Goverments around the world have been asked by IPCC to think about the future of the IPCC. The Netherlands now sent their submission to the IPCC and made it available on the website of KNMI.
I would say Holland is fairly critical about how IPCC is operating right now. This part struck me as most interesting:
The IPCC needs to adjust its principles. We believe that limiting the scope of the IPCC to human induced climate change is undesirable, especially because natural climate change is a crucial part of the total understanding of the climate system, including human-induced climate change. The Netherlands is also of the opinion that the word ‘comprehensive’ may have to be deleted, because producing comprehensive assessments becomes virtually impossible with the ever expanding body of knowledge and IPCC may be more relevant by producing more special reports on topics that are new and controversial.
I agree with both points. The (almost) obsession of IPCC with greenhouse forcing has greatly limited progress in climate science in my opinion, so I am glad my government now raises this point. And in my (Dutch) book De Staat van het Klimaat I concluded that IPCC in AR4 had not succeeded to come up with a “comprehensive” report. I also agree IPCC should pay much more attention to controversial topics. The treatment of controversial topics in AR4 and also AR5 was and is unsatisfactory for two reasons: there is not enough space reserved to go into the necessary details and the author teams are almost always biased in favor of the consensus view and therefore not giving enough credit to minority views.
The Netherlands also want to make an end to the huge volumes IPCC is producing and replace it by shorter web based (special) reports:
The IPCC needs more transparent, focused and up-to-date assessments. The use of the internet continues to expand. It would be easier to keep IPCC assessments up to date if they would be fully web-based. Digitalisation also increases the transparency of the reports. For example, in addition to internal links in the SPM to the underlying chapters (already done for AR4), links can be added in the chapters to the relevant parts of scientific publications to simplify the accessibility to the sources.
The assessment should be more dynamic by regular updates of the chapters, with only one round of expert review, and by shortening the assessment cycle. The reports are currently perceived to be quite dated already a few years after they have been published.
Again I agree with the new format. Also Holland wants to merge WGI and WGII into one working group:
two working groups instead of three. For example, it is possible to expand WGI to include WGII subjects that are closely connected to the information in WGI. An example is the SREX special report, where climate extremes and risk-based information are combined. WGIII would then include adaptation and mitigation measures and their environmental impacts. In this way there would be two working groups, which would shorten the cycle but will also to improve the consistency in the assessment cycle and facilitates the synthesis. A separate Synthesis Report would not be needed if the second WG would synthesize its information with the first WG, also in its summaries.
Without mentioning his name The Netherlands make clear that they would like to see Pachauri retire. They prefer “having an organization that is led by an Executive Director” instead of an elected chair. “An Executive Director could also more easily be a policy-neutral spokesperson than an elected Chair”, they write, thereby implicitly referring to Pachauri who is renowned for making policy statements.
So in general I am very happy with the advice and I am convinced that the IPCC would greatly improve if all these points will be brought into practice. The only thing I am really missing is the explicit advice to involve skeptics in the process. This was actually the main advice in my book: add two skeptics to each lead author team to keep the mainstream scientists honest. This simple advice is the only way IPCC can ever become more balanced and objective. However, congratulations to the Dutch government for taking this critical stance.
This is excellent news, and a much needed development!
My only comment is on your recommendation, to “add two skeptics to each lead author team to keep the mainstream scientists honest”. I suggest not using the word “skeptic” but to write “add two credentialed climate scientists who have different viewpoints to each lead author team in order to force the IPCC scientists to be inclusive of all scientifically robust conclusions.”
I am really pleased that KNMI is showing itself to be a much more open organization than is the case here in the USA.
Sorry if I sound a bit overly critical of this Dutch assessment, but if I take a look at the proposal it seems like the social sciences and policy makers want to overtake the IPCC. I think they should leave WGI purely for the understanding of natural/physical processes which influence the climate. Some critical notes on their proposal: 1) The IPCC should adjust its focus and organisation to policy and societal needs. Yeah, please only list information relevant for our political ideology. Invite expensive companies to do the research, so that you are sure to get the answers you want.… Lees verder »
Congratulations to the persistent sceptics – unorganised as they insist – that have been fighting the CAGW myth in Holland almost as long as we have in Canada. An interesting difference: After we elected the Harper conservative government, we then had a PM who had been an (opposition) critic of the pseudo science of the Kyoto protocol, declaring that he would not want to have any part of it. Once in power he played along and spent our tax revenue on green projects, even CCS. The main reasons behind that were that – in our “first past the post” system… Lees verder »
I agree that something needs to be done about the IPCC but giving it a new mission is not it. In my opinion they are so corrupt that they should be abolished. Consider: the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is highest ever and yet there is no warming. And there has been none for 16 years as even Pachauri of the IPCC has reluctantly admitted. They put all their their eggs in one basket when they asserted that greenhouse effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide will warm the world. It does not do that. The same thing happened in… Lees verder »
Albert Jacobs, a key problem is too much government power which allows meddling in people’s lives. The root cause is of course voters who elect the politicians into power positions. We need stewards not do-gooders, strong people not those who fall for anti-human con jobs as Gordo out in BC did.
Arno Arrak @ 6 juli 2013 at 15:48
Thank you, and agreed – shut down both UNFCCC and IPCC.
?? “… the amount of carbon dioxide in air increased by 21.6 degrees.” per cent.?
I sent the KNMI a message about the statements they made in their document and they don’t agree with what you’re inferring from it: We (the Dutch IPCC delegation) believe it is important that the wider scope of this statement should be widened, namely that natural variability should be explicitly mentioned in the mandate of the IPCC. In practice, the IPCC reports (WG1 and 2) on climate change mention natural and anthropogenic factors, simply because of the fact that the human factor only gains credence when compared to natural changes. The proposed change from the Netherlands is that the mandate… Lees verder »
Hi Collin, thanks for dropping by and for asking a reaction to Rob van Dorland. Of course my interpretation of their submission is not completely the same as theirs, what did you expect? They have to be as diplomatic as possible not to offend the IPCC and other countries. As I am an independent observer I can be much more frank in a blog post and also in several parts I give my own opinion as is clearly stated. Of course, as Rob notes, IPCC pays attention to natural factors. But the recent slowdown of the warming and the quite… Lees verder »
The KNMI very clearly said the following: “This also makes clear that the response in the media is not true, namely that the Netherlands find that natural variability is more important than the human influence. As this isn’t the intent of the Dutch submission.” The KNMI disagrees with your interpretation, that should be the end of the story. It doesn’t matter what you think it says, or what you think they are implying, it matters what it actually says. And of course further explanations from them if something wasn’t clear. I’ve seen the claim that global warming has stopped a… Lees verder »
Collin, “This also makes clear that the response in the media is not true, namely that the Netherlands find that natural variability is more important than the human influence. As this isn’t the intent of the Dutch submission.” This is also a misrepresentation of what I said. I didn’t say that “natural variability is more important than the human influence” although it might be. I said: “The (almost) obsession of IPCC with greenhouse forcing has greatly limited progress in climate science in my opinion.” Now of course this is a statement that needs much more explanation and in a sense… Lees verder »
As promised here’s my more in depth response to your comments:
Hi Collin I find it admirable how much time and effort you put into this. I don’t think it’s worth it though. The Dutch delegation submitted a spicy sentence (“The IPCC needs to adjust its principles. We believe that limiting the scope of the IPCC to human induced climate change is undesirable, especially because natural climate change is a crucial part of the total understanding of the climate system, including human-induced climate change.”) I gave my interpretation and after you consulted one person who contributed to this submission you concluded that my interpretation was different from his interpretation. Now of… Lees verder »