Professor Hans Schellnhuber Says IPCC Needs Overhaul… “Boundaries Between Science And Politics Completely Blurred”

Hans Schellnhuber

The following report appeared at the “Die kalte Sonne” site a couple days back. It looks at two views of the IPCC from two renown scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK): Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber and Ottmar Edenhofer. Here it is in English:


Do we still need the IPCC? Hans Schellnhuber thinks we don’t

By Sebastian Lüning / Fritz Vahrenholt

Ottmar Edenhofer thinks the IPCC is just fine. For him it is completely okay that climate scientists are closely linked to policymakers and that the boundaries between science and politics are completely blurred away. For Edenhofer, the IPCC is absolutely essential.

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has a completely different opinion and expresses concrete criticism on the IPCC:

The IPCC has to rethink its reason for existence and possibly face serious consequences. The IPCC is a unique mixture of science and politics. For example, the global community of relevant scientists does not select the lead authors of the IPCC report. Rather this is ultimately done by the involved countries. In the end. it is not the lead authors who decide the wording of the summary report, rather it is the representatives of the governments. And it is only this summary that gets really considered by decision-makers worldwide. Therefore, politics crowds out the science. This is not because governments are malicious: They are (as a rule) not so,because it is purely their functional logic to assert short term national interests. […] Because the boundaries between politics and science are completely blurred in the structure of the IPCC, it makes itself unnecessarily vulnerable to attacks. As one possibility from many, why doesn’t the InterAcademy Council (IAC) select the lead authors, i.e. the alliance of national science academies? Up to now the cumbersome regional proportional representation in the composition of the team of authors, foremost the exaggerated demand for completeness concerning the content of the IPCC reports, has led to a watering down of scientific substance.”

In June 2012, Schellnhuber received an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Berlin. Die Welt wrote:

In 1991, Schellnhuber founded the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and has led it since 1993. He is also professor ot theoretical physics at the University of Potsdam. The Bavarian-born climate scientist was also honored for his political advising.”


In summary, Edenhofer loves the IPCC just the way it is, but Schellnhuber thinks that politics has ruined it. Schellnhuber of course advocates scientists having the say on how society should be shaped.

Hans von Storch: Policymakers and society must decide, not science

Interestingly, Hans von Storch here thinks science should just lay out the facts, but stay out of politics and let the political process decide what to do next. Scientists should not be deciding policy. What follows is what he said in a recent interview with (Klimaretter questions are in bold print, von Storch’s answers in italics):

Is adaptation more a question for science or for politics?

The entire climate issue is a political question. In the past in a false manner, it has been suggested by publcity-loving scientists that certain political decisions should follow certain scientific results. This misunderstanding produced an infinite amount of conflict surrounding scientific details […] The job of science is not to say what the solutions are supposed to look like – it must show which consequences the solution options would have. This assures that in a democratic process a solution is chosen that corresponds to the mix of values of society.

Politicians seem to think its okay to shirk their responsibilities: When it comes to unpopular measures, they say that science forces certain things.

Science was stupid to give in to this temptation and to make itself more important than what is deserves to be…

Science only stakes out the framework conditions. What follows from that and what concrete actions are to be taken must be weighed by society based on its preferences and values.”

I agree with von Storch. Edenhofer is clearly disconnected from reality if he thinks the IPCC is fine the way it is. Schellnhuber thinking the scientific community has to run the show to me is appalling.

Whatever you may think, it’s clear there’s no consensus among the warmists.

Photo credit: Hollin ( /Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


2 responses to “Professor Hans Schellnhuber Says IPCC Needs Overhaul… “Boundaries Between Science And Politics Completely Blurred””

  1. DirkH

    And the craziest one of the bunch is still a scientific advisor to Merkel.

  2. DennisA

    Schellnhuber has always mixed politics and science, but climate science was never really his bag anyway. Tom Wigley of NCAR and a former Director of CRU said in 2002:

    “You know I have no respect for this guy. My position is fully justifiable; one just has to look at his background and training, and his publication and citation records. Quite clearly, he has contributed nothing of value to the science.”

    You can read more at Bishop Hill:

    Ray Bradley commented about him:

    “I just read that Schellnhuber got an OBE!!!! I didn’t know you got those for spouting bullshit, but I guess that’s how far standards have fallen. Pretty amazing…”

    Phil Jones agreed!

    Edenhofer is not a scientist, he is an economist. He is a staunch admirer and promoter of carbon trader Lord Stern, of the LSE Grantham Centre.

    Lord Stern is a staunch admirer and promoter of Edenhofer and is on the Potsdam Science Advisory Board, along with Brian Hoskins of Imperial College Grantham Institute and amongst others, Jennifer Morgan of WRI, (where Gore is on the Board), formerly international Climate Change Director for WWF and former advisor to Schellnhuber and Tony Blair .

    They are all scientists now and when Lord Stern received his Honorary Doctorate of the TU Berlin, one month before Copenhagen, the citation said:

    “His exceptional standing as a scientist is demonstrated in the numerous important books he has published, in addition to more than 100 expert articles.”

    According to Edenhofer, “As a brilliant economist Nicholas Stern has not only made significant contributions to our understanding of climate change from an economics point of view, but to international climate policies as well. He has convincingly shown that investments in climate protection make good economic sense”.

    According to Stern: “Ottmar Edenhofer is an internationally outstanding scientist in the economics of climate change. His expertise, experience, wisdom and judgement are of great value for the IPCC and especially Working Group 3 “Mitigation of Climate Change”.

    They were joint authors of a paper in April 2009 for the G20 London summit, Towards a Global Green Recovery – Recommendations for Immediate G20 Action.

    This was followed by the Atlantic Task Force recommendations to the Policy Planning Staff of the German Federal Foreign Office, 26 August 2009 on how this could be achieved.

    Lots of politics, not much science…..

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