another direction. And if you prolong this trend (assuming policies to support this), one comes easily to 70, 80 and more percent of renewables to dominate the energy mix. Greenpeace and we have done so. So has the European Union by agreeing that by 2050 the EU’s GHG emissions shall be reduced by 80 to 95% compared to 1990 emphasizing that the bulk of that achievement has to come from the energy sector via renewables.
      And we are not shy to say that this is very good. What is wrong to be in boat with an industry (the renewable folks) that sells products that help safe the planet from climate change? Who actually make profit with a good product? Isn’t it a nice change that innovative and clean technologies make a decent living, employ people and reduce pollution and climate change?
      Stephan Singer

    2. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      Stephan – I appreciate you staying in the debate. Thanks. But you have rather spectacularly missed the point, I’m afraid. My hypothetical scenario of Exxon contributing to an IPCC report about fossil fuels was just that: a hypothetical scenario. Of course it’s not something the IPCC could usefully address! I meant it merely to illustrate what ‘vested interests’ and ‘conflicts of interest’ mean, when the boot is on the other foot.

      Your touching ‘we’re all in it together’ view of the renewables industry is somewhat naive, too. This is a profit-making industry. It is out to make money. It will seek economic rents. That is what private companies do. You can’t just get into bed with them and feel good about saving the planet. Otherwise how can you distinguish between a good and a bad product? Do you hand over cash to every solar panel salesman who knocks on your door? I think it is probably bad economics to spend 120 billion euros on PV in Germany, for example. That money could have generated far greater carbon reductions by being spent elsewhere. There is such a thing as ‘opportunity cost’! I could go on, but I think you’ll see the point.


    3. Stephan Singer

      Mark, a few points,

      All numbers as follow by the German government official annual statistics:

      I do not know where the 120 billion EURO come from you mention. Feed-in-tariffs (FIT) for all renewables – and PV is presently half of it – cost all consumers in Germany about 6.1 billion EURO in 2009. This is equivalent to less than 0.3% of our GDP. Estimated benefits for the environment (reduced air pollution, climate damage etc) are around 5.7 billion EURO.

      There is an inclusion of an automatic degression of FIT for every technology and depending on growth and production costs (applying a technology learning curve) This for instance led to a reduction of FIT for PV by about 60% in 2011 compared to 2004 and reflecting on the costs of PV modul manufacturing falling rapidly. Another 50% FIT decline is projected until 2016. Hence, with increased renewable and declining FIT the overall support may remain the same.

      The German renewable energy industry employs about 340,000 people, a growth of almost 50% since 2004. Most in wind power manufacturing and 65,000 jobs are in PV where there had been none a few years ago.

      With more growth anticipated in next decade, the centre-right government says that expansion of renewables is “…not an environmental but an industrial policy for jobs and economic growth”

      It is no surprise that the FIT legislation and its various refinements over the years is probably the only legislation in Germany – despite some debates on levels of support etc – which has won always overwhelming majority in parliament from the very left to the right parties – since 20 years. The only ones opposing were the large power utilities – which by the way are also eligible for the FIT.

      Well, one can say that of course the money raised by the FIT could have been invested more economically in other less costly renewables schemes such as wind in North Atlantic, solar power in North Africa etc. But one should not forget that one has to start somewhere. For getting German households to accept a slightly higher electricity price it is important to show ‘domestic’ success and creation of jobs domestically. The investments into CSP in North Africa (see the DESERTEC Industrial Initiative, the MED Solar plan), into North Atlantic offshore wind, in geothermal resources in South East Asia etcetc are under way by many companies – by no means only German ones.

      You ask ” Do you hand over cash to every solar panel salesman who knocks on your door? ” You know the answer very well. There are tight and controlled safety standards for all products that are released on markets. The Chinese have learned their lesson in last years to export cheap and inferior PV modules. The times are gone when some of their PV modules fell apart after one year.

      And I repeat, the simple fact that an industry is making profits is not a criteria for not supporting their products.


    4. Jason Pettitt

      I’ve got an even more outrageous hypothetical scenario. How about if the current Chair (no less) of the IPCC was, even during his chairmanship, also a director of ONGC – India’s largest producer of Crude Oil and Natural Gas and one of the World’s wealthiest 500 corporations.

      Oh wait, no, that’s actually true.

      What if though… I mean, can you imagine?

      The reaction of commie greens like me would be like… surely… well, it doesn’t bare thinking about does it.

      As an aside, the co-chair of WGIII has commented elsewhere:

      Over 160 [164] existing scientific scenarios on the possible penetration of renewables by 2050, alongside environmental and social implications, have been reviewed with four analyzed in-depth. These four were chosen in order to represent the full range. […]

      The most optimistic of the four, in-depth scenarios projects renewable energy accounting for as much as 77 percent of the world‘s energy demand by 2050, amounting to about 314 of 407 Exajoules per year. […]

      77 percent is up from just under 13 percent of the total primary energy supply of around 490 Exajoules in 2008. Each of the scenarios is underpinned by a range of variables such as changes in energy efficiency, population growth and per capita consumption. These lead to varying levels of total primary energy supply in 2050, with the lowest of the four scenarios seeing renewable energy accounting for a share of 15 percent in 2050, based on a total primary energy supply of 749 Exajoules.”

      Sven Teske was nominated as an author by the German government and selected by the WGIII as Lead author in the IPCC’s continuous effort to draw on the full range of expertise, and this includes NGOs and business as well as academia. Chapter 10 has been thouroughly reviewed by independent experts and governments. He is one of nine Lead Authors, with two Coordinating Lead Authors overseeing the process of writing the chapter. He has made substantial contributions, but was neither the only nor the leading person in this team effort.

      Kind regards,

      Ottmar Edenhofer
      Co-chair Working Group III, IPCC


  100. Jake Schmidt


    You are failing to recognize that a “summary for policymakers” is a negotiated document signed off by government officials from all countries. So how could such a “scandal” get past the Saudi Arabian government officials who have no interest in the world shifting away from their energy supply — oil — and towards renewables. So explain how a “biased” scenario, as you claim, could get through such a process. In my years in the climate negotiations I would say it is unlikely that any country would allow such an issue to go forward if there wasn’t strong support for the underlying analysis.

    The IPCC report sheds light on the technical prospect of large scale increases in renewables. Does it tell us that we can get there without changes in policies and costs? No, but it does include a variety of scenarios that highlight the technical potential of renewables. The underlying assumptions for all these scenarios are avaialble in the public domain for critique. Aim your critique at the underlying assumptions — if you have some — instead of at the IPCC. The process that the IPCC followed is no different than any other scientifically driven process that incorporates existing analysis from various sources. But the IPCC goes one step further than most similar exercises in how it has extensive review by a long list of scientists — including in this report industry-funded scientists — and the final summary is negotiated by governments. These are all strong checks against any bias.

    The true scandal is not that this report shows the potential for renewables. The true scandal is how we still constantly hear how renewables are too expensive, too intermittent, and to untested. Those are stale arguments that don’t stand up to the facts. Globally the clean energy sector grew to $243 billion (see: which would make it equivalent to the GDP of the 30th largest country. And it just grew at a pace of 30% from the previous year at a time when most countries are struggling to have their GDP grow. Clean energy is a real choice and a real source of energy. The IPCC report only confirms what we are seeing on the ground. So keep your focus on the most important things and stop trying to distract us.

    1. PaulM

      Jake, you are failing to realise that the “summary for policymakers” has nothing to do with it. The issue is with the press release that was picked up by the world’s media. The press release led with the 80% figure, which is not even mentioned in the SPM!

  101. Tim Holmes

    Dear Mark

    You now appear to have appended a series of questions to your blog. I note that a couple of these (I’m thinking of 1 and 3 in particular) relate to points on which you actually present factual judgments in your blog post. Are you going to hold yourself to the same high standards to which you subject others, retracting these claims as unsubstantiated, and apologising for misleading your readers with purportedly factual statements for which you had not a shred of evidence?


    Tim H

    1. Richard S Courtney

      Tim Holmes:

      OK. I will bite.

      What are these “claims” you assert are “unsubstantiated” and that Mr Lynas has made about this matter?

      How has Mr Lynas been “misleading” to his “readers” on this issue?

      What “purportedly factual statements” has Mr Lynas made on this subject for which he has not presented “a shred of evidence”?

      I have read his article above and all the comments in the ensuing thread and I am truly puzzled as to what you are talking about, But perhaps I am being naive and your rant is merely misleading rhetoric which is as true a representation of what is purports to be discussing as a IPCC SPM.

      I look forward to your enlightening me.


    2. patsi baker

      Mark alleged that the press release was written by Greenpeace. It now appears that Greenpeace had nothing to do with it.

    3. Richard S Courtney

      Patsi Baker:

      No, he did not allege it was “written by Greenpeace”: his headline says “dictated” and not “written”.

      He has clearly justified what he did write and has no need to justify what you say he wrote because he did not.


  102. Hank Roberts

    > The issue is with the press release ….

    Dude, there’s _always_ an issue with press releases about science.
    PR guys notoriously fail to distill the entire paper accurately in the headline.

    1. tonyb


      Good point.

      I picked up a series of errors in a Science Daily report on rising sea levels. The truth was nearly the opposite of what the press release was saying-

      There was I about to proclaim a serious case of distortion to make a warmist case, but after double checking the report it was clear that the press release had been badly written and edited out key information, presumably because the PR hack didn’t realise it WAS key information!

      I’m not sure that applies to this case, but suspect incompetence before malice aforethought-especially when it comes to Science.


    2. tonyb


      Good point.

      I picked up a series of errors in a Science Daily report on rising sea levels. The truth was nearly the opposite of what the press release was saying-

      There was I about to suspect a serious case of distortion to make a warmist case, but after double checking the report it was clear that the press release had been badly written and edited out key information, presumably because the PR hack didn’t realise it WAS key information!

      I’m not sure that applies to this case, but suspect incompetence before malice aforethought-especially when it comes to Science.


  103. Pingback: Collide-a-scape » Blog Archive » Collide-a-scape >> The Media as Piñata

  104. Hank Roberts

    For Mark Lynas, if you truly believe that having the chattering blog mob (with its nitwits on all sides of the issue) rally around your blog means you’re

    > comfortably in the warm embrace of your former enemies

    there’s a caution for this:
    “Just because you’re on their side, doesn’t mean they’re on your side.”

    Get the t-shirt:

    McI gave you one of his spare petards; you launched yourself on it before thinking it through, which batters your credibility generally.

    Ruling out as a contributing author anyone ever paid for work in the field would gut the IPCC process completely. Oops. How could this be an accidental side effect? I think you got suckered.

    Don’t focus on the bickering bloggers, they’re not friends or enemies.

    They’re part of the distraction from the real powers that actually affect how the world goes.

    Six degrees. Who do you trust, who are your friends?

    1. Ben Pile

      “Who do you trust, who are your friends?”

      Is this the green movement’s ‘you’re with us or you’re against us’ moment?

      The idea that the climate debate is divided into two precludes any sensible discussion. There is plenty of room in the middle, between ‘there’s no such thing as climate change’ and ‘ohmygodwe’rewallgoingtodie’.

  105. Richard S Courtney

    Hank Roberts:

    You say;
    “Ruling out as a contributing author anyone ever paid for work in the field would gut the IPCC process completely.”


    That was the sound of the ‘Big Oil’ smear (used to discredit valid criticism) going down the toilet.


  106. Hank Roberts

    There’s one now.

    As to how common this headline problem is, consider:

    “… the headline is often the stupidest part of an article – even when the article itself is really, really stupid. Often times, the article goes to press with the equivalent of a fresh turd sitting on its head. Yet another case of an industry-wide practice that is blindingly stupid.”

    llewelly, quoted at

  107. Hank Roberts

    Followups should probably move to Mark’s new topic

    He writes his idea of how the world should work
    “… a press release should not be released unchecked by the experts whose work it is meant to highlight.”

    That’s good, and it’s along the lines MT previously suggested:

    “New Rules™:
    The first author of a peer reviewed paper has to sign off on any institutional press office press release.
    The journalist writing the story has to write the headline.
    Every research-related news report needs proper citation to every cited research article, with links in online versions.
    The journalist reporting on a science story press release has to run it, headline and all, past an author, if possible the first author, of every cited paper”

    Mark then suggests a rule for the IPCC, quoted in part:

    “… industry employees – should not be lead authors ….”

    All new warm friends gather ’round at:

  108. Robert of Ottawa

    Greenpeace is not a charity. The IPCC is not a scientific organization. BOTH are political bodies; the first should be taxed and the second disbanded.

  109. sunsettommy

    Why do we even need the IPCC?

    Scientists have plenty of places to publish their research.They did for many year BEFORE the IPCC came along.It seemed to work and people were not so conflicted about climate research then.

    There were some rivalries then.But that was for the desire to produce the better argument through research.Now it is for meeting some organizational parameter.Whether it is grants,or for producing “desired” conclusions.Or something else…….

    Personally I see the IPCC as an organizational tool to set climate policy and cherrypick what science research they like.They go by the Meta-Analysis route to decide what papers they like.

    They started with a prior i assumption from day one.Maybe that is why they are so screwed up now?

    They never really went the full scientific method route.Because it is hard to do that when you have made up your minds before hand that CO2 is the devil.The IPCC did just that in the beginning.They had already believed that CO2 was a big fat worry and we must find out what the worry is about.By “finding” the reason why we should worry about CO2.

    The reasons why we should worry would be discovered through science research.


    Real science research works better,when there are no pressures and no money pressure to produce a desired result.When the researchers have true independence from outside interests.Then they can FOLLOW THE DATA and discover something real.

    The IPCC IS an impediment to good quality science research.

    Drop the IPCC organization and allow science research to get back on track and be much more independent again.

    1. Paul D

      I’m not sure what would change under your scenario sunsettommy??

      You seem to assume that the IPCC doesn’t use the research conducted by thousands of scientists. Do you bother reading any of the research papers?

      If you remove the IPCC you are left with the same science that the IPCC collates from those thousands of scientists. Removing the IPCC will not change how the science is conducted.

    2. Alan_F

      Ah but it would change the methodology of delivery to the masses whose biasing is the target of the message itself. Salesmanship isn’t ever about validating the product but nudging the consumer to the point where the customer’s inner monolog condenses the pitch and sells it to themselves.

      The IPCC was handed a reputation and credentials like few others in history through the mass media, government agencies and agents but appears to me as whizzing it all away.

  110. Bill

    “This is because it was initially written as a propaganda report by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council – the latter are are of course enthusiasts for renewable energy’s prospects because they make money from selling wind turbines and solar panels, so hardly count as an unbiased source.”

    this claim that Greenpeace’s interest in global warming is to sell windmills and solar collectors is misleading propaganda and hardly unbiased itself. shame on you

  111. Ira Dernotsei

    Truth is that the Earth is warming. It’s not an opinion – it is a semi-closed system in space that is bombarded 24/7/365 with solar radiation and whatever it lets through the atmosphere and isn’t reflected, remains captive, increasing the thermal (KE) energy of the planet in perpetuity. Not a thing we can do about it, the least of which would be worrying.

    When confronted with economic disaster, hardly anyone is worried about said global condition, so the Environazi’s, ranging from the “Chicken Little” tree huggers to the politically motivated profiteers like Al Gore and GE are starting to get panicky, watching this power grab slip through their fingers, a stiff reminder of the Ice Age predicted in the 1970s and 1980s, that never was in spite of the “crisis potential”.

    So, what does a crazy half-cocked demographic do when their voices are muted by their own irrelevance? Why, they scream louder and propose even even nastier, less sane ideas!

  112. Dave Heslehurst

    I have taken thefollowing from the report itself:


    Coordinating Lead Authors:

    Manfred Fischedick (Germany) and Roberto Schaeffer (Brazil)

    Lead Authors:

    Akintayo Adedoyin (Botswana), Makoto Akai (Japan), Thomas Bruckner (Germany), Leon Clarke (USA),
    Volker Krey (Austria/Germany), Ilkka Savolainen (Finland), Sven Teske (Germany), Diana Ürge‐Vorsatz
    (Hungary), Raymond Wright (Jamaica)

    Contributing Authors:
    Gunnar Luderer (Germany)

    Review Editors:
    Erin Baker (USA) and Keywan Riahi (Austria)


    Selection of four illustrative scenarios for an in-depth analysis:

    The four scenarios were selected to present a wide range of different modelling
    architectures, demand projections and technology portfolios for the supply side.

    IEAWEO2009- Baseline




    This all suggests that you are commenting on this chapter of the report in a very disingenous way, in fact cherry picking small details to discredit the IPCC. You can see from the above that the chapter doesn’t have one lead author, as you state. The chapter is not based soley on the ER-2010 report by Teske [which is in fact Teske et al.] it is a comparison of 4 scenarios ER-2010 being one of them. There are 14 pages of references at the end of the chapter & Teske et al. is just one reference in amongst hundreds. In fact to call your piece disingenuous is probably a compliment to what it should be called. But hey why let facts get in the way of a good kicking for the IPCC by you & the likes of Delingpole & Booker .

  113. SkyHunter

    What to conclude???

    Well, I read the report. The first thing I noticed was that Sven Teske is one of nine lead auhors, not “the lead author.

    My conclusion is that Mark Lynas is looking to improve his name recognition and marketing ability, by making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    1. Mark Lynas (Post author)

      I have never said that he was ‘the’ lead author. My conclusion is that you’ve pitched in with an opinion before even reading through the material properly.

  114. Jo


    Would you care to comment on the points raised here, and the criticism leveled at you:

    In short, I think you got sucked into an exaggerated issue and an ad hominen attack. You didn’t note, for example that other lead authors included those from companies like Chevron, etc?

  115. Daniel Taghioff

    Hi Mark

    This is interesting stuff. I think you throw hostages to fortune by saying that the ER 2010 scenario’s idea of energy usage reduction is “thermodynamically impossible”. You are probably referring to “if social practices do not change there is not enough efficiency gains to be had to achiever this” which is a very different statement.

    Still, whilst this is good work, you are still shying away from the political realities. The idea that a country like India (where I work) will drop its energy consumption by 12% by 2050 is politically nonsense in a country where they want every villager to have electricity, whilst attempting to promote 9% growth.

    Incidentally the energy revolution report for India relied very heavily on Biomass, and it seems that the “back-casting”technique they are using is very prone to wishful thinking. In India and over-reliance on biomass to try and displace nuclear risks exaccerbating some of the biggest political-economic risks to the poor, namely those of land grab.

    It would be good to see a more detailed critical analysis of the ER 2000 figures, particularly in terms of impacts on land use, and of course in terms of load balancing, which does not seem to be addressed. Can you point to, or produce, such work Mark? It would be very helpful, we are trying to get a Green Party started in India, and there is a lot of heat and not much light in energy debates here.

  116. cindy

    *wanders back into this thread, however many years later*

    Mark have you see all the recent graphics about the renewable energy boom – and who got closest to the correct projections?

    Greenpeace, and its Energy Revolution scenarios.

    Just saying.

    1. jmdesp

      And what was the closest prediction for the effect on CO2 emissions reduction ? How convenient for Greenpeace to ignore that an increase in renewable energy capacity about as large as what they wanted has had no impact on CO2 emissions at all. To build the capacity after all, “only” money is needed and about 3 000 billion dollar has been spent in the effort until now. But the only thing we’re truly interested in is not capacity numbers but actual emission reduction.

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