14 February 2010

RMS Confirms Effort to Skirt IPCC Publication Deadlines

[UPDATE: Real Climate discusses the Muir-Wood paper, and refuses to correct obvious factual errors in their account even after having them pointed out. Their post is appropriately titled facts and spin.]

In my efforts to unravel the issues associated with the IPCC's mistreatment of the subject of disasters and climate change I discovered that the IPCC intentionally mis-cited a paper to get around its own deadline for the inclusion of publications in its report. This fact has now been independently confirmed by RMS, a company that develops catastrophe models for re/insurance (PDF).
The research was conducted during the first half of 2006 and the full paper summarizing the results was peer reviewed and accepted for publication in November 2006. This was a few weeks outside of the cut-off date for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report in October, which is why an earlier summary version of the paper—written for a scientific workshop held in May 2006 and published in the conference proceedings in October 2006—was referenced (the IPCC can only cite published material). Despite not being able to reference it, the IPCC was aware of the full report and that it had been accepted for publication before the 4th Assessment Report was finalized.
The problem was that the "earlier summary version of the paper" did not contain any of the information for which the citation was provided in the IPCC, specifically a discussion of rising temperatures and the increasing costs of disasters. In academia, the intentional mis-citing of a paper in support of a claim for which the paper offers absolutely no support would be a highly questionable ethical practice.

RMS is completely silent on the intentional misdirection and also on the so-called "mystery graph." I understand why. However, Rober Muir-Woods of RMS has already explained in public that the "mystery graph" should not have been included in the report. Given this fact, the omission of this detail from the new RMS FAQ is unfortunate. It is however nice to see my accounting of events surrounding the mistreatment of disaster losses by the IPCC receive some independent confirmation from RMS.