'First, the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide are dominant over the climatic effects and are overwhelmingly beneficial. Second, the climatic effects observed in the real world are much less damaging than the effects predicted by the climate models, and have also been frequently beneficial.'

Freeman Dyson,

in Foreword to http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2015/10/benefits1.pdf

Monday, 28 October 2013

More on the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers: multiple retreats disguised and spun for PR at the expense of science

Leading authors from the NIPCC have reviewed the IPCC’s  ‘Summary for Policy Makers’.   They were not impressed.  Who would be?  It is a mix of tawdry spin and feeble science.  Here are some extracts from their review, with the review headings shown in bold:

Introduction
The IPCC has retreated from at least 11 alarmist claims promulgated in its previous reports or by scientists prominently associated with the IPCC.  The SPM also contains at least 13 misleading or untrue statements, and 11 further statements that are phrased in such a way that they mislead readers or misrepresent important aspects of the science.

1. IPCC Retreats
Eleven statements made in the 2013 SPM apparently retreat from more alarmist positions struck in earlier Assessment Reports or in related research literature. These repositionings are to be welcomed when they move the IPCC’s commentary closer to scientific reality.

[see the full review, linked to above, for details of each of these 11 retreats – none of which are recognised as such in the IPCC materials.]

2. Misleading or Untrue Statements
The following 13 statements by the IPCC are written in such a way that although they may be technically true, or nearly true, they are misleading of the actual state of affairs.

[see the full review, linked to above, for details of each of these 13 statements – all presumably spun to assist the political wishes of those driving the IPCC, wishes which require there to be a climate crisis caused by industrial development.]

3. Deceptive Language that Misrepresents the Science
The following 11 statements by the IPCC create an unjustifiable impression of either scientific certainty or false alarm, or appear to have been chosen to evade conclusions that run counter to the IPCC’s belief in dangerous human-caused warming.

[see the full review, linked to above, for details of each of these 11 statements – once again all presumably spun to assist the political wishes of those driving the IPCC]

4. Advice for Policymakers
Between 1988 and 2001 (the span of preparation of its first three Assessment Reports), the United Nation’s IPCC was the sole international body able to provide advice to governments on the global warming issue. With the formation of the Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) in 2003, a second and independent team of scientific assessors began to emerge.

Now, with the release of new 2013 reports by both the IPCC and NIPCC, due-diligence analysis, such as that contained in this briefing paper, is finally possible. The IPCC’s “Green Team” scientific advice can now be weighed against the views of a “Red Team” of independent scholars.

With the same set of peer-reviewed scientific papers available to them, the scientists of the IPCC and NIPCC have come to diametrically opposing conclusions. IPCC scientists remain alarmist about the threat of human-caused global warming, even while they admit observations increasingly invalidate their model-based predictions. They are reluctant to acknowledge past errors and new research that challenge their hypothesis of human-caused dangerous climate change.

In stark contrast, NIPCC scientists find no hard evidence for a dangerous human-caused
warming. They find the null hypothesis – that observed changes in climate are due to natural causes only – cannot be rejected. NIPCC scientists remain open to new discoveries and further debate.

In 2013, any engaged policymaker or commentator has a responsibility to be fully familiar with the arguments and conclusions adduced by both of these teams of climate advisors. Towards this end, we present the primary conclusions of NIPCC’s latest report as they are stated in its Summary for Policymakers:

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 2C 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 global climate models 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.

[this final section has been reproduced here, above, in full, but with italics and bold added].

Any parents or teachers or other responsible adults wishing to tackle the hyperbole, the assurance, and the deceptions of those intent on misleading children about our impact on climate have to do their own studies to highlight what is going on, and to be in a position to argue for reform.  This might seem an impossible task for non-specialists, but that need not be the case.  Many people around the world are working to expose this scandal and bring it to a wider audience.  See the list of blogs on the right-hand side of the screen for examples.  Amateurs and professionals are involved.  Subject-matter specialists are too, as are many who bring general analytical and/or communication skills to the task in hand.  There is little by way of organisation. This is more of a spontaneous, scattered uprising against an establishment of vested or political interests whose policy and other interventions have already caused great harm.  Most of us will have something to contribute to help replace the exaggerations and other excesses of that establishment with calmer, more soundly-based perspectives about what is going on and what may happen in the future.  The NIPCC reports, to which I have recently contributed in a very modest way as a pre-publication reviewer, are at the more technical end, but even there, there is much that is readily accessible.

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)

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Serial Demolition of Some Eco-Nuttery - an 18 minute video by Ivo Vegter

Watch this 18-minute video for serial demolition of one piece of eco-nuttery after another by Ivo Vegter in South Africa:

The 'environmental exaggerations' of which he speaks are so mainstream now, and such a distortion of reality, that it would be wonderful if every high school teacher in the world decided to show this, or a subbed /dubbed version, to their senior pupils.  Maybe as an antidote to all the eco-guff they will have been exposed to in their schooldays. Maybe as a last chance to steer them towards helping humanity rather than harming it with facile 'environmentalism', and the curse of 'sustainable development' - both examples of what Vegter would call 'excessive risk aversion'.  They harm the poor.  They harm the planet.  They diminish our humanity.

I'm hoping he'll do a sequel on climate alarmism and more of the associated 'solutions' commonly promoted by 'environmentalists'.  'Solutions' which have already caused a great deal of harm.  Whether he does or not, this video affirms rationality and that is what will eventually protect us from the CAGW virus.


Hat-tip: Bishop Hill

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

More Climate Junk Launched into the Biosphere: a concerned citizen spots it, but not in time to prevent widespread dispersal

The headline is bad enough, since it is not true, but the first words of the article are even worse: 'The oceans are more acidic now than they have been for at least 300m years, due to carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, and a mass extinction of key species may be almost inevitable as a result ...'

These are words to delight the activist.  What campaigner for hearts, minds, and wallets on the climate bandwagon could fail to be moved by them.  Another scare!  Yippee!!  Let's get it out there!!!

But, but, ... said a concerned citizen, noting the nonsense, it is just not true.  Ruth Dixon wrote it up on her blog, contacted the journalist and newspaper involved, and a few days later both the headline and the first sentence were changed to make them less misleading.  So that's good.  That was relatively quick.  Similar nonsense over ice disappearing on Kilimanjoro, glaciers disappearing in the Himalayas, polar bears disappearing in the Arctic, snow being a thing of the past in the UK, New York City streets soon to be under sea level, and such like all attributed to 'burning fossil fuels' took months or years to get corrected.  Even now, who would bet against finding some or all of them being found in materials intended for use in schools?

So the question is, how long before we see this latest one there as well?  It is well-suited for scaremongering after all: acid is scary, the entire ocean is dramatic, the threat of 'mass extinctions' ideal for getting the attention of the young.  Ruth Dixon has noted that the original spin by the journalist has been twittered round the world, as well as being studied by Guardian readers.  It is interesting to note some of the gushing tweets she has captured were from scientists, including this one who describes himself as 'a deepsea biologist, passionate about the oceans'.

As noted by Dixon, the Guardian did eventually edit both the headline and the offending first sentence to reflect the reality that the source of all this was referring to the rate of acidification.  Or, more accurately, to the rate at which the oceans are becoming slightly less alkaline.  Whether that rate is really remarkable is another matter, but one thing seems agreed at the source linked to by Dixon (loc cit): the oceans have been appreciably less alkaline for much of the past 300 million years:

And, as illustrated in a well-known graphic reproduced here, CO2 levels were typically over 1,000ppm for much of that time:


Whatever, we now have another piece of climate junk in circulation.  Keep an eye out for it coming your way.  If you see it being aimed at children or teachers, please let me know and I'll add the details here.

Hat-tip re the Dixon post: Bishop Hillhttp://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2013/10/7/oceans-are-unprecedentedly-alkaline.html