Delinquent Authority: A Feminist Checks the Sources of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's "Climate Bible" and Finds That Nearly a Third of Them Are Not Peer Reviewed, and More

By Heiser, James | The New American, March 19, 2012 | Go to article overview

Delinquent Authority: A Feminist Checks the Sources of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's "Climate Bible" and Finds That Nearly a Third of Them Are Not Peer Reviewed, and More


Heiser, James, The New American


The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert, by Donna Laframboise, Toronto, Canada: Ivy Avenue Press, 2011, 235 pages, paperback.

If the rhetoric generated by the political and media elites is to be believed, the "theory" of man-made global warming is no longer merely a theory, but a scientifically established fact. Denial of the overarching myth of man's deleterious impact on Earth's climate is often treated like the scientific equivalent of claiming that the Earth is flat. And as proof for their assertion of the established fact of global warming, the theory's advocates believe they need seek no further than studies published by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007.

But what if the IPCC were found to be unworthy of the praise that has been heaped on it? The central contention of The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert, a new book by investigative journalist Donna Laframboise, is that the "science" carried out under the auspices of the IPCC falls far short of the standards of scientific proof, and the praise that has been lavished on the organization is utterly without warrant. As Laframboise declares in her first chapter:

  This book is about a spoiled child. Year after year, this child has
  been admired, flattered, and praised. There has been no end of
  self-esteem-building in his life. What there has been little of,
  though, is honest feedback or constructive criticism.

On center stage throughout The Delin-quent Teenager are the various editions of the report generated by the IPCC: The IPCC Assessment Report (now in its fourth edition and commonly abbreviated as AR4) is informally referred to as the "Climate Bible." The chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, shares the stage with the Climate Bible, and both he and the Climate Bible are weighed in the balance of proper scientific methodology and found lacking.

For some readers, Donna Laframboise might seem an unlikely crusader against the global-warming lobby. Hardly a "mouthpiece" for conservative journalism, she observes, "I don't recall having ever seen a FOX News broadcast. Right-wing media sources are not, therefore, remotely responsible for my climate change views." In fact, Laframboise, a Canadian journalist who formerly worked for the Toronto Star and National Post, describes herself as "a feminist who holds an undergraduate degree in women's studies" and whose first book. The Princess at the Window -- A New Gender Morality (1996), was about the women's movement. She is clearly una-mused that "people who see things differently try to link my climate views to racists, Holocaust deniers, child murderers, mental illness, and the tobacco industry." What has aligned her with conservative critics of the theory of man-made climate change is a common skepticism regarding the scientific methodology of the theory's advocates.

Laframboise's skepticism led her to initiate what she calls "The Citizen Audit," "a fact-checking exercise conducted over five weeks in March and April 2010." The Citizen Audit brought together 40 volunteers from 12 countries to carry out the laborious task of reviewing the sources cited by the IPCC Climate Bible to determine whether they were, in fact, "peer-reviewed" -- as had so often been claimed by IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. The facts uncovered by The Citizen Audit were appalling: 47 percent of the chapters -- 21 chapters out of 44 -- of the latest Climate Bible received a failing grade (a "D" or "F") for their use of sources, and the 2007 IPCC report as a whole had 18,531 references (not sources), of which 5,587 were not peer-reviewed. (An extensive review of the findings of The Citizen Audit can be found at NOconsensus.org.) The difference between IPCC claims regarding the scientific legitimacy of the Climate Bible and the findings of The Citizen Audit soon became readily apparent:

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

  Six days after we released our results, an article authored by
  Pachauri appeared in a Yale University online publication. … 

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