Adéu a Nihil Obstat | Hola a The Catalan Analyst

Després de 13 anys d'escriure en aquest bloc pràcticament sense interrumpció, avui el dono per clausurat. Això no vol dir que m'hagi jubilat de la xarxa, sinó que he passat el relleu a un altra bloc que segueix la mateixa línia del Nihil Obstat. Es tracta del bloc The Catalan Analyst i del compte de Twitter del mateix nom: @CatalanAnalyst Us recomano que els seguiu.

Moltes gràcies a tots per haver-me seguit amb tanta fidelitat durant tots aquests anys.

dimarts, 31 d’agost de 2010

El clima viciat de l'IPCC

Segons El País: "La historia del comité de la ONU que produce los informes científicos sobre el cambio climático puede considerarse un éxito, pero el comité necesita reformas importantes, concluye un informe independiente sobre los procedimientos del Panel Intergubernamental para el Cambio Climático (IPCC, por sus siglas en inglés) de la ONU, encargado a raíz de la polémica surgida en torno a este organismo en el llamado Climategate, a finales de noviembre de 2009. El informe asegura que las conclusiones científicas sobre el cambio climático siguen vigentes y que no se ha analizado la ciencia, sino los procedimientos".

Per a La Vanguardia, la informació no es va considerar important. Així, la seva edició digital no se'n va fer ressò, mentre que avui, la seva edició en paper, ho recull en una petita nota a la pàgina 23.

En realitat, però, l'informe independent sobre l'IPCC conté un dura crítica al funcionament de l'organisme i en demana profundes reformes. Entre moltes altres coses, l'informe acusa l'IPCC de no reflectir correctament els punts de vista dels cientifics discrepants, així com de donar com a certes moltes coses que no ho són. De l'informe es desprèn la necessitat que el director de l'IPCC, Rajenda Pachauri, i la resta de càrrecs, pleguin.

Segons analitza The Economist,
The report finds problems with the way the IPCC handles reviews of its work, the degree to which it shows fairness when considering areas that are disputed, and the way it communicates the certainty, or lack of it, wherewith it speaks. It calls for new rules on conflict of interest (or more accurately, it calls for rules—at the moment the panel has none), a new full-time leadership position and a new executive committee. Perhaps most strikingly, the report can also be read as a call for Mr Pachauri to resign, though neither Mr Pachauri nor Mr Shapiro have characterised it in quite that way.

First, a quick IPCC primer. The panel provides various types of report and analysis, most famously a series of vast “assessment reports” on the state of scientific and academic knowledge about climate. Each report comes in three volumes produced by three different working groups, one that deals with the physical science of climate change, one that deals with the impacts of change, and one that deals with ways of reducing the amount of change to be expected. Each working group consists of hundreds of authors under the leadership of two (or sometimes more) co-chairs, one from a developed country, one from a developing country. The fourth assessment report was published in 2007; the fifth is slated to come out in installments starting in 2013 and finishing in 2014.

The Shapiro committee’s report points out that the IPCC has to a large extent sat out the “governance revolution” in accountability and transparency that charitable, educational and other organisations have been dealing with in the two decades of the panel’s existence. One way to start getting up to date, it suggests, is to create a new executive committee able to act in the panel’s name between the plenary sessions that actually bring the member governments together. This could make the IPCC a lot more responsive and communicative.

The committee would consist of the IPCC’s chair, the co-chairs for each of the three working groups, an executive director (a newly created post) and three others appointed by the governments to whom the IPCC is answerable, with at least one of these council members coming from outside the world of climate science. The executive director would be a full time appointment (the chair and the working group co-chairs are part-time roles), a job for a senior scientist who could command at least as much respect within the community as the co-chairs, and who would do most of the work involved in actually running the panel.

The sting in the tale of this suggestion is that the report recommends that the IPCC insider members of this executive committee should serve for only one term—that is, they should make their contributions over only one of the six-year assessment-report cycles. Between the end of work on the fourth assessment report and the beginning of work on the fifth all but one of the working group co-chairs did in fact change over. Mr Pachauri himself, though, did not; he is now well into his second term. Mr Shapiro refused to be drawn on whether the idea that Mr Pachauri should go was the logical conclusion of the report’s argument that “A 12-year appointment is too long for a field as dynamic and contested as climate change,” allowing only that it was “one possible logical response”. Mr Pachauri said that he had taken up a burden, and that putting it down was a matter not for him, but for the Busan plenary.

In a further move towards transparency, the report says the IPCC should start clearly defining the criteria by which it selects authors and others, including the chair and the new executive secretary, and documenting the steps it takes to ensure that all relevant scientific points of view are being represented or at least addressed. It should also make sure that regional assessments benefit from global expertise, not just that of those living in the regions in question. This will go some way to meeting the worries of those who see clear signs of “groupthink” in the panel’s workings, though some of those critics might still press for the entire process of author selection to be made transparent.