Junk Science Week: The IPCC’s Greenpeace Karaoke

UN agency’s energy report claiming 80% of world energy supply could be renewable by 2050 is based on a Greenpeace study written by one of the IPCC’s lead authors, Sven Teske

By Steve McIntyre, National Post
On May 9, 2011, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report that declared a kind of revolution in world energy supply. “Close to 80 percent of the world’s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.”

Approved and released at an IPCC meeting in Abu Dhabi, the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, received ringing endorsements from IPCC officials, including IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. “The IPCC brought together the most relevant and best available information to provide the world with this scientific assessment of the potential of renewable energy sources to mitigate climate change,” said Mr. Pachauri. The report, he said, “can serve as a sound knowledge basis for policy makers to take on this major challenge of the 21st century.”

All that’s needed to achieve 80% renewable energy by 2050 is the right public policies, with most of the effort dedicated to increasing energy supply solar, wind and non-traditional biomass.

I, for one, was keenly interested in how IPCC got to its potential 80%. Unfortunately, in keeping with execrable IPCC practices, the supporting documents for the Renewables Study were not made available at the time of the original announcement, only the usual “Summary for PolicyMakers .” The summary contained one worrying aspect. The actual report, it said, was based on 164 “scenarios” and the “up to 80%” scenario in the lead sentence of their press release was not representative of the scenarios, but the absolute top end.

This is the sort of press release that is not permitted in mining promotions. It remains a mystery to me why blatant distortions are tolerated in academic press releases and in press releases by international institutions.

The underlying report was released June 14. Naturally, I was interested in the provenance of the 80% scenario. What due diligence had been carried out by IPCC to determine the realism of this scenario prior to endorsing it in their press release?
The scenarios are in chapter 10 of the Report. Authors of the chapter are as follows (mainly German):

Cordinating Lead Authors -Manfred Fischedick (Germany) and Roberto Schaeffer (Brazil). Lead Authors: Akintayo Adedoyin (Botswana), Makoto Akai (Japan), Thomas Bruckner (Germany), Leon Clarke (USA), Volker Krey (Austria/Germany), Ilkka Savolainen (Finland), Sven Teske (Germany), Diana Ürge‐Vorsatz (Hungary), Raymond Wright (Jamaica).

Chapter 10 isolated four of the 164 scenarios for more detailed reporting, one of which can be identified with the scenario featured in the IPCC press release. The identification is on the basis of Table 10.3 which shows 77% renewables in 2050 attributed to Teske et al., 2010–Teske being one of the overall report’s lead authors listed above—as follows:

Low demand (e.g., due to a significant increase in energy efficiency) is combined with high RE [renewable energy] deployment, no employment of CCS [carbon sequestration] and a global nuclear phase-out by 2045 in the third mitigation scenario…

That assessment is based on Mr. Teske’s formal paper, titled Energy Revolution 2010: a sustainable world energy outlook, cited as follows: “ Teske, S., T[homas] Pregger, S[onja] Simon, T[obias] Naegler, W[ina] Graus, and C[hristine] Lins (2010).”

However, Googling the title led me first to a different 2008 article with the almost the same title “Energy Revolution: A Sustainable Global Energy Outlook.” This version is a joint publication of Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), self-described as the “umbrella organisation of the European renewable energy industry.” The title page shows: “Project manager & lead author – Sven Teske, Greenpeace International; EREC Oliver Schäfer, Arthouros Zervos.”

So a lead author of the IPCC report, and of the hyped 80% scenario, is Sven Teske of Greenpeace International, whose official contribution is essentially based on a Greenpeace report cooked up with Europe’s renewable energy industry.

Even more interesting is that the original Teske-Greenpeace report comes with a preface from one R.K. Pachauri, aka Rajendra Pachauri, the illustrious chairman of the IPCC and master mind of its many scientific endeavors, who stated:

This edition of Energy [R]evolution Scenarios provides a detailed analysis of the energy efficiency potential and choices in the transport sector. The material presented in this publication provides a useful basis for considering specific policies and developments that would be of value not only to the world but for different countries as they attempt to meet the global challenge confronting them. The work carried out in the following pages is comprehensive and rigorous, and even those who may not agree with the analysis presented would, perhaps, benefit from a deep study of the underlying assumptions that are linked with specific energy scenarios for the future.

So, in summary, the original IPCC release claiming “close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows” is a Pachauri-Greenpeace-renewable industry set up.

The basis for the claim is a Greenpeace scenario. The Lead Author of the IPCC assessment of the Greenpeace scenario, Sven Teske, is the same Greenpeace employee who had prepared the Greenpeace scenarios, the introduction to which was written by IPCC chair Pachauri.

The public and policy-makers are starving for independent and authoritative analysis of precisely how much weight can be placed on renewables in the energy future. It expects more from IPCC than a karaoke version of the Greenpeace scenario.

It is totally unacceptable that IPCC should have had a Greenpeace employee as a Lead Author of the critical Chapter 10. It is totally unacceptable that Mr. Teske was also responsible for assessing his own work, without independent due diligence. Also unacceptable is that the IPCC should have featured the Greenpeace scenario in its press release on renewables.

Everyone in overall IPCC group – known as Working Group III — associated with this report should be terminated and, if the institution is to continue, it should be re-structured from scratch.

Steve McIntyre is a consultant based in Toronto who runs the world-renowned Climate Audit blog. Mr. McIntyre’s original post on the IPCC’s renewable report can be found at the website: climateaudit.org
For Greenpeace’s response and other comments, see Andrew Revkin’s article: A Deeper look at an energy analysis raises big questions.

13 thoughts on “Junk Science Week: The IPCC’s Greenpeace Karaoke

  1. More on this scandal at Bishop Hill, where a writer calls what the ENGOs do for the renewable energy industry “ideological money-laundering”. It appears that the EU has the same setup as we have in Ontario:

    “But the problem here is far deeper. Trade associations are not only lobbying for their members’ interests, they are being paid to lobby the EU to lobby in favour of the policies the EU has already determined it wants. It pays them also to set the parameters of its policies, and to suggest means by which they can be delivered. At the same time, the EREC publishes research which benefits the EU’s preferred policies at the global, intergovernmental level. And this research seemingly has the backing of a non-governmental organisation, Greenpeace,”

    “The service it provides is to give government-funded, agenda-ridden ‘research’ the superficial appearance of independence and legitimacy: ideological money-laundering. It makes clean the millions of Euros of public money given to the renewable energy sector for its PR.”


  2. Just to drive home Steve’s point — the report is already being misapplied by people who I am certain never read the entire report.


    100 Percent Renewables: The Resources are There, Says UN Report

    By Carl Levesque, American Wind Energy Association | May 16, 2011

    Renewable energy sources are expected to contribute up to 80 percent of global energy supply by 2050, according to a new report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Among the report’s points of emphasis: wind power alone is capable of supplying more than 100 percent of future demand.

    “The report clearly demonstrates that renewable technologies could supply the world with more energy than it would ever need, and at a highly competitive cost,” said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council. “The IPCC report will be a key reference for policy makers and industry alike, as it represents the most comprehensive high level review of renewable energy to date.”

    The 1,000-page report, which was adopted by 194 governments after marathon negotiations on May 9, considers the potential contribution from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro, and ocean energy, as well as their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their integration into the energy networks, their contribution to sustainable development, and the policies which are needed to put them in place. Following a review of 164 scenarios, the IPCC found that renewables will play a key role in any successful plan to combat climate change.

    Exactly how would wind do that? No facts and figgers — just piffle…

  3. Just piling it higher and thicker. Perhaps they will bury themselves in this bull crap. And the governments and policy-makers believe it. Common sense and the ability to check things out before jumping on the band wagon seem to be a lost skill. And the Swiss bank accounts grow ever larger.

  4. Perhaps now even the most die hard alarmist will understand that they hacve been had by the UN IPCC and the UN FCCC. I hope the President of the IPCC does not step down, he has done more to destroy the IPCC than all the deniers combined.


  5. Support from Judith Curry for the role of “The Blogger”…


    [Mark Lynas] But what I don’t want are recycled campaign reports masquerading as ‘proper’ scienceleading the assessed scenarios – and the media – because their originator has managed to lever himself into a pole position on the team of lead authors. That stinks. And it stinks doubly because the Greenpeace report was originally co-authored by the European Renewable Energy Council – an industry lobby group whose prospects depend on state subsidies which can be expected to be further increased once its views are given the ‘official’ stamp of approval from the IPCC.

    JC [Judith Curry] comments: What we have here is Mark Lynas behaving like an investigative journalist, with a watchdog and accountability role, the 5th estate and all that. The climate establishment has been berating the journalists for their failure to effectively communicate climate change and its risks. That is not the job of the journos, but of the climate scientists themselves. Journalists for the most part have dropped the ball on the climate change issue, and the watchdog/accountability role has been ceded to the blogospheric auditors, notably Steve McIntyre. There are very few mainstream journalists behaving in a true investigative way on the climate change issue. The pointman just posted an interesting essay on this.

    If you are asking “Who is Judith Curry?” read her blog.

  6. Here’s the spirit of the climate talks now in Bonn – from John Vidal of the Gruardian:

    Who will lift the veil on these murky talks which we, the public, are barred even from observing? Decisions are – or are not – being made that will affect every human being on Earth, yet most of the discussions here are being held in closed session to which civil society, in the form of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the press, have no access. No transcripts of any meetings are made available, the sessions are not webcast, only three countries have given press conferences in the last eight days, draft texts are not put up on websites, video recordings of the plenaries are near impossible to access. And so on. Were it not for some admirable negotiators and individuals ferreting out information, this meeting might as well been held in a pitch black room on Mars. To add insult, heavies bar the entrance and check the identity of people trying to get into empty meeting rooms.


  7. More on the UNFCC spirit of closedness (or whatever the opposite of openness is):

    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said clearly in its daily programme yesterday that youth groups (Youngos) and environment groups (Engos) were not open to the public or the press. But they were wrong, I am assured, and Friends of the Earth International, Via Campesina and many others insist that they welcome participation in their meetings. The youth groups were furious: “You can come on the condition you feel young at heart,” said one. After 14 days in Bonn, interminable hot air, and the snail pace of the negotiations, there can’t be many here feeling much beyond weariness and resignation.


  8. “Join The Energy Revolution” or else. Greenpeace has made a short video trying to make you feel guilty. It is a joke that they have such a prominent role in the IPCC.

    Steve McIntyre deserves the Order of Canada for his work in auditing the IPCC, especially for debunking the Hockey Stick Graph. I agree with his recomendation to fire them all.

  9. And now Rex Murphy weighs in…


    This is not just letting the fox into the hen house. This is giving him the keys, passing him the barbeque sauce and pointing his way to the broiler. Or, as McIntyre put it in plainer terms: “A lead author of the IPCC report, and of the hyped 80% scenario, is Sven Teske of Greenpeace International, whose official contribution is essentially based on a Greenpeace report cooked up with Europe’s renewable energy industry.”

    Kind people may put this down to pure sloppiness on the part of the IPCC. Coming after its disastrous handling of the Himalayan glacier melt, however, it looks to me more like deliberate mischief. The IPCC cannot be that stupid by chance. Why these stories, and others of comparable magnitude, have not worked their way into the consciousness of the world’s politicians despite such clear demonstrations of the IPCC’s ramshackle processes is a mystery. But thanks to Steve McIntyre and others of nearequal courage, standing firm against the rage and mockery of the alarmist warming establishment, at least some of the IPCC’s dubious and chillingly erroneous practices are revealed.

    Truer words were never spoken of the Keystone Klimate Kops.

    • David,

      Thanks for the Rex Murphy article. He really beutifully sums up this nonsense. It’s well worth reading and saving. I hope The PCs are listening to people like him and Steve McIntyre, becuase the Liberals sure don’t.

  10. Ah yes….

    More Greenpeace in Our Time…


    By Christopher Booker

    7:30PM BST 18 Jun 2011
    A long chapter on wind energy, for instance, brushes aside some of the more peripheral objections raised to wind turbines, such as that they kill vast numbers of birds and bats, or have a damaging effect on house prices. And in all its 108 pages, there is no real attempt to address the central objection to wind turbines, which is that they are a ludicrously inefficient and expensive way to produce electricity – so unreliable, due to the intermittency of the wind, that the derisory amount of power they produce can make no significant contribution to meeting the world’s energy needs.

    Goodness me! If McGuinty had only known…

    Wait a minute — He did know! So why did he do it?…

    • Doesn’t it just want to make you go out and vomit. The corruption is endless. McGuinty and his crew take the IPCC hook line and sinker.

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