Some of you may have read the latest post at Climate Audit in which it’s shown the lastest IPCC report exaggerated concerns about undernourishment and its relation to global warming. I wasn’t going to respond to it, but I saw this comment by Richard Drake:
All you’re reporting from the SOD to final (h/t HaroldW also) is truly astonishing. Kudos to Richard Tol but woe to the lead authors and a system that seems to turn a blind eye to such abse. The result being that the world’s undernourished are used by the IPCC to support the unsupportable, “social and economic issues” be damned.
Which is too funny to pass up. Richard Tol abused the IPCC process to a huge degree, yet here, he’s being praised for his stand against “the lead authors and a system that seems to turn a blind eye to such ab[u]se.”
People who have followed know what I’m talking about. Several months ago, I showed Richard Tol rewrote a section of the latest IPCC report to weaken the concerns expressed in it and add in promotion for his own work. I also showed he wrote a completely new section which depended entirely upon his own work, heavily promoting his own work and views. I also showed at least some of Tol’s additions depended entirely upon outdated work.
Finally, as Steve McIntyre comments:
It’s also instructive to see the changes from the Second Draft to the Final Draft in the very first paragraph.
The Second Draft (the one sent to external reviewers) said that other “social and economic issues” were the “main drivers” in food security:
In the Final Draft, the important association of food security to “social and economic issues” was deleted, as well as the conclusion that the contribution of climate change to the price increases was likely small, replacing the language with much more alarmist language:
In other words, although IPCC trumpets its review process, these important changes were not passed by external reviewers, but made by chapter authors.
All of the changes I’m referring to were made after the Second Order Draft had already been reviewed, meaning none of them were “passed by external reviewers.”
An additional similarity is Richard Tol made dramatic changes to promote outdated results. The section he wrote from scratch said:
Estimates agree on the size of the impact (small relative to economic growth) but disagree on the sign (Figure 10-1). Climate change may be beneficial for moderate climate change but turn negative for greater warming. Impacts worsen for larger warming, and estimates diverge.
But this was based entirely upon estimates from two papers which showed any net benefit from climate change (values given as percent):
(Mendelsohn et al. 2000)a 0.1 (Tol 2002) 2.3
It’s difficult to see how an estimate of 0.1% could be taken as indicating anything. Regardless, the most recent of these estimates was published in 2002, over a decade ago. McIntyre concludes in his post:
Rather than using up-to-date FAO data showing a steady decline in undernourishment during a period of increasing temperatures (which they either were aware of or ought to have been aware of), the IPCC chose to feature an increase in an obsolete data set…. And, in particular, why did IPCC highlight a supposed increase in “provisional” data (more precisely now long obsolete data) when the increase changed to a decrease in the up-to-date version of the data?
The source used in the section McIntyre discusses was from 2008. Not only did Tol depend upon even older results, his results were obsolete. This is a graph showing his old results, indicating there could be positive effects for up to ~2C of warming:
This is an updated version of the graph:
This graph shows no net benefits from global warming. That’s a huge change. It completely undermines an important conclusion Richard Tol added into the IPCC report outside the normal review process.
Unlike in McIntyre’s case, this graph was published only after Tol made his additions to the the IPCC report. However, that difference is made less important as the graph was published because of concerns Bob Ward first raised in October of 2013. Tol repeatedly refused to admit having made any mistake, insulting anyone who said he had. This resistance delayed the correction of his work until after he was able to modify the IPCC report to favor his obsolete conclusions.
So lets review. Richard Tol rewrote one section of the IPCC report and wrote an entirely new section from scratch in order to downplay concerns about global warming (and heavily promote his own work). He made these changes only after all external review. Some of these changes were dependent entirely upon his own, obsolete work.
It’s difficult to see any substantial differences between what Richard Tol did and what Steve McIntyre highlights which don’t make Tol’s actions worse. As such, I have to laugh when I see:
Kudos to Richard Tol but woe to the lead authors and a system that seems to turn a blind eye to such abse.
Unknown authors were criticized for their abuse of the IPCC process. Richard Tol did almost the exact same thing, except maybe worse, and nobody seems to mind. In fact, people praise him!
It’s too funny.