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he Australian has published my review of Donna Laframboise's
The review prompted a tweet from Michael Mann that I was wrong
to say the IPCC had dropped the hockey stick. Here's a source: judge for yourself.
Here's the text of the review:
A LITTLE-KNOWN Canadian freelancer whowrites a short book
dense with data and argument, and self-publishes a kindle version
on Amazon, can hardly expect fame and fortune.
Yet this seems to be what is happening to Donna Laframboise, the
author of The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken For The World's
Top Climate Expert.
Her book has garnered nearly 90 reviews on amazon.com in just
two weeks, about four-fifths of them giving it five stars.
The web is alive with discussion of this remarkable little book.
The World Wildlife Fund has put out a press release denouncing
What is all the fuss about? Like many people, me included,
Laframboise used to take climate science at face value. She thought
the case had been made by a committee of many neutral scientists
working for the UN that global warming was a serious threat.
After all, as Mark Twain once said, "people's beliefs and
convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and
without examination, from authorities who have not themselves
examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand
from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth
a brass farthing".
"After all," she writes, "journalists are supposed to be
sceptical. They aren't supposed to take anyone's word for anything.
They're supposed to dig, and question, and challenge."In 2009, two
years after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received
a Nobel Peace Prize, Laframboise, growing irritated with the
shallow analysis of the issue in the news sources she trusted most,
began reading and digging into the issue herself to get the
She was not the first Canadian outsider to do this. About seven
years before, an expert mathematician named Stephen McIntyre, also
a resident of Toronto, had begun to request the data and analysis
behind the famous "hockey stick graph" that appeared six times in
the 2001 report of the IPCC.
He eventually found that it was a house of cards, based on
faulty data filtered through a distorting statistical lens.
McIntyre's careful "audit" is now legendary, as is the resistance
and calumny he encountered. The hockey stick graph was dropped by
(Incidentally, both McIntyre and Laframboise were influenced by
encountering stubborn injustice earlier in their careers: McIntyre
experienced police corruption at first-hand; Laframboise
investigated a miscarriage of justice in a murder case.)
Laframboise focused on the IPCC reports themselves. How were
they actually written and who by? The impression the UN gave was
that they were composed by thousands of senior scientists.
In the words of Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC: "These
are people who have been chosen on the basis of their track record,
on their record of publications, on the research that they have
done . . . They are people who are at the top of their
In fact, as Laframboise meticulously documents, world experts on
malaria, hurricanes and other topics are excluded because of their
sceptical views; while a relatively small clique does the actual
writing, many of whom are young and have such a short "track
record" that they barely have higher degrees.
Moreover, many of the authors are up to their necks in
For example, two of the four lead authors of the Asia chapter of
the 2007 IPCC report were affiliated with the World Wildlife
That chapter was where the report claimed that Himalayan
glaciers would disappear by 2035, based on a non-peer-reviewed
publication from, you guessed it, WWF.
Likewise, nine chapters of the 2007 report were based partly on
the work of the Australian marine biologist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg who
was also a contributing author, and has been promoted to a
co-ordinating lead author for the next report.
As Laframboise discovered: "Hoegh-Guldberg has had close ties to
activist organisations for the past 17 years. Between 1994 and 2000
he wrote four reports about coral reefs and climate change that
were funded, vetted and published by Greenpeace. Since then he has
written two more for the World Wildlife Fund."
Is this organisation supposed to the judge or the
Laframboise goes on to document the ways in which "reviewers" of
the report, who are supposed to cast a critical eye over the first
draft, have been blocked, ignored, even threatened if they ask for
the data to back up a claim.
In one case, McIntyre asked for help in getting access to
unpublished data that had been cited in evidence by the draft. He
was told "if your intent is to . . . challenge (the rules), then we
will not be able to continue to treat you as an expert reviewer for
Which brings me to Laframboise's most startling achievement.
Noting that this incident and the WWF glacier claim revealed
non-peer-reviewed sources being used by the IPCC, Laframboise set
out to test Pachauri's claim that "we carry out an assessment of
climate change based on peer-reviewed literature, so everything
that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to
carry (the) credibility of peer-reviewed publications -- we don't
settle for anything less than that."
In March last year, Laframboise recruited 43 private citizens in
12 countries online to audit the entire IPCC 2007 report and count
the number of non-peer-reviewed references. Each section was
audited by three people and the lowest (most conservative) estimate
Even so, the audit showed that 5587 of 18,531 -- fully one-third
-- were non-peer-reviewed sources: including newspaper articles,
activist reports, even press releases. The IPCC had a rule that
such sources must be flagged as such. It had been ignored. When
criticised for this last year by a panel of the world science
academies, it simply changed the rule.
To those who are being asked to make significant economic
and environmental sacrifices to prevent global warming, and are
relying on second-hand accounts of this threat from the press: you
have been let down. The press, derelict in its duty, has passed on
opinions that in many cases are not worth Twain's "brass