Icing The Hype
Dec 10, 2013
The Effects Of Environmentalist and Climate Alarmist Crying Wolf Begin To Appear

By Dr. Tim Ball

The cover story of the November 25, 2013 Canadian weekly magazine Macleans pictures self-appointed Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki.

The caption reads, “Environmentalism Has Failed” “David Suzuki loses faith in the cause of his lifetime.”

Suzuki doesn’t realize he’s the cause of the failure as a major player in the group who exploited environmentalism and climate for a political agenda. Initially most listened and tried to accommodate, but gradually the lies, deceptions and propaganda were exposed. The age of eco-bullying is ending. Typically Suzuki blamed others for the damage to the environment and climate but now he blames them for not listening to him. He forgets that when you point a finger at someone three are pointing back at you.

Environmentalism was what academics call a paradigm shift, which Thomas Kuhn defines as “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.” It was a necessary new paradigm. Everybody accepts the general notion it is foolish to soil your own nest and most were prepared to participate. Most were not sure what it entailed or how far it should go. Extremists grab all new paradigms for their agenda but then define the limits for the majority by pushing beyond the limits of the idea. Environmentalism and the subset climate are at that stage pushed there by extremists like Suzuki. Instead of admitting the science is wrong they double down and make increasingly extreme statements, just like the IPCC. It underscores the political rather than the scientific agenda. For example, Suzuki, apparently frustrated that politicians were not listening to his demands for action on climate change said they should be jailed.

Environmental groups grabbed environmentalism and quickly took the moral high ground preaching that only they cared about the Earth. Suzuki set up the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) with tax benefits that required it to be non-political, but after active involvement in an Ontario election he was forced to resign. His major theme in the election was to push the climate change and alternate energies put in place in that Province when Maurice Strong was in charge of Ontario Hydro, the state controlled energy agency. Ontario is the perfect example of how and why climate energy policies promoted by Strong as Founder of UNEP are a disaster.

The Foundation campaigned on environmental issues most presented in deceptive or incomplete ways. An example was the attack on salmon farming and corrupted research on PCBs and sea lice. This was the focus of an interview of researcher Vivian Krause by Ezra Levant. Another was Suzuki’s parade across Canada pushing extinction theories and claims of DSF Board member E.O Wilson that 3 species go extinct every hour. He never named one. He never listed the plethora of new species found. He refused to discuss the issue and in his visit to schools pre-arranged and wrote a question for a selected student to ask. He promoted threats of global warming, but refused to debate the issue or answer questions. When asked questions on a radio interview in Toronto, he swore and stormed out of the studio.

He hired former Federal politician NDP (socialist party) David Fulton as Director of DSF. James Hoggan has been Chairman of the Board for many years. His PR Company has major alternate energy companies as clients. Hoggan is the proud creator of DeSmogblog a web site that claims it is “Clearing the PR Pollution that clouds climate science” but mostly involves personal attacks on people asking questions. The objective was to denigrate people by creating “favorable interpretations” to the following questions. “Were these climate skeptics qualified? Were they doing any research in the climate change field? Were they accepting money, directly or indirectly, from the fossil fuel industry?” This doesn’t answer skeptics questions about the science.

Their real agenda was disclosed in a Climatic Research Unit (CRU) leaked email dated December 2007 from senior writer Richard Littlemore to Michael Mann.

Hi Michael [Mann],

I’m a DeSmogBlog writer [Richard LIttlemore] (sic) (I got your email from Kevin Grandia)* and I am trying to fend off the latest announcement that global warming has not actually occurred in the 20th century.

It looks to me like Gerd Burger is trying to deny climate change by “smoothing,” “correcting” or otherwise rounding off the temperatures that we know for a flat fact have been recorded since the 1970s, but I am out of my depth (as I am sure you have noticed: we’re all about PR here, not much about science) so I wonder if you guys have done anything or are going to do anything with Burger’s intervention in Science. (emphasis added)

(* Grandia was a former writer for DeSmogBlog who moved there after serving as a research assistant for a Liberal Minister in Ottawa.)

Do as I say, not as I do is the hallmark of extreme environmentalists behaviour. Al Gore is the poster boy for this hypocrisy. It appears Suzuki is only different in scale. They were enumerated in programs by SUN TV Reporter Ezra Levant. They include the familiar list of funding and financial activities and personal wealth accumulated, especially in properties.

A major part of Suzuki’s attacks relate to global warming. His refusal to debate or even answer questions is legendary. He ignores his lack of qualifications on climate, but uses that challenge when it comes to his supposed expertise in genetics and genetically modified food. A possible explanation for his “environmentalism is a failure” claim is a PR move to divert from the exposure of his climate ignorance in an Australian interview. He could not answer questions about information fundamental to any understanding.

Suzuki abandoned his academic career in genetics decades ago explaining why in a 1999 Seattle speech. His concerns related to the internment of his Japanese Canadian family during WWII. Here are his words:

In the exuberance of the excitement over the discovery of new principles of heredity - that seemed to apply across the plant and animal kingdoms - geneticists began to make wonderful, wild statements about the implications of their discoveries. I’m sure most of you know that it ultimately led to what was considered a legitimate area of science called Eugenics.

Some of our most eminent geneticists taught courses in eugenics, wrote textbooks in eugenics, published articles in eugenics journals. Eugenics being the attempt to apply the new-found knowledge of heredity to improve the genetic quality or makeup of human society.

It seems more logical to maintain standing as a geneticist and work to prevent such drifts occurring. Instead he quit and became a tele-evangelist using state television (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) to push his environmental/political agenda.

His television series became his undoing as a classic example of how extremism is its own undoing. It’s why Suzuki’s exploitation of environmentalism, as he defines it, caused failure. Most programs in the series were unjustified, misleading condemnations of different components of society. I identified some of the misinformation in a presentation to farmers in Saskatchewan a few years ago. Afterward a woman told me that a month earlier she would have disagreed with my comments. Now she understood because Suzuki did a program on farming and as a farmer’s wife she knew how wrong and biased it was. Each new program exposed another segment of society to the deception. This created a populace open to and not surprised by the exposure of his hypocrisies. The same is happening to climate alarmism as more and more segments of society are negatively affected. His actions and climate driven energy policies close industries, decimate communities, cause job losses and force business closures, virtually all unnecessarily.

As Suzuki’s campaign to use environmentalism for a political agenda fails he lashes out, blaming others for the failure. It parallels what is happening in the climate alarmist community. The comments and claims become more extreme, but achieve the opposite of their goal. It is necessary to consider the further negative effects of their exploitation and deceptions. What is the damage to the credibility of science? Can we pursue environmentalism with rational, science based, prioritized policies?

Nov 28, 2013
Falmouth wind turbines and sleep deprivation: A psychiatrist weighs in

William Hallstein, MD - September 13, 2013

Noise Impact on People, Massachusetts

This letter, written by William Hallstein, MD, a practicing psychiatrist with over 40 years of experience, was delivered to the Chairman of the Falmouth Board of Health. Dr. Hallstein is also a resident of Falmouth Massachusetts. In his letter he explains the very real impact of the Falmouth turbines on human health.

Jed Goldstone, Chairman
Falmouth Board of Health

Subject: Falmouth wind turbines and sleep deprivation

Dear Mr. Goldstone:

In way of introduction I have been a Falmouth resident since 1970. I am a psychiatrist, my career working its way through its 44th year. Consultation/liaison psychiatry has been my primary setting. In this role one treats patients with combined physical and psychiatric illnesses in the general medical center population, be it medical, surgical or emergency units, in addition to the most severely psychiatrically ill patients admitted to locked psychiatric units and correctional institutions.
I am thoroughly acquainted with the turbine issues and neighbors who are affected. I have made it my business to spend significant amounts of time experiencing the turbine effects. I know exactly what they are describing and have experienced it.

Turning now to the topic of sleep interruption and deprivation. Sleep disturbance is not a trivial matter. Children with inadequate sleep perform poorly academically, emotionally and physically. Errors in judgement and accident rates increase with inadequate sleep and fatigue for everyone: athletes, truck drivers, ship operators , aircraft pilots and physicians. No one is exempt.

In the world of medicine illnesses of all varieties are destabilized by fatigue secondary to inadequate sleep. Diabetic blood sugars become labile, cardiac rhythms become irregular, migraines erupt and increase in intensity, tissue healing is retarded, and so forth, across the entire field of physical medicine. Psychiatric problems intensify and people decompensate. Mood disorders become more extreme and psychotic disorders more severe.

People with no previously identified psychiatric illness are destabilized by sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation experiments have repeatedly been terminated because test subjects become psychotic; they begin to hallucinate auditory and visual phenomena. They develop paranoid delusions. This all happens in the “normal” brain. Sleep deprivation has been used as an effective means of torture and a technique for extracting confessions.

I could work my way thru the presentation of 43 years of sleep deprivation observations, but that is more than the scope of this letter. I am writing because I have witnessed Town of Falmouth officials and members of other boards trivialize symptom reports from people living close to the wind turbines. I have witnessed attempts to discredit people who are being hurt by the turbines.

Sleep deprivation breaks down individual defenses and mimics a broad range of physical and mental illnesses. Let’s hope the Town of Falmouth comes to its senses and stops the abuse.

William Hallstein, MD
Falmouth, MA 02540

Nov 23, 2013
Climate experts to enviros: “The time has come” to embrace nuclear power


Wind and solar power alone won’t do enough to counter climate change, say four top climate scientists

Nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, in Waynesboro, Ga.(Credit: AP/Mary Ann Chastain)

In an ideal world, we’d move steadily away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, like wind and solar, while neatly avoiding messy alternatives like natural gas and nuclear power. But according to four top U.S. scientists, renewable energy won’t be enough to head off the rapidly advancing reality of climate change. Despite the scary things you may be hearing about it, they said, nuclear power is a solution, and it needs to be taken seriously.

The letter, signed by James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tom Wigley, of the University of Adelaide in Australia all of whom, according to the AP, “have played a key role in alerting (lying) to the public to the dangers of climate change” was sent to leading environmental groups and leaders around the world. Advocating for the development of safe nuclear power, they wrote:

We appreciate your organization’s concern about global warming, and your advocacy of renewable energy. But continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.

Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires. While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power.

Using a bit less tact, Hansen told the AP: “They’re cheating themselves if they keep believing this fiction that all we need” is wind and solar.

The experts also took pains to address concerns over nuclear safety something that’s been a particular sticking point for nuclear power in the wake of the disaster at Fukushima:

We understand that today’s nuclear plants are far from perfect. Fortunately, passive safety systems and other advances can make new plants much safer. And modern nuclear technology can reduce proliferation risks and solve the waste disposal problem by burning current waste and using fuel more efficiently. Innovation and economies of scale can make new power plants even cheaper than existing plants. Regardless of these advantages, nuclear needs to be encouraged based on its societal benefits.

Quantitative analyses show that the risks associated with the expanded use of nuclear energy are orders of magnitude smaller than the risks associated with fossil fuels. No energy system is without downsides. We ask only that energy system decisions be based on facts, and not on emotions and biases that do not apply to 21st century nuclear technology.

Nov 22, 2013
Climate Science Lawyers Up American Geophysical Union adds legal counseling to its Agenda

Climate Science Lawyers Up
American Geophysical Union adds legal counseling to its Fall Meeting agenda, citing scientists’ need to defend against increasing attacks on research, correspondence and public statements

By Lindsey Konkel and The Daily Climate

POSTER HALL AT AGU: The American Geophysical Union will now be offering legal counseling during its sponsored events in order to help better scientists’ communications and interactions with the broader world outside of science.
Image: Jesse Varner/Flickr

Time for climate scientists to lawyer up? One of the world’s premier science associations is offering the option.

The American Geophysical Union, representing more than 62,000 Earth, atmospheric and space scientists worldwide, has teamed with the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund to make lawyers available for confidential sessions with scientists at its annual meeting next month.

Legal counseling is not a typical agenda item for a science confab, but it’s become an important one in today’s political climate, scientists say.

The role of science in society is evolving, said AGU’s executive director Chris McEntee. As society faces more conflict over natural disasters, natural resource use and climate change, scientists increasingly find themselves in the spotlight, forced to communicate findings in ways they haven’t in the past.

One-on-one litigation counseling, McEntee said, is “part of a broader suite of services to help our scientists communicate and interact with the broader world outside of science.”

Avoiding naivety

It’s an issue few researchers contemplate as they prepare for a career in science, said Scott Mandia, professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College in New York and founder of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

“When you get your degrees in science, you have no understanding of how the legal system works” he said. Such naivety is often exploited to slow down the scientific process, he added, especially in controversial areas like climate research.

The Legal Defense Fund and AGU teamed up last year to test interest; 10 scientists signed up for counseling. Mandia expects “many more” this year.

Lawyers will be available seven hours a day for the first four days of AGU’s massive five-day Fall Meeting, held every December in San Francisco and drawing 22,000 scientists to share and discuss their work.

Wrong message to young scientists?

While Mandia sees a need for scientists to get legal savvy, he also fears the message it sends to early-career scientists unprotected by tenure or institutions.

“Will young scientists shy away from controversial studies if they fear their work will constantly be under attack?” he asked.

Penn State climatologist Michael Mann has been at the receiving end of multiple legal challenges as the creator, more than a decade ago, of the now-famous “hockey stick” graph merging contemporary and prehistoric temperature records.

There’s no question to him of the value or need for legal knowledge.

“Many scientists in my field now find themselves at the receiving end of attacks by groups who abuse open records laws to saddle scientists with vexatious and intimidating demands for personal emails and other materials,” he said in an email. “It is critical that they be informed about their legal rights and available recourse.”

The AGU Fall Meeting starts Dec. 9.

This article originally appeared at The Daily Climate, the climate change news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.

Nov 03, 2013
Al Gore Still Stranded

By Dr. Charles Battig

How fortunate Mr. Gore and Generation Investment Management (GIM) were able to secure a half-page “opinion” piece in the October 30, 2013 Wall Street Journal. Readers should be grateful that GIM is so concerned for their financial well- being that they wrote this expose of misguided investments in fossil fuels. The article reads like a self-serving stock prospectus designed to persuade potential investors sell off or short carbon assets, lest they be “stranded” with toxic investments. Perhaps GIM would then be so kind as to take those freed funds under its own management and redirect them to the profitable “renewables” niche market in which they specialize.

Mr. Gore himself is stranded with the outsized and unfulfilled climate catastrophe claims of his 2006 An Inconvenient Truth. They live on in this latest anti-carbon crusade. The central claim of the WSJ article of a “consensus within the scientific community that increasing the global temperature by more than 2 ̊C will likely causing devastating and irreversible damage to the planet” is unsubstantiated. Quoting a mythical consensus does not qualify as scientific truth. The inconvenient, but factual, truth is that even as atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen about 9% the past 15 years, global temperatures have remained level. Sea level rates of rise have not accelerated; no major hurricanes have stuck the U.S. since 2005. Fossil fuels remain the mainstay of reliable energy production, here and overseas. Coal-based energy production is increasing on a worldwide basis. Germany exemplifies this trend as the energy void created by closures of their nuclear power plants is being filled by coal- fired electrical generation.

Like the iconic polar bears used to promote global warming catastrophe, Mr. Gore is now the one stranded on an Arctic ice floe of shrinking credibility.


Oct 23, 2013
2013 ranks as one of the least extreme US weather years ever


There have been many forecasts in the news in recent years predicting more and more extreme weather-related events in the US, but for 2013 that prediction has been way off the mark. Whether you’re talking about tornadoes, wildfires, extreme heat or hurricanes, the good news is that weather-related disasters in the US are all way down this year compared to recent years and, in some cases, down to historically low levels.

To begin with, the number of tornadoes in the US this year is on pace to be the lowest total since 2000 and it may turn out to be the lowest total in at least several decades. The table below lists the number of tornadoes in the US for this year (through 10/17) and also for each year going back to 2000. In fact in the inflation adjusted data, this year is running more than 100 tornadoes below the prior record mnimum.


(Source: NOAA)
Year # of Tornadoes
2013 771
2012 1119
2011 1894
2010 1543
2009 1305
2008 1685
2007 1102
2006 1117
2005 1262
2004 1820
2003 1374
2002 938
2001 1219
2000 1072

Second, the number of wildfires across the US so far this year is on pace to be the lowest it has been in the past ten years and the acreage involved is at the second lowest level in that same time period (table below).

(Source: National Interagency Fire Center)
2013 Fires: 40,306 Acres: 4,152,390
2012 Fires: 67,774 Acres: 9,326,238
2011 Fires: 74,126 Acres: 8,711,367
2010 Fires: 62,471 Acres: 3,233,461
2009 Fires: 78,792 Acres: 5,921,786
2008 Fires: 80,094 Acres: 5,254,109
2007 Fires: 85,822 Acres: 9,321,326
2006 Fires: 96,358 Acres: 9,871,939
2005 Fires: 66,552 Acres: 8,686,753
2004 Fires: 63,608 Acres: 8,097,880
*2013 data through 10/16

In addition to wildfires, extreme heat is also way down across the US this year. In fact, the number of 100 degree days across the country during 2013 is not only down for this year, but it is perhaps going to turn out to be the lowest in about 100 years of records.

(Source: NOAA, USHCN reporting stations; through August)

The five summers with the highest number of 100 degree days across the US are as follows: 1936, 1934, 1954, 1980 and 1930. In addition to the vast reduction in 100 degree days across the US this year, the number of high temperature records (ie hi max and hi min records) is way down compared to a year ago with 22,965 records this year as compared with 56,885 at this same time last year. In fact it appears to be the lowest on record.

image(Source: NOAA, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/; through 10/17).

Finally, as far as hurricanes are concerned, there have been only two hurricanes so far this season in the Atlantic Basin (Humberto and Ingrid) and they were both short-lived and weak category 1 storms. Also, the first forming hurricane this year occurred at the second latest date going back to the mid 1940’s when hurricane hunters began to fly. Overall, the tropical season in the Atlantic Basin has been generally characterized by short-lived and weak systems. Although we have had 12 named storms, there have only been two weak Category 1 hurricanes in the Atlantic. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season marks the first time in 45 years that the strongest storm to form was just a minor Category 1 hurricane. It has been nearly 2,962 days (8 years) since a major hurricane struck the United States. This easily smashes the previous record of 2,250 days (6 years, 2 months).

In addition, this suppressed tropical activity has not been confined to just the Atlantic Ocean. The eastern Pacific Ocean has had no major hurricanes this season meaning there has been no major hurricane in either the Atlantic or eastern Pacific which only occurred one other year in recorded history 1968. This is actually quite extraordinary since the two basins are generally out of phase with each other i.e. when one is inactive the other is active.

One of the best ways to measure “total seasonal activity” in the tropics is through an index called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) which is a metric that accounts for both intensity and duration of named tropical storms. Indeed, the ACE for this tropical season so far in the Atlantic Basin is only 29% percent of normal (through 10/17) when compared to the climatological average from 1981-2010 and it is the 7th lowest since 1950. Elsewhere, the ACE across the northern hemisphere is only 58% of normal and global ACE is 62% of normal.
(Source: Dr. Ryan Maue at Weather Bell Analytics; http://models.weatherbell.com/tropical.php)

Finally, another interesting stat with respect to hurricanes has to do with the fact that we are currently in the longest period since the Civil War Era without a major hurricane strike in the US (i.e., category 3, 4 or 5). The last major hurricane to strike the US was Hurricane Wilma during late October of that record-breaking year of 2005. Let’s hope this historic stretch continues. By the way, just as a point of comparison, in 1954 the US was hit by 3 major hurricanes in less than 10 weeks.

Oct 03, 2013
IPCC: Fixing the Facts

By Steve McIntyre

Figure 1.4 of the Second Order Draft clearly showed the discrepancy between models and observations, though IPCC’s covering text reported otherwise. I discussed this in a post leading up to the IPCC Report, citing Ross McKitrick’s article in National Post and Reiner Grundmann’s post at Klimazweiberl. Needless to say, this diagram did not survive. Instead, IPCC replaced the damning (but accurate) diagram with a new diagram in which the inconsistency has been disappeared.

Here is Figure 1.4 of the Second Order Draft, showing post-AR4 observations outside the envelope of projections from the earlier IPCC assessment reports (see previous discussion here).

Figure 1. Second Order Draft Figure 1.4. Yellow arrows show digitization of cited Figure 10.26 of AR4.

Now here is the replacement graphic in the Approved Draft: this time, observed values are no longer outside the projection envelopes from the earlier reports. IPCC described it as follows:

Even though the projections from the models were never intended to be predictions over such a short time scale, the observations through 2012 generally fall within the projections made in all past assessments.

Figure 2. Approved Version Figure 1.4

So how’d the observations move from outside the envelope to insider the envelope? It will take a little time to reconstruct the movements of the pea.

In the next figure, I’ve shown a blow-up of the new Figure 1.4 to a comparable timescale (1990-2015) as the Second Draft version. The scale of the Second Draft showed the discrepancy between models and observations much more clearly. I do not believe that IPCC’s decision to use a more obscure scale was accidental.

Enlarged. Figure 3. Detail of Figure 1.4 with annotation. Yellow dots- HadCRUT4 annual (including YTD 2013.)

First and most obviously, the envelope of AR4 projections is completely different in the new graphic. The Second Draft had described the source of the envelopes as follows:

The coloured shading shows the projected range of global annual mean near surface temperature change from 1990 to 2015 for models used in FAR (Scenario D and business-as-usual), SAR (IS92c/1.5 and IS92e/4.5), TAR (full range of TAR Figure 9.13(b) based on the GFDL_R15_a and DOE PCM parameter settings), and AR4 (A1B and A1T). ,,,

The [AR4] data used was obtained from Figure 10.26 in Chapter 10 of AR4 (provided by Malte Meinshausen). Annual means are used. The upper bound is given by the A1T scenario, the lower bound by the A1B scenario.

The envelope in the Second Draft figure can indeed be derived from AR4 Figure 10.26. In the next figure, I’ve shown the original panel of Figure 10.26 with observations overplotted, clearly showing the discrepancy. I’ve also shown the 2005, 2010 and 2015 envelope with red arrows (which I’ve transposed to other diagrams for reference). That observations fall outside the projection envelope of the AR4 figure is obvious.

image Enlarged. Figure 4. AR4 Figure 10.26

The new IPCC graphic no longer cites an AR4 figure. Instead of the envelope presented in AR4, they now show a spaghetti graph of CMIP3 runs, of which they state:

For the AR4 results are presented as single model runs of the CMIP3 ensemble for the historical period from 1950 to 2000 (light grey lines) and for three scenarios (A2, A1B and B1) from 2001 to 2035. The bars at the right hand side of the graph show the full range given for 2035 for each assessment report. For the three SRES scenarios the bars show the CMIP3 ensemble mean and the likely range given by -40% to +60% of the mean as assessed in Meehl et al. (2007). The publication years of the assessment reports are shown. See Appendix 1. A for details on the data and calculations used to create this figure.

The temperature projections of the AR4 are presented for three SRES scenarios: B1, A1B and A2.

Annual mean anomalies relative to 1961 to 1990 of the individual CMIP3 ensemble simulations (as used inAR4 SPM Figure SPM5) are shown. One outlier has been eliminated based on the advice of the model developers because of the model drift that leads to an unrealistic temperature evolution. As assessed by Meehl et al. (2007), the likely-range for the temperature change is given by the ensemble mean temperature change +60% and -40% of the ensemble mean temperature change. Note that in the AR4 the uncertainty range was explicitly estimated for the end of the 21st century results. Here, it is shown for 2035. The time dependence of this range has been assessed in Knutti et al. (2008). The relative uncertainty is approximately constant over time in all estimates from different sources, except for the very early decades when natural variability is being considered (see Figure 3 in Knutti et al., 2008).

For the envelopes from the first three assessments, although they cite the same sources as the predecessor Second Draft Figure 1.4, the earlier projections have been shifted downwards relative to observations, so that the observations are now within the earlier projection envelopes. You can see this relatively clearly with the Second Assessment Report envelope: compare the two versions. At present, I have no idea how they purport to justify this.

None of this portion of the IPCC assessment is drawn from peer-reviewed material. Nor is it consistent with the documents sent to external reviewers.

Sep 24, 2013
Climate drivers

Scientific Alliance

The first, and arguably most important, part of the latest IPCC Assessment Report (AR5) will be released next week in Stockholm (IPCC). This is the report from Working Group 1, charged with evaluating the current state of knowledge on the physical science. The reports from WG2 (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) and WG3 (Mitigation) will follow next Spring, with the final Synthesis Report being launched in October in Copenhagen (host city to the ill-fated 2009 COP15 conference).

Despite attempts to control the spread of information, the blogosphere has inevitably been full of leaks and previews of what the reports will say. The WG1 report is the most important because the conclusions it comes to shape the entire exercise. If the authors were to conclude that Mankind’s contribution to the present phase of climate change was less important than previously thought, then the world would pay much less attention to the need to mitigate.

But it is clear that the opposite is true; the crucial statement from the current version of the Summary for Policymakers (the SPM, the only bit which most people actually read) is “It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010.” The important thing to note here is that this is an increase in confidence since AR4, despite the trend in warming having fallen to the bottom end of the range predicted earlier (and below this by some estimations).

Rather naively, the IPCC leaked the SPM to ‘friendly’ journalists in an attempt to manage the news of the report’s launch. However, inevitably it ended up in less friendly hands and has come in for some fierce criticism. There is no room here to do justice to the ongoing debate which is now rising to a crescendo, but readers who want to get a flavour of it could do worse than read these blog postings: Leaked IPCC report discussed in the MSM and Excerpts from the leaked AR5 Summary for Policy Makers. The first is from Judith Curry, a thoughtful scientist who supports the enhanced greenhouse effect hypothesis but is often critical of the IPCC and some of its more enthusiastic supporters. The second is by Anthony Watts, a retired meteorologist and author of a sceptical but reasoned blog.

Judith Curry makes the point that, in light of the accrual of evidence over the five years since the publication of AR4, the increased confidence is unjustified (remember that the confidence levels are a matter of subjective judgement; there is no objective metric used). In her words “An increase in confidence in the attribution statement, in view of the recent pause and the lower confidence level in some of the supporting findings, is incomprehensible to me.  Further, the projections of 21st century changes remain overconfident.”

This topic is vitally important for the future of all of us. If the IPCC’s confidence is justified then effective mitigation measures should be given high priority. The debate then moves from what the problem is to how best to solve it, whether by making the most cost-effective reductions in carbon dioxide emissions now (almost certainly with a large element of nuclear power), concentrating on adaptation or simply waiting until future generations have new, economic energy generating technologies which do not use fossil fuels. The IPCC seems to be trying to move the debate on and once again persuade leaders that ‘the science is settled’.

If, on the other hand, the WG1 authors’ confidence is misplaced, then the case for rapid and radical decarbonisation is undermined. The fact that there is no end in sight to China and India’s escalating use of coal might already be seen as making current policies futile, but it has not stopped the EU and a few other enthusiastic countries from imposing high costs on their own economies to reduce their own use of fossil fuels. If the IPCC’s apparent certainty can be shown to be unjustified, then pragmatic politicians are going to have to start questioning their emissions reduction policies.

To add to this mix, there is a recent report of further work by the Danish team led by Henrik Svensmark on the influence of the Sun’s magnetic field on cloud formation initiated by cosmic rays: Physicists claim further evidence of link between cosmic rays and cloud formation. What the latest experiments have shown is that the very fine aerosol particles produced by ionising radiation can aggregate in the presence of sulphuric acid (produced under the influence of ultraviolet light) to produce nuclei large enough to initiate cloud formation.

By itself, this if of course not enough to demonstrate that cosmic rays, mediated by the Sun’s changing magnetic field, have a significant effect on global temperatures relative to the forcing effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, the evidence which is building cannot be ignored. This does not stop this hypothesis being effectively dismissed by the current climate change Establishment, who have consistently said that such an effect could only be minor. In this report for example, Gavin Schmidt, a leading spokesman, said “The researchers have a really long way to go before they can convince anyone that this is fundamental to climate change.”

This is undoubtedly true, but we should not forget that the entire edifice of climate change policy currently rests on the output of computer models based on the hypothesis that there are positive feedback mechanisms which increase the modest warming impact of higher CO2 levels. There is currently no empirical support for this and the temperature trends for the early part of the 21st Century are now incompatible with the projections from the models. It would be foolhardy to ignore hard evidence of other effects, even if IPCC scientists are dubious. Our future prosperity may depend on it. 

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