Tuesday, August 20, 2013

WUWT arrives late to the IPCC party

Sou | 6:27 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment

Update 2 - How Tony Thomas and Anthony Watts are caught out by the IPCC itself!
IPCC responds and corrects WUWT - do we get a WUWT Erratum and an, two, three, four apologies from M Courtney and an abject apology from Tony Thomas?  Read below and find out.

Update - see below for more WUWT madness, from the Courtney family.

Such a fuss and so misplaced!

Anthony Watts has an entire article devoted to an error in a caption to a diagram in the IPCC Second Assessment Report, which was first published in 1995 - eighteen years ago.  Since then there have been another two IPCC assessment reports.  But the nitpickers aren't happy.  Anthony quotes Tony Thomas writing:
The IPCC’s forest weirdness has been pointed out to the IPCC experts for at least for the past six years. The first chair of the IPCC was Bert Bolin (from 1988-97). In 2007 he footnoted in his 2007 book, A History of the Science and Politics of Climate Change: The Role of the IPCC  (p253):
As a curiosity, it might be interesting to note that there is a major error in Figure 2 of the (1995)  Working Group 11 summary for policy makers in that the two eco-systems ‘Savannah, dry forests, woodland’ and ‘Tropical Forests’ have been interchanged, but I have not seen this corrected anywhere in the IPCC publications.
I came across the footnote early last year when scribbling a piece for Quadrant  on the IPCC’s origins. I looked up the IPCC maps and,  five years after Bolin’s prompting, they remained unchanged.
So in February, 2012, I wrote off to Renate Christ, the IPCC’s secretary in Switzerland, carefully following the steps for a complainant as outlined in a 2011 IPCC protocol for error correction.
I was gratified to get an email back within 48 hours from Jonathan Lynn, communications head, filling in during Dr Christ’s absence.
Thank you very much for reminding us that this needs dealing with.
On the face of it, it looks pretty straightforward, but it’s a bit complicated for our internal procedures, as it involves an old report whose working groups have long disbanded.
Still, I’ve forwarded it to our Executive Committee (which includes Dr Pachauri) and I assure you it’s being worked on.
Best wishes, Jonathan Lynn.
Lovely! Except a year and a half later, on August 18, 2013, I looked up the maps again, and again nothing had changed, despite even Dr Pachauri and his executive committee’s close attention to the matter.  Maybe correcting what the IPCC’s  own ex-chair Bert Bolin described as a “major” error isn’t considered a priority?

Erratum issued last year - in September 2012

Not only is the report out of print according to the IPCC, but Anthony and Tony are about a year late to the party.  The IPCC has already issued an erratum on this.  On opening the document, the erratum was prepared on 19 September 2012 - almost a year ago!  The erratum is listed on the report page of the IPCC and can be downloaded.

What is more interesting is that it is the only error listed as an erratum.  Amazing that a report of that size would only have one error.  Speaks volumes about the diligence of the IPCC process.

Here is the the erratum notice.

Source: IPCC
Here is the chart with the "major" error:

Source: IPCC Second Assessment Report

Will Anthony Watts correct the error in his WUWT headline?

Given that Anthony Watts is being such a stickler for accuracy, what are the odds that he'll correct his wrong headline?  IPCC caught out with an old, known, and uncorrected error pending their new AR5 report


In the WUWT comments much confusion reigns.  Richard Betts pops in and lets people know about the erratum on the website.  Doesn't stop father and son Courtney getting all hot and bothered.  The father, RichardSCourtney because he thought that the error had got into the draft AR5 document and saying so loudly in his normal shouty fashion.

Meanwhile, son M Courtney pursues the matter and insists the IPCC has committed a grievous error because, despite publishing the erratum, it didn't let Tony Thomas know about it.  So it's still all the IPCC's fault.  And he says it again.  And then again, a third time, for good measure.  Like father like son!

[Later update: I'm starting to think RichardSCourtney didn't pay sufficient attention to his son when he was a little boy.  M Courtney has repeated his point for a fourth time.  Is he feeling left out and ignored?]

Back comes Richard Betts letting father Courtney know that as he (Richard Betts) is a lead author of that particular chapter of AR5, perhaps Mr Courtney senior will let him know just where in the AR5 draft the diagram is with its wrong legend, because he hasn't seen it - and as lead author he, Richard Betts, should know.

Father Courtney finally comes back with an apology and says he was mistaken.  Richard Betts accepts the apology, which was big of him given both Courtney's continued to attack his work and that of other IPCC authors.

Brian notes the irony and says:
August 20, 2013 at 7:29 am  So, given Richard Betts’ comments, the title and subtitle of this post are false. Which means that this post contains old, known, and uncorrected errors.
As John Silver said above, “The irony, it burns.”

All this over an eighteen year old report, which has only that one single error in the erratum and which has since been updated with two later mammoth reports.  (The son Courtney sometimes presents as being a tad more reasonable/rational than the father.  This episode shows the one is no more rational than the other.)

Wottsupwiththat is spot on.

Update 2 - from the IPCC

Jonathan Lynn says:
August 20, 2013 at 9:51 am

I’m writing with regard to your posting of 19 August, the story submitted by Tony Thomas, in which you say the IPCC has not yet corrected an error allegation submitted by Tony Thomas.
This is incorrect, and I would like to set out the facts for your readers:
When we received Tony Thomas’s letter of 8 February 2012, we brought it to the attention of the relevant Working Group, and acknowledged it to Tony Thomas.
Under the IPCC’s error protocol, it was determined that there was a typographical error in the Working Group II Summary for Policymakers of the Second Assessment Report (1995). An erratum dated 9 March 2012 was issued and can be found here:
(You can also find it by going to “Publications and Data” on our website, scrolling down to the Second Assessment Report, and clicking on Errata under “IPCC Second Assessment Full Report”.)
We wrote to Tony Thomas on 20 September 2012, informing him of this. A copy of the email to him is below.
Jonathan Lynn
(Head of Communications, IPCC)
Dear Mr. Tony Thomas,
Further to our email dated February 9, 2012 informing you that we have initiated the process of the IPCC Protocol for Addressing Possible Errors in IPCC Assessment Reports, Synthesis Reports, Special Reports or Methodology Reports, we wish to inform you that IPCC Working Group II completed the analysis of the points in your email of February 8, 2012. On March 8, 2012 the WGII Bureau determined that action was warranted and that the error should be regarded as a typographical error as described in section 2, step 4A of the Protocol. Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.
Please find attached the SAR Errata, which has been posted on the IPCC website. Also please accept our apologies for this delayed response.
Thank you again for your interest in IPCC,
Yours sincerely,
IPCC Secretariat

Will Anthony Watts apologise to the IPCC?  Will Tony Thomas admit he missed both the erratum and the courtesy email from the IPCC telling him about it?  Will M Courtney make four apologies for his four false accusations? So many questions.

M Courtney has apologised for two of his posts but made an error, because he accused the IPCC not twice, not thrice but four times.

Anthony Watts hasn't apologised but has notified his readers that the IPCC responded, boasting that the IPCC read WUWT.  Anthony hasn't changed the wrong headline or corrected the article either.  He has tacked on the IPCC email to the end of the article.  However he didn't make any apology at all.  Instead he wants Dr Pauchari to "apologise" for calling out a very bad report on Himalayan glaciers that Anthony seems to have favoured.  Here is Anthony's email.  Decide for yourself if Anthony Watts is a decent bloke, a gentleman or a lowlife and an uncouth oaf who prefers dishonesty and forsakes manners to win him publicity.

Anthony Watts says:
August 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm

@Jonathan Lynn (also sent via email)
Dear Mr. Lynn,
I have added your correction to the body of the post, thank you for sending it. This seems like a possible case of the imperfect nature of the Internet causing communications to be lost or trapped in spam filters.
On that note, did we miss the apology from Dr. Pachauri to climate skeptics worldwide for his “voodoo science” comment related to the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 claim? See here:http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/09/ipccs-pachauris-voodo-science-claim-comes-full-circle/
Thank you for your interest and communications.
Anthony Watts

Needless to say, Anthony Watts' article on 'voodoo science' got the whole episode wrong.  Pauchari wasn't referring to the IPCC error, he was referring to a different report about glaciers.  Anthony Watts deliberately conflated the two. I'm not going into that any further now.  This article is already way too long.  Suffice to say - if Anthony Watts makes a claim of any kind then you're best bet is to assume he's wrong.

 (As Wotts and Philip Clarke note - is there no end to the narcissism and self-aggrandisement? Has Anthony Watts no shame or any sense of decency or honour at all?)

Tony Thomas has disappeared off the face of the earth.  He's done his job.  Riled up the masses.  Most of them won't bother with the IPCC response or won't believe it.  They are deniers after all.

Update 3

Tony Thomas has come back and makes a list of things that 'went wrong' and says that "With hindsight, my piece was therefore a bit harsh on the IPCC." before launching into more complaints about the IPCC.  Incidentally, I wonder is Tony aware that it was the same Bert Bolin who found the error, who was chair of the IPCC when SAR was produced?


  1. Tony wouldn't have a story if the headline read "IPCC has corrected a minor error in 1995 report".

  2. There's a Courtney junior?!

    I didn't know.

    The horror, the horror.

    1. I'm trying to think of some kind of suitable response to your comment but, I too, am somewhat lost for words!

  3. IPCC issue erratum for defunct graphic in out of print historic document. The world is aghast.

    An IPCC Staffer actually comments and points out that the headline has not a grain of truth...

    Watts' response ...The IPCC reads WUWT, and directly responds below

    Is there no end to the narcissism?

    1. It must have disappointed Anthony that the IPCC responded because that rather quashes all the "they never listen" style comments.

    2. Notice how Anthony has to attribute blame even though he's the one who made the first mistake - not checking out the fact the error had been picked up and made public. And how he avoids any apology or correction to his article or the headline.

      I'm surprised Anthony didn't just come out and say it's the IPCC's fault for not making sure Tony Thomas got the second email.

      Now he's complaining that the IPCC didn't bow down in awe at getting an email from Anthony Watts Denier and bagger supreme of the IPCC, and didn't answer his "question". That the IPCC even acknowledged his rude email is showing that they, unlike Anthony, have a sense of propriety. Easy to see why Anthony never amounted to anything outside of blogging. He doesn't know the first thing about polite discourse.

      Meanwhile, Tony Thomas has done a dash. I'm ashamed to say he's a product not just of Australia, but probably of Melbourne. Not that I've ever come across him before, but he wrote an article for Quadrant, a right wing political rag. We have managed to sprout some nutjobs over the years.

    3. One of the other strong lines of commenting was "they didn't follow their protocol". Except they did. Tony just lied about never receiving a response at the end of the process -- one day after the PDF was prepared.


    4. And of course the idiot (the Tony whatever, rather than Willard) now claims that he changed his email two days before the message, WTF, and he didn't continue to monitor it or put a forward on it? For two days?! Right.

      I've had the same email address for more than 10 years and the one before that for about 8 years (yeah, free vs. $30US is a big difference). When I moved it I continued to monitor the old one for a couple of months afterwards and told all of the people in my contacts list (many fewer a dozen years ago, because not everyone used email) about the change. Why didn't Tony do this for a couple of days? What a fucking clown.

      Then Tony complains about a 6 month delay. Actually they sent the email to him the day after the correction was posted. Is that a delay?

      And then he complains about the maps. Right. The IPCC is not going to make a change to an already published report. As everyone knows (including semiconductor manufacturers, lord knows I've read enough errata sheets in my life) corrections are issued as errata.

      What a clown. Why not get the host of the damn site to take down a sadly erroneous post which just promotes a totally erroneous view of the IPCC. Instead just blame the IPCC which did exactly what it was supposed to do. Tony and Tony have no shame.

      There, did I come off as angry enough? (And probably way to incoherent since I tried to resize the window while writing...)

    5. Of course it's a load of BS or complete idiocy. It's a "dog ate my homework" excuse - "it wasn't my fault it was the other guy" - without a shred of shame or embarrassment much less any sign of an apology. In their world "real men" don't eat quiche and "real men" don't apologise or back down. Cowards!

      Why would either Tony remove the headline? That's all that his readers want to read. Few of the WUWT crowd would read the comments - even most of the people who write comments there don't read what anyone else has written. IPCC is enough to get them going.


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