IPCC Confirms Its Status as a Political Organization

Well, sort of…after all, they just had their “elections“. And the individual countries’ did push hard to get the best seats for next round of reporting:

Each round of the IPCC assessment process kicks off with an election, where national delegations vote for the panel’s chairman, the co-chairs of its three working groups —which respectively deal with climate science, impacts and adaptation, and mitigation — and an array of vice-chairs.

But after last year’s glory, this time countries eagerly sought seats on the prestigious panel. According to Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology in California and new co-chair of Working Group II, nations stake “a flag in the ground” when they commit a big-name expert — and corequisite staff and funding, in the case of wealthy nations — to support the panel.

If that’s not a series of political machinations, then what is? Like in politics, one doesn’t have to be competent to get the top jobs. In fact, there is now at least one Working Group chaired by two people that are officially not experts in the field:

Some were surprised, however, that Working Group II will be led by two physical scientists — Chris Field and Vicente Barros, a University of Buenos Aires hydrologist — rather than by a social scientist or economist. Field, known for his research on carbon cycles, “is very much a natural scientist,” says Colin Prentice, a geoscientist at the University of Bristol, UK. “It’s a big change for him.”

Working Group II’s remit is about “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability“.

The good thing is that whenever their fifth report comes out, I’ll be able to claim to know about the subject as much as the IPCC’s own Working Group Chairmen!