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The IPCC Can’t Count – Author and Reviewer Numbers Wrong January 7, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
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The IPCC Can’t Count – Author and Reviewer Numbers Wrong


By John McLean

How many times have you heard or read words to the effect that 4000 scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) supported the claims about a significant human influence on climate? I think I’ve seen it on television, radio and the Internet and I know that politicians at national levels have quoted such figures. There’s no question whatsoever. It’s utterly wrong.

In fact, once the duplicated names are removed that number falls below 2,900 and if we only want those who explicitly supported the claims it falls to only about 60. So how does 4,000 become 60? Let’s take a closer look at the real numbers.

Consider the statement “The IPCC report concluded that there is a human influence on climate. This was supported by almost 4,000 authors and reviewers.” The popular mythology – and one that IPCC never tries to correct – is that those 4,000 supported the findings but all they really supported, by their work, was the creation of the report. The IPCC is allowing, or perhaps even encouraging, an ambiguity be misinterpreted, and not for the first time either, but I digress.

But how many individuals were involved? Was it 4,000 or some other number? The IPCC said in its flyer for its Fourth Assessment Report (4AR): 2500+ Scientific Expert Reviewers. 800+ Contributing Authors, 450+ Lead Authors. So immediately the figure drops from 4,000 to 3,750 – but a closer check shows that’s not correct either.

John goes on in this analysis to show why the number is closer to 60 and concludes with “We can however be sure that support among those other IPCC authors and reviewers was not unanimous. The lists of reviewers contain the names of many people who are known to be sceptical of a significant human influence on temperature, so any implication that they supported the IPCC’s findings are totally without merit. As mentioned earlier, the support to which the IPCC referred in its flyer was towards the creation of the entire report, not the findings of a small network of climate modellers, although the “sceptical reviewers” would probably argue that their support for the report was only in trying to curb the excesses of the IPCC’s authors.

This document has shown that yet another statement by the IPCC is unsupported by any solid evidence. Not only was the IPCC dishonest about the level of support for its primary claim, either deliberately or through allowing an ambiguity to be misinterpreted, but it couldn’t even get its number of authors and reviewers correct. If the IPCC cannot provide an accurate count of authors, reviewers and the people who acted in both roles for its report then we probably should be asking what, if any, of its statements can be believed.


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