10 February 2010

IPCC: Cherish, Tweak or Scrap?

Nature solicits the opinions of 5 past IPCC contributors about the best way forward for the institution. Here are a few short excerpts from the diverse range of views.
Mike Hulme

The IPCC is no longer fit for purpose. . .

My suggestion for radical reform is to dissolve the IPCC after the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in 2014. The work would be split into three types of assessment and evaluation, each rather different to the three existing IPCC working groups.

Eduardo Zorita

An [International Climate Agency] could be built, for instance, on the IAEA template, encompassing many more countries than the IAEA but with a smaller staff. . .

As with finance, climate assessment is too important to be left in the hands of advocates.

Thomas Stocker

The IPCC has served as an honest broker in the past and will do so, hopefully, in the future.

Only with strict adherence to procedures and to scientific rigour at all stages will the IPCC continue to provide the best and most robust information that is needed so much.

Jeff Price

Increasing the number of lead authors would provide better balance and give more scientists the ability to participate in the process. . . The IPCC should also expand the number of specialist task forces, task groups and hold more expert meetings to provide additional scientific review and oversight . . . the current period between assessments is too long.

John Christy

The IPCC selects lead authors from the pool of those nominated by individual governments. Over time, many governments nominated only authors who were aligned with stated policy.

I recommended last year that the next IPCC report invites published authors to write about the evidence for low climate sensitivity and other issues. The IPCC then would be a true reflection of the heterogeneity of scientific views, an ‘honest broker’, rather than an echo chamber.