Scroll To Top

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Denier weirdness: Judith Curry asks the IPCC a (dumb) question

Sou | 4:36 AM Go to the first of 19 comments. Add a comment


Judith Curry isn't shy about coming across as a very silly person.

Today she writes (archived here):
The idea of asking the IPCC questions is an interesting one.  It seems to me that there somewhat of a disconnect between what the public/policy makers want to know, and the way that the IPCC frames it’s conclusions.
In the past, I’ve criticized and made recommendations regarding the IPCC.  But I’ve never thought about asking them questions.  Well, at the top of my list would be:
How have you responded to the IAC recommendations?  If you have not yet implemented the IAC’s recommendations, then why not?

That's typical of Judith Curry - criticising something that she knows nothing about but "never thought about asking them questions" first.  Had she ever thought about looking for the answer?

I had to check the date of her article to make sure I hadn't inadvertently gone back a few years.  It was her latest.  Brand new.

I remembered that review, which took place three years ago.  The IAC made a few recommendations.  It took all of ten seconds to Google IAC IPCC to confirm the answer - which anyone who's followed the recent changes at the IPCC would already know.

Yes, Judith.  The IPCC has responded to the IAC recommendations.

Yes, Judith.  The IPCC has implemented changes in response to the IAC recommendations.

Judith Curry is constantly criticising things she knows nothing about - like climate models, like the IPCC.

Wattsupwiththat has been boring the past few days.  Judith Curry's site is painful.  It's looking more like WUWT every day.  Her previous article was by someone arguing that metabolic changes to phytoplankton in a warming world - and the flow-on effects - won't be bad because the populations will be able to move easily.  I'll hazard a guess that her guest author had never heard of food webs or ecosystems (or harmful phytoplankton blooms).  There was a lot more wrong with the article than that but I can't be bothered going into it further.  It reminded me of Anthony's "OMG it's insects" series.  I've archived it here for the curious.

19 comments :

  1. The whole phytoplankton post was odd in that it was claiming that the press release about the paper was wrong and that in fact the paper was saying phytoplankton might thrive in certain regions. What it missed though (I think) was that the issue was that a warmer world would change some Nitrogen to Phosphate ratio that would then change the ability of the phytoplankton to sequester CO2. That's at least how I read the paper. It wasn't so much about the phytoplankton as about the ocean's ability to absorb CO2.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Wotts.

      I don't have access to the paper, but neither the press release nor the abstract seems to go into any detail about the specific implications of their findings other than that it changes the dynamics of the marine environment and will lead to "a greater prevalence of blue-green algae called cyanobacteria which fix atmospheric nitrogen,"

      Does the paper specifically address the implications for atmospheric CO2?

      Delete
    2. here is a write up at the conversation

      http://theconversation.com/if-warming-oceans-leave-algae-hungry-well-go-hungry-too-17969

      Delete
    3. What we call natural balances are just those things which have occurred and the reason that we are here.
      There is nothing magical or fixed about those balances
      a new balance could arise, one in which the ocean no longer supports humans. The balance does not exist purely to feed humans

      Delete
    4. Sou, this is from the paper itself

      Specifically, global warming and associated ocean stratification may be expected to increase the N:P ratios of eukaryotic phytoplankton. This will tend to increase N limitation in the ocean, but may also increase export fluxes of carbon, given that C:N is relatively conserved. These data add to concerns about the effect of global warming on marine ecosystem functioning.

      The terminology is not one I'm familiar with but I take the above to mean that this would reduce the ability of the oceans to absorb CO2. As John mentions, there's nothing special about us that the system needs to evolve into a state that's optimal for our existence.

      As an aside, I was having a discussion with a geophysicist who had been involved in the oil industry. They suggested, quite correctly, that global warming just means that we'll evolve to a new equilibrium. I agreed, and then pointed out (as John as here) that there was no reason why that equilibrium should be one in which we (humans) can exist. In fairness to them, they then acknowledged that they hadn't considered that.

      Delete
    5. Wotts, one can add that even if we may be able to survive in the new equilibrium, getting there might prove quite harmful. One can be quite comfortable both at the top and at the bottom of a cliff, but getting from the top to the bottom might be less comfortable if the transition is ... lets say too fast.

      Delete
    6. Lars, indeed I agree. We do appear to changing our climate faster than it has changed in all of human history and possibly faster than any other records indicate.

      Delete
  2. "Yes, Judith. The IPCC has implemented changes in response to the IAC recommendations."

    I believe Curry is questioning whether the IPCC will implement the "more challenging" recommendations of the IAC report. Throughout the successive Sessions since the IAC report was issued, the IPCC has convened task forces to address the recommendations and issue responses and corrective actions, when it deemed such action prudent - public integrity be damned. But... that certainly does not mean the IPCC (1) implemented the IAC recommendations or (2) responded to the recommendations in a meaningful manner.

    Indeed, on several issues, the IPCC responded that it wasn't going to make a change in response to an IAC recommendation. "Yay, me!" was reportedly heard behind the closed doors of the Session, following the commitment to such a response.

    In fact, a number of the IPCC responses reflect a commitment to change ONLY after AR5 has been issued - ostensibly, changing the "process" in 2010/2011 would have been "unfair" to the AR5 contributors. I wish my employment had such a... vacuous approach with regard to third-party, audit reports. I'd respond quickly to the recommendations under such an air of cooperation, "Yup, will do this - once I retire, okay? Thanks."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thomas, if what you "believed" were true, I've no doubt that is what Judith would have written. But she didn't. So she doesn't.

      The IPCC welcomed the IAC review. The IPCC is under no compulsion to adopt any of the recommendations, but it has done so.

      The IAC did not conduct an audit. It conducted a review. Based on other comments you've made here in the past, I'm not at all surprised that you don't know the difference. Your "employment" is similarly not under any compulsion to adopt any recommendation by an outsider's review.

      I'm guessing you understand the IPCC, its workings, structure, decision-making mechanisms or probably the purpose of it no better than you understand the basics of climate science. Maybe even less if that were possible. From your comment, you obviously don't understand anything about the IAC review.

      Delete
    2. Thomas probably doesn't even know that it was the Chair of the IPCC and the Sec-General of the UN who commissioned the review in the first place. (I wonder if Judith Curry is aware of that fact.)

      Delete
  3. "But she didn't. So she doesn't."

    Fair enough and I certainly cannot speak for her, but I also think it misleading to postulate (as you did), "Had she ever thought about looking for the answer?" I believe it's correct to conclude, "Yes, she has looked for the answer." So, why even ask the question?

    Given that, I concluded she was asking (perhaps rhetorically, perhaps not) about the recommendations that the IPCC found problematic - based UPON their responses, Obviously, you think me far too generous in affording her this - and that's a matter of opinion.

    "The IAC did not conduct an audit. It conducted a review."

    I referenced the IAC "report" and did not qualify it as an audit. My discussion of an audit was an analogy - not an assertion that the IAC report was an audit, but what does that distinction matter when dismissing a denier?

    Regardless, whether the report was a review or audit, it represented a critique of the IPCC's adherence to its then-existing practices and procedures for report compilation and was intended to provide the UN Secretary-General (and IPCC, of course, along with the UNEP and WMO due to their oversight of the IPCC) assurance that the group was adhering to the same. The IAC report detailed a number of instances where such adherence was either missing or incomplete and made recommendations for improvement in the reporting process. You can use other nouns to detail the process, but this is Auditing 101.

    "Your 'employment' is similarly not under any compulsion to adopt any recommendation by an outsider's review."

    I disagree. Working in a highly-regulated field in a post-Enron era, my employment has state and federal audit statutes and regulations, which are compulsory - not optional. Failure to respond appropriately to review or audit recommendations - in a timely manner - could lead (at the extreme end) to a loss of the company's operating license. Can senior management disregard a recommendation? Sure, but as a matter or practicality, it's highly unlikely it ever will.

    "From your comment, you obviously don't understand anything about the IAC review."

    Is it a wonderfully-liberating experience, Sou, to have such omniscient abilities?

    "Thomas probably doesn't even know that it was the Chair of the IPCC and the Sec-General of the UN who commissioned the review in the first place."

    The IPCC was along for the ride (i.e., it had to publicly support the review), once the UN Secretary-General was involved. If you think the review was pushed from the IPCC upwards to the Secretary-General (as Dr. Pachauri's spokesperson asserted afterwards), you're being naive. Ban Kai-Moon called for the review and stated as such, "That is why I have initiated, in tandem with the Chair of the IPCC, a comprehensive, independent review of the IPCC's procedures and processes." Note that Dr. Pachauri did not assert that he initiated the review in tandem with the UN Secretary-General. And given the contentious environment that prompted the review, the Secretary-General and IPCC Chair needed to present a unified front or else loose credibility from the start - that's nothing more than smart politics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thomas, if your organisation has never commissioned a review of any kind then it's no surprise that you are so fearful of audits. Maybe it has and you're just not in the loop. (Sounds like you work in a large organisation so I'd be surprised if the management team had never brought in consultants. But I'm not surprised you don't know about it.)

      Based on your lack of knowledge of other matters, it's similarly no surprise (to me) that you don't know the difference between a review and an audit. Nor is it any surprise (to me) the lengths you go to demonstrate that. (Pun intended.)

      Delete
    2. Not that it matters, Sou, but my professional certifications are as an environmental auditor - compliance and management systems. And... not that it matters (again), I have lead, conducted, and reviewed more than 900 environmental, health and safety reviews, gap analyses, and audits. Lastly and even though it still does not matter, I worked previously (as an auditor among other positions) for a global business with more than 28,000 employees.

      As I said above, "...[B]ut what does that distinction matter when dismissing a denier?" Please continue with the partisan advocacy, Sou, and dismiss by default any dissension using any pretense whatsoever.

      Delete
    3. Your job doesn't matter in any real sense, but your background in compliance helps explain why you got the purpose of the review wrong. Unlike what you thought, it wasn't a compliance review. You wrote:

      it represented a critique of the IPCC's adherence to its then-existing practices and procedures for report compilation and was intended to provide the UN Secretary-General (and IPCC, of course, along with the UNEP and WMO due to their oversight of the IPCC) assurance that the group was adhering to the same.

      Whereas the stated purpose of the review was:

      to present recommendations on possible revisions of IPCC processes and procedures for strengthening the capacity of IPCC to respond to future challenges and ensuring the ongoing quality of its reports.

      Your lengthy post about audits is irrelevant and you got the purpose of the review wrong.

      The review was critiquing and recommending changes to structures and procedures with a view to strengthening the capacity of the IPCC, not about compliance with or adherence to existing practices and procedures. Quite a different beast.

      Delete
    4. "The review was critiquing and recommending changes to structures and procedures with a view to strengthening the capacity of the IPCC, not about compliance with or adherence to existing practices and procedures. Quite a different beast."

      As detailed in the IAC Statement of Task:

      "The Review Committee is requested to perform the following tasks:

      "2.1. Review the IPCC procedures for preparing assessment reports...

      "2.2. Analyze the overall IPCC process, including the management and administrative functions within IPCC, and the role of UNEP and WMO, the United Nations system and other relevant stakeholders, with a view to strengthen and improve the efficiency of the assessment work and effectively ensure the consistent application of the IPCC Procedures.

      "2.3. Analyze appropriate communication strategies and the interaction of IPCC with the media to ensure that the public is kept apprised of its work."

      The IAC reviewed and analyzed existing practices and procedures to "effectively ensure the consistent application of the IPCC Procedures." They did so to determine whether or not the IPCC was even following what it claimed it was doing (i.e. compliance). If findings or observations were made by the IAC, then the intent of the associated recommendations should focus on "strengthening the IPCC process, institutions and management functions." No, duh! So, if you find something, you better fix it so it doesn't happen again.

      Again, the Statement of Task details the follow outputs:

      "2.4. Prepare a report on the outcome of the activities referred to above, including:

      "i. Methodology of the report preparation and measures taken to ensure high quality of the report findings;
      "ii. Recommendations for amendments to the IPCC procedures;
      "iiii. Recommendations concerning strengthening the IPCC process, institutions and management functions;
      "iv. Any other related recommendations; and
      "v. Outline of a plan for the implementation of recommendations."

      This was a compliance audit - plain and simple. The IPCC (like any good auditee) tried to manipulate the report outcome via the Terms of Reference by focusing any recommendations on "strengthening the capacity of IPCC to respond to future challenges and ensuring the ongoing quality of its reports." You're confusing the goal of the review's recommendations or outputs with its the purpose. And yes, that is "quite a different beast."

      Delete
    5. You're daft, Thomas.

      Your own quote shows it's not a compliance audit.

      And you're trying to get out of it by arguing that the IAC was hired to do something other than what it said it was hired to do and something different to what it did do.

      What an idiot you are.

      Delete
  4. "Your job doesn't matter in any real sense, but your background in compliance helps explain why you got the purpose of the review wrong."

    I agree on the job not mattering. Recall my multiple statements, "Not that it matters..." So, thank you for FINALLY agreeing with me on an issue!

    However, you are incorrect to focus solely on my auditor certification in environmental compliance. As I stated above, I also have an auditor certification in environmental management systems (ISO 14001).

    Compliance is a natural outcome of a robust management system, yet it requires a vigorous audit function to provide periodic assurance to management that the residual risk, resulting from implementing policies and procedures to reduce the raw risk, is acceptable - as determined by management.

    Ironically, management usually attempts to redefine what is "acceptable," whenever they are included within an audit's (used synonymously with review) scope. The IPCC, as mentioned above, was acting the part of good auditee by being cooperative and "constructive" but focusing the review on "strengthening" rather than "correcting." This "nuance" by the auditee has been occurring since audits were first conducted, but you wouldn't know about it unless you've experienced a few audits to note the obvious (and entirely natural - nothing sinister about it) intent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your nuts! You're arguing "the client says they want us to do A, but we know they really want us to do B, so we'll give them B".

      But the IAC didn't give them B.

      Being more rational that Thomas, the IAC didn't do what Thomas thought they were meant to do (Thomas thought that they were "meant" to do a compliance audit despite the fact that wasn't what they were contracted to do in the ToR.)

      Delete

Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL or OpenID. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.