The Inter-NGO Panel on Climate Change

by | May 9, 2011

The IPCC has published an SPM of its forthcoming report on renewable energy. The Guardian claims,

Renewable energy can power the world, says landmark IPCC study.


Sven Teske, renewable energy director at Greenpeace International, and a lead author of the report, said: “This is an invitation to governments to initiate a radical overhaul of their policies and place renewable energy centre stage. On the run up to the next major climate conference, COP17 in South Africa in December, the onus is clearly on governments to step up to the mark.”

Isn’t it a bit odd, that a policy director of Greenpeace should be a lead author of a report? Isn’t the IPCC supposed to start from a policy-neutral perspective? After all, what would we make of such a report if it found the opposite way, and it turned out that one of its lead authors was a director of a free-market think-tank that stood accused of being funded by Exxon?

Teske doesn’t appear to be named as a lead author of the new IPCC report. Maybe he didn’t have anything to do with the SPM. The following people, did, however, and I’ve located their profiles online.

Coordinating Lead Authors:

Ottmar Edenhofer (Germany) – Co-Chair of Working Group III of the IPCC – deputy director and chief economist of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Ramon Pichs‐Madruga (Cuba) – Researcher at the Centre for World Economy Studies (CIEM), Havana.
Youba Sokona (Ethiopia/Mali) –  Executive Secretary of the Observatory of the Sahara and the Sahel (OSS).
Kristin Seyboth (Germany/USA) – Senior Scientist, Technical Support Unit, IPCC Working Group III.

Lead Authors:
Dan Arvizu (USA) – Director and Chief Executive of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Thomas Bruckner (Germany) – professor for Energy Management and Sustainability at the Institute for Infrastructure and Ressource Economics, University of Leipzig.
John Christensen (Denmark) – Head of UNEP Risoe Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development (URC).
Jean‐Michel Devernay (France) – Vice President, International Hydropower Association.
Andre Faaij (The Netherlands) – Professor Energy System Analysis, Department of Science, Technology and Society, Utrecht University ( Ph.D. on energy production from biomass and wastes ).
Manfred Fischedick (Germany) – Vice President and Director, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
Barry Goldstein (Australia) – Chair of the Australian Geothermal Energy Group.
Gerrit Hansen (Germany) – {no profile found}
John Huckerby (New Zealand) – Director, Power Projects Limited, Energy Industry Consultants.
Arnulf Jäger‐Waldau (Italy/Germany) – Senior Scientist, Renewable Energy Unit, Insitute of Energy, JRC-European Commission.
Susanne Kadner (Germany) – Senior Scientist, Technical Support Unit of IPCC Working Group III.
Daniel Kammen (USA) – Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL).
Volker Krey (Austria/Germany) – (Researcher?), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Vienna University of Technology; “assessment of climate and energy policies and the development and application of integrated assessment models”.
Arun Kumar (India) – Vice President, Development Alternatives (global sustainable development NGO).
Anthony Lewis (Ireland/United Kingdom) – {no profile found}
Oswaldo Lucon (Brazil) – Technical Advisor on Energy and Climate Change at the São Paulo State Environmental Secretariat, PhD in ‘Energy’ and a MSc in ‘Clean Technology’.
Patrick Matschoss (Germany) – Head of the Technical Support Unit of IPCC Working Group III.
Lourdes Maurice (USA) – Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Environment in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Environment and Energy.
Catherine Mitchell (United Kingdom) – Professor of Energy Policy at Exeter University.
William Moomaw (USA) – Professor of International Environmental Policy and Director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.
José Moreira (Brazil) – Chairman of the Brazilian Reference Center on Biomass, Brazil.
Alain Nadai (France) – Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Recherche pour l’Environnement et le Développement, PhD in environmental economics.
Lars J. Nilsson (Sweden) – Professor, energy systems analysis, and energy and climate policy University of Lund.
John Nyboer (Canada) – Founder Member, MKJA Energy Policy Consultants; Research Associate and Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Resource and Environmental Management.
Atiq Rahman (Bangladesh) – Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (think tank); “Environment and Development Specialist”.
Jayant Sathaye (USA) – Senior Scientist and Leader of the International Energy Studies Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California.
Janet Sawin (USA) – Senior Fellow, Worldwatch Institute (Sustainability NGO).
Roberto Schaeffer (Brazil) – associate professor in Energy Economics; Ph.D. in Energy Management and Policy.
Tormod Schei (Norway) – deputy director general, Statkraft — Norwegian renewable energy company.
Steffen Schlömer (Germany) – researcher, Ecologic Institute, (European environmental think tank).
Ralph Sims (New Zealand) – Professor – Sustainable Processing, School of Engineering & Advanced Technology Massey University.
Christoph von Stechow (Germany) – Scientist, Technical Support Unit, IPCC Working Group III.
Aviel Verbruggen (Belgium), Professor – energy & environmental economics, University of Antwerp.
Kevin Urama (Kenya/Nigeria) – Executive Director at African Technology Policy Studies Network, (sustainable development research organisation).
Ryan Wiser (USA) – scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; research in the planning, design, and evaluation of renewable energy policies.
Francis Yamba (Zambia) – director, Centre for Energy, Environment & Engineering Zambia. (NGO).
Timm Zwickel (Germany) – Deputy Head – Scenarios, Infrastructure, Technical Support Unit, IPCC Working Group III.

Each of these authors, work, as far as I can tell, in one or more of four sectors: private energy and policy consulting; non-governmental organisations; academia, and government/intra-government. Their jobs are very much attached to renewable energy. That is to say that, of all the people in the world, it would hard to find a group less critical of ‘renewable energy’. It is precisely as if oil executives were to decide about the future of renewable energy, and had come up with the opposite outcome.

It is no surprise that environmental bureaucrats believe renewable energy can power the world. It is no surprise that environmental economists and other social scientists with an interest in renewable energy also believe that their research can change the world (and bring in a few research grants and raise their academic profiles at the same time). It is no surprise that renewable energy consultants believe that the world needs the services of renewable energy consultants. And it is no surprise that directors of environmental NGOs are in favour of policies that bring them closer to power.

Cynical? Perhaps… But the point remains that the IPCC is once again being passed off as a policy-neutral research organisation when it is in fact merely a club for people given to a particular view of the world, to further their pre-determined agenda with pre-determined ‘research’.

This is policy-based evidence-making. The IPCC’s report on renewable energy was written by the renewable energy sector.

UPDATE Roger Pielke Jr. has a post up, in which he says the report ‘appears (indirectly and obliquely) to finally admit that we just do not have the technology necessary to achieve low targets for the stabilization of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere‘, which seems to contradict the positive reception the report is receiving from greens.


  1. Donna Laframboise

    This is policy-based evidence-making.

    Great line! Captures the situation perfectly.

  2. Dominic

    If decarbonisation of the energy supply is paramount, the fastest route, using proven technology, is to displace coal with nuclear and gas.

    Policy makers’ emotive endorsement of renewables will be disastrous unless checked. And who will do that?

  3. Jack Hughes

    Page 8 and we read “The overall impact of a global mean temperature change of below 2°C on the technical potential of bioenergy is expected to be relatively small on a global basis.”

    Decoding this means no discernible effects on agriculture – the input to ‘bioenergy’.

    Then we read “For solar energy, … the impact of these changes on overall technical potential is expected to be small”


    “For hydropower the overall impacts on the global potential is expected to be slightly positive.”

    What about wind ?

    “Research to date suggests that climate change is not expected to greatly
    impact the global technical potential for wind energy”

    So what is the fuss all about ? We are told that we ‘need’ to move over to renewable energy to stave off some insignificant changes and a minor improvement. Oh dear.

  4. Paul in Sweden

    “Isn’t it a bit odd, that a policy director of Greenpeace should be a lead author of a [IPCC] report?”

    No. Rent seekers go where the money is distributed.

  5. Hilary Ostrov

    “This is policy-based evidence-making. The IPCC’s report on renewable energy was written by the renewable energy sector”

    And let’s not forget that no less than 5 (1 CLA and 4 LAs) were from the IPCC’s WG III “Technical Support Unit” (TSU). As I understand it, those who are seconded to a TSU become, in effect, the staff support to the Working Group (WG).

    Considering that the WG putting this together had only 11 meetings over the three years they took to write this masterpiece (the last of which took place a few days ago), my guess would be that these 5 were charged with the major portion of the writing.** As with the other cast of characters you’ve listed, it’s highly unlikely that any of them would produce anything that diverged from Pachauri’s “vision” for AR 5, which includes:

    Climate change needs to be assessed in the context of sustainable development, and this consideration should pervade the entire report across the three Working Groups. … Most governments who have commented on this issue have highlighted the need to treat sustainable development as an overarching framework [emphasis added -hro]

    ** I say this from several years of experience being the CEO of a non-profit organization (and serving on the boards of others). When the Board wanted a policy or position paper, they would designate a committee (of volunteers) to “do” the work, but more often than not, it was the staff support who did the lion’s share. Notwithstanding the IPCC’s obligatory proclamations of how hard these ‘expert’ volunteers work, I believe it would be quite unusual if – in reality – their practice was any different!

    Another interesting “reality” of volunteer WGs and/or committees in action is that the further removed people are from the actual “writing” process, the less likely it is that they will have fully read and understood that to which they put their names and/or are endorsing.

    And I believe it’s also worth noting that although this Report has purportedly been “approved by member countries of the IPCC”, I could find no item on the Agenda of either the “11th Session of IPCC Working Group III” (May 5-8) or the “33rd Session of the IPCC” (the first day of which was today, May 10) which would indicate that such an “approval” has actually transpired:

    IPCC plays snakes and ladders while going full tilt for windmills

  6. Fred from Canuckistan

    Odd? Not at all. It is standard policy at the IPCC, just like their grand lie that only peer reviewed science goes into their reports.

    Climate Scientology is all about the money and these skanks will do whatever, say whatever to keep the Global Warming Hysteria Gravy Train on the tracks they built for it.

    We can expect much more of this agitprop in the run up to the next COP.

    Standard propaganda to prepare the field before sowing a crop of lies.

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