Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Scientific American: IPCC needs to be "more transparent" and "conduct its reviews publicly, online"

The IPCC Has to Move Faster to Remain Relevant: Scientific American
Without the latest data, the IPCC, already conservative in its proclamations, tends to underestimate the risks of climate change.
The organization should also conduct its reviews publicly, online. Scientists would post drafts and comments in a wiki-style repository that would grow daily. This format would mute criticisms that the drafting process is overly secretive. Occasional errors, such as a mistake in the 2007 assessment about how rapidly Himalayan glaciers are receding, would be caught right away. Any alleged bias from an author would be revealed. A more transparent system would also help neuter the unfounded (yet enduring) accusations that the IPCC is some sort of political conspiracy, rather than a research review board. Mostly, a wiki approach would ensure that all reports reflect up-to-the-minute science.

Unfortunately, the IPCC is not built to do quick work. The organization currently relies on an army of volunteer scientists encumbered by their day jobs. The group should instead become a permanent, global agency that relies on a nimble, dedicated staff.

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