Climate summaries 'for grownups,' but not too difficult for policymakers

Climate summaries 'for grownups,' but not too difficult for policymakers
Country representatives consider a figure and associated text in the WGII AR5 plenary approval session in Yokohama, Japan. Credit: IPCC

Offering a rare insider analysis of the climate assessment process, Carnegie's Katharine Mach and colleagues at the Department of Global Ecology examined the writing and editing procedures by which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change creates summaries of their findings for policymakers. Despite recent critiques that these summaries are too difficult for non-experts, Mach and colleagues found them comparable to reference texts in terms of reading comprehension level. Their results are published by Science Advances.

"Using multiple tools for measuring reading ease, we found that IPCC reports are designed for grownups, but they are not harder to read than other science documents, including those written for the public by professional writers," said co-author Chris Field, who served as the co-chair of the second IPCC Working Group.

Nevertheless, Mach and colleagues also suggest ways that the summary reports could be improved by using less jargon and more cohesive language to link the ideas they contain. The summaries could also be enhanced by graphics, videos, animations, and online multimedia, in addition to extensive media availability by panel leadership.

Mach and Field, together with Carnegie's Patrick Freeman and Michael Mastrandrea, also suggest the possibility of getting professional science editors to participate in the review process to help keep the writing as accessible as possible without losing meaning.

The process by which IPCC summary reports for policymakers are generated is quite singular, and often a subject of fascination.

Climate summaries 'for grownups,' but not too difficult for policymakers
Authors (left to right, M. Mastrandrea, K. Mach, and C. Field) collaborate with report authors to incorporate revisions into the Summary for Policymakers. Credit: IPCC

Scientific experts spend years generating a report assessing the current state of climate science and then create summaries of each section, which are intended to aid policymakers in making the most of the information. These summaries are approved line by line, by consensus by a group of hundreds of government representatives and scientists, working for days at a time and even through the night until they have agreed upon every word.

Mach and her team undertook an in-depth analysis of the process by which these summaries are revised and approved.

"Despite the importance of these policymaker summaries, and the interest in their creation, the revision process has not been comprehensively analyzed until now," Mach explained.

They found that the review process generally increases the length of text, unless there is an issue of great political sensitivity, in which case the summary text might be shortened. Changes during in-person government session tend to focus on the comprehensiveness of examples provided and on increasing policy relevance. This is in contrast to changes in the text prior to the government approval session, which emphasized clarity and scientific rigor.

"Despite the exhausting rigor of the review process, the method of discussing and agreeing upon every sentence builds ownership of the science by both participating researchers and governments," Mach said. "The creation and revision of these summaries is a vital part of making climate science relevant for decision-making. Although there is some room for improvement, the finished documents can certainly provide a lot of value to participants, scientists and nonscientists alike."


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Climate assessment must be relevant and useful to policymakers

More information: "A multistage crucible of revision and approval shapes IPCC policymaker summaries," Science Advances, advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/8/e1600421
Journal information: Science Advances

Citation: Climate summaries 'for grownups,' but not too difficult for policymakers (2016, August 5) retrieved 21 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-08-climate-summaries-grownups-difficult-policymakers.html
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Aug 05, 2016
Great ... now we get "Junk Science" articles About "Junk Science". smh

Aug 05, 2016
Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive. - Sir Walter Scott

BILLIONS wasted on propagating what is the greatest lie.

Aug 05, 2016
You guys are a joke.

Aug 05, 2016
Poo on you deniers. I think the article was informative and certainly demonstrates how scientist are trying to bring there fact laden findings to policy makers. In spite of your objects, you want laws and decisions made based on scientific fact over some fictional BS that you just made up, don't you?

Aug 05, 2016
"BILLIONS wasted on propagating what is the greatest lie."
Yes, but televangelists usually make a profit -- tax free. :)

Aug 05, 2016
@TrollBane; You just made my day! Thank you.

Aug 06, 2016
But they missed the point: A comprehensive report taking many years to create. Was meant to be so obtuse and self contradictory that the policy makers who called for it could ignore it, and continue to do whatever they intended to do anyway.
i.e. Whatever the banks want them to do, as we are now so far into national debt that any banker unfriendly policy decision would lead to debt recall.

Just as envious power hungry politicians stood behind and eventually unseated the powerful church; now envious power hungry banks stand behind and will eventually unseat the politicians..

Aug 06, 2016
Perfect, a "scientific study" that explains how to expound upon propaganda and to "properly" disseminate to the ignorant masses. Goebbels would be proud!

Aug 06, 2016
It says most folk can understand it, but apparently Deniers cannot.

Aug 06, 2016
...how to expound upon propaganda and to "properly" disseminate to the ignorant masses. Goebbels would be proud!
@cd
considering you can't actually provide evidence that is reputable and equivalent to modern science and your cult has yet to field a hypothesis that makes predictions (that are accurate - and remember, prediction means "before the event", not after)
-then-
by it's very definition your own electric universe woo is a cult based upon fanatical belief of a delusion as stated by specific "authority figures" and leaders that have misunderstood, misinterpreted or blatantly fraudulently misrepresented science

that also means that kind of tactic and propaganda is the realm of cults like the electric universe and other religious organizations similar to them (ISIS/ISIL, Heaven's gate, Peoples Temple Agricultural Project -AKA, Jonestown, etc)


Aug 06, 2016
It says most folk can understand it, but apparently Deniers cannot.
@cd
there is good reason for this:
most deniers tend to be not only religious and/or highly political, but some are also highly motivated by greed and paid to be said denier
http://www.drexel...nge.ashx

but that's not all: especially in your case
there is also the fanatical conspiracist denier
(the following study relates to all of the above, including religious)
http://journals.p....0075637

we already know you're both as you've demonstrated your conspiracist ideation as well as religious fanaticism with adherence to a faith over science (your eu pseudoscience cult)

Aug 06, 2016
Sgt Rumpy should be more careful in reacting to the right person. His need to abuse others takes precedence over accuracy.

Aug 06, 2016
@STOLEN VALOR chronic liar-kam
takes precedence over accuracy
do you have empirical evidence equivalent to or better than the above linked studies that refute or in any way falsify said linked studies?

i note that you've not been able to actually validate your claim with any:
1- empirical evidence

2- science

3- Accuracy

feel free to provide links/evidence/references for your argument

No science, no evidence = no response and reported, per our agreement

thanks
:-)

Aug 06, 2016
Perfect, a "scientific study" that explains how to expound upon propaganda and to "properly" disseminate to the ignorant masses. Goebbels would be proud!

Says the Acolyte of the Great Unseen Electric Bolts.

Aug 06, 2016
The interesting thing about the parable of the Emperor's New Clothes is that everyone felt certain that they could see these clothes. Those who couldn't figured it must have been because they were stupid in some way.

It took the naivete and clear vision of a little boy to point out what everyone else was studiously trying to avoid seeing.

Aug 06, 2016
Human activity as the primary cause of climate change is a fraud upon free peoples everywhere.

The polar bears will be fine.

Aug 06, 2016
Human activity as the primary cause of climate change is a fraud upon free peoples everywhere.

The polar bears will be fine.

Just trolling by I see. What a maroon.

Aug 06, 2016
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Aug 06, 2016
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Aug 06, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Aug 06, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Aug 06, 2016
Phony Veteran Rumpy once again seems to not understand who posts what. It is indicative of sloppy thinking.

Aug 06, 2016
"Using multiple tools for measuring reading ease, we found that IPCC reports are designed for grownups, but they are not harder to read than other science documents...


Ya know...while almost all politicians are certainly highly driven they don't strike me as particularly smart. I have little confidence in any of them being able to correctly read scientific confidence. The skills you need to be a successful politician certainly don't include any scientific skills.

It's even worse than that: being a politician requires a high degree of deviousness. Scientific reports are the exact opposite. So it's not surprising that politicians read these - if at all - with a completely wrong mindset.

Aug 06, 2016
Ya know...while almost all politicians are certainly highly driven they don't strike me as particularly smart.

LOL.
antialias for Chancellor!

Aug 06, 2016
We will never see a "Climate summary for idiots", because the Chicken Little retards believe anything their AGW Cult preach to them.

Aug 06, 2016
The fact that it requires a grownup to be able to understand what they're saying has obvious implications regarding the status of the deniers.

Aug 06, 2016
What an idiot! Doesn't actually understand a children's fairy tale!!! No, you walking pile of ignorant shit, the story NEVER said that. The POINT of the story was that they all knew better but lied to pander to power. That is exactly what you are doing, BTW.

But there you have it folks. This is where "popular science" is a fail. You have people that can't parse a fairy tail believing that they should have a voice in environmental policy.


I wrote it that way to prove a point and you fell for it. If you have a strong, unrealistic view of this problem, you'll see yourself in it. It doesn't matter which side of the argument you're on.

Aug 07, 2016
so debunk this denier [[ watch video, i sure you know about it already , but i'm curious , i have no particular axe to grind
http://realclimatescience.com/

Aug 07, 2016
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Aug 15, 2016
Whatever you think of gkam, I'll give him a point or two for smacking the Ranty Anti any time.

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