Climate scientists are likely to face charges of putting politics before science, following two controversial decisions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month.
The IPCC decided for the first time to impose strict geographical quotas on the scientists who author its major assessment reports. There will also be a push to increase the representation of women among its authors.
Controversially, it also voted to increase the role in those assessments of “grey literature”: publications not subject to peer review. Using such material in the last assessment is what led to the “glaciergate” scandal in 2010, when the report was found to have vastly overestimated the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are losing ice.
The panel publishes three voluminous assessments of the state of climate science every six years, the last of which came out in 2007.
Some critics New Scientist spoke to say the changes, which have not so far been publicly announced, will reduce the quality of the assessments by excluding the best scientists and muddying the waters between peer-reviewed and other literature.