Moments after the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) released a summary of its latest global-warming report on September 27, top climate scientists and experts were already reading through it and trashing the methods, findings, claims, and more. In fact, based on leaked drafts of the controversial report, critics had been debunking and ridiculing the UN’s climate claims for weeks prior to the official release. Once the summary report was officially released in Stockholm, the deluge of criticism accelerated, with more than a few top scientists calling for the UN IPCC to be disbanded entirely.
The latest climate document claimed that despite more than 16 years of essentially no increase in global temperatures in defiance of UN theories and predictions, politically selected IPCC experts were more certain than ever that humans were to blame for global warming — 95 percent sure, to be precise. While it is not entirely clear how the IPCC calculated the “percent” certainty, the claim has confused some of the world’s most respected climate scientists. “How they can justify this is beyond me,” notedProfessor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“It makes no sense that the IPCC was claiming that its confidence in its forecasts and conclusions has increased,” Dr. Curry was also quoted as saying in news reports. “This is incomprehensible to me; the IPCC projections are overconfident, especially given the report’s admitted areas of doubt. The consensus-seeking process used by the IPCC creates and amplifies biases in the science. It should be abandoned in favor of a more traditional review that presents arguments for and against — which would better support scientific progress, and be more useful for policy makers.”
Indeed, aside from attempting to downplay the lack of warming, the UN has essentially boxed itself into a corner with its latest climate report. “IPCC has thrown down the gauntlet — if the pause continues beyond 15 years (well it already has), they are toast,” Professor Curry noted on her climate website in an analysis offering her initial thoughts about the UN’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). “Even though they still use the word ‘most’ in the attribution statement, they go all out and pretty much say [the temperature increase] is all AGW [anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming].”
In another commentary about the report, Dr. Curry said it was time to shut down the whole IPCC. “The diagnosis of paradigm paralysis seems fatal in the case of the IPCC, given the widespread nature of the infection and intrinsic motivated reasoning,” she explained. “We need to put down the IPCC as soon as possible — not to protect the patient who seems to be thriving in its own little cocoon, but for the sake of the rest of us whom it is trying to infect with its disease. Fortunately much of the population seems to be immune, but some governments seem highly susceptible to the disease. However, the precautionary principle demands that we not take any risks here, and hence the IPCC should be put down.”
Numerous other prominent scientists — even many who have worked with the IPCC and accept some of its global-warming theories — have been equally critical. Meteorology Professor Richard Lindzen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who served as a lead author with the third IPCC report, for example, told Climate Depot that he thought the UN body had “truly sunk to a level of hilarious incoherence” with its latest assessment. “They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase,” added Dr. Lindzen, who has published hundreds of scientific papers.
The UN-promoted theory about the missing warming being hidden somewhere in the ocean, Lindzen continued, is really an admission that its climate models do not accurately simulate natural internal variability in the system. Because the claim that human activity is responsible for global warming depends on the models being able to do just that, the IPCC is essentially admitting, “somewhat obscurely,” that its crucial assumption is unjustified, the MIT expert explained.
“Finally, in attributing warming to man, they fail to point out that the warming has been small, and totally consistent with there being nothing to be alarmed about,” the scientist and professor concluded. “It is quite amazing to see the contortions the IPCC has to go through in order to keep the international climate agenda going.”
Meanwhile, climate experts Patrick Michaels and Paul "Chip" Knappenberger with the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute were calling for the UN report to be “torn up and tossed out” along with “the entire IPCC process which produced such a misleading (and potentially dangerous) document.” In analyses of the report published in various media outlets and on Cato’s website, the two experts lambasted the report with extremely harsh comments, blasting it as “an embarrassment of internal inconsistency,” “beyond misleading,” “entirely self-serving,” and more.
“The Humpty Dumpty-esque report once claiming to represent the ‘consensus of scientists’ has fallen from its exalted wall and cracked to pieces under the burdensome weight of its own cumbersome and self-serving processes, which is why all the governments’ scientists and all the governments’ men cannot put the IPCC report together again,” they wrote, saying the IPCC’s climate models needed fixing as evidenced by the fact that the UN could not even track the Earth’s average temperature for the last 10 to 20 years. The IPCC report, the two experts continued, was not only “obsolete on its release, but completely useless as a basis to form opinions (or policy) related to human energy choices and their influence on the climate.”
Dr. Benny Peiser with the Global Warming Policy Foundation had harsh words for the latest IPCC report, too, saying it was based on flawed models that cannot accurately predict future temperature changes. “The IPCC are gambling that temperatures will rise soon. My own reading of the report is it's more a political message than a scientific one,” he explained. “They ignore the fact that their models have a problem, and they are unable to say when the temperature will start rising again. That is a gamble.”
In media comments, Dr. Peiser blasted the leaked version of the report as a “staggering concoction of confusion, speculation and sheer ignorance.” He said the IPCC appeared to have run out of answers to explain away the “widening gap” between its predictions and reality — a fact that even most of the establishment media have started to notice. In the last 16 years, there has been essentially no increase in temperature, he explained, and before 1980, the world saw some three decades of cooling. Indeed, since 1950, there have only been 20 years of warming, Dr. Peiser noted, adding that nobody knows when temperatures will start rising again.
“If climate scientists were honest enough to acknowledge their predictions were for excessive warming they would have to admit that their climate models could be in serious trouble,” he said. “Around the world, governments are wasting trillions of [British] pounds on useless technology which have no effect on the climate but are causing economic hardship and environmental damage. The IPCC is doing a huge disservice to proper science with such tactics and more and more people are losing trust in their claims and predictions. Unless global temperatures begin to rise again in the next few years it is very likely going to suffer an existential blow to its credibility.”
Climatologist Dr. Roy Warren Spencer, who serves as principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and formerly worked as a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, was equally critical of the latest UN report. Probably the “biggest omission of the report,” he said, “continues to be the almost total neglect of natural forcing mechanisms of climate change.” Overall, Dr. Spencer said the IPCC summary report released last week “reveals a dogged attempt to salvage the IPCC’s credibility amidst mounting evidence that it has gone overboard in its attempts to scare the global public over the last quarter century.”
Other experts criticized a variety of major omissions in the report, too. Executive Vice President Ken Haapala with the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), for example, compared and contrasted the IPCC report with another major climate report that takes a more realistic approach. Produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), the “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science and the Summary for Policymakers” paints a very different picture using many of the same studies cited by the UN.
Among other major concerns cited by Haapala and other experts is the fact that the sensitivity of the climate to increases in carbon dioxide is missing from the IPCC report. “Yet, this is the entire political issue,” he noted. “Is the climate sensitive to human emissions of CO2 or not? Does an increase in the molecules of CO2 from 3 to 4 per 10,000 parts of air make a difference in climate?” The UN does not know.
“Further, the report glosses over the fact that there has been no statistically significant rise in surface temperatures for over 16 years,” Haapala continued, echoing criticism worldwide about the UN effort to downplay the elephant in the room. “Instead, it asserts a greater certainty in its work than prior reports. It reduced the uncertainty from 10% to 5%, with no empirical basis.... The purpose of a physical science is to describe nature, and to understand how it works. It is becoming increasingly evident that IPCC science does not describe nature. Yet, the IPCC intensifies its certainty in its work?”
As The New American has been reporting, numerous independent scientists and organizations have warned in recent years — and especially in the last few months — that the Earth may be facing a period of global cooling. With sun activity on the decline and ice growing at the poles, evidence for the argument continues to grow. In the wake of the latest IPCC report, meanwhile, more than a few critics have pointed out again that the placement of temperature gauges near cities and other urban areas may be skewing the data cited by the UN to bolster its theories. Climate scientist and accredited IPCC reviewer Nic Lewis noted that if 2001, 2002, or 2003 were used as a starting point, it would suggest that the globe has actually been cooling by a statistically insignificant 0.02 C to 0.05 C per decade.
Finally, scientists all over the world are now openly saying that this IPCC report should be the last — even some who support its theories and calls for a global carbon regime. Professor Myles Allen with Oxford University’s Climate Research Network, who has worked extensively with the IPCC but has blasted many of the anti-carbon schemes pursued by governments as a waste of time and money, said the AR5 ought to be the final UN IPCC report. “Its cumbersome production process misrepresents how science works,” he was quoted as saying. “The idea of producing a document of near-biblical infallibility is a misrepresentation of how science works, and we need to look very carefully about what the IPCC does in the future.”
At this point, the number of independent experts calling for an end to the largely discredited UN panel and its reports is growing fast. Some prominent voices in the climate discussion have even been calling for the “climate scamsters” to be prosecuted and jailed as a way to deter future scientific fraud. Much of the establishment media continues to parrot UN climate scaremongering, but it appears increasingly likely that, unlike the growing polar bear population, the IPCC is standing on thin ice.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.