Sunday, August 29, 2010

IPCC to be Warned about "Embarrassing Errors" by...Former IPCC Chair.

From The U.K. Telegraph:

A review of the practices of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been conducted in response to intense criticism of the body, whose reports are used by governments to inform policy decisions on global warming.

The findings of the review are due to be handed to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tomorrow.

So far so good. Tell me more.

The IPCC has been under scrutiny after it admitted making an error in its 2007 report, that stated Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035 – a statement that was wrong by over 300 years.

Ok...I can see a three hundred year error once in a while, everything else was good right?

The panel has also been criticised over the sources of information it used to compile the report after a number of statements were found to be based on information taken from reports by environmental lobby groups, magazine articles and student dissertations.

Really? But the science was settled. Surely the peer review process weeded out suspect sources?

Professor Robert Watson, the chief scientific adviser to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and a former chair of the UN's IPCC, told the InterAcademy Council's review committee that more needed to be done to prevent errors appearing in the panel's reports.

He described the way the IPCC handled the mistakes as "totally and utterly atrocious" and suggested that the panel should consider hiring additional staff to check through the sources of information, or references, to ensure the accuracy of statements made in future reports.

In the evidence he gave to the committee, Professor Watson said: "No error is acceptable, but there is such a thing as human error.

"Is there a better way of checking all the references before they go out? Maybe there is a role for the secretariat, that effectively, by hiring additional staff – maybe even graduate students and post docs (doctoral) – they can follow through the whole reference chain.

"A normal peer review will not have time to do this, so how can we double and triple check the reference chain of any particular statement."

So we need an extra-normal peer review process? By more of the same institutionalized and vested gang? I wonder where one could find some good environmentally oriented post docs...

Professor Mike Hulme, a professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia, is due to deliver a keynote lecture to the Royal Geographical Society Annual conference this week in which he will call for a dramatic changes to the way the IPCC operates.

Speaking ahead of his lecture, he said: "The IPCC has not sufficiently adapted to the changing science and politics of climate change, nor to the changing expected and demanded role of science and expertise in society.

"The IPCC's approach of seeking consensus obscures and constricts both scientific and wider social debates about both knowledge-driven and value-driven uncertainties that surround climate change politics."

University of East Anglia eh? And what exactly does that last paragraph mean?


Saturday, August 28, 2010

John Ibbitson: Conservatives exploiting divisions, Columnists not so much??

John Ibbitson of the Globe and Mail accuses the Prime Minister of exploiting a urban/rural divide in the ongoing gun registry debate. This in and of itself isn't really news, The Liberals created the divide when they exploited the Ecole Polytechnique massacre by creating the long gun registry to garner fearful urbanite's votes.

What I find interesting is Mr. Ibbitson's choice of words and demographic observations regarding this division. The following caught my eye:

Mr. Bagnell, who has opposed the long-gun registry every time he was allowed to vote his conscience, faces an impossible choice. If he breaks with his party, he will humiliate his leader, who will punish him accordingly.

If he respects the whip, the Conservatives will launch an electoral jihad against him in Yukon, where forcing gun owners to register their shotguns and rifles is seen as tantamount to creating a police state.

A jihad? Really? Do you mean an electoral struggle? A holy war? Do the conservatives consider the Liberals dar al harb? Or is jihad just part of the sexy journo lexicon these days?

Of course it gets better/worse.

The gun registry reflects a seemingly unbridgeable divide between rural and urban English Canada. (Support for the registry is higher in Quebec, where all 48 Bloc Québécois MPs support it.) Most urban Canadians can’t understand why hunters and farmers can’t make the effort to register a potentially dangerous weapon. Rural voters, the vast majority of whom are white, don’t understand why people in cities want further restrictions on their way of life and a culture that is under threat as Canada becomes ever more urban and multicultural.

The Conservatives happily exploit that divide, in the North and elsewhere. The Liberals and NDP can only suffer.

So this issue is racial and cultural as well as urban/rural? What no feminist angle?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Syncro: Journalists are useless without brains

Linda Mc Quaig of TorStar fame states that Canadian F-35's are useless without war. In a pique of unusual unintentional sanity Ms. McQuaig makes the case for the purchase of the F-35.

Joint strike power is essential in maintaining the current geo-political balance. in no major WAR.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Professor Iffy on National Unity, Pumpkins and Salt.

As the Professor Iffy Under the Bus Tour rolls across the nation, regular Mike took the opportunity to announce his National Food Policy initiative. Breathtaking in scope, noble in intent, interventionist by nature and as hollow as a jack-o-lantern.

So. If I understand Mike correctly there is a national unity rift along rural and urban lines. The solution to this crisis is more farmers markets and more Canadian food on Canadian plates, but not too much salt. Of course this will require government leadership.

If past performance is any indication of future actions then I would expect a regular Mike led LPC government to address the above mentioned national unity crisis through some sort of urban/rural educational outreach program. Advertising Sponsorship of selected events that foster national unity ought to do the trick.

As far as the salt issue goes...simple silly...a National Salt Shaker Registry.