The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, created by the UN back in 1988 to investigate the then-startling hypothesis that CO2 emissions could fry the planet, is the most comprehensive source of science on the subject. But there are plenty of folks (including some climate change believers) who argue that IPCC reports have been biased in favor of the doom-and-gloom scenarios.
With some reason. The IPCC blew it back in 2007 when it claimed that the Himalayan glaciers were melting far faster than an objective reading of the data justified. What’s more, the Climategate incident (in which the contents of hacked emails made it clear that a handful of IPCC scientists viewed themselves as combatants in a war with climate change skeptics) reduced the public credibility of the organization. In broad terms, the major concern of believers (like us) is that the IPCC will fail to take proper account of new information that could affect both the pace and the ways we respond to climate change.
So it’s a relief to see the very balanced report by the multinational blue-ribbon InterAcademy Council outlining ways to insure that the IPCC remain a flexible, objective source on climate change issues. Among the key recommendations:
- regular turnover in leadership
- more power for report referees
- transparency in how the IPCC makes predictions
OK, we know: this governance stuff is a snooze. But the IPCC is just too important – and too fat a target for well funded climate change deniers – to be allowed to become a vassal of true believers.