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Climate CulturesAnthropological Perspectives on Climate Change$
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Jessica Barnes and Michael R Dove

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300198812

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300198812.001.0001

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Glacial Dramas

Glacial Dramas

Typos, Projections, and Peer Review in the Fourth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

(p.107) Chapter 4 Glacial Dramas
Climate Cultures

Jessica O’Reilly

Yale University Press

This chapter examines two different controversies surrounding the IPCC Fourth Assessment report: one arising from a typographical error in the discussion of the Himalayan glacier melt projection, the other from the exclusion of dynamical processes from the proffered sea level rise projections. O’Reilly analyzes the chain of citations that each reference—there are thousands in an IPCC report—travelled through, and considers how “trust in numbers” (Porter 1995) compares with “trust in scientists” (Shapin 1995). This paper argues that the IPCC assessment report, though peer reviewed, occasionally contains “casual numbers.” This raises a critique of phenomenon of assessment itself, suggesting that it moves from a scientific project to one of auditing and accountability.

Keywords:   Climate change science, IPCC Assessment reports, IPCC, Auditing and accounting in climate change science, Himalayan glacier melt, Sea level rise

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