Sunday, February 7, 2010

Death By a Thousand Papercuts

This is almost getting routine.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report is supposed to be the world's most authoritative scientific account of the scale of global warming.

But the Telegraph, of London, has discovered a series of new flaws in it including:

* the publication of inaccurate data on the potential of wave power to produce electricity around the world, which was wrongly attributed;

* examples of statements based on student dissertations, two of which were unpublished; and

* more claims that were based on reports produced by environmental pressure groups.

How did this thing get through peer review? The IPCC is supposed to be the pinnacle of science-based policy advocacy. Instead, these 'errors' are exposing it to be a policy driven document more interested in advocating a particular point of view than looking for 'truth'.

Each error may seem minor in isolation, but cumulatively, they can sink the IPCC. One thing I'm happy to see, is that journalists are beginning to take a serious look at the IPCC and its claims and are willing to criticize it. Regardless how you feel about climate change, greater scrutiny is better than less.

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