Climategate was made demonstrably worse by the bunker mentality of IPCC. Rather than deal with what was happening in an open manner, they circled the wagons, got defensive, and refused to share information. It cost them, and us, dearly, as they got clobbered in world media for their stonewalling, which gave the impression they were covering up.
As it turns out, their facts were accurate. But the manner in which they dealt with the attacks – a combination of arrogance and secrecy – cost the proponents of climate change dearly. We lost the battle in the media, even as it has since been conclusively proven the scientists were not fudging data.
A primary reason we lost was the bunker mentality of the IPCC. You’d think they would have learned. But no, they have not.
The 831 researchers who will contribute to the next round of assessments of climate science and policy options by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been sent a letter admonishing them to “keep a distance from the media” and send any press inquiries about the work of their author groups to supervisors.
A scientist who got the letter says “Apparently, we have learned nothing”
Part of the problem for the IPCC is a perceived lack of openness – that something is going on behind closed doors that cannot be trusted. This, in the end, was at the heart of the “climategate” circus – a recent report has exonerated all of the scientists implicated, but some people still believe that there is something sinister going on.
This “bunker mentality” will do nothing for the public image of the IPCC. The members of my working group are among the finest minds in the world. We are capable of speaking to the press about what we do without the help of minders or gatekeepers. I hope my colleagues feel the same way, and the IPCC sees the light.