So, I didn’t like the IAC prescription for the IPCC. So I need my own. And I forgot that I already had one. PK said it well in the comments:
How many IPCC reports does it take to screw in a light bulb? The bureaucratic solution for inefficient bureaucracy always seems to be more bureaucracy. If the purpose of the IPCC is to inform governments on climate change and its possible impacts, the job is pretty much done. If the purpose is to provide a rationale for global taxation and control of CO2, we’ll be arguing over the results of AR15.
but it bears repeating and expanding. No number of IPCC reports is going to convince people who don’t want to know, that the science is good and, yes, to use that term that everyone hates, settled – at least in the basics. You can – if you hold your nose – visit any number of septic blog sites and find people arguing passionately for positions totally divorced from scientific knowledge. These people don’t argue against what is in the IPCC reports, because they have never read them or anything vaguely based on them. Producing another bigger fatter more up to date version will not sway them. That is fine really – such people aren’t the target audience. But they are voters, and politicians can’t be too bold while their constituents believe twaddle.
Some people still seem to hold the belief that the *next* IPCC report – which will be even more unequivocal on the-temperature-is-going-up-and-it-is-our-fault – will change peoples mind. I’m very dubious about that. For that kind of thing, we have all the evidence that is required (disclaimers: I’m only really speaking about WGI stuff, because it is the only thing i have a clue about, and I’m not saying we should shut down all the physical climate change research. There are plenty of exciting and interesting things to discover. But they won’t change the big picture). This is, I think (but can’t be bothered to look up) the RP Jr viewpoint: that doing something about GW is a political problem, not a scientific one (in a way that it wasn’t in, say, 1990, when the scientific field was far more open).
So while I stick by what I said a while back I think then I didn’t really understand what I would now take to be the key point: which is to stop trying to make WGI policy relevant. Make the WGI report much smaller; less bureaucratic; put fewer people on it. Report on less research. There is no need at all for it to summarise everything, or even try to. Put a note on the front page: “This is a research report. If you care about the politics, go elsewhere. We’ve already told you all you need to know”.
* IPCC troubles in context: Some good Dutch media coverage
* A modest proposal for the IPCC – page limits are a good start, and hive off detail. I’d make them stricter.