The IPCC vs. Transparent Science

Alec Rawls

Yesterday, Alec Rawls committed a sin for which he cannot be forgiven.

Rawls published a pre-release draft version of the much anticipated United Nations IPCC AR5 climate change assessment report. It isn’t scheduled for release until September of 2013.

Rawls got punished for it. His web site was erased from existence before day’s end.

That action alone cuts to the core of politics in the scientific process and how it works in today’s fast-paced, internet-driven world.

This is a big deal. It could affect YOUR paycheck for decades to come.

The trillion dollar question is:
Was Alec Rawls wrong?

Background

The IPCC climate assessment reports will determine TRILLIONS of dollars spent world-wide by governments to fight climate change over the next 50-100 years. They better be right!

Rawls released only one part of the IPCC report… the part about the scientific proof backing up the IPCC’s conclusions.
The most important part.

Rawls is an extreme anti-IPCC zealot. Some would call him a nutcase. He fanangled his way into becoming one of 800 AR5 report reviewers. The purpose of reviewers was to solicit learned reactions to the draft AR5 report from every quarter to make the final version better. The comment period ended November 30th.

Rawls, and the other 799 reviewers, signed a non-disclosure agreement with the IPCC.

That agreement said that they would not do what Alec Rawls just did.

Rawls’ website got shut down almost immediately. It is still down. But, as everyone knows, once something gets out on the Net, it is there forever.

A word to the wise… never, EVER, allow an electronic naked picture of yourself to get taken or post one yourself to the Net. Somehow, it will get out to the world. Just ask any politician or celebrity!

You can’t get the unauthorized IPCC report from Rawls anymore, but can get it from many other places. Most prominent among them is here:
IPCC AR5 draft leaked, contains game changing admission of enhanced solar forcing
– Alec Rawls, WUWT, 12/13/2012

That link is to “Watts Up With That” (WUWT) where Rawls made the big time. WUWT is the world’s most active science website. It specializes in climate change science.

The IPCC Empire Strikes Back!

In an official public statement today, the IPCC responded to the unauthorized release of the AR5 report. The statement was reproduced, as is, in full and without comment at WUWT:
IPCC statement on AR5 draft leak-full text” – WUWT, Anthony Watts, 12/14/2012

Speaking on the IPCC Response

WUWT did not comment on the IPCC statement… but comment is needed.

In their official response, the IPCC said:

The IPCC is committed to an open and transparent process
– Johnathan Lynn, Official IPCC Response, 12/14/2012

If that is the case, then why is everything done in total secrecy? That doesn’t make sense.

It has become quite common in science today for scientists to pre-release their soon-to-be published papers online because the old-fashioned, time consuming, process of peer review that journals employ now simply takes to long.

Today’s progress in science is much faster than that… hence scientists pre-release their scientific papers.

The IPCC’s process is an extreme case of the old-fashioned paradigm. They have been working on this report for years and it is still another year away from publication.

The IPCC goes on to explain:

The unauthorized and premature posting of the drafts of the WGI AR5, which are works in progress, may lead to confusion
– Johnathan Lynn, Official IPCC Response, 12/14/2012

No, folks… what it will lead to is UNDERSTANDING! What they call confusion, most of the rest of the scientific community today calls enlightenment that will improve the final product.

That is the reason scientists pre-release their papers. They WANT uncontrolled input!

The Scientific Process

For a couple hundred years, at least, the peer-review process has dominated the process of science. It doesn’t any longer.

It is a good process. It is still good. The problem has become that science is advancing far faster than the peer review process can keep up with.

Scientists today know that. They resort to blogs and other online processes to get their discoveries into the public domain faster. They need that in order to get it out to other scientists and advance the cause of science.

The IPCC has not yet learned that. That is their ultimate mistake.

Conclusions

Science will move inexorably forward. Empirical facts drive theory, not the other way around. Conjecture, if not backed by fact, is worthless.

Alec Rawls has committed the ultimate sin for which the IPCC will never forgive him. He violated their non-disclosure agreement. His web site got shut down because of it.

The questions for the rest of us are these…

Is it proper for the process of science to be open and transparent as the IPCC has said many times before?

Is it right for the off-beat voice of Alec Rawls to be silenced, or is it more proper to take the voices of everyone concerned into consideration when it affects all of us?

That is something only you can decide.

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About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Dec 14, 2012, in Climate, climate change, culture, economics, IPCC, Life, news, Opinion, Politics, science. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It is never a sin to tell the truth. How you do it will be judged. We see the IPCC action already, but now must await history and God for their views.

    • I believe that Mother Nature is speaking to us and she isn’t saying that we are gonna be done in by human-caused global warming.

      Mother Nature is saying, justifiably so, that we should get our act together and clean up our environmental messes. Its getting to be a pig sty on this planet!

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