AR5 is a year away — Gloom and Doom arrived early

The onslaught has begun.   The Fifth Assessment of Climate (AR5) prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  is about one year from publication.  The press is circling like sharks in a feeding frenzy.  Yesterday, my local paper, The Anchorage Daily News, featured leaked details of the draft report’s contents in a front page story.

Who knows what the final report will actually say…but the spin has begun.   We surely will be bombarded with many more of these features as the fall 2014 release date approaches.  AR4 (the forth assessment) was released a full 6 years ago, so this document will be a milestone event in climate politics.

Right now is the perfect time to provide a skeptics guide to IPCC spin.  Here we go.

  • Scientists and politicians write the reports.   The report is both scientific and political at the same time and it is prepared under the authority of the UN, the most political place on earth.
  • All information in the report is between 2 and 3 years old when the report is finally issued.
  • Scientists are being paid to find problems, if they fail to find problems, they will become unemployment statistics.  The process encourages exaggeration.
  • Most journalists simply rehash whatever they have been told.  Most lack the knowledge and skill to fully understand the issue or to ask specific questions.
  • Newspapers are in the business of selling papers….good news rarely improves circulation.

Now for some specifics. Most stories written today have language similar to yesterdays local report.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time,” said Thomas F. Stocker, co-chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Maybe, maybe not.  In my view the statement is most probably false.  I can think of at least one issue that is more important and more immediate….population control.   And a related secondary issue, air pollution is, in my view, more important too.   Each person on the planet uses energy and energy use is key to global warming arguments.  I believe the IPCC has the issues out of order.  If we deal with population issues first, most other global issues, including climate management are easier problems to resolve.

IPCC officials are conflicted.   They need the issue to be front and center.   Agreements signed in the 1990’s have expired.   They need gloom and doom.  The recent worldwide recession has knocked them off the front pages of newspapers.  They need a sense of urgency.  No gloom and doom….no paycheck.

AR4 made many predictions that have not been accurate.  Past posts have detailed their errors.   The IPCC process began using 1990 data, and every report has made specific temperature predictions that have been wrong.  They have regularly and routinely guessed high.  Way high.  The lone exception was  1998, a strong El Nino year.  It was warmer than the IPCC predicted.   Every other year has been cooler than predicted.  EVERY OTHER YEAR!

Climate has been cooler than predicted and carbon dioxide production has been higher than predicted.  Clearly IPCC models were wrong in 2005.

Most recent articles about our changing climate include language similar to this one from yesterdays paper:

No more than 1 trillion metric tons of carbon could be burned and the resulting gases released into the atmosphere, if planetary warming is to be kept below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above the level of preindustrial times.  That temperature is an internationally agreed target, above which scientists believe the most dangerous effects of climate change would begin to occur.

There is no such thing as an internationally agreed target,  and if there was one, I doubt it would be something so specific.   The science is not precise enough to make such predictions.   IPCC computer models used to generate climate predictions vary by between 3 and 5 degrees C depending on which climate Scenario picked.  The IPCC does provide a best guess number in between the extremes, but the IPCC does not quantify best value.  We don’t have any idea what best value means.

A 1 degree C prediction, a century or more into the future, is  too difficult a task for the models.  They are not precise enough.  It is not unusual for individual models to disagree with each other by as much as 3 degrees C.   And they don’t know which model is better.  And in some cases there are dozens of models. Which model do we believe, the high one or the low one or somewhere in between?   The IPCC has a history of guessing high and guessing wrong.

Why is the Industrial Revolution used as a starting point?  Most scientists would call that time The Little Ice Age.   Why start at one of the coldest times in recent history.  It sounds like cherry picking of data to me.  You make the call:

I would argue that using the term Industrial Revolution was done to create an impression, a false impression, that man was responsible for globaal warming going back hundreds of years.  The IPCC scientific community assumes most warming before 1950 was natural.  I fear the politicians at the IPCC are running the show

Whenever I see IPCC officials acting like politicians….I get skeptical.

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