25 February 2010

Watson vs. Pielke on IPCC at Yale e360

In parallel with Robert T. Watson, former chair of the IPCC, I have a piece over at Yale e360 on the IPCC. Watson argues that the IPCC needs some minor tinkering but is otherwise sound. I call for more comprehensive reforms.

Please visit there, read both essays and then feel free to return here and ask questions or discuss. Here are a few short excerpts:
Watson: So does the IPCC process need to be significantly revised? I would argue no, that the IPCC is more than capable of conducting rigorous and reliable assessments in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner. But the IPCC needs to regain its full and deserved credibility. The procedures for the selection of authors and review editors and the peer-review process and approval of reports are all sound. What is needed is to tighten up the implementation of these procedures, coupled with training of authors and review editors. The selected authors need to represent the full range of credible views, including those of the skeptics, and must ensure that all statements are based on sound science and that the citations used contain convincing evidence.
Pielke: Standing up for climate science means openly supporting reform of the IPCC while underscoring its institutional importance. The climate science community has failed to meet its own high standards. If the IPCC continues to pretend that things will soon get back to normal or that it need only castigate its critics as deniers and skeptics, it will find that its credibility will continue to sink to new lows. It is time to reform the IPCC.