Sensenbrenner Urges IPCC to Exclude Climategate Scientists

December 8, 2009

Sensenbrenner Urges IPCC to Exclude Climategate Scientists

December 7, 2009

 
Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chair
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
c/o WMO
7bis, Avenue de la Paix
C.P. No. 2300
1211 Geneva 2
SWITZERLAND
 
Dear Dr. Pachauri:
 
You recently distributed a statement on the release of over 1,000 e-mails and 2,000 other documents from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the U.K.[1]
 
While I do not condone the circumstances surrounding the release of such private communications, the contents of many of the e-mail exchanges involving prominent and key contributors to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and earlier IPCC Assessment Reports are truly shocking.
 
Your statement emphasizes the IPCC's reliance on peer-reviewed literature, and includes the following declarations:
 
“I.P.C.C. relies entirely on peer reviewed literature in carrying out its assessment and follows a process that renders it unlikely that any peer reviewed piece of literature, however contrary to the views of any individual author, would be left out.”
 
“There is, therefore, no possibility of exclusion of any contrarian views, if they have been published in established journals or other publications which are peer reviewed.”
 
“In summary, no individual or small group of scientists is in a position to exclude a peer-reviewed paper from an I.P.C.C. assessment.” 
 
The e-mails, however, demonstrate that a cabal of supposed “cream-of-the-crop” climate scientists were indeed successful in getting editors of journals that had published contrarian views fired and that they conspired to boycott journals that did not bend to their wishes—therefore ensuring that such views would not be adequately represented in IPCC Assessment Reports.
 
For example, in an e-mail dated March 11, 2003, Michael Mann wrote:
 
This was the danger of always criticising [stet.] the skeptics for not publishing in the "peer-reviewed literature". Obviously, they found a solution to that--take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering "Climate Research" as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board...
 
The authors of the e-mails understand what you apparently do not: Control of peer-reviewed literature equates to control of the IPCC’s conclusions. 
 
 Furthermore, other e-mails indicate that some of these individuals engaged in systemic suppression of dissenting opinion, manipulation of data and models, and even possible criminal activity to evade legitimate requests for data and underlying computer codes filed under Freedom of Information Acts—both U.S. and UK.
 
These bad actors therefore limited the pool of peer-reviewed studies upon which the IPCC could rely and manipulated the results of other studies upon which it did rely. It is possible that they succeeded in undermining the entire process.  
 
Their behavior has caused grave damage to the public trust in climate science in general, and to the IPCC, in particular. They should not be allowed to do so in the future. I therefore request that you and the co-chairs of each of the three IPCC Working Groups ensure that none of the individuals involved in these nefarious e-mail exchanges participate as contributors, reviewers, or in any other capacity in the preparation of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.
Ranking Member
Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
 
Attachment
 
cc:
Professor Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair IPCC WG I
Dr. Qin Dahe, Co-Chair IPCC WG I
IPCC WG I TSU
Professor Christopher Field, Co-Chair IPCC WG II
Professor Vicente Barros, Co-Chair IPCC WG II
IPCC WG II TSU
Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair IPCC WG III
Dr. Youba Sokona, Co-Chair IPCC WG III
Dr. Ramon Pichs-Madruga, Co-Chair IPCC WG III
IPCC WG III TSU


Attachment
 
Statement on news reports regarding
hacking of the East Anglia University email communications
Thursday, November 26, 2009
(http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/pachauri-discusses-the-climate-files/)
 
It is unfortunate that an illegal act of accessing private email communications between scientists who have been involved as authors in I.P.C.C. assessments in the past has led to several questions and concerns. It is important for me to clarify that the I.P.C.C. as a body follows impartial, open and objective assessment of every aspect of climate change carried out with complete transparency. IPCC relies entirely on peer reviewed literature in carrying out its assessment and follows a process that renders it unlikely that any peer reviewed piece of literature, however contrary to the views of any individual author, would be left out. The entire report writing process of the I.P.C.C. is subjected to extensive and repeated review by experts as well as governments. Consequently, there is at every stage full opportunity for experts in the field to draw attention to any piece of literature and its basic findings that would ensure inclusion of a wide range of views. There is, therefore, no possibility of exclusion of any contrarian views, if they have been published in established journals or other publications which are peer reviewed.
 
I would also like to highlight the fact that the summary for policymakers of all the reports of the I.P.C.C. are accepted and approved by all the governments of the world. Even at the stage of approval of the summary for policymakers of any report, which is carried out word by word, omissions if any would be highlighted by government representatives in the course of the approval.
 
In summary, no individual or small group of scientists is in a position to exclude a peer-reviewed paper from an I.P.C.C. assessment. Likewise, individuals and small groups have no ability to emphasize a result that is not consistent with a range of studies, investigations, and approaches. Every layer in the process (including large author teams, extensive review, independent monitoring of review compliance, and plenary approval by governments) plays a major role in keeping I.P.C.C. assessments comprehensive, unbiased, open to the identification of new literature, and policy relevant but not policy prescriptive.
 

The unfortunate incident that has taken place through illegal hacking of the private communications of individual scientists only highlights the importance of I.P.C.C. procedures and practices and the thoroughness by which the Panel carries out its assessment. This thoroughness and the duration of the process followed in every assessment ensure the elimination of any possibility of omissions or distortions, intentional or accidental.

Click here for the pdf.



[1]               The text of your statement is included as an Attachment and reproduced at http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/pachauri-discusses-the-climate-files/.


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