Now IPCC becomes just a lobby for Greenpeace!

There seems to be an incestuous relationship between the IPCC and a number of advocacy groups with the parties lobbying for each other. In the latest episode the IPCC has become the vehicle for publishing conclusions from a Greenpeace advocacy report on renewables:

The Independent:

Climate change panel in hot water again over ‘biased’ energy report 

The world’s foremost authority on climate change used a Greenpeace campaigner to help write one of its key reports, which critics say made misleading claims about renewable energy, The Independent has learnt. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), set up by the UN in 1988 to advise governments on the science behind global warming, issued a report last month suggesting renewable sources could provide 77 per cent of the world’s energy supply by 2050. But in supporting documents released this week, it emerged that the claim was based on a real-terms decline in worldwide energy consumption over the next 40 years – and that the lead author of the section concerned was an employee of Greenpeace. Not only that, but the modelling scenario used was the most optimistic of the 164 investigated by the IPCC.

Critics said the decision to highlight the 77 per cent figure showed a bias within the IPCC against promoting potentially carbon-neutral energies such as nuclear fuel. One climate change sceptic said it showed the body was not truly independent and relied too heavily on green groups for its evidence. 

Yesterday, after the full report was released, the sceptical climate change blog Climate Audit reported that the 77 per cent figure had been derived from a joint study by Sven Teske, a climate change expert employed by Greenpeace, which opposes the use of nuclear power to cut carbon emissions.

Last night, the IPCC said it had been made clear that the 77 per cent figure was only one of the estimates made from the models and that Mr Teske was just one of 120 researchers who had worked on the report. John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “Exxon, Chevron and the French nuclear operator EDF also contribute to the IPCC, so to paint this expert UN body as a wing of Greenpeace is preposterous.” But Mark Lynas, a climate change writer in favour of using nuclear and renewables to combat global warming, said: “It is stretching credibility for the IPCC to suggest that a richer world with two billion more people will use less energy in 2050. Campaigners should not be employed as lead authors in IPCC reports.”

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.

Climate Audit: IPCC WG3 and the Greenpeace Karaoke

The basis for this claim is a Greenpeace scenario. The Lead Author of the IPCC assessment of the Greenpeace scenario was the same Greenpeace employee who had prepared the Greenpeace scenarios, the introduction to which was written by IPCC chair Pachauri.

The public and policy-makers are starving for independent and authoritative analysis of precisely how much weight can be placed on renewables in the energy future. It expects more from IPCC WG3 than a karaoke version of Greenpeace scenario.

It is totally unacceptable that IPCC should have had a Greenpeace employee as a Lead Author of the critical Chapter 10, that the Greenpeace employee, as an IPCC Lead Author, should (like Michael Mann and Keith Briffa in comparable situations) have been responsible for assessing his own work and that, with such inadequate and non-independent ‘due diligence’, IPCC should have featured the Greenpeace scenario in its press release on renewables.

Everyone in IPCC WG3 should be terminated and, if the institution is to continue, it should be re-structured from scratch.


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One Response to “Now IPCC becomes just a lobby for Greenpeace!”

  1. Nature editorial chastises IPCC for conflict of interest policy « The k2p blog Says:

    […] Now IPCC becomes just a lobby for Greenpeace! ( […]

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