It seems quite remarkable that the IPCC has released a statement in response to the Daily Mail article on a supposed smear campaign against Richard Tol. It seems to make clear that there may well be errors in some of Richard Tol’s papers, that these errors have potentially made it into the IPCC documents and that an erratum can’t be issued until the journals in which Richard Tol’s papers were published have issued corrections.
There has been a fairly robust exchange about this between Bob Ward and Richard Tol, and it seems hard to argue that Bob Ward wasn’t mostly right (although that doesn’t appear to be stopping Richard from suggesting that he isn’t). I was certainly aware of an error in one of Richard’s papers 6 months ago and Bob Ward started discussing these errors with Richard at about the same time. I will say that I imagine that Richard finds David Rose’s defense of him rather annoying. I haven’t hidden my dislike for Richard’s style of engagement. It’s, in my opinion, robust to the point of being remarkably rude. However, in his defense, he’s always seemed more than willing to take it as well as dish it out. For a journalist to write an article that makes a world-leading economist seem both whiny and hypocritical, must be remarkably irritating.
What’s maybe more interesting to consider is what would have happened had this been papers by Michael Mann, or another high-profile, non-dissenting climate scientist. It’s hard to imagine that there wouldn’t be howls of indignation from the usual suspects (David Rose probably being one of them), followed by accusations of “fraud”, “deception”, and other forms of willful wrong-doing. I guess we can’t know for certain, but given the ongoing law-suit between Michael Mann and Mark Steyn, it wouldn’t seem unreasonable to assume that it wouldn’t be pretty or pleasant. You might think that this implies some kind of double-standard, but one should bear in mind that this is allowed within the rules of ClimateballTM.
As I understand it, the errors in Richard’s papers aren’t particularly significant (and here I’m using significant as it might be understood in general conversation, rather than in some statistically, well-defined way). It’s not going to change things greatly. It’s just about correcting known errors. In fact, it’s quite remarkable that this wasn’t resolved in a matter of minutes with a polite “Thanks, I’ll get those corrected” (actually, no it’s not really remarkable, but you know what I mean).
The Daily Mail article that suggests that there is a smear campaign against Richard Tol also has a short section by Ben Pile which starts with the IPPC report was ramped up to predict wars, extreme weather and famine… while its authors slept on the job. The IPCC statement comments on this to say
The Mail on Sunday article also misrepresents the process by which the Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group II report was approved, and provides incorrect references in the underlying report to excerpts it quotes from the Summary for Policymakers.
If this was at all surprising, I might say more. Since it isn’t, I won’t.