the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Climatequotes, at it again.

Posted by Jeff Id on February 5, 2010

This was just sent to me by email.  Click the title and give him a comment or two for support..

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IPCC bases claim of 1.3 billion agricultural workers on news article, changes title

It is now clear that the IPCC has made several factual errors in their Fourth Assessment Report. The Himalayan glaciers will not melt by 2035, and more than half of the Netherlands are not below sea level. I may have found another error. If it is not an error, it is certainly some very sloppy work.

In AR4, WGIII, section 8.4.5 Potential implications of mitigation options for sustainable development:

“Agriculture contributes 4% of global GDP (World Bank, 2003) and provides employment to 1.3 billion people (Dean, 2000).”

That is a fairly specific number, 1.3 billion. What census, survey, or study did they cite that came up with this number? Dean, 2000 is referenced as:

Dean, T., 2000: Development: agriculture workers too poor to buy food. UN IPS, New York, 36 pp.

The UN IPS is the United Nations Inter Press Service. They cited a news article. This article was difficult to find, but I did get it.

Interestingly enough, the actual title of the article is different than the IPCC’s reference. The title is “Agriculture Workers Too Poor to Buy Food, Say Unions“. Here it is also referenced with the ‘say unions’ ending. But the IPCC’s reference drops the ‘say unions’ from the end. If you search for this article on IPS’ site, you get to see a link to the article with the title. It includes ‘say unions’. Is this an intentional omission of a reference to unions, or just sloppy work? Here is the article, see for yourself:

http://open.iatp.org/phplist/ag-impact.php?id=1877

The article only mentions the 1.3 billion number in passing:

Currently, 1.3 billion people (out of a world population of about 6
billion) work in agriculture-related jobs, 450 million of whom are waged
agricultural workers.

The rest of the article is about how the workers are too poor to buy food. The magazine does not cite any source for its 1.3 billion number. I attempted to find out the correct number myself and found this paper:

Agricultural Workers and their Contribution
to Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development

Written by: Peter Hurst
in collaboration with Paola Termine and Marilee Karl

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
International Labour Organization (ILO)
International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF)

October 2005

All of those bodies are part of the UN. This paper states that:

“There are an estimated 450 million waged agricultural workers out of a
total workforce in agriculture of some 1.1 billion. They account in fact for over 40% of the total agricultural labour force and play a major role in feeding the world and in fibre production.” – Page 15

It was a fairly in-depth report using a list of 162 references. The 1.3 billion claim was made in 2000, inside a UN news article listing no references and only making the comment in passing. The claim of 1.1 billion was made in 2005, in a report for the FAO specifically about agricultural workers. Why did the IPCC choose to use the outdated reference from an UN news source instead of the recent source in a UN FAO report? If I could find that FAO report, certainly the IPCC could. Is this just simple laziness?

I don’t know the actual number of agricultural workers there are in the world. I don’t think the IPCC does either. It may well be 1.3 billion, but that isn’t the point. The point is this: The IPCC claims to be the gold standard, but it has now been shown that even some of the most simple claims they make are either false (think Netherlands) or based on bad sources (think boot). This may be both.

15 Responses to “Climatequotes, at it again.”

  1. Binned said

    My sources are not reliable, of course, but just as a sanity check, I took the population by country from Wikipedia, the percentage in agriculture from Nationmaster for the top 11 countries (60% of the world’s population) to get a number of 1.8bn+.

    Country, Pop, %World, %Agriculture, PopAgriculture
    China, 1335660000, 19.64, 49, 654473400
    India, 1176664000, 17.3, 60, 705998400
    US, 308618000, 4.54, 0.7, 2160326
    Indonesia, 231369500, 3.4, 45, 104116275
    Brazil, 192435000, 2.83, 20, 38487000
    Pakistan, 168653500, 2.48, 42, 70834470
    Bangladesh, 162221000, 2.39, 63, 102199230
    Nigeria, 154729000, 2.28, 70, 108310300
    Russia, 141927297, 2.09, 10.3, 14618511.59
    Japan, 127470000, 1.88, 4.6, 5863620
    Mexico, 107550697, 1.58, 18, 19359125.46

    4,107,297,994 people with 1,826,420,658 in agriculture.

    Of course, those are mostly 2008/2010 figures, from approximate sources. And my apologies for the spurious precision.
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/lab_lab_for_by_occ-labor-force-by-occupation and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population

  2. GeorgeM said

    You have to remember, these people are too important to spend any time looking things up. That is for the plebians. Any off the top of the head estimate is close enough for IPCC. Then back to the bar.

  3. Lewis said

    I’ve tried to say this on CA but I think you might understand this better – read Darrel Ince’s article in the Guardian – it’s what you and Steve have always said but it’s there, in the papers, can’t be denied.

  4. Lewis said

    You know what, Jeffid, anyone who wants’ o runt for the truth is, by definition, underground. But, if anyone wanted to find your identity it was there and everyone knew that your attemp was always on real data, that you were sincere in your wish to know, no matter your alleged mad polotics. ( I mean like Lubosc, but. just jike Lubosc you despise and fighty tyranny) (Lubosce knows Tyrrany, atleast as a child). Anyway, I meant to say and I will yo., Steve and Anthony are beautifull. Beside the fact you’ve been my best entertainmement for the last 3 years. PS Isnt it annoying that the Guardian is claiming as a scoop what was discussed here a month ago!

  5. b.poli said

    This incident tells me that it may be nearly impossible to clear up the mess the IPCC created. You have to dig deeper and deeper to find out, where the fake started. Was it already the way some of the alarmists scientists collected data? Calibrating the instruments at different temperatures than measuring temperatures? …..

    As the whole process of climate science started with the political order of prooving AGW, scientists could be set free in the ways they cook the data. And – scientists can be very creative.

    With Penn State supporting M.Mann’s fraud, every scientist at Penn State knows what to do to keep his job: politicised science.

  6. Peter of Sydney said

    I’m a bit bemused as to why arrest warrants haven’t been issued as yet at some of the people at the CRU and IPCC. It’s starting to look like they have gotten away with it after all the revelations, which collectively in any other line of business would have had the leaders in court a long time ago.

  7. Josualdo said

    I found the sentence “There are an estimated 450 million waged agricultural workers out of a total workforce in agriculture of some 1.1 billion. They account in fact for over 40% of the total agricultural labour force and play a major role in feeding the world and in fibre production” on p. 24 of the 2005 report instead of p. 15 but never mind, that’s not the point.

    It doesn’t have a reference either, it seems.

  8. Dan Hughes said

    I haven’t looked up the numbers, but isn’t it correct that almost all those involved in agriculture in the developing parts of the world are not a part of the ‘workforce’, but instead do agriculture work for their own food? China and India are good examples, I think.

  9. […] Icecap, Climate Skeptics, Climatequotes, thegreenskeptic, Noconsensus, […]

  10. dearieme said

    I thought you might be interested in the latest musings of “That arse, King”. He starts off sounding sane enough, then gives me reason to wonder whether his wife might be a bit worried about him. See what you think.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7165567/Sir-David-King-criticises-climate-scientists.html

  11. David Shipley said

    Re: dearieme (Feb 6 08:51), I am sure Sir Richard Peto and Sir Richard Doll’s family will be delighted to see their work equated to that of Mann, Jones, Hansen and Co. Could be actionable under Britain’s generous libel laws.

  12. Hal said

    OT: While the IPCC credibility continues to fade, the AGW PR machine continues to grind, albeit with some hedging:

    Feds: Status of pika will still need watching

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100206/ap_on_sc/us_global_warming_pika

    In an AP article about the pika NOT getting endangered status, these paragraphs continue to show up:

    “What is known is that temperatures will almost certainly continue to rise across nearly all pika habitat in the coming years,
    scientists predict.”

    Yet, note the: “scientists predict” ending in a sentence which starts as: “What is known”

    The MSM consensus claims are getting softer.

  13. Foz said

    Posit: Studies say that just making up a number is better than using real data.

    Query: How many studies say that?

    Response: Ummmm… seven.

    Conclusion: Alright then, let’s burn the food. What could go wrong? Oh yeah, and here take my wallet. KthxBi

    Brilliant!

  14. lnocsifan said

    A point has been missed. Why are there WWF and other NGO references all through the IPCC reports? Why didn’t the authors use peer-reviewed reports as they were supposed to. I’d guess, it is because that’s all they have in their office, where they write. In other words, they haven’t kept up a collection of key papers for their supposed field of expertise, as almost all reputable scientists do. The use of these ‘grey’ references is more than an indictment of the science behind the IPCC; it is an indictment of the current quality of the scientists recruited to do the writing. They may have hoary PhDs, but they are not following the customs that active scientists do, because they have drifted away from science, into advocacy. The people are bad, not just the science. So, when someone says, “A consensus of scientists believe such-and-such”, and these are the so-called scientists who form the consensus, it is time to bring in the backhoes and dig up all the dirt.

  15. […] Climatequotes, at it again. « the Air Vent […]

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