In a previous post I mentioned that the IPCC’s claim of reduced tourism due to wildfires (section 14.2.7 of WGII) didn’t match their source. They claimed there were millions of dollars in tourism losses, but their source did not make that claim. One of the reasons the claim was false was explained in their own source, a British Columbia Tourism newsletter. It said:
It is possible that the stronger performance of regions far from the fires is due to travellers who changed their plans to visit these regions instead of those heavily affected by the forest fires.
Had the IPCC read this, they would have not used it as their source for the claim of lost tourism revenue. I don’t know if they read the source at all, but perhaps if they did they simply overlooked this important point. Shouldn’t we give them the benefit of the doubt?
No. Because this particular issue was brought up in the review. Not once, not twice, but three times. From the Second Order Draft, Expert reviewers comment E-14-255 (page 42):
Section 14.2.7 Tourism and Recreation – there is a need to distiguish between impacts on the sector as a whole and impacts on individual operators or locations. It is obvious that severe climate events will prevent people from visiting a specific location, but it is less clear whether they will simply decide to travel somewhere else or not recreate at all. In the former, most likely, case there is no significant impact on the sector.
This is what was discussed in the previous source. What is the response to this reasonable clarification?
M- This is the litererature avaiable
First of all, why can’t these people spell? If I had a nickel for every spelling error IPCC scientists make, I could recover my server cost and then some. Second, this isn’t really a response at all. He just blames the ‘litererature’. The next complaint is more in depth, the reviewer actually spells out what should be added to the section in order to clarify. Comment E-14-261 (page 43):
Append the following to the end of the para: “It’s important to note that a decline in tourism in one area at a specific time for a particular activity may be made up by greater tourism in another area at another time from another activity. Thus, while tourism revenues may be redistributed in space, time and activity, the net effect on the economy might be small in either direction. It should be noted that in each of the examples offered below regarding the climate-related impacts on tourism, no estimates are provided regarding areas or activities that might have been the beneficiaries of tourism activities.”
(Indur Goklany, US Department of the Interior)
Mr. Goklany hit the nail on the head. A very reasonable addition, just so there is no confusion. The response?
M- Cut material from this section to meet page limits cannot add more text
There just isn’t enough room in this 3000 page report for a paragraph which would clarify an otherwise incorrect claim.
There was one more chance to make the correction, a brief and to the point comment E-14-430 (page 63):
Tourism overall should be unaffected. Some places will gain, others will lose.
(Thomas Gale Moore, Stanford University)
Short and sweet. Common sense. Response?
Insightful comment. One objective is to figure out the potential ‘winners and losers’ so that adaptation might commence.
I’m uncertain why this comment is more insightful than the longer but essentially identical comments above. Perhaps this was a different author? Regardless, this ‘insightful’ comment was not included in the final report, and neither were the others. Let’s look at the IPCC review process for this particular claim:
- The AR4 draft makes the claim that wildfires in Canada reduced tourism revenues.
- They use a source that does not support their claims.
- One reviewer points out that local impacts are different than regional impacts.
- Author blames ‘litererature’
- Another reviewer wants an addition to the paragraph making clear that tourism, as a whole, may not be affected by wildfires.
- Author claims the section is already too long, can’t add anything.
- Yet another reviewer points out that tourism will be unaffected overall.
- Author calls this comment ‘insightful’, but doesn’t include in final report.
- Final report is issued with claims not matching the source and reviewers totally ignored.
Gold standard? More like Plushenko platinum.