The U.N.’s IPCC Tries Damage Control
By David J. Theroux • Monday March 1, 2010 2:50 PM PST •
The United Nations’ IPCC has just announced that it is appointing an “independent committee” to investigate itself, clearly part of a deliberate campaign of damage control to combat the unraveling of the credibility for its claims of climate alarmism (see here and here). Trust in the IPCC has been disintegrating with the cascade of revelations starting with Climategate that the IPCC’s conclusions were based on error, fraudulent data distortion, gaming and rigging of the peer review process, campaigns to smear critics, and junk science. But as the National Journal suggests, why should anyone expect it and the United Nations itself to be trustworthy to establish any investigation? And let’s be candid, isn’t the U.N. lacking any true credibility, given the fact that it is really an international organization of politicians, bureaucrats, and despots of various sorts? Why should anyone assign such a group the responsibility to discern scientific findings?
Not coincidentally, the New York Times has just featured an article by Al Gore, “We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change,” to reassure “liberal” elites that despite the revelations, the official climate-hysteria, secular religion is secure. But first he reveals what the global warming campaign is really about: “national security” wrapped up in the neo-Malthusian, limits-to-growth canard and a “jobs” program based on corporate welfare and technocracy:
It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.
Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.
Finally, Gore admits, yet in a highly qualified way, that his alleged “consensus” climate panel:
. . . published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.
But he then reassures those caught up in the Zeitgeist worship of climate catastrophe that:
What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists—acting in good faith on the best information then available to them—probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.
He then goes on to make the exact, same, erroneous claims yet again that:
[S]cientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.
. . . .
Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants—especially carbon dioxide—have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting—and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels.
Meanwhile, every one of these claims has been refuted as each major conclusion by the IPCC has been shown to be exaggerated, fraudulent or just plain wrong. In a new article in the London Telegraph, “A perfect storm is brewing for the IPCC,” Christopher Booker notes:
Put the errors together and it can be seen that one after another they tick off all the central, iconic issues of the entire global warming saga. Apart from those non-vanishing polar bears, no fears of climate change have been played on more insistently than these: the destruction of Himalayan glaciers and Amazonian rainforest; famine in Africa; fast-rising sea levels; the threat of hurricanes, droughts, floods and heatwaves all becoming more frequent.
All these alarms were given special prominence in the IPCC’s 2007 report and each of them has now been shown to be based, not on hard evidence, but on scare stories, derived not from proper scientists but from environmental activists. Those glaciers are not vanishing; the damage to the rainforest is not from climate change but logging and agriculture; African crop yields are more likely to increase than diminish; the modest rise in sea levels is slowing not accelerating; hurricane activity is lower than it was 60 years ago; droughts were more frequent in the past; there has been no increase in floods or heatwaves.
Furthermore, it has also emerged in almost every case that the decision to include these scare stories rather than hard scientific evidence was deliberate. As several IPCC scientists have pointed out about the scare over Himalayan glaciers, for instance, those responsible for including it were well aware that proper science said something quite different. But it was inserted nevertheless—because that was the story wanted by those in charge.
In addition, we can now read in shocking detail the truth of the outrageous efforts made to ensure that the same 2007 report was able to keep on board IPCC’s most shameless stunt of all—the notorious “hockey stick” graph purporting to show that in the late 20th century, temperatures had been hurtling up to unprecedented levels. This was deemed necessary because, after the graph was made the centrepiece of the IPCC’s 2001 report, it had been exposed as no more than a statistical illusion.
. . . .
Almost as revealing as the leaked documents themselves, however, was the recent interview given to the BBC by the CRU’s suspended director, Dr. Phil Jones, who has played a central role in the global warming scare for 20 years, not least as custodian of the most prestigious of the four global temperature records relied on by the IPCC. In his interview Jones seemed to be chucking overboard one key prop of warmest faith after another, as he admitted that the world might have been hotter during the Medieval Warm Period 1,000 years ago than it is today, that before any rise in CO2 levels temperatures rose faster between 1860 and 1880 than they have done in the past 30 years, and that in the past decade their trend has been falling rather than rising.
The result? Al Gore continues his whitewashing role to spread alarmist propaganda, all of which has now been shown to be erroneous. But why the persistence in doing so? Booker then provides the answer:
Since 1988, when the greatest scare the world has seen got under way, hundreds of billions of pounds have been poured into academic research projects designed not to test the CO2 warming thesis but to take it as a given fact, and to use computer models to make its impacts seem as scary as possible. The new global “carbon trading” market, already worth $126 billion a year, could soon be worth trillions. Governments, including our own, are calling for hundreds of billions more to be chucked into absurd “carbon-saving” energy schemes, with the cost to be met by all of us in soaring taxes and energy bills.
With all this mighty army of gullible politicians, dutiful officials, busy carbon traders, eager “renewables” developers and compliant, funding-hungry academics standing to benefit from the greatest perversion of the principles of true science the world has ever seen, who are we to protest that their emperor has no clothes? (How apt that that fairy tale should have been written in Copenhagen.) Let all that fluffy white “global warming” continue to fall from the skies, while people shiver in homes that, increasingly, they will find they can no longer afford to heat. We have called into being a true Frankenstein’s monster.
And if this were not enough, the London Daily Mail reports yet another revelation from Jones, who while lying that the data had been available on the Internet, has just admitted in testimony before the Science and Technology Committee in the U.K.’s House of Commons that the withholding of temperature data was done deliberately and was “standard practice”:
Giving evidence to a Science and Technology Committee inquiry, the Institute of Physics said: ‘Unless the disclosed emails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research and for the credibility of the scientific method.
‘The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital.’
Last month, the Information Commissioner ruled the CRU had broken Freedom of Information rules by refusing to hand over raw data.
But yesterday Professor Jones—in his first public appearance since the scandal broke—denied manipulating the figures.
Looking pale and clasping his shaking hands in front of him, he told MPs: ‘I have obviously written some pretty awful emails.’
He admitted withholding data about global temperatures but said the information was publicly available from American websites.
And he claimed it was not ‘standard practice’ to release data and computer models so other scientists could check and challenge research.