Why is there so much preoccupation with atmospheric CO2 concentrations and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions when it is well documented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that the CO2 contribution to the overall greenhouse effect is so weak that it can be easily supplanted by small changes in clouds and water vapor, or natural climate-changing constituents?


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Background Briefing for Teachers: moral and scientific bankruptcy of the IPCC

This post is in two parts: the first is a reblogging of an essay by Richard Lindzen, published earlier this month on WUWT; the second is an extract from a recently published summary by Vincent Gray of some of the shenanigans in the IPCC's sorry history.

(1) Lindzen: Understanding the IPCC AR5 Climate Assessment

'Each IPCC report seems to be required to conclude that the case for an international agreement to curb carbon dioxide has grown stronger. That is to say the IPCC report (and especially the press release accompanying the summary) is a political document, and as George Orwell noted, political language “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
With respect to climate, we have had 17 years without warming; all models show greater tropical warming than has been observed since 1978; and Arctic sea ice is suddenly showing surprising growth. And yet, as the discrepancies between models and observations increase, the IPCC insists that its confidence in the model predictions is greater than ever.
Referring to the 17 year ‘pause,’ the IPCC allows for two possibilities: that the sensitivity of the climate to increasing greenhouse gases is less than models project and that the heat added by increasing CO2 is ‘hiding’ in the deep ocean. Both possibilities contradict alarming claims. 

With low sensitivity, economic analyses suggest that warming under 2C would likely be beneficial to the earth. Heat ‘hiding’ in the deep ocean would mean that current IPCC models fail to describe heat exchange between surface waters and the deep ocean. Such exchanges are essential features of natural climate variability, and all IPCC claims of attribution of warming to man’s activities depend on the assumption that the models accurately portray this natural variability.
In attempting to convince the public to accept the need to for the environmental movement’s agenda, continual reference is made to consensus. This is dishonest not because of the absence of a consensus, but because the consensus concerning such things as the existence of irregular (and small compared to normal regional variability) net warming since about 1850, the existence of climate change (which has occurred over the earth’s entire existence), the fact that added greenhouse gases should have some impact (though small unless the climate system acts so as to greatly amplify this effect)over the past 60 years with little impact before then, and the fact that greenhouse gases have increased over the past 200 years or so, and that their greenhouse impact is already about 80% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 are all perfectly consistent with there being no serious problem. Even the text of the IPCC Scientific Assessment agrees that catastrophic consequences are highly unlikely, and that connections of warming to extreme weather have not been found. The IPCC iconic statement that there is a high degree of certainty that most of the warming of the past 50 years is due to man’s emissions is, whether true or not, completely consistent with there being no problem. To say that most of a small change is due to man is hardly an argument for the likelihood of large changes.
Carbon restriction policies, to have any effect on climate, would require that the most extreme projections of dangerous climate actually be correct, and would require massive reductions in the use of energy to be universally adopted. There is little question that such reductions would have negative impacts on income, development, the environment, and food availability and cost – especially for the poor. This would clearly be immoral.
By contrast, the reasonable and moral policy would be to foster economic growth, poverty reduction and well being in order that societies be better able to deal with climate change regardless of its origin. Mitigation policies appear to have the opposite effect without significantly reducing the hypothetical risk of any changes in climate. While reducing vulnerability to climate change is a worthy goal, blind support for mitigation measures – regardless of the invalidity of the claims – constitutes what might be called bankrupt morality.
It is not sufficient for actions to artificially fulfil people’s need for transcendent aspirations in order for the actions to be considered moral. Needless to add, support of global warming alarm hardly constitutes intelligent respect for science.'

Richard S. Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, October 5th, 2013

[I have added the emboldening above - JS]

(2) Vincent Gray on some IPCC history

'...The IPCC ran into a problem that does not affect an organisation such as Greenpeace, Scientists are usually trained to think for themselves, and some of those who have been recruited to support the “climate change” programme find if difficult not to insert their reservations into the opinions that are proscribed for them.
The main mechanism for ensuring uniformity of thought is applied by the presence in all of the IPCC Reports of a “Summary for Policymakers” at the beginning. This is really a Summary BY Policymakers, because it is dictated, line by line by the government representatives who control the IPCC to a group of reliable “Drafting Authors” It is published before the main Report, to emphasize the need for conformity. In addition they try to exert pressure in the choice of “Lead Authors”, and in the treatment of comments made by the “reviewers” who receive drafts of the Reports.
Despite all this pressure, complete uniformity of thought has, so far, never been achieved. The First IPCC Report “Climate Change´(1990) stated plainly:
“The persons named below all contributed to the peer review of the IPCC Working Group I Report. Whilst every attempt was made by the Lead Authors to incorporate their comments, in some cases these formed a minority opinion which could not be reconciled with the larger consensus. Therefore, there may be persons below who still have points of disagreement with areas of the Report.”
But it still stated, even in the “Summary for Policymakers” of the 1990 Report and in its 1992 Supplement:
“The size of this warming (which they claimed) is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability.”
Climate observations, which appear only in the last chapter of the 1990 report, are not “broadly consistent with the predictions of climate models.” Also all subsequent Reports had to admit that they are actually incapable of making “predictions” but only “projections” dependent on whether you believe the assumptions of the models.
The Second IPCC Report “Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change” had to confront a series of opinions in the Draft of the Final Report which disagreed with the greenhouse theory. It included the following statements:
 "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases."
"Finally we come to the most difficult question of all: 'When will the detection and unambiguous attribution of human-induced climate change occur?' In the light of the very large signal and noise uncertainties discussed in this Chapter, it is not surprising that the best answer to this question is 'We do not know’. Few if any would be willing to argue that unambiguous attribution of this change to anthropogenic effects has already occurred, or was likely to happen in the next several years."
One of their scientists (Ben Santer) was given the job of eliminating all the offending passages, or changing them to give a more favoured opinion. But after all that they ended up with this equivocal conclusion:
“The balance of the evidence suggests a discernible human influence on the climate.”
This is something everybody can agree on. Humans spend all of their efforts in trying to influence the climate. The statement says nothing about 'greenhouse gases' or of carbon dioxide. It supports the offending passages that were deleted.
The Third Report “Climate Change 2001: The Scientific  Basis” was the one for which I did a detailed analysis  called “The Greenhouse Delusion.”
The following statement appeared in Chapter 1:
“The fact that the global mean temperature has increased since the late 19th century and that other trends have been observed does not necessarily mean that an anthropogenic effect on the climate has been identified. Climate has always varied on all time-scales, so the observed change may be natural”.
In the Policymakers Summary we get another equivocal opinion:
“in the light of the new evidence and taking into account the remaining uncertainties, most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”.
Here they change tack. Once again they do not claim that there is evidence that this is so, merely that it is the opinion of their paid “experts":  They seem to think that if they assign to the opinion “likely” as meaning greater than 60% probability that this makes it any other than merely an opinion.
.And so we come to IPCC Science Report No 4 “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis”
Now we get a slight amendment to the previous equivocal statement:
“Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
Again it is not evidence but opinions of their paid experts who are now 95% certain they are right, but it only applies to "most” of the evidence and it only applies to their highly inaccurate temperature series, but not to the more accurate satellite and radiosonde series which began in 1978 and 1958 respectively.
Despite all this they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Al Gore....'
Dr Vincent Gray, 15h October 2013.
[The italics and emboldening above were added by me, apart from that of the 'BY' in the second paragraph - JS]

See the original post for more before and after the above extract: http://principia-scientific.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=343
(hat-tip Greenie Watch)

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