One of the disturbing practices revealed by the great cache of emails out of the University of East Anglia -the so-called Climategate emails -was the attempted shortcutting or corruption of the oh-so precious peer-review process. The emails contained clear declarations of how the grand viziers of climate science would lean on journals and reporters to make sure certain critics did not get the validation, the laying on of peer-reviewed hands, so critical to full participation in the great climate debate. This was most succinctly expressed by the beautiful quote from Dr. Phil Jones of East Anglia that, "We will keep them out somehow -even if we have to redefine what peer-review literature is."
Much of what the world bizarrely allows to be called climate "science" is a closetgame, an in-group referring to and reinforcing its own members. The insiders keep out those seen as interlopers and critics, vilify dissenters and labour to maintain a proprietary hold on the entire vast subject. It has been described very precisely as a "climate-assessment oligarchy." Less examined, or certainly less known to the general public, is how this in-group loops around itself. How the outside advocates buttress the inside scientists, and even -this is particularly noxious -how the outside advocates, the non-scientists, themselves become inside authorities.
It's the perfect propaganda circle. Advocates find themselves in government offices, or on panels appointed by politicians disposed towards the hyper-alarmism of global warming. On the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) boards and panels, like seeks out like. And when the IPCC issues one of its state-of-the-global-warming-world reports, legions of environmentalists, and their maddeningly sympathetic and uninquisitive friends in most of the press, shout out the latest dire warnings as if they were coming from the very mouth of Disinterested Science itself.
An early and particularly graphic illustration of this vicious circle came when the IPCC 2007 report warned that most the great Himalayan glaciers would melt by the year 2035. Not only was the claim of a massive melt the very height of ignorant nonsense -the sun would have to drop on the Earth to provoke a melt of this proportion -it was also plucked from a seven-year-old publication of the ever busy World Wildlife Federation (WWF). As the Times of London put it, the claim itself was "inherently ludicrous" culled from a "campaigning report" rather than "an academic paper," was not "subject of any scientific review" and despite all these shortcomings became "a key source for the IPCC ... [for] the section on the Himalayas."
A scare report, seven years old, from the an environmental advocacy group, became the key document for a major report released under the authority of the IPCC, the world's best and brightest global warming minds. Sir Isaac Newton would be so proud.
Now we have an even more telling illustration of this same sad, vicious circle. It was first reported on by Steven McIntyre on his blog, Climate Audit (and was run on the FP Comment page of Friday's National Post). McIntyre revealed that the IPCC used a Greenpeace campaigner to write a key part of its report on renewable energy and to make the astonishing claim that "close to 80% of the world's energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies." He further revealed that the claim arose from a "joint publication of Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC)." And it turns out that while working for the IPCC, the Greenpeace campaigner approvingly cited a Greenpeace report that he himself was the lead author of. He peer-reviewed himself.
A report on renewables, by the Renewable Energy Council of Europe, and Greenpeace, peer-reviewd by the man who wrote it. All they need add is a citation from the Suzuki Foundation and an endorsement from Elizabeth May and "the science will be settled" forever.
This is not just letting the fox into the hen house. This is giving him the keys, passing him the barbeque sauce and pointing his way to the broiler. Or, as McIntyre put it in plainer terms: "A lead author of the IPCC report, and of the hyped 80% scenario, is Sven Teske of Greenpeace International, whose official contribution is essentially based on a Greenpeace report cooked up with Europe's renewable energy industry."
Kind people may put this down to pure sloppiness on the part of the IPCC. Coming after its disastrous handling of the Himalayan glacier melt, however, it looks to me more like deliberate mischief. The IPCC cannot be that stupid by chance. Why these stories, and others of comparable magnitude, have not worked their way into the consciousness of the world's politicians despite such clear demonstrations of the IPCC's ramshackle processes is a mystery. But thanks to Steve McIntyre and others of nearequal courage, standing firm against the rage and mockery of the alarmist warming establishment, at least some of the IPCC's dubious and chillingly erroneous practices are revealed.
- Rex Murphy offers commentary weekly on CBC TV's The National, and is host of CBC Radio's Cross Country Checkup.