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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Contrasts: Should we Believe in Climate Change?

Two very nice posts coming from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies show the interesting picture of reliability around the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), its last report (Fourth Assessment Report in 2007), and the supporting analyses and conclusions from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.

In view of the next big release (the Fifth Assessment Report), the apparent failure of the last Conference of Parties at Copenhagen, there have been several allegations, discussions, judgments, press releases and blog posts on a number of errors and issues that might be present within the 2007 report, including the whole e-mail hacking war. Internal investigations to both IPCC and CRU, which we all hope will get to a solution are being carried out.

Prof. Robert T. Watson, former chair of the IPCC, and Prof. Roger A. Pielke, Jr. speak about what the future of the IPCC should be. While Watson supports the idea that there is no reason to lose the trust in IPCC, Pielke insists that the IPCC needs new control and error-handling mechanisms. The latter author has been subjected to contribution rejections from the IPCC.

They agree, nevertheless, in that the IPCC needs some adjustments, and that these need to be implemented as soon as possible if trust in the organism is to be re-gained worldwide. These adjustments include a more open review and feedback process, in which (non-IPCC related) scientists can contribute to the climate change science in a more “open” process.

This is nothing new, though, but the fact that there are some errors (horrendous errors, I must clarify) in the IPCC’s last report, doesn’t mean that anthropogenic-related emissions do not cause the so-called greenhouse effect, and moreover, it doesn’t mean we do not need to do anything under the context of climate change. Political orientations tend to disclose the real facts, but we need to keep focused on what really matters: the science, the transparency and the truth.

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