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Conflict Resolution in Climate Science: Should the IPCC Be Disbanded? (Some thoughts from an outsider)

By Ross McKitrick -- February 23, 2011

Editor Note: This paper was prepared for the “Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate” workshop held by the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, European Commission in Lisbon, Portugal (January 26—28, 2011).

I am an “outsider” to the field of climatology in two respects: by professional training I am an economist, and as regards my research I am in dispute with proponents of some elements of what is commonly called the “consensus” scientific position.1

With regards to my economics background, I note that economists routinely undertake scientific research on matters of acute political controversy, yet the field remains generally congenial and productive; whereas the policy controversies connected to climate research have resulted in seriously disrupted and damaged collegiality in climatology. Why the difference between the two fields? I suggest attention be paid to two reasons: the habit on the part of climate and meteorological societies to issue “expert statements” on behalf of members, and the role of the IPCC.…