For those that deny climate change, the work of the IPCC is not merely anathema, but subject to a relentless campaign to discredit it in the eyes of the public.
The sceptic community has made a small industry out of picking over every line of IPCC reports in order to find errors. In their mind a typographical error incorrectly cited article falsifies decades of science.
As the Irish Times reports, it now seems the IPCC is trying to get the jump on sceptics by publishing early drafts and written comments:
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has taken the unprecedented step of publishing earlier drafts of its latest report on global warming and all 54,677 written contributions by expert and government reviewers.
This is seen as a co-ordinated effort by the IPCC to bolster its own credibility and disarm climate change deniers in the wake of controversies over such “mistakes” as a poorly grounded forecast that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.
The report, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, was published last September. It confirmed that warming was “unequivocal”; human influence on the climate system was “clear”; and huge reductions in greenhouse gas emissions were needed.
The full report, released yesterday as part of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment of climate change, runs to more than 1,500 pages, includes 600 diagrams and cites in excess of 9,000 scientific publications since the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment in 2007.
The full report is here:
Will it satisfy the sceptics?
Obviously even the most compelling evidence won’t convince the sceptics.
But personally, I think the move to greater transparency is a good thing. Especially when it comes to assuring the public the process is open and mistakes can and will be fixed early.