Saturday, April 05, 2014
The IPCC's Latest Report Deliberately Excludes And Misrepresents Important Climate Science
This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is releasing its latest report, the “Working Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report.” Like its past reports, this one predicts apocalyptic consequences if mankind fails to give the UN the power to tax and regulate fossil fuels and subsidize and mandate the use of alternative fuels. But happily, an international group of scientists I have been privileged to work with has conducted an independent review of IPCC’s past and new reports, along with the climate science they deliberately exclude or misrepresent.
Our group, called the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), was founded in 2003 by a distinguished atmospheric physicist, S. Fred Singer, and has produced five hefty reports to date, the latest being released today (March 31).
So how do the IPCC and NIPCC reports differ? The final draft of the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers identifies eight “reasons for concern” which media reports say will remain the focus of the final report. The NIPCC reports address each point too, also summarizing their authors’ positions in Summaries for Policymakers. This provides a convenient way to compare and contrast the reports’ findings.
Here’s what the reports say:
IPCC: “Risk of death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states, due to sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and storm surges.”
NIPCC: “Flood frequency and severity in many areas of the world were higher historically during the Little Ice Age and other cool eras than during the twentieth century. Climate change ranks well below other contributors, such as dikes and levee construction, to increased flooding.”
IPCC: “Risk of food insecurity linked to warming, drought, and precipitation variability, particularly for poorer populations.”
NIPCC: “There is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Farmers and others who depend on rural livelihoods for income are benefitting from rising agricultural productivity throughout the world, including in parts of Asia and Africa where the need for increased food supplies is most critical. Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels play a key role in the realization of such benefits.
IPCC: “Risk of severe harm for large urban populations due to inland flooding.”
NIPCC: “No changes in precipitation patterns, snow, monsoons, or river flows that might be considered harmful to human well-being or plants or wildlife have been observed that could be attributed to rising CO2 levels. What changes have been observed tend to be beneficial.”
IPCC: “Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.”
NIPCC: “Higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations benefit plant growth-promoting microorganisms that help land plants overcome drought conditions, a potentially negative aspect of future climate change. Continued atmospheric CO2 enrichment should prove to be a huge benefit to plants by directly enhancing their growth rates and water use efficiencies.”
IPCC: “Systemic risks due to extreme [weather] events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services.”
NIPCC: “There is no support for the model-based projection that precipitation in a warming world becomes more variable and intense. In fact, some observational data suggest just the opposite, and provide support for the proposition that precipitation responds more to cyclical variations in solar activity.”
IPCC: “Risk of loss of marine ecosystems and the services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic.”
NIPCC: “Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels do not pose a significant threat to aquatic life. Many aquatic species have shown considerable tolerance to temperatures and CO2 values predicted for the next few centuries, and many have demonstrated a likelihood of positive responses in empirical studies. Any projected adverse impacts of rising temperatures or declining seawater and freshwater pH levels (“acidification”) will be largely mitigated through phenotypic adaptation or evolution during the many decades to centuries it is expected to take for pH levels to fall.”
IPCC: “Risk of loss of terrestrial ecosystems and the services they provide for terrestrial livelihoods.”
NIPCC: “Terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Empirical data pertaining to numerous animal species, including amphibians, birds, butterflies, other insects, reptiles, and mammals, indicate global warming and its myriad ecological effects tend to foster the expansion and proliferation of animal habitats, ranges, and populations, or otherwise have no observable impacts one way or the other. Multiple lines of evidence indicate animal species are adapting, and in some cases evolving, to cope with climate change of the modern era.”
IPCC: “Risk of mortality, morbidity, and other harms during periods of extreme heat, particularly for vulnerable urban populations.”
NIPCC: “A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events. More lives are saved by global warming via the amelioration of cold-related deaths than those lost under excessive heat. Global warming will have a negligible influence on human morbidity and the spread of infectious diseases, a phenomenon observed in virtually all parts of the world.”
How could two teams of scientists come to such obviously contradictory conclusions on seemingly every point that matters in the debate over global warming? There are many reasons why scientists disagree, the subject, by the way, of an excellent book a couple years ago titled Wrong by David H. Freedman. A big reason is IPCC is producing what academics call “post-normal science” while NIPCC is producing old-fashioned “real science.”
What is a non-scientist to make of these dueling reports? Indeed, what is a scientist to make of this? Very few scientists are familiar with biology, geology, physics, oceanography, engineering, medicine, economics, and scores of other more specialized disciplines that were the basis for the claims summarized above.
It is frequently said of the global warming debate that it comes down to who you believe rather than what you know. Many climate scientists say they “believe in man-made global warming” even though their own research contradicts key points in the arguments advanced in support of that hypothesis. They say this because they believe the IPCC is telling the truth about findings outside their areas of expertise. Ditto influential science journals such as Nature and Science, which claim to speak on behalf of “climate science.”
The NIPCC reports were conceived and written to offer a way out of this conundrum. They are written in a style that laymen without special training can understand, provide explanations of how research was conducted and summarizing the actual findings, often quoting at length from original scholarly sources. Chapters often present research chronologically, in the order in which the studies were published, so readers can understand how the debate has changed over time.
The NIPCC reports are hefty – the first volume in the Climate Change Reconsidered series was 850 pages long, and the latest volume is more than 1,000 pages – but executive summaries and “key findings” at the beginning of each chapter make them easy to navigate and fascinating to browse. They are all available for free online at www.climatechangereconsidered.org.
How credible are the NIPCC reports? Endorsements by prominent scientists, reviews, and citations in peer-reviewed journals appear at the Web site mentioned above. NIPCC reports are produced by scores of scientists from around the world (some 20 countries so far), cite thousands of peer-reviewed studies, and are themselves peer-reviewed. In June 2013, a division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences published a Chinese translation and condensed edition of the 2009 and 2011 volumes.
We know the authors of the IPCC’s reports have financial conflicts of interest, since the government bureaucracies that select them and the UN that oversees and edits the final reports stand to profit from public alarm over the possibility that global warming will be harmful. The authors of the NIPCC series have no such conflicts. The series is funded by three private family foundations without any financial interest in the outcome of the global warming debate. The publisher, The Heartland Institute, neither solicits nor receives any government or corporation funding for the Climate Change Reconsidered series. (It does receive some corporate funding for its other research and educational programs.)
So is man-made global warming a crisis? Don’t just wonder about it, understand it yourself. Read one or a few chapters of one of the NIPCC reports, and ask if what you read is logical, factual, and relevant to the debate. See if the UN or its many apologists take into account the science and evidence NIPCC summarizes, and then decide whether its predictions of “of death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods” is science or fiction.
New IPCC Report: Cost of Unchecked Man-Made Climate Change Likely Minimal
The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just issued the "Summary for Policymakers" for its new report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. The report aims to sum up what is known about the likely impacts of future climate change, including more droughts, higher sea levels, greater risk of species extinction, and so forth. But what will these changes cost humanity in terms of economic output? Here is the relevant section from the Summary:
Global economic impacts from climate change are difficult to estimate.
Economic impact estimates completed over the past 20 years vary in their coverage of subsets of economic sectors and depend on a large number of assumptions, many of which are disputable, and many estimates do not account for catastrophic changes, tipping points, and many other factors. With these recognized limitations, the incomplete estimates of global annual economic losses for additional temperature increases of ~2°C are between 0.2 and 2.0% of income (emphasis added) (±1 standard deviation around the mean)(medium evidence, medium agreement). Losses are more likely than not to be greater, rather than smaller, than this range (limited evidence, high agreement). Additionally, there are large differences between and within countries. Losses accelerate with greater warming (limited evidence, high agreement), but few quantitative estimates have been completed for additional warming around 3°C or above. Estimates of the incremental economic impact of emitting carbon dioxide lie between a few dollars and several hundreds of dollars per tonne of carbon (robust evidence, medium agreement). Estimates vary strongly with the assumed damage function and discount rate.
Let's assume that the increase in future global average temperature is below 2°C. Gross world product (GWP) in 2012 was about $72 trillion. That divvied up between 7.2 billion people yields an average per capita income of around $10,000. Now assume that world economy grows at 2.5 percent annually over the next 85 years and world population reaches 10 billion. GWP in 2100 would be about $590 trillion and per capita GDP would $59,000. If climate change lowered income by 2 percent by 2100, that would mean GWP would be $578 trillion and per capita GWP would be $57,800. How much should people living now on $10,000 per year sacrifice so that people making six times more in 2100 have an extra $1,200 in income?
Now let's assume that the high climate change damage estimate promulgated in the Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change (2006) reduces incomes in 2100 by as much as 20 percent below what they would otherwise have been. Average income in 2100 would then be just $47,500—still nearly five times more than current global per capita income.
Over at The Telegraph, economist Andrew Lilico provides this interesting analysis:
The new report will apparently tell us that the global GDP costs of an expected global average temperature increase of 2.5 degrees Celsius over the 21st century will be between 0.2 and 2 per cent. To place that in context, the well-known Stern Review of 2006 estimated the costs as 5-20 per cent of GDP. Stern estimates the costs of his recommended policies for mitigating climate change at 2 per cent of GDP – and his estimates are widely regarded as relatively optimistic (others estimate mitigation costs as high as 10 per cent of global GDP). Achieving material mitigation, at a cost of 2 per cent and more of global GDP, would require international co-ordination that we have known since the failure of the Copenhagen conference on climate change simply was not going to happen. Even if it did happen, and were conducted optimally, it would mitigate only a fraction of the total rise, and might create its own risks.
And to add to all this, now we are told that the cost might be as low as 0.2 per cent of GDP. At a 2.4 per cent annual GDP growth rate, the global economy increases 0.2 per cent every month.
So the mitigation deal has become this: Accept enormous inconvenience, placing authoritarian control into the hands of global agencies, at huge costs that in some cases exceed 17 times the benefits even on the Government's own evaluation criteria, with a global cost of 2 per cent of GDP at the low end and the risk that the cost will be vastly greater, and do all of this for an entire century, and then maybe – just maybe – we might save between one and ten months of global GDP growth.
The IPCC Summary does additionally warn that warming higher than 2°C might shove the climate system over tipping points that would produce substantially more losses. The Summary asserts that "low-probability outcomes with large consequences, is central to understanding the benefits and tradeoffs of alternative risk management actions." The chance of total catastrophe warrants some action be taken to avoid it, but how much and at what cost?
Hysteria in Indiana
Don't look out the window
Keith Baugues is not a scientist, but that didn't stop him on a recent wintry day from expressing skepticism about global warming — something that is broadly accepted in the scientific community.
After weeks of heavy snow and freezing air, he had had enough. He took to a governmnent message board one day in February, complaining that his normal 45-minute commute had turned into a painful three-hour slog. "Anyone who says global warming is obviously suffering from frostbite," he wrote.
Baugues would later say he was only joking. But he wasn't just any government bureaucrat. Baugues is assistant commissioner in the Office of Air Quality in the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the man in charge of cleaning up Indiana's air.
In a state that traditionally ranks near the top for pollution and coal production — both of which are thought to contribute to global warming — his words rubbed his own employees the wrong way.
Reaction was swift, according to remarks posted to the message board reviewed by The Indianapolis Star. Several IDEM staff members wrote that the comment flew in the face of nearly unanimous scientific consensus and offended and embarrassed them.
"Either support consensus science or please keep your opinions to yourself. The rest of us are embarrassed by your unwillingness to accept what is happening," one worker wrote.
Another said that Baugues "should not speak on such matters until he is better informed." Then that person, who was not named, took pains to point out that recent extremes of cold weather were caused by warming global temperatures. That resulted in more water being absorbed into the atmosphere, pushing the arctic jet stream farther south.
"The fact that [Baugues] disparages the exact kind of science that disproves his statement only further illustrates how out of touch this administration is with the current environmental crisis facing not only Hoosiers, but the entire world," the person wrote.
Baugues studied engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute and has spent six years at IDEM and nine years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
He previously was a project manager at Keramida, an engineering firm whose clients include power plants, mines, foundries, factories and oil and gas facilities.
In response to the outcry, Baugues wrote to his staff on March 19 trying to tamp down the outcry. But he stuck by his position. "I am a skeptic on global warming," he declared.
"It seems silly to be talking about global warming at a time when we were having extremely cold unseasonable weather," he wrote.
He said if staff members thought they had "important facts about global warming," he would be willing to discuss it during lunch hours.
Baugues declined to talk to The Indianapolis Star. A spokesman said Thursday that the initial comments were meant "to add levity and spur discussion of global warming." He said that under Baugues the state has attained compliance with federal mandates for air quality.
But some scientists and environmentalists note that Baugues' comments are at such odds with overwhelming scientific opinion that they wonder whether he is the right person to lead Indiana's efforts to regulate air polluters.
Dick Van Frank, a former member of the Indiana Air Pollution Control Board, was momentarily speechless when he heard of Baugues' comments. "Is he kidding? Is that a joke?"
Although January was unusually cold across much of the United States, it was actually the fourth-warmest January on record worldwide, said Lonnie G. Thompson, an Ohio State University professor of earth sciences who has researched the climate for more than 30 years.
"People tend to look out their back door and think that is an indication of what's happening on the planet, which of course it's not," Thompson said.
The Hoosier Environmental Council called Baugues' remarks disturbing. "Simply because there's really cold weather in one part of the world doesn't in any way undermine the scientific concerns that climate change is real," said Karen Ferarro, a lawyer with the organization.
Yet in Indiana, which ranks in the top 10 among states for coal production, Baugues is just the latest to express skepticism about global warming and climate change.
In February, Gov. Mike Pence appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" and said he wasn't sure that climate change was caused by human activities.
"We haven't seen a lot of warming lately," Pence said. "I remember back in the '70s, we were talking about the emerging ice age. We'll leave the scientific debate to the future."
A spokeswoman for Pence declined to comment on Baugues' remarks.
UN’s narrative of fear on climate change
In their latest report on climate change, officials at the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) once again fail to address important developments in climate science that conflict with their narrative of fear. (See: Threat from global warming heightened in latest U.N. report)
Specifically, the IPCC press release ignores: (1) the growing divergence between observed global temperatures and the computer model projections on which scary climate impact assessments depend, (2) 20 recent studies indicating that climate sensitivity (an estimate of how much warming results from a given increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations) is about 40 percent less than the mean estimate of IPCC models, and (3) studies indicating that the three main climate doomsday scenarios — ocean circulation shutdown, rapid ice sheet disintegration, runaway warming from melting frozen methane deposits — are scientifically implausible (for references, see pp. 23-26 of CEI’s comment letter on the social cost of carbon).
Worse, as usual, IPCC officials say nary a word about risks of carbon mitigation policies. Those include:
The public health and welfare risks of carbon rationing schemes or taxes that raise business and energy costs.
The economic, fiscal, and energy security risks of anti-fracking climate policies that endanger the shale revolution.
The economic development risks of coal power plant bans and other policies that limit poor countries’ access to affordable energy.
The risks to international peace and stability of impeding developing country economic growth through carbon caps or taxes and carbon-tariff protectionism.
The risks to scientific integrity when government is both chief funder of climate research and chief beneficiary of a “consensus” supporting more regulation and higher taxes.
The risk to the democratic process when governments promote “consensus” climatology to justify bypassing legislatures and marginalizing opponents as “anti-science.”
Save the World! Go Vegan!
"It May Take a Global Vegetarian Movement to Combat Climate Change." That's the title of a National Journal article this week, but here's the real kicker, penned in the very first paragraph: "If we really want to cut down on global greenhouse emissions, we're going to have to do something about cow farts." Yes, cow farts. "That's the conclusion of a study published [Monday] in the journal Climatic Change," reports Brian Resnick, who added that the researchers are proposing less meaty diets and fewer livestock because it's the only "shot of reaching the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's global-warming mitigation goals."
According to the analysis, meat consumption will need to be reduced between 25% and 75% depending on the level of other fossil fuel-cutting measures. That's ironic -- the solution for saving mankind is now the regulation of ... nature? In other news: "Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters."
We'll curb the blight of the solar farm, say Tories: Britain vows to slow the spread of panels across countryside
The spread of large solar farms should be controlled so they do not become as unpopular as wind turbines, the Energy Minister said yesterday.
Greg Barker pledged that he would not allow solar power to ‘become the new onshore wind’.
He said he wanted a shift away from huge solar farms that blight the landscape, in favour of small panels on the roofs of homes, offices and schools.
Mr Barker said Britain’s rooftops should become mini power stations, as he announced a new solar strategy.
The plans include turning Government offices, factories, supermarkets and car parks into ‘solar hubs’.
His intervention comes after it emerged this week that the Prime Minister is planning to make a stand against onshore wind turbines before the next election.
A Conservative source said that Mr Cameron is ‘of one mind’ with the loudest opponents of onshore windfarms and is considering a cap on the number of new turbines.
Mr Barker said yesterday: ‘I do not want solar farms to become the new onshore wind.
‘Solar power enjoys huge popularity, so we have to be careful. I do not want to see unrestricted growth of solar farms in the British countryside.’
He added: ‘We have put ourselves among the world leaders on solar and this ambitious strategy will place us right at the cutting edge.
‘There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations and we must seize the opportunity this offers to boost our economy as part of our long-term economic plan.
‘Solar not only benefits the environment, it will see British job creation and deliver the clean and reliable energy supplies the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers.’
There has been a huge expansion in the number of large solar projects. Two years ago there were 46 large-scale farms in Britain, but by the end of February this year there were 184 projects. An additional 194 projects have planning permission and are awaiting construction.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘We want to move the emphasis for growth away from large solar farms and instead focus on opening up the solar market for the UK’s estimated 250,000 hectares [600,000 acres] of south-facing commercial rooftops.’
The Solar Trade Association welcomed the announcement, saying it would strengthen the UK’s position in the ‘booming’ global solar market.
Chief executive Paul Barwell said: ‘Greg Barker has championed solar power specifically because he knows it has the greatest potential to empower millions of people across the UK with low-cost green energy. Solar will also provide thousands of good-quality local jobs.’
Tory plans to make a stand against onshore wind have been opposed by Lib Dems, including Mr Barker’s boss, Energy Secretary Ed Davey.
Mr Davey told Parliament on Thursday: ‘Onshore wind is ... the cheapest large-scale renewable technology, and I would not want to do anything to reduce its deployment.’
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