LaRaspberry in Oz
Got a call from Rob Gell because he’s co-host in the conversation hour on the Jon Faine morning show on ABC774 Melbourne radio, today July 6 at 11 am EAST. The conversation hour usually has two guests – the guest in question? Donna Laframboise, denialista and author of the book The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert. It is the real story behind the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Apparently the selection of a few lead authors who are not hoary old farts who have gone emeritus, disqualifies the IPCC from saying anything useful.
Rob was checking up on the IPCC process for author selection. Authors are nominated by governments, recommended by IPCC technical support units and approved by the IPCC Bureau – the Chair and Vice Chairs. They may be invited by the IPCC itself. Another route by which an author can become a lead author is if, during the writing of the chapter, the author has done sufficient work to justify their elevation to lead author. This can happen to contributing authors, to authors assisting a lead author who does enough of their own work and on the odd occasion, someone who makes extensive review comments that are worthy of becoming chapter material.
Yours truly became a lead author in the IPCC Third Assessment Report on the back of the first and third reasons. I was a CA for a short section that became elevated to a full section and I provided extensive review comments with references that were pretty much cut and pasted into the chapter (edited in later drafts and in response to more review comments). Another chapter took on significantly more material from one of the three refereed papers I had in the literature at that stage (via the late and lamented Steve Schneider). All three papers were cutting edge so were cited extensively in that report. I’ve been a coordinating lead author in the subsequent two reports.
So Laframboise takes shots at people like Sari Kovats, who was an unpublished grad student in her first round (smart as a whip, climate and health scientist who has since shown that she was no shoe-in via a substantial body of work), Richard Klein who was a young Masters scholar with a few publications in coastal vulnerability, now a Ph D who heads a big group in the Stockholm Environment Institute. Media Matters unfortunately said that the reviewing process was so comprehensive that the accused “junior” authors could have been chimpanzees (they thought they were helping). This led to many photos of chimps being sent to Richard.
The IPCC Reports are reviews, they assess the existing literature and are refereed extensively over four iterations. If an author does the work, they get the credit – that’s the way we do things in science (ideally). There are a few passengers in the IPCC author list because of the selection process that attempts to balance geography and developed and developing country representation – this doesn’t detract from the overall effort – everyone else just has to work harder. Also, authors from developing countries may not have top skills due to lack of prior opportunity, however their research skills get a big boost because they are exposed to a large group of very collaborative scholars. The final irony is that all the young authors that Laframboise picked on have made sustained and substantial contributions since their first efforts on the IPCC.
In fact she’s got it totally arse-about. A young scientist who joins the IPCC process will the best job they can because they have a reputation to establish. Their credibility depends on the quality of their writing and how well it survives review.
The same goes for LaRasberry’s other points in the book. 30% grey literature (not in scientifically refereed journals) in reference lists is seen as degrading the assessment. Shock, horreur! It’s allowed within the assessment process, especially for reports describing how adaptation and mitigation are being applied on the ground. There is always a delay between when reports are written and when it gets into the scientific literature, if at all. Again, it’s legitimate scholarship.
The epic fail in Laframboise’ case is that there is no credible alternative scholarship that exists to counter the sustained and substantive findings of the IPCC. If the IPCC has failings, it is in framing the science-policy relationship (which is also improving substantially), but there are no alternative facts to the science that the IPCC assesses and summarises in their conclusions.
Finally, LaRasberry’s trip to Australia is being sponsored by the Institute of Public Affairs, a conservative Australian think tank. I wasn’t sure how the IPA fitted into the denialosphere, giving them the benefit of the doubt until I had proof. This is despite John Roskam’s involvement with Connor Court Publishing (on the editorial panel), the peddler of Plimer’s piddle amongst other rubbish. Here is an excerpt from a letter he sent out to supporters on behalf of the IPA:
Next month the Institute of Public Affairs is bringing to Australia world-renowned Canadian author and journalist Donna Laframboise to talk about her new book The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert. It is the real story behind the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Gillard government is introducing the carbon tax on 1 July because of the IPCC. Yet the IPCC has escaped practically all scrutiny from the mainstream media in Australia.
I’ve read Donna’s book. It is a fascinating story of how corruption in international politics produces corrupt science. Donna discussed her book on The Bolt Report. And in this article on Foxnews.com she explains her criticism of the IPCC.
The details of Donna’s public lectures in Australia are:
- Melbourne on Friday 6 July from 5.30pm at CQ Functions, 113 Queen Street. RSVP here.
- Sydney on Tuesday 10 July from 5.30pm at Sheraton on the Park, 161 Elizabeth Street. RSVP here.
- Brisbane on Thursday 12 July from 5.30pm at Royal on the Park, Corner of Alice and Albert Streets. RSVP here.
- Perth on Sunday 15 July from 5.30pm at the Hyatt Regency, 99 Adelaide Terrace. RSVP here.
Admission is free for all IPA members and $35 for non-members. If you’re not a member but would like to join, click here.
RSVP is essential to secure your place. Every one of the IPA’s events with international guest speakers this year (Dan Hannan, Mark Steyn and James Delingpole) has sold out well before the event, so make sure you book as soon as possible. After you’ve reserved your place be sure to forward this email to your friends so they can hear from Donna too.
I hope to see you at one of our events with Donna soon.
Institute of Public Affairs
Level 2, 410 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
T: 03 9600 4744
So, this is proof. The IPA is anti-science and consequently a risk to society. That is quite clear. They need to be opposed at every turn.
Update: last night on Le Taste of Le Tour, Gabriel Gate’s dish (he’s Jon Faine’s personal chef when in Melbourne) presented a rhubarb and framboise tart. Spooky eh? I’m not doing the double entendre with the type of dish but the two main ingredients juxtaposed are just fine.