Yesterday I published a long response to the comments I received from Marcel Crok. In it I expanded on what I said and referenced, and dealt with his points towards me.
Not long after the release of my blog post Crok responded to me with a short comment. It won’t take me long to give my final take on this exchange.
So without further ado here’s his response to the blog post I wrote:
I find it admirable how much time and effort you put into this. I don’t think it’s worth it though. The Dutch delegation submitted a spicy sentence (“The IPCC needs to adjust its principles. We believe that limiting the scope of the IPCC to human induced climate change is undesirable, especially because natural climate change is a crucial part of the total understanding of the climate system, including human-induced climate change.”) I gave my interpretation and after you consulted one person who contributed to this submission you concluded that my interpretation was different from his interpretation.
Now of course it is more important how they meant it than how I interpreted it. But let’s read part of the sentence one more time:
We believe that limiting the scope of the IPCC to human induced climate change is undesirable
I think the word “undesirable” is pretty important here. This word suggests that until now (so during all the reports that have been published) IPCC has limited the scope to human induced climate change and this situation was and is “undesirable”. Now I ask you again, if the scope of the IPCC was limited to human induced climate change do you believe that the reports itself would be 100% perfect in dealing with natural climate change? So for me it is obvious that the Dutch submission is saying that the current scope is too limited and should be widened, e.g. future reports should pay more attention to natural climate change.
So the difference between you and me is that you take Rob’s words for granted, while I say “well, his interpretation doesn’t really fit with what they wrote in their submission”. Note that I work together with Rob in the Climate Dialogue editorial staff and regard him as a fine colleague.
Now I am convinced that many more people will be puzzled by the exact meaning of these two sentences in the Dutch submission. So instead of you and me discussing this on a very detailed level, I think it is much more important that the Dutch delegation better explains what they mean exactly by these two sentences.
If they really think that the reports itself were and are dealing perfectly with natural climate change and that it is important that the scope is in line with this, they should say so much more explicitly than they have done so far and in my opinion they should send an addendum to the IPCC.
Otherwise let’s wait for the meeting in October and see how other countries interpret the Dutch submission and if it makes a chance.
I have a big problem with Crok again projecting his interpretation on what the recommendation document says despite Rob van Dorland explaining what was meant. Let me explain why.
When I wanted a clarification on the recommendation document I contacted the KNMI. Eventually I received an answer from Rob van Dorland who is part of the Dutch IPCC delegation that created the recommendation document. By the language used it’s also clear he was officially representing the Dutch IPCC delegation. Because of that he has the authority and knowledge to speak on the meaning of certain passages in the document. This means it’s not just an “interpretation”, it’s an explanation.
During my exchanges with Crok he made a big point about not being misrepresented and clarifying what he did mean. Even thanking me when I changed something in my original blog post due to his feedback. This makes it clear that Crok doesn’t appreciate anyone misrepresenting him; or misinterpreting and reinterpreting what he said. Yet he has no problem whatsoever doing this himself.
That’s a double standard.
I also don’t take the words of Dorland for granted. Like I said he has the authority to clarify the meaning of certain passages in the document. Just like Crok has the authority to clarify what he said. Or I have the authority to explain what I meant.
But then Crok says this:
So instead of you and me discussing this on a very detailed level, I think it is much more important that the Dutch delegation better explains what they mean exactly by these two sentences.
They did, Rob van Dorland who is part of the Dutch IPCC delegation gave that explanation. Yet Crok doesn’t accept it.
Also the points about “dealing perfectly with natural climate change” ignores something about scientific reports. To quote Hans Custers from his blog post on the recommendation document:
The IPCC is a complex organization, dealing with a very complex subject, so perfection will be impossible to achieve. Or, from an optimistic point of view: there’s always room for improvement.
No scientific report is perfect. As a science journalist Crok should know this. It also has nothing to do with the explanation provided by Dorland.
In my earlier response to Crok I already said that I think he and I would probably never find agreement on this issue. This final exchange also makes it quite clear why I said that. And because of that I’m not going to engage Crok any further on this matter.