Government inquiry: IPCC 5th Assessment Review

The Energy and Climate Change Committee is conducting an inquiry into the IPCC 5th Assessment.

Written submissions can be made to the committee of up to 3,000 words and must be submitted by 10th December.

The questions raised by the inquiry are:

  • How robust are the conclusions in the AR5 Physical Science Basis report? Have the IPCC adequately addresses criticisms of previous reports? How much scope is there to question of the report’s conclusions?
  • To what extent does AR5 reflect the range of views among climate scientists?
  • Can any of the areas of the science now be considered settled as a result of AR5’s publication, if so which?  What areas need further effort to reduce the levels of uncertainty?
  • How effective is AR5 and the summary for policymakers in conveying  what is meant by uncertainty in scientific terms ? Would a focus on risk rather than uncertainty be useful?
  • Does the AR5 address the reliability of climate models?
  • Has AR5 sufficiently explained the reasons behind the widely reported hiatus in the global surface temperature record?
  • Do the AR5 Physical Science Basis report’s conclusions strengthen or weaken the economic case for action to prevent dangerous climate change?
  • What implications do the IPCC’s conclusions in the AR5 Physical Science Basis report have for policy making both nationally and internationally?
  • Is the IPCC process an effective mechanism for assessing scientific knowledge? Or has it focussed on providing a justification for political commitment?
  • To what extent did political intervention influence the final conclusions of the AR5 Physical Science Basis summary?
  • Is the rate at which the UK Government intends to cut CO2 emissions appropriate in light of the findings of the IPCC AR5 Physical Science Basis report?
  • What relevance do the IPCC’s conclusions have in respect of the review of the fourth Carbon Budget?

The committee itself is chaired by Tim Yeo, notorious for his conflicts of interest arising from his payments from green companies. It was reported in June that Yeo was to stand down as chair of the committee, following a Sunday Times sting where reporters pretending to represent a green energy company  were told by Yeo that he could help them influence the committee in return for a fee. What happened to that story? Was there an independent inquiry that exonerated Tim Nice-but-dim of any wrongdoing?

Climate sceptic Peter Lilley has been a member of  the committee since October 2012, and just in the last few days Labour’s  Graham Stringer has been appointed. Stringer took part in the House of Commons investigation into climategate, taking a critical view and voting against the other MPs on several issues, for example, voting no to the idea that “the reputation of CRU remains intact”.

Is it worth making a submission to the inquiry? Well, that’s for you to decide, so I won’t advise either way or suggest what to say.

But remember that your submission will be published, so if you do send one in, please give it careful thought and make sure it looks professional.

2 thoughts on “Government inquiry: IPCC 5th Assessment Review

  1. We now have an answer about the Tim Yeo question.

    The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has decided that he didn’t break the rules. Coaching a witness from a company Yeo had a financial interest in about what to say to the Committee would have been against the rules, but apparently when Tim Yeo did this, he was only joking.

    He gets away with a slight slap on the wrist,
    “As a senior Member of the House, Mr Yeo should consider more carefully the impact of his comments. I hope he will do so in future.”

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