All the Gates Explained

RealClimate just posted a very comprehensive and well-cited analysis of Glaciergate/Seagate/Africagate/Amazongate/whatever else Jonathan Leake has come up with.

They conclude that the only real error discovered in the IPCC AR4 was the Himalayan glacier screw-up. The claim that 55% of the Netherlands is below sea level (when only 26% is below sea level, but a further 29% is susceptible to river flooding) is incorrect, but as it “has no bearing on any IPCC conclusions and has nothing to do with climate science…it is questionable whether it should even be counted as an IPCC error.”

Beyond that, it’s all the work of one or two British journalists really hoping that they can ruin the IPCC’s credibility if they try hard enough. A valiant effort, but not legitimate.

Read the full post here.


3 thoughts on “All the Gates Explained

  1. I don’t think RealClimate are being entirely honest when they say there are at most 2 errors. Part of their defence seems to be that as long as the IPCC cited the grey literature correctly, they are absolved of any errors that turn up in that grey literature. This is problematic since when any IPCC conclusions are cited, its accepted that its peer reviewed and supported.

    [Not by anyone familiar with the IPCC citation policies, and certainly not in WG2 or WG3. Whether or not you and I agree with citing grey literature, it’s not against the IPCC’s policies. -Kate]

    Let’s take Africagate for instance. Its been repeated many times that in Africa by 2020, “in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture would be reduced by 50%”.'s_International_slides.pdf

    All of this comes from IPCC’s citing of Agoumi (2003):

    The most support Agoumi appears to have for this statement is from a Moroccan government report:

    It states that it expects by 2020, “a decrease in cereal yields by 50% in dry years and 10% in normal years.”

    This is hardly the same thing.

    [Have you been able to get a hold of the UNEP-GEF Project RAB94G31? That’s the other citation Agoumi gives for the list that claim was part of, but it doesn’t seem to be available online. -Kate]

    It seems that Jonathan Leake does have something to stand on here considering he has Robert Watson, chairman of the IPCC from 1997 to 2002, stating “Any such projection should be based on peer-reviewed literature from computer modelling of how agricultural yields would respond to climate change. I can see no such data supporting the IPCC report,”

    There is a legitimate point here (which is also held by Professor Chris Field, the new lead author of the IPCC’s climate impacts team).

    I think the IPCC will be much more careful this time around in its citing of grey literature, and this can only be a good thing.

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