New IPCC error: renewables report conclusion was dictated by Greenpeace The headlines were unequivocal when the IPCC renewables report came out a few weeks ago. Heres the first line of the BBC News piece: Renewable technologies could supply 80% of the worlds energy needs by mid-century, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Guardian led with the same conclusion: Renewable energy could account for almost 80% of the worlds energy supply within four decades but only if governments pursue the policies needed to promote green power, according to a landmark report published on Monday. And so on. But what you werent told was that the actual report had not yet been released the headlines were based on a Summary for Policymakers (PDF) which referenced statistics and scenarios which journalists would not be able to check until the entire full report was released a month or so later. That release of the full report happened yesterday. And a close reading of it shows that the IPCC has made an error much more serious than the so-called Himalayagate and associated non-scandals last year it has allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by a campaigning NGO. Moreover, the error was spotted initially by none other than Steve McIntyre, who has been a thorn in the side of the IPCC and climate science generally for a long time. Yet this time McIntyre has got it right. Heres what happened. The 80% by 2050 figure was based on a scenario, so Chapter 10 of the full report reveals, called ER-2010, which does indeed project renewables supplying 77% of the globes primary energy by 2050. The lead author of the ER-2010 scenario, however, is a Sven Teske, who should have been identified (but is not) as a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace International. Even worse, Teske is a lead author of the IPCC report also in effect meaning that this campaigner for Greenpeace was not only embedded in the IPCC itself, but was in effect allowed to review and promote his own campaigning work under the cover of the authoritative and trustworthy IPCC. A more scandalous conflict of interest can scarcely be imagined. -- How is this achieved whilst also reducing carbon emissions at the same time, which is after all the supposed point of the whole exercise? By assuming a totally unrealistic global consumption of energy, with total primary energy use in 2050 actually *less* than the baseline of 2007. The magic trick of getting rid of nuclear whilst generating 80% of the worlds energy from renewables is performed by making an absurd assumption that primary energy use will fall (from 469 exojoules today to 407 in 2050) even as population rises from 7 to 9 billion and GDP per capita more than doubles. I doubt this is even thermodynamically possible, let alone the basis for good policy.