There is more than some confusion about the IPCC process. Ethon has tried explaining this on several occasions, but, perhaps at this time another try would help. First there are those who accuse the IPCC of being political, second those who object to the idea that the IPCC achieves a consensus. Ethon would simply point out that that is the plan, not the problem.
Now some, not Eli to be sure, might wonder why politicians and political scientists are mystified that the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers has political and policy implications. The answer is simple, every single sentence is unanimously approved by over 170 nations, each of which has a delegation consisting of politicians, policy makers and scientists.
So, as Sherlock Holmes might say, the absence of dissenters is a sure sign of a consensus.
But how was that consensus achieved? After all there are loose canons out there, some of them have oil, some coal and some nuts. Some statements have been modified to placate all of these, but the basis remains. Well, that is design. Consider, for example the Consensus Oriented Decision Making Model
- Framing the topic
- Open Discussion
- Identifying Underlying Concerns
- Collaborative Proposal Building
- Choosing a Direction
- Synthesizing a Final Proposal
To summarize, the IPCC achieves consensus by design of its process. It ain't rocket science. Folks know how to design such processes. The IPCC at the highest level includes policy makers and politicians, but first achieves a scientific consensus before they get to put their oar in. The policy makers then modify and approve the final consensus, line by line in the action document, the Summary for Policy Makers (as Eli puts it, really the Summary FROM Policy Makers).
So, the bunnies ask, why is there no stomping of feet and refusing to agree. Well for one, nations don't like to look like idiots (that's the good news) and for two the reports merely show that the world is screwed without requiring actions to unscrew it (that's the bad news).