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December 04th 2013 print

Bob Carter

The Best the IPCC Can Do

If a slick video and the IPCC's latest inaccurate and untruthful arguments are the best it can do to demonstrate a dangerous warming problem, its advice should be ignored and funding withdrawn

The IPCC launched the summary of its 5th report in late September, shortly before the convening of the Warsaw COP-19 climate conference — the “success” of which was marked by the walk-out of environmental lobby groups. With luck, and just like the ABC, perhaps the IPCC may now have closed down for Christmas.

Yet the relentless public relations machine of global warming alarm just keeps on keeping on. The latest manifestation of this is a slickly produced YouTube video from IPCC headquarters in Geneva that sings the siren hymn of climate alarmism under the title Climate Change 2013.

The new video aims to present the strongest evidence that the IPCC can muster that dangerous global warming is occurring, and requires an urgent response. It starts by asserting that “the scientific evidence [for human-caused dangerous warming] is stronger than ever” and “human influence on the climate system is clear”.

Given the general absence of evidence for dangerous global warming after 25 years of focused research, the expenditure of breathtaking amounts of money, and at a time when there has been no warming for at least 17 years, such a nonsensical statement should prompt derision.

Those who doubt this conclusion should consult the most recent report from the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), written by independent scientists. These scientists have assessed the same corpus of research literature as has the IPCC, yet they come to diametrically different conclusions, one of which is that the evidence for dangerous human warming is getting weaker and less convincing as time passes.

The headline conclusions of the NIPCC are summarised in the three paragraphs listed at the end of this article.

Given this difference in opinion between the IPCC and NIPCC, it is not surprising to discover that the Climate Change 2013 video from Geneva is built around a number of longstanding IPCC myths which, when not deliberate untruths, are at the very least strongly misleading interpretations of the best available science. These myths include the following.

That recent climate changes and extreme weather events have been unusual or unprecedented; a statement that is simply untrue.

That each of the last 3 decades has been warmer than the previous decade; this, though trivially true, is an argument suited to a kindergarten rather than a serious science discussion.

That carbon dioxide levels are unusually high compared with the last 800,000 years of Antarctic ice core record; this statement, if true, is also profoundly misleading given that carbon dioxide levels attained 15 times their pre-industrial value during the Cambrian Period (550 million years ago) without any accompanying untoward warming.

That warming of the oceans is unequivocal; a claim that is based upon a graph of rising 20th century ocean temperature that uses unreliable data, and which at the same time completely ignores the fact that the modern ARGO diving buoys have registered no warming since 2003 despite a greater than 5% increase in carbon dioxide.

That sea-level rise during the 20th century was in some way unusual or human-forced; another proposition for which evidence is lacking, despite the 18 cm of natural rise that occurred during the last century and which may well continue into the next.

That what are termed climate projections (a term that describes a what-if type of computer experimentation, NOT accurate forecasting) can be used to indicate future temperature in quantitative fashion; given the demonstrable and much publicized lack of skill of the ensemble of models used by the IPCC, this is another breathtaking deception.

That regional climate modelling now has enhanced reliability; which will be news to those who have compared the projections of such models with reality as it actually transpired. It is also interesting to contemplate how computer models that are known to be invalid at global level can spawn regional models that somehow magically become accurate.

If this list of tired, inaccurate and untruthful arguments is the best that IPCC scientists (or their media advisers) can do to demonstrate that a dangerous warming problem exists, then their advice should simply be ignored and their funding withdrawn. In the past, however, similarly vivid IPCC prognostications have been received with rapt attention by a compliant and megaphone-bearing media and by the governments that, in democracies, feed off media opinion making.

Perhaps this time it will be different, for Geneva’s new video is an unabashed propaganda exercise that insults the intelligence of any informed and independent-thinking citizen, let alone that of expert independent scientists.

Those who wish to close the IPCC down, and there are many, need look no further than this video (and the parallel deceptions in the new 5th Assessment Report) for the justification for implementing such an action.

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The three headline conclusions of the 2013 NIPCC Report, Climate Change Reconsidered: II Physical Science, are:

1. We conclude neither the rate nor the magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming (1979–2000) lay outside normal natural variability, nor was it in any way unusual compared to earlier episodes in Earth’s climatic history. Furthermore, solar forcings of temperature change are likely more important than is currently recognized, and evidence is lacking that a 2° C increase in temperature (of whatever cause) would be globally harmful.

2. We conclude no unambiguous evidence exists for adverse changes to the global environment caused by human-related CO2 emissions. In particular, the cryosphere is not melting at an enhanced rate; sea-level rise is not accelerating; no systematic changes have been documented in evaporation or rainfall or in the magnitude or intensity of extreme meteorological events; and an increased release of methane into the atmosphere from permafrost or sub-seabed gas hydrates is unlikely.

 3. We conclude the current generation of GCMs are unable to make accurate projections of climate even 10 years ahead, let alone the 100 year period that has been adopted by policy planners. The output of such models should therefore not be used to guide public policy formulation until they have been validated and shown to have predictive value.

 

Bob Carter is an Emeritus Fellow of the Institute of Public Affairs and Chief Science Advisor to the International Climate Science Coalition