Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

01/28/2010 (11:43 pm)

So, We Can’t Trust the IPCC… (Updated)

ipcc_letter_logo…not that we all trusted it so far. But a lot of people did. To the rest of us, there were clear indications that the published results were driven by a political agenda rather than by the actual science provided by the participating scientists.

First it was uncritical acceptance of the Mann Hockey Stick temperature history, which was subsequently dropped. Accepting it in the first place in lieu of NASA’s GISS temperature history seemed on the surface to be justified mostly by a desire to make the claim of warming more dramatic. When it became apparent that the scientists who produced the temperature history had munged their calculations due to a lack of expertise in statistics, the IPCC was embarrassed and the next report had to find another source for historical temperatures.

Then it was stories of scientists objecting, quitting, and even threatening to sue the IPCC to have their names removed from the organization (see also here). The IPCC objected, of course, but highly respected scientists, like Christopher Landsea of the National Hurricane Center and Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute, left after making public accusations, and the accusation that the organization served a political rather than a scientific agenda was never truly dispelled.

Then East Anglia University researcher Keith Briffa was forced, against his will, to release the tree ring data on which he had long been basing his claim that proxies supported the Hockey Stick version of climatic warming — and it was discovered that he had based his research on a tiny, cherry-picked sample that showed a much more dramatic warming than broader available samples.

Then Climategate. ‘Nuff said.

And now, over the last two weeks, people finally began auditing the latest official IPCC report carefully, and discovered that it contains claims that are completely unsupported by any scientific research — and much worse. It’s not just that the alarming claim in the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report for policy makers published in 2007 (hereafter “AR4″) that the glaciers in the Himalayas, on which much of India relies for its water, will be gone by 2035 turns out to have been nothing but speculation based on an interview published in a popular magazine. That would have been bad enough; the IPCC maintains that all claims in its reports are backed by robust, peer-reviewed science. It’s not just that the claim is dead wrong, and every scientist familiar with glaciers knows it. The glaciers are losing 2-3 feet of ice per year, and the smallest Himalayan glacier is almost 400 feet thick; do the math. And it’s not just that the scientist who wrote the claim into AR4 admitted knowing that it was not peer-reviewed, but included it in order to put pressure on world leaders; that’s a great deal worse, because it vindicates the fears of skeptics around the world. Now it’s become clear that the Chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri of India, profited personally from the fear generated by the Himalaya glacier alarm — the institute he founded and runs, TERI (Enery and Resources Institute, New Dehli,) used that same claim in order to obtain millions of euros and hundreds of thousands of dollars in research funds to study the humanitarian impact of the glaciers melting.

And the hits just keep on rolling. Last Sunday, the UK Times noted that Roger Pielke Sr. and Robert Muir-Wood, experts on disaster claims assessment, charged the IPCC AR4 with misrepresenting Muir-Wood’s 2006 research. The IPCC claimed that damage caused by storms was increasing due to global warming, and cited Muir-Wood’s paper as support. Not only is the paper not peer-reviewed, but the IPCC misrepresented what it said: the author and his associates emphasized that they cannot claim that global warming is causing any more damage, and that in fact the evidence suggests that it is not.

Monday, researchers noted that the World Wildlife Fund (henceforth WWF, with only incidental reference to the World Wrestling Federation, which may in fact be a more rigorous scientific body,) is cited more than a dozen times in AR4. WWF is an activist group, not a scientific body; its articles are not peer-reviewed and it grinds a partisan axe. Yet the AR4, that Nobel-winning document based entirely on peer-reviewed science, uses WWF documentation to support claims that tourism development is destroying ecosystems in Central America, that glacial melting is increasing the incidence of destructive mudflows and avalanches, that climate change is causing rapid glacier retreat in mountain ranges around the world, and a number of other ecological disasters. Oddly, no instances of studies from the Heritage Foundation were laughingBobdiscovered in AR4. (Aside I note, ya gotta love the name of Donna Laframboise’s blog that reported on the WWF citations: No Frakking Consensus dot blogspot dot com. Snort.)

Tuesday, Dellingpole at the UK Times piled on, pointing out that AR4′s claim that 40% of the rain forests in the Amazon may be sensitive even to slight variations in rainfall (which global warming will produce, of course) was supported only by a WWF document — one written by a government policy analyst and a freelance journalist.

The volume of information discrediting the IPCC reports is becoming large enough to tip the public perception in the direction of skepticism. The number of Americans who believe that the threat of global warming is exaggerated jumped from 35% to 41% in just the last year, according to Gallup; it will be interesting to see what happens to that number in the wake of the latest flurry of reports.

Scientists are already responding, of course. NASA has quietly removed references to the Himalaya glaciers melting (also removing it’s own embellishment, predicting their melting by 2030 instead of 2035 as predicted in AR4). An agency of the British government has quietly corrected its own report that was based on the same misrepresentation of Robert Muir-Wood’s paper that the IPCC published. And a major Canadian global warming alarmist, Andrew Weaver, earns the unenviable label of “the first rat to abandon the sinking ship,” calling for a change of leadership at the IPCC and for institutional reform.

Meanwhile, progressives around the globe are scurrying to patch up the damage — further demonstrating the stark, political nature of global warming alarmism. Lawrence Solomon of the Financial Times, who wrote that fabulous Denier’s Series about the leading scientists who doubt global warming alarmism, has been documenting how Wikipedia articles on global climate change get rewritten on the spot whenever skeptical claims appear. Wikipedia’s reaction was to restrict one particularly active administrator, but apparently his cohort has picked up the slack and articles representing skeptical science keep getting overwritten.

Google, also, has been jimmying the record to aid their ideological fellows in the sciences. Solomon, again, reported that Google has been severely limiting access to articles discussing ClimateGate, and serves up search results downplaying the implications of the emails and focusing instead on the alleged criminal violations of the leakers. My search bar now contains Bing.

The important take from the series of incidents, though, is that the political nature of the IPCC is becoming evident to the general public. There are good reasons to hope that the days of perceiving the IPCC as “the consensus of climate scientists” are over. Keep spreading the word: the IPCC reports are not science, nor are they politics, they’re politics masquerading as science.


UPDATE, 1/29: Add Greenpeace to the list of cited sources in AR4. But still no Heritage Foundation. Go figure.

« « Fox, the Most Trusted News Source? | Main | …and We Can't Trust the Raw Climate Data… » »

3 Comments »

January 29, 2010 @ 7:00 am #

Phil–

I’ve been following the ‘global warming’ hoax for almost twenty years now, and that’s the best, most comprehensive deconstruction of the warmists’ schemes that I’ve yet read. Nice work. (Author replies: Thanks.)

I’ve been transferring my ‘global warming’ archives from one computer to another over the years, and out of curiosity I went back to 1996 (three computers ago) and found this:

Renowned Scientist Finds “Disturbing” Fault with IPCC Climate Change Report

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently issued its long-awaited 1995 report on “The Science of Climate Change.” The report is the culmination of years of careful research, debate and review by an international body of scientists, and it is expected to be “hailed as the latest and most authoritative statement on global warming,” according to Frederick Seitz, president emeritus of Rockefeller University and chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute.

For this reason, Dr. Seitz finds it quite disturbing that the final report released by the IPCC “is not the version that was approved by the contributing scientists listed on the title page.” In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial he writes, “In my more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community, including service as president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society, I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process…”

Because the theory of human-caused climate change, particularly the phenomenon of global warming, is highly contentious and uncertain, the scientists who contributed to and approved the IPCC report included qualifications, such as, “No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic causes.” Seitz notes that such qualifications are not found in the final version of the report released by the IPCC, however.

“[N]early all [of the changes to the report] worked to remove hints of the skepticism with which many scientists regard claims that human activities are having a major impact on climate…,” Seitz writes. He continues, “Nothing in the IPCC Rules permits anyone to change a scientific report after it has been accepted by the panel of scientific contributors and the full IPCC.”

Most important, Seitz concludes, “IPCC reports are often called the ‘consensus’ view. If they lead to carbon taxes and restraints on economic growth, they will have a major and almost certainly destructive impact on the economies of the world. Whatever the intent was of those who made these significant changes, their effect is to deceive policy makers and the public into believing that the scientific evidence shows human activities are causing global warming.”

–The Wall Street Journal, 6/12/96 (Frederick Seitz)

January 29, 2010 @ 12:46 pm #

The ONE is tanking, not only man made global warming, but global warming period, is being severely questioned, the voters are in mass revolt, and national Health Care along with Cap and Trade looks like it can be stopped. Maybe we’ve been given a reprieve. If we have I can’t help but think that it was by the thinnest of margins.

January 29, 2010 @ 1:27 pm #

So what will we see next? Will they take another crack at Global Cooling? How about a Global Feng Shui crisis? Hey, how about the Global Gullible crisis? Someone should do a study on that one.

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