Amid all the hand-wringing, legitimate and not-so, over shortcomings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the wake of hacked e-mails, a blown Himalayan melting glaciers prediction, and sundry other issues, Nature magazine comes through with an intelligent and well thought-out exchange of views on a possible post-IPCC world.

Strange that just a little more than a year after IPCC had mounted the heights of international respect, including a Nobel Peace Prize, the “IPCC: Cherish it, Tweak it, or Scrap it?” headline seems more than merely comfortable.

Nature reports [login or payment required] that “calls for reform intensify” amid the recent controversies, and it provides brief prescriptions from a range of outside observers as to what might come next.

Perhaps most thoughtful, not for the first time, are the insights of the University of East Anglia’s Mike Hulme, a coordinating author, lead author, and review editor for IPCC’s Third Assessment Report. But the perspectives of four other invited contributors also provide some worthwhile pointers.

One theme that emerges from the overviews is a recognition for more frequent, but shorter, “syntheses of knowledge on fast-moving topics that have great scientific or policy salience,” in Hulme’s words. He suggests 50 pages should do it.

More broadly, Hulme wrote that “the nature of scientific practice and its relationship with society” have changed so much since IPCC was birthed two decades ago that a “complete overhaul” now is needed. “The structure and process are past their sell-by dates,” Hulme quotes himself as having argued three years ago.

How so? Hulme points to IPCC’s initial intended focus on the physical science of climate change, something he feels it has done quite well.

“But they have made this impact by drawing in an ever-widening subset of the social, technological, environmental, and ethical dimensions of climate change – well beyond the physical sciences.”

His Rx? Split IPCC, after its release of its next assessment report in 2014, into three working groups: a Global Science Panel, a second group comprised of Regional Evaluation Panels, and a Policy Analysis Panel.

Along with the other four invited commenters invited by Nature to address the If-not-IPCC, then what? riddle, it all makes for constructive reading and analysis, going well beyond the trash-it or “enshrine as-is” rants common to the blogosphere.

Oh yes. And don’t forget that 50-page reports recommendation!