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IPCC Report Card

BACKGROUND
United Nations countries belong to an organization called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which publishes a report every six years. Often referred to as the "climate bible" these reports are relied on by governments around the world.

The latest was released in 2007. Sometimes called the AR4 (the Fourth Assessment Report), it contains 44 chapters and is nearly 3,000 pages long. Written by people organized into teams - Working Group 1, 2 and 3 - it consists of three smaller reports bundled into one.

The chairman of the IPCC has repeatedly said the report relies solely on peer-reviewed literature to support its findings. He has said research that hasn't appeared in peer-reviewed journals should be thrown "into the dustbin" (see the last line of this newspaper article). But our audit has discovered almost 5,600 non-peer-reviewed references in this report.

In elementary schools in the United States, students are assigned grades ranging from an A to an F, based on the mark they've achieved out of 100 (see Wikipedia's table here). Most parents would be alarmed if their child brought home a report card similar to the one received by the IPCC.


Lowest to Highest Grades
(click each chapter for the relevant section of the IPCC report)

2007
IPCC report (AR4)
grade % peer-reviewed total number of references % not peer-reviewed
Working Group 3, Chapter 4 F 15 360 85
Working Group 3, Chapter 7 F 23 352 77
Working Group 3, Chapter 1 F 24 50 76
Working Group 3, Chapter 5 F 27 260 73
Working Group 3, Chapter 6 F 29 379 71
Working Group 3, Chapter 12 F 37 414 63
Working Group 2, Chapter 13 F 40 354 60
Working Group 2, Chapter 11 F 42 372 58
Working Group 3, Chapter 2 F 46 302 54
Working Group 2, Chapter 7 F 46 244 54
Working Group 3, Chapter 10 F 47 191 53
Working Group 3, Chapter 13 F 48 491 52
Working Group 2, Chapter 9 F 53 361 47
Working Group 2, Chapter 17 F 53 275 47
Working Group 2, Chapter 20 F 53 220 47
Working Group 2, Chapter 18 F 56 270 44
Working Group 3, Chapter 9 F 56 229 44
Working Group 2, Chapter 14 F 58 562 42
Working Group 2, Chapter 16 F 58 194 42
Working Group 3, Chapter 3 F 58 358 42
Working Group 2, Chapter 10 F 59 391 41
Working Group 3, Chapter 11 D 62 330 38
Working Group 2, Chapter 6 D 65 443 35
Working Group 2, Chapter 2 D 67 374 33
Working Group 2, Chapter 15 D 68 361 32
Working Group 2, Chapter 5 C 70 444 30
Working Group 2, Chapter 3 C 71 377 29
Working Group 2, Chapter 12 C 71 633 29
Working Group 2, Chapter 19 C 71 273 29
Working Group 2, Chapter 8 C 75 557 25
Working Group 3, Chapter 8 C 77 317 23
Working Group 1, Chapter 1 B 80 264 20
Working Group 2, Chapter 4 B 82 917 18
Working Group 1, Chapter 4 B 85 257 15
Working Group 2, Chapter 1 B 86 650 14
Working Group 1, Chapter 11 B 89 609 11
Working Group 1, Chapter 6 A 93 609 7
Working Group 1, Chapter 8 A 94 686 6
Working Group 1, Chapter 9 A 94 535 6
Working Group 1, Chapter 2 A 95 759 5
Working Group 1, Chapter 10 A 95 545 5
Working Group 1, Chapter 3 A 96 804 4
Working Group 1, Chapter 5 A 96 289 4
Working Group 1, Chapter 7 A 96 869 4
      18,531  
Table 2   [web images: partA partB]

 

Of the 44 chapters in the IPCC report:

21 received an F - 59% or fewer references are peer-reviewed
4 received a D - 60-69% of references are peer-reviewed
6 received a C - 70-79% of references are peer-reviewed
5 received a B - 80-89% of references are peer-reviewed
8 received an A - 90-100% of references are peer-reviewed



grade chapters
(out of 44)
% of chapters
receiving this grade
F
(59% & below)
21 48
D
(60-69%)
4 9
C
(70-79%)
6 14
B
(80-89%)
5 11
A
(90-100%)
8 18
Table 1   [web image here]

 

 

Citizen Audit graphic                                                   IPCC graphic

   

 

 

 

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