TOP: Climategate IPCC and the legitimacy of public concerns

On: March 20, 2011
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About Elias van Hees
Elias van Hees is currently a MA student of New Media, he studied at the University of Rotterdam and received his Bachelor Degree in Information Technology and Communication (2009). Elias is a self-employed web strategist, more information is available on Interests: social media, research, politics, music, webdevelopment, seo, branding, concepting, user experience and usability.


In this session we focus on the contemporary connections between science, technology, and politics. The connections between these three domains are often neglected or unjust presented as complete seperated area’s. Bruno Latour speaks of matters that matter, by which a public around an issue (that matters) is created. Without a concern, there is nobody interested in a debate logically spoken. First we need a specific matter of concern, in order to find out which actors are involved in what Latour calls an “Object Oriented Democracy”:

“We might be more connected to each other by our worries, our matters of concern, the issues we care for, than by any other set of values, opinions, attitudes or principles.” (Latour 2005: p.18)

As a matter of global concern, i would suggest climate change issue which is often presented by the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The IPCC was established by the UN in 1988 and shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President of the United States Al Gore. The IPCC claims provides the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences, notably the risk of climate change caused by human activity. The reputation and reliability of IPCC decreased by what the majority the mass-media called the “Climategate”, a Climatic Research Unit email controversy which started in November 2009 when WSJ published an article in which the IPCC was accused of including their own views only while excluding others and als withheld scientific data researched by scientists.

Latour also speaks about the abusive difference between facts and assertions and that proof is always needed to be brought into the center of the debate (Latour 2005: p.22) in order to result in a relevant discussion. The question is though, if after the whole climategate, the reputation of the IPCC is still trustworthy and what happens to the matter of concern in this case.

What’s important to realize when it comes to the issue of climate change is that the public involvement in this controversy is enormous. According to Latour each object / issue “generates a different pattern of emotions and disruptions, of disagreements and agreements.” (Latour 2005: p.19) Representation is essential in the way a message is received by its public, and “parliament” is a technical term for “making things public” in a way that i would call transparent (Latour 2005: p.38). In Latour’s vision the current politics are way to “political” and need to find a way to overcome the multiplicity of ways of assembling in order to let “demos” (the population) and the objects be central again instead of the domination of the “demon of politics”. According to Latour the focus should be on the Object which will result in a politics no longer limited to humans but issues (like f.e. climate change) also.

How the debate of climate change will develop is difficult to predict, because matters of fact are not the same as matters of concern. Matters of fact are elusive, matters of concern are constructed. I think a course of action is needed when it comes to the debate of climate change, but to end with Latour’s words:

“Who can really be that open-minded?” (Latour 2005: p.39)

Latour, Bruno. “From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik or How to Make Things Public” in Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy. Eds. Bruno Latour, and Peter Weibel. London: The MIT Press, 2005. 14-41.
One Response to “TOP: Climategate IPCC and the legitimacy of public concerns”
  • March 21, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Proven errors in the IPCC report

    Statements from the IPCC report below that have been proven wrong by properly peer revised scientific reports, and some statements have also been deliberately faked. There are most likely more to be found.

    1. Historical temp records deliberately showing higher increase than there was
    2. Global warming has not taken place as predicted
    3. How, or if, urban heat effects have been considered, has never been revealed
    4. Predicted increase of atmospheric temperature never occurred
    5. There have been a number of periods warmer than now
    6. Sea levels have not risen as predicted
    7. The Maldives shows no sign of being drowned
    8. Melting of the Himalayan glaciers has not taken place
    9. No increased melting of glaciers in general
    10. Predicted melting of the Greenland and polar ice highly exaggerated
    11. Desert areas have not increased
    12. Predicted spreading of malaria was unfounded
    13. There is not fossil fuel available to create predicted increase of CO2 in the atmosphere
    14. CO2 will not stay in the atmosphere anywhere near as long as stated.
    15. The predicted increase of storms due to increased temperature was wrong
    16. Release of methane will not take place as predicted
    17. Mathematical models are not good enough for predicting coming climate according to climate scientists

    Some very important background material has also been deliberately destroyed by the scientists behind the IPCC report.

    Is it really wise to base a whole world’s political decisions on a report with so many proven errors? It is not just one little error as claimed.

    For concentrated facts on the effect of CO2, don’t miss:

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