15 March 2011

CORRECTION: IPCC and Conflicts of Interest


Just about everything in the following Euractiv news story is incorrect:
. . . Steve Sawyer, who contributed a chapter to an upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on managing climate disasters, which will be published in May. . .

According to Sawyer, the forthcoming IPCC report will reveal that carbon emissions from nuclear power facilities clock up between 100 and 200 grams of carbon emissions per kilowatt hour (kWh). 'Clean' gas emits around 350 grams of carbon per kilowatt hour.  

But wind turbines emit no carbon when producing electricity.

One life-cycle assessment of the Vestas V90-3.0MW onshore turbine – which includes the manufacture of components – found that even here, only 4.64 grams of CO2 per kWh were created.

"Nuclear power is generally the most expensive, complicated and dangerous means ever devised by human beings to boil water," Sawyer said, summing up the anti-nuclear argument.

"Why anyone would want to use it to generate electricity is beyond me, unless they were interested - as most European states were in the early days of nuclear history - in what comes out the other end, which is fissionable material for nuclear weapons," he added.


  1. “The alarm bell on climate change has now been well and truly sounded, and for me, the time has come to turn my hand to making a difference in a different way. I believe that the key battle for the next decade or two will be fought not over if we change our unsustainable energy system, but how and when,” said Steve Sawyer. “The wind energy industry is in the strongest position to provide answers to these questions, and it must be a big part of the solution. It is a privilege for me to have the opportunity to help take this industry to the next level and ensure its voice is heard as loudly as it deserves.”


  2. "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

  3. Greenpeace seem to be at the heart of the IPCC


  4. http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/peer-into-the-heart-of-the-ipcc-find-greenpeace/

    For more examples of Greenpeace at the top of the IPCC.

  5. Kleiner (2008), quoting Sovacool (2008) estimated 66 g CO2e/kWh over the whole nuclear fuel cycle.

    Not that it matters. Nuclear energy may just have been dealt a death blow by the earthquake/typhoon.

  6. Donna Laframboise has more examples here: http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/peer-into-the-heart-of-the-ipcc-find-greenpeace/
    She concludes 'And people wonder why the IPCC’s reputation has sunk so low.'

    It is not an organisation worthy of our trust.

  7. http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/peer-into-the-heart-of-the-ipcc-find-greenpeace/

    "I’ve mentioned previously that the fact that Richard Klein worked as a Greenpeace campaigner at age 23 was no impediment to the IPCC appointing him a lead author at age 25. I’ve also drawn attention to the fact that some of those who’ve served as IPCC expert reviewers are actually Greenpeace employees.

    But the cozy relationship doesn’t end there. Bill Hare has been a Greenpeace spokesperson since 1992. By 2000 he was climate policy director for Greenpeace International. According to various Greenpeace blog posts he is “a legend” in that organization, served as its chief climate negotiator in 2007, and remains a chief policy advisor. Yet none of this has prevented him from being nominated – and chosen – to fill senior IPCC roles.

    In 2000 policy director Hare served as an expert reviewer for an influential IPCC emissions scenarios document. When the 2007 edition of the climate bible was released, we learned that he’d served as a lead author, that he’d been an expert reviewer for 2 out of 3 sections of the report (see here and here), and that he was one of a select group of only 40 people who comprised the “core writing team” for the important Synthesis Report.

    Hare has once again been appointed a lead author for the upcoming version of the climate bible, expected to be released in 2013 (see p. 8 of this 27-page PDF).

    It’s worth noting that the IPCC is less-than-candid about his Greenpeace ties. The 2007 climate bible says he’s affiliated with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. When the IPCC announced, last June, the list of authors for the version of the climate bible currently in progress the Potsdam Institute was once again used as cover. Since Hare is, in fact, a visiting researcher at the institute the IPCC hasn’t lied."

  8. This is excellent news!

    It reveals the contempt they hold us, and our views, in. This is what failing bureaucracies do. And it is why, when the public become aware of it, the bureaucracies fall.

  9. Different rules you say?
    No rules at all as far as I can see.

  10. The IPCC has become the poster child for farcical by allowing its reputation to be taken over by Greenpeace/The Global Environmental Industry - the poster child for spin, lies and bullsh*t.

    It is a difficult task to make the UN look any more stupid, corrupt or immoral than it already is but the IPCC is rising to that challenge in a big way.

  11. #5 Gerard Harbison said... 5

    Nuclear energy may just have been dealt a death blow by the earthquake/typhoon.

    Maybe in Germany for the time being.

    The best Congressman Markey could come up with is an 'immediate moratorium on nuclear construction in seismically active areas'.

    There is only one nuclear power plant anywhere near construction in the US and it's in Georgia.

    Senator Lieberman came up with something along the lines of 'we should delay construction of any new plants until we've had a chance to assess any lessons learned'.

  12. Hi Roger,

    There seems to be an error in the Euractive story. Sawyer is not involved in the special report on extremes (I searched the draft report for his name). His Bio only says he was expert reviewer of IPCC in the past. He is also not involved in AR5.


  13. Hey Roger Pielke, Jr,

    Steve Sawyer here, and although you accurately link to my bio, I am not now and have never been an IPCC author, and am not involved in any way in the special report on extreme events.

    I know it's hard to let the truth get in the way of a good story, but you might consider checking your facts before publishing

  14. Posts like these make me wish that critics of the IPCC would adhere to the same standards of quality control as they would like to see being applied by the IPCC.

    - Steve Sawyer is not on the list of authors of the IPCC Special Report 'Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation', which is presumable what is meant by the 'special report on managing climate disasters' (see here).

    - The publication of this report is not scheduled for May but for November (see here).

    - The report will not discuss carbon emissions from nuclear power facilities, or any other source of energy, for that matter (see here).

    - The IPCC has not thumbed its nose at the IAC and ignored the recommendation quoted above. In October 2010 it formed a task force to draft a proposed policy for implementing this recommendation. This draft was discussed by governments last week. It would expect the final version to be available online soon.

    The misinformation presented here appears to have encouraged people to respond with links to a recent post on the blog No Frakking Consensus, which mentions me as a former Greenpeace campaigner and presents this as evidence that the IPCC is biased. I would have preferred to respond there to that particular post (and to an earlier one about me being too young to be an expert when I was first selected as lead author), but it doesn't offer the opportunity to leave comments. So I take the liberty to respond here.

    - In 1992 I did indeed work for Greenpeace as an intern (with the job title 'assistant campaigner Atmosphere and Energy') for a period of three months. My task was to prepare a report about barriers to introducing renewable energy in the Netherlands.

    - I have not had any further affiliation with Greenpeace. In fact, I have frequently found myself at odds with Greenpeace about the relative merits of mitigation vs adaptation.

    - I would have been happy to discuss with Ms Laframboise of No Frakking Consensus any of the issues she raised about my involvement in IPCC, but to my knowledge she never contacted me. I remain available for a civil interaction.

    - That said, I prefer to engage in discussions about my work rather than my age or previous affiliations. I would welcome any pointers to where in my publications I have promoted the position of Greenpeace.

    - Please visit http://web.me.com/rjtklein/ for more information about me and my work.

  15. I had a senior moment when I wrote that the draft of the IPCC conflict of interest policy was discussed by governments last week. I confused March and May. The draft will be discussed on 10-13 May, and it will be made available online four weeks prior to this. Apologies for the confusion.

  16. Thanks to mcrok, Steve Sawyer and rjtklein for pointing out the gross errors in the Euractiv news story. I have updated this post accordingly.

    Steve Sawyer, the Euractiv story remains in error. Sorry for perpetuating those errors and I will put up a follow up post.

  17. -14-rjtklein

    Thanks again. As related to upholding quality standards, you'll find that bloggers, like the IPCC, are prone to the occasional mistake.I have made a correction -- please pass along this innovative technique to the IPCC.

    As far as thumbing their nose at the IPCC, it is my understanding that the IPCC COI policy will not apply to those currently involved. Please correct me if this is mistaken, but if that is correct (and I think it is), then I'll stick with "thumbing their nose" as a descriptor.

    I am unaware of your conflicts with another blogger, but since you are one entire year younger than me, I would have to agree that age is far too you to give anyone responsibilities ;-)

  18. -13-Steve Sawyer

    Thanks for stopping by and helping to set the record straight here. I encourage you to do so at EurActiv where the false information about you remains.

  19. Thanks Roger, you old man. Re corrections, have a look here. Also, governments recently discussed a 'Proposed IPCC Protocol for Addressing Errors in Previous Assessment Reports' (see Appendix 3 of this document).

    Unfortunately the preparation of such policies takes time. Many of the scientists working in IPCC would also like to see swifter follow up of the IAC recommendations, but this is entirely in the hands of the governments that make up the IPCC.

  20. From Donna Laframboise's blog, I saw the name Ricahrd Moss, and his affiliation, the WWF.


    Richard Moss is on the 15th chapter of the AR5, the section on Adaptation Planning and Implementation.

    It’s interesting about his WWF connection, and the name just below his on the AR5, Walter Vergara, with the World Bank.

    The WWF, with grant money from the World Bank, have purchased the rights to Amazonian forest, and hope to make 60 billion dollars from carbon credits, through REDD (reducing emissions from developing countries deforestation).


    Of course, Chapter 15 also deals with REDD.

    I really suspect that the theme music to the IPCC is “Dueling Banjos”. And that they feel the hillbillies in “Deliverance” were just misunderstood.

  21. Just picking up on this, Steve Sawyer is being disingenuous, this was his bio when he joined GWEC, presumably he provided it?

    "Steve Sawyer spent 30 years working for Greenpeace, primarily on a wide range of energy issues. He was the CEO of both Greenpeace USA (’86 to ’88) and Greenpeace International (’88-93’, and he served as Head of Delegation to many sessions of the Kyoto Protocol/ UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, as well as heading delegations to the Johannesburg Earth Summit in 2002 and numerous sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Mr Sawyer is also a founding member of the REN21 Renewable Energy Policy Network and was a Member of the Steering Committee of the Renewables 2004 ministerial conference in Bonn.

    Since 2004, Mr Sawyer has been an expert advisor to the Chinese government on the formulation of the country’s Renewable Energy Law, which entered into force in 2006. Moreover, Mr Sawyer has provided expert advice to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and he is a reviewer for the Working Group III Report, which will be published on 4 May 2007."


    Lo and behold, there he is:

  22. Harrywr2 said... #11

    #5 Gerard Harbison said...

    Nuclear energy may just have been dealt a death blow by the earthquake/typhoon.

    TSUNAMI not TYPHOON, otherwise yes, the greeniacs are milking that for all it's worth.