Over at Climate Audit, Steve has called for the sacking of the entire WGIII.
Everyone in IPCC WG3 should be terminated and, if the institution is to continue, it should be re-structured from scratch.
Apparently even Mark Lynas thinks so…
…a close reading of it shows that the IPCC has made an error much more serious than the so-called Himalayagate and associated non-scandals last year – it has allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by a campaigning NGO. Moreover, the error was spotted initially by none other than Steve McIntyre, who has been a thorn in the side of the IPCC and climate science generally for a long time. Yet this time McIntyre has got it right.
histrionics strident language?
It’s the Special Report of WGIII and the press release that came out prior to the release of the larger document.
Now, we all know Steve is not a fan of the IPCC. His life for the past decade seems to be about auditing the IPCC and climate science used in it to determine if it lives up to the Mining Industry’s high standards.
He doesn’t think it does.
This sort of press release is not permitted in mining promotions and it remains a mystery to me why it is tolerated in academic press releases or press releases by international institutions.
Shucks, I don’t know why the IPCC can’t live up to the high standards of the mining industry. Do you?
Oh, why can’t climate science be more like mining promotion?
Steve must be referring to mining industry examples like Anvil Mining. Or maybe the W R Grace Company? Perhaps he means Massey Energy? I could go on by it would be tedious to document all the cases of stellar behaviour on the part of the mining industry.
What has caused this call for the heads of the WGIII?
Mitigation potentials and costs
A significant increase in the deployment of RE by 2030, 2050 and beyond is indicated in the majority of the 164 scenarios reviewed in this Special Report.11 In 2008, total RE production was roughly 64 EJ/yr (12.9% of total primary energy supply) with more than 30 EJ/yr of this being traditional biomass. More than 50% of the scenarios project levels of RE deployment in 2050 of more than 173 EJ/yr reaching up to over 400 EJ/yr in some cases (Figure SPM.9). Given that traditional biomass use decreases in most scenarios, a corresponding increase in the production level of RE (excluding traditional biomass) anywhere from roughly three-fold to more than ten-fold is projected. The global primary energy supply share of RE differs substantially among the scenarios. More than half of the scenarios show a contribution from RE in excess of a 17% share of primary energy supply in 2030 rising to more than 27% in 2050. The scenarios with the highest RE shares reach approximately 43% in 2030 and 77% in 2050. [10.2, 10.3] (my emphasis)
10 ‘Negative estimates’ within the terminology of lifecycle assessments presented in the SRREN refer to avoided emissions. Unlike the case of bioenergy combined with CCS, avoided emissions do not remove GHGs from the atmosphere. 11 For this purpose a review of 164 global scenarios from 16 different large-scale integrated models was conducted. Although the set of scenarios allows for a meaningful assessment of uncertainty, the reviewed 164 scenarios do not represent a fully random sample suitable for rigorous statistical analysis and do not represent always the full RE portfolio (e.g., so far ocean energy is only considered in a few scenarios) [10.2.2]. For more specific analysis, a subset of 4 illustrative scenarios from the set of 164 was used. They represent a span from a baseline scenario without specific mitigation targets to three scenarios representing different CO2 stabilization levels. [10.3]
From: SRREN P. 18 of 24 Special Report Renewable Energy Sources
The claim in the press release was that Renewable Energy (RE) could
compromise comprise up to 80% of the energy supply by 2050 according to a model scenario, depending on different CO2 stabilization levels and other factors, like applicable policies, etc.
What is the most scandalous — that such a high figure is highlighted or who was involved in highlighting it? Or both?
Seems to me that people who want to be scandalized find ample material…
It also seems to me that those of us who accept the preponderance of scientific evidence on the existence of AGW must try to understand future impacts and ways to mitigate and adapt. If we really do want to limit GHEs and associate warming, we have to find energy alternatives that work — unless we want to join the Amish and live a pre-industrial life.
So, the problem is that we’re trying to see into the future, using models to try to forecast what might occur with RE given various scenarios. This is the kind of thing that can’t be done in a laboratory — the lab is our earth and our societies and we don’t get a do-over. So this isn’t pure science. It’s as much social science as it is engineering and art.
In other words, it’s not pure science, it’s not the usual peer-reviewed literature. It’s a lot of engineers and people in business and other fields — and even the dread NGOs — who actually think about these issues on a regular basis. This is why some grey literature is allowed in IPCC reports under specific conditions. Some good work is done outside the scientific literature. For WGIII, it is a key part of the evidence, if done properly.
What is the source of the current IPCC-Gate Du Jour?
An article published in the journal Energy Efficiency by Sven Teske and others that made its way into the IPCC Special Report and the fact that Sven Teske is a Director of Greenpeace’s Renewable Energy Campaign. He is an engineer who has worked for Greenpeace since graduation in 1994 with his Dipl. Ing — equivalent to a Masters in Engineering.
He was also a Lead Author of the WGIII Chapter 10, which cites his work. Since graduation, he has written almost two dozen reports on energy.
So, the issue is that Sven Teske, a Greenpeace employee, wrote an article which was used in the WGIII Chapter 10, of which he was a Lead Author.
McIntyre and his echo chamber argue that IPCC shouldn’t have appointed Teske as a Lead Author because he is in a conflict of interest — he is an employee of an NGO — Greenpeace — and so has a bias. He was part of a group that reviewed his own work and thus can’t be objective.
I don’t know — I can’t feel very scandalized. I suspect that there isn’t a huge number of researchers and experts in this field who are willing to do this work. I suspect that the IPCC selects those they believe are experts in their fields. I suspect that those experts might at some point end up reviewing their own work because they were picked because they were the experts! It’s a hazard of this enterprise. It is a weakness that should be mitigated by having a strong field of other experts who can provide a counter-weight to any bias the individual expert might have.
Skeptics are always asserting that just because folks like McIntyre attend workshops funded by fossil fuel interests such as the Heartland Institute or the CEI or others, or just because they are tied to the fossil fuel industry or industries that create high levels of GHEs, their work auditing climate science and AGW is not necessarily tainted.
We should look at the works themselves and avoid ad hominem attacks.
Is the WGIII special report really that bad and is the presence of Teske and his work so tainting that the entire org should be sacked?
What do you think?
(is this post sufficiently non-polemical and dialogue-encouraging to meet high Foucauldian standards? :) )
Here’s Greenpeace’s response:
From Andy Revkin’s blog:
Responding to questions about Greenpeace’s influence on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, Sven Teske, Senior Energy Expert at Greenpeace International said:
“Each country was invited to propose authors for the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN). Germany suggested eight people – of the seven chosen, I was, as far as I am aware, the only engineer working with an environmental NGO”.
“The IPCC SRREN report went through four review rounds, with review rounds of six to eight weeks. With more than 120 contributors, each tasked with dealing with lists of comments, the idea of Greenpeace being able to ‘dictate’ a conclusion is clearly absurd”.
“With Exxon, Chevron and the French nuclear operator EDF also contributing to the IPCC, trying to suggest that this expert UN body is a wing of Greenpeace is preposterous. In fact, Greenpeace has criticised the IPCC for being too conservative over the years. On this occasion our advice was given weight, but that’s hardly surprising given that it was developed with the German Aerospace Centre while the London’s Imperial College, and companies like Oxford Economics and McKinsey have also outlined the vast potential of renewable energy.”
“The Energy Revolution scenario project was a partnership between Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), an umbrella group of organisations within the renewable energy industry, which provided key data for the project. The actual modeling was performed by the German Space Agency (DLR).
“The report has been peer reviewed by energy experts and its data, methods and conclusions are entirely transparent and open to public scrutiny. EREC’s members represent a wide range of corporations with interests in renewable energy including Siemens and the French nuclear manufacturer AREVA. Greenpeace features the report prominently on our website because its conclusions show the potential of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out the use of fossil fuels, while also eliminating nuclear power dependence in the coming decades.”
Sven Teske is an expert in renewable energy who has many years of experience within the renewable energy industry, and is currently a senior energy expert at Greenpeace International. (my emphasis)
And here is the Co-Chair of WGIII, also from Andy Revkin’s blog:
“Over 160  existing scientific scenarios on the possible penetration of renewables by 2050, alongside environmental and social implications, have been reviewed with four analyzed in-depth. These four were chosen in order to represent the full range. [...]
The most optimistic of the four, in-depth scenarios projects renewable energy accounting for as much as 77 percent of the world‘s energy demand by 2050, amounting to about 314 of 407 Exajoules per year. [...]
77 percent is up from just under 13 percent of the total primary energy supply of around 490 Exajoules in 2008. Each of the scenarios is underpinned by a range of variables such as changes in energy efficiency, population growth and per capita consumption. These lead to varying levels of total primary energy supply in 2050, with the lowest of the four scenarios seeing renewable energy accounting for a share of 15 percent in 2050, based on a total primary energy supply of 749 Exajoules.”
Sven Teske was nominated as an author by the German government and selected by the WGIII as Lead author in the IPCC’s continuous effort to draw on the full range of expertise, and this includes NGOs and business as well as academia. Chapter 10 has been thouroughly reviewed by independent experts and governments. He is one of nine Lead Authors, with two Coordinating Lead Authors overseeing the process of writing the chapter. He has made substantial contributions, but was neither the only nor the leading person in this team effort.
Co-chair Working Group III, IPCC
As usual, McIntyre can only overstate, conflate, misrepresent, smear and make innuendo.