When analyzing data in regards to climate change, one must look towards the authors, whether or not the findings have been peer reviewed and vetted by fellow scientists, and the sources that are cited within the report. I first look towards one of the most highly regarded climate change reports, the fifth climate change assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC is an international body that gathers, reviews, and distributes scientific works for governments, the United Nations, and scientists. Their reports provide a scientific basis for every aspect of climate change in order to provide policymakers correct and factual climate change information to better understand the impacts and potential risks of climate change. The IPCC controls and regulates climate change talks under the UN Climate Conference, better known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). (IPCC 2013)
With such sweeping international bodies that make up the IPCC, one must then look at how it chooses its authors that assess and provides climate change data. The IPCC authors are meant to reflect a,” range of scientific, technical and socio-economic views and expertise, geographical representation (ensuring appropriate representation of experts from developing and developed countries and countries with economies in transition), at least one and normally two or more from developing countries, a mixture of experts with and without previous experience in IPCC, (and) gender balance” (IPCC 2013). The IPCC authors are chosen to reflect a diverse group of well-regarded and trustworthy scientists who have the credentials and previous credible scientific experience / literature.
To gain a better understanding of one of their previous member scientists whom has contributed literature towards the IPCC Assessment Reports, one may look at Susan Solomon for an example. Susan Solomon is recognized throughout the world as one of the leaders in atmospheric / climate science. She is credited with having been a leader in the discovery and subsequent publication of climatic data that suggested how chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) interacted with polar stratospheric clouds to cause the hole in the ozone layer (Royal Society 2017). She then went on to lead the expedition to Antarctica to later confirm her theory and help form the literature and basis of the UN Montreal Protocol. This protocol, considered to be one of the most successful climate protocols, then proceeded to phase out the creation of substances that emitted CFCs. Solomon had received her Ph.D. and Master’s Degree in chemistry from University of California, Berkley, and her B.S. in chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Solomon was also elected by Time Magazine in 2008 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and currently serves as professor of environmental studies and chemistry at MIT (MIT.edu).
The IPCC Assessment Reports are considered to be one of the most credible climate change publications currently in circulation. Their choice in authors, such as Susan Solomon, and scientific literature are put through a thorough and lengthy vetting process to help insure the quality and credibility of each piece of climate change information that they publish. Their well-balanced choice of sources and contributors bring many different perspectives and data from some of the world’s leading climate scientists to some of the best information on climate change available and should be an example for other institutions and publications that wish to do the same.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Procedures for The Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval, and Publication of IPCC Reports. 18 October 2013.
Mastrandrea, Michael D., et al. IPCC Factsheet: What is the IPCC? (30 August 2013).
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Susan Solomon | MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. 6 September 2017.
Royal Society. Susan Solomon Biography. 2017.