NRSP Peddling Deceptive Statistics About IPCC

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The energy-backed Natural Resources Steward Project‘s Tom Harris is at it again, spreading questionable statistics about the review process of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In Harris’s most recent diatribe on Canada Free Press, the energy industry PR guy says the IPCC is misleading people by saying its work was reviewed by 2,500 scientists. To the contrary, Harris and a new collaborator named John Mclean, say that whole sections of the IPCC reports are reviewed by very few people, and that the editors don’t always respect reviewers’ input. For example, in reference to the chapter that contains the broadest consensus statements about human-induced global warming, Harris and Mclean say:

“In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears. And of these 62 reviewers, 55 had serious vested interests, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial. In addition, almost 60 per cent of all the comments from official IPCC scientist reviewers concerning this crucial chapter were rejected by IPCC editors.”

As someone whose own conflict of interest is so well documented, Harris is a bit dodgy about offering any evidence for the “seriously vested interests” charge. But when someone (thanks Dave) took the time to follow up Harris and Mclean’s statistical analysis, it turned out that this statistical sample was more than a little misleading. The IPCC had indeed rejected a lot of comments in this section, but 90 per cent came from a single reviewer: NRSP insider Dr. Vincent Gray, a New Zealand chemist and coal expert who has never published peer-reviewed work on climate science and whose last peer-reviewed publication on any topic appeared 17 years ago. And a large number of rejections came because the input was grammatically or logically insensible.

Once again, Harris deserves some grudging admiration: he has succeeded again in spreading disinformation all around the internet and has even won publication of this “analysis” in the mainstream press (although the Saskatoon Star Phoenix is not quite the New York Times). The fact that he is a front man for a Toronto energy industry lobby firm always disappears into the detail (the Star Phoenix either didn’t bother checking his credentials or doesn’t mind shilling for PR people who want to hide the identity and motivations of their deep-pocketed clients).

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