February 23, 2007
IPCCfacts.org has its Facts Wrong
Posted to Author: Pielke Jr., R. | Climate Change | Disasters
There is a webpage called IPCCfacts.org that is grossly misrepresenting my views on hurricanes and climate change, which is bizarre given my strong endorsement of the recent IPCC report. Anyone wanting to get "facts" on the IPCC should look elsewhere than IPCCfacts.org, like to the actual IPCC. Here I set the record straight and request that IPCCfacts.org correct their mistakes.
It is always nice to know who is misrepresenting one’s views and it this case the group’s origins are a bit hard to discern, but it is connected to Fenton Communications, which coincidentally is also associated with RealClimate. IPCCfacts.org receives funding from the United Nations Foundation.
Anyway, IPCCfacts.org misrepresents my views on the recent IPCC report on the subject of hurricanes and climate change. As anyone who reads Prometheus knows, I was quite complementary of the IPCC’s judgment on this issue. Nonetheless, IPCCfacts.org sees fit to cite my views as representing a "myth":
Myth: The report shows that the overall number of hurricanes is expected to decline, undercutting the argument that global warming produces extreme weather events."So there might be a human contribution [to increased hurricanes] ... but the human contribution itself has not been quantitatively assessed, yet the experts, using their judgment, expect it to be there. In plain English this is what is called a ‘hypothesis’ and not a ‘conclusion.’ And it is a fair representation of the issue." –Roger Pielke Jr. climate scientist, University of Colorado, Blog post, February 2, 2007.
In response, first a minor point -- they call me a "climate scientist" which is only accurate if one includes climate impacts under that designation, which is typically not done. I don’t characterize myself as such. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) certainly does not.
Second, the quote from me that they suggest represents a "myth" comes from this blog post. The part that they ellipsis out is the following parenthetical:
(and presumably this is just to the observed upwards trends observed in some basins, and not to downward trends observed in others, but this is unclear)
At no point (in the post that they reference or anywhere else) do I suggest that there will be less hurricanes, nor do I suggest that such a decline undercuts the argument for an increase in extreme events in the future. Where they get this impression I have no idea. This is simply a gross misrepresentation. In fact, my writings say much the opposite, such as the following (PDF):
For future decades the IPCC (2001) expects increases in the occurrence and/or intensity of some extreme events as a result of anthropogenic climate change.
And of the blog post of mine that they cite summarizing the IPCC SPM, here is what one of the scientists on the U.S. delegation had to say:
Thank you for your thoughtful and balanced assessment of what the IPCC SPM says. You have got it right. Your careful analysis on what the report says and how it compares to the WMO consensus statement is most appreciated.
Then IPCCfacts.org start talking about the size of hurricanes, a discussion which is nowhere to be found in the IPCC SPM. In short, IPCCfacts.org have got their facts wrong and are spinning some "myths" of their own.
Just sent, in the off chance that they don't read Prometheus;-)
Dear Mr. Finkelstein-
I am writing to request that you correct errors in my views cited on your
I'll be happy to post your reply.
Roger A. Pielke, Jr.
Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr. at February 23, 2007 09:27 AM
"Associated with RC" is a bit misleading. Apparently they organised our initial press release... but if there is more, I don't know it.
Posted by: William Connolley at February 23, 2007 10:09 AM
Thanks, that is why I linked to the RC explanation of this ... it is not clear to me how Fenton and EMS are "associated" or the value of the services provided by EMS to RC. Nor do I much care.
It is an interesting coincidence -- when I Googled Fenton I saw this page:
. . . and was surprised to see RC listed. I this "associated" is fair enough given all this ambiguity. It is not a big deal.
Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr. at February 23, 2007 10:20 AM
Dr. Pielke, I regret to inform you that your reputation has been targeted for termination.
If, as it appears, the United Nations Foundation has decided to set up this IPCCfacts.org sock-puppet by hiring Fenton Communications, you are probably going to be under assault from more such shell advocacy organization. And I doubt the U.N. Foundation will be the only sugar-daddy sponsoring that site.
Fenton's purpose is to insulate the funders from the unethical behaviour needed to tear down and defame those who are seen as a threat to the funders agenda. And many a Fenton graduate work directly for, in the old boy/girl network that dominates the foundations, the funders as well.
I know this because I worked at a foundation active in funding such environmentalist sock-puppets for three years. And anytime a particularly nasty piece of wet-work needed to be performed, Fenton was the assassin of choice.
With the rolodexes that Fenton maintains, I strongly doubt the recent Wikipedia and Grist attacks, or Mr. Adam's visit are unrelated.
Posted by: bubba at February 23, 2007 10:21 AM
William- Also -- Seems like a post from RC on the "facts" in IPCCfacts.org would be a good use of RC time. Lots of stuff in there looks like it might benefit from some expert eyes . . .
Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr. at February 23, 2007 10:22 AM
It is worrying that they get their stuff wrong. However, it is more worrying that they exist. Why does the UN support a foundation that is obviously there only to say those things the IPCC leaders want to say, but cannot because it violates their mandate.
Posted by: Richard Tol at February 23, 2007 10:48 AM
The UN Foundation is an advocacy organization representing the special interests of its constituent, well constituent in this case.
Every organization or association in the nation, even foreign countries and our own federal states, maintain such lobbying bodies to try and affect their chances during the appropriations contest in congress.
The UN is a special interest like any other panting after federal largesse.
Posted by: bubba at February 23, 2007 11:15 AM
We regret that your views were misrepresented on IPCCfacts.org, and have removed the post.
The intent of the site is to follow the conversation around the IPCC report and, where mischaracterizations about the report are made, clearly and directly present the IPCC findings. We stand behind our presentation of the IPCC report findings.
We regret the error.
Posted by: Joel Finkelstein at February 23, 2007 03:20 PM
Do I understand well that the United Nations Foundation is a private lobby group that is not affiliated, in any official sense, with the United Nations? Is it OK for the United Nations if similar bizarre groups use the name of the international organizations as parts of their names?
I think that the name creates a lot of confusion. The "scientists" on the website write a lot of absurd things, e.g. they deny that the new report has excluded the previous speculative predictions about a catastrophic sea level rise - and the design looks like these crackpots represent the United Nations which is no good.
But I am afraid that this sequence of events reflects the situation that de facto exists anyway: it's similar political lobby groups and foundations that are the primary authors of key decisions about the United Nations. The IPCC panel may contain many honest and smart scientists but the conclusions that become important are being invented by people like Mr Moss.
Posted by: Lubos Motl at February 23, 2007 04:37 PM
You underestimate the UN. They are not salivating after federal monies - unless federal is plural... After whetting their appetite via the Iraqi Oil for Food scam, they're going global.
And yes, multiple Google searches show Fenton to be around the periphery of the carbon trading scene.
Posted by: Tim Clear at February 23, 2007 07:19 PM
Posted by: JamesG at February 24, 2007 02:57 AM
At least, that's a mineralogist's understanding of the issue. Maybe a climate guy can correct me.
Posted by: Lab Lemming at February 25, 2007 10:13 PM