IPCC Admits Its Past Reports Were Junk

The alleged scientific basis for all governmental global warming policy is shown to be based on junk science.

In an article at American Thinker, Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, assesses a new report from the InterAcademy Council (IAC) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report suggests many changes in procedures and points out flaws in previous reports.

Mr. Bast’s article in full (reprinted with permission):

On June 27, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a statement saying it had “complete[d] the process of implementation of a set of recommendations issued in August 2010 by the InterAcademy Council (IAC), the group created by the world’s science academies to provide advice to international bodies.”

Hidden behind this seemingly routine update on bureaucratic processes is an astonishing and entirely unreported story. The IPCC is the world’s most prominent source of alarmist predictions and claims about man-made global warming. Its four reports (a fifth report is scheduled for release in various parts in 2013 and 2014) are cited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. and by national academies of science around the world as “proof” that the global warming of the past five or so decades was both man-made and evidence of a mounting crisis.

If the IPCC’s reports were flawed, as a many global warming “skeptics” have long claimed, then the scientific footing of the man-made global warming movement — the environmental movement’s “mother of all environmental scares” — is undermined. The Obama administration’s war on coal may be unnecessary. Billions of dollars in subsidies to solar and wind may have been wasted. Trillions of dollars of personal income may have been squandered worldwide in campaigns to “fix” a problem that didn’t really exist.

The “recommendations” issued by the IAC were not minor adjustments to a fundamentally sound scientific procedure. Here are some of the findings of the IAC’s 2010 report.

The IAC reported that IPCC lead authors fail to give “due consideration … to properly documented alternative views” (p. 20), fail to “provide detailed written responses to the most significant review issues identified by the Review Editors” (p. 21), and are not “consider[ing] review comments carefully and document[ing] their responses” (p. 22). In plain English: the IPCC reports are not peer-reviewed.

The IAC found that “the IPCC has no formal process or criteria for selecting authors” and “the selection criteria seemed arbitrary to many respondents” (p. 18). Government officials appoint scientists from their countries and “do not always nominate the best scientists from among those who volunteer, either because they do not know who these scientists are or because political considerations are given more weight than scientific qualifications” (p. 18). In other words: authors are selected from a “club” of scientists and nonscientists who agree with the alarmist perspective favored by politicians.

The rewriting of the Summary for Policy Makers by politicians and environmental activists — a problem called out by global warming realists for many years, but with little apparent notice by the media or policymakers — was plainly admitted, perhaps for the first time by an organization in the “mainstream” of alarmist climate change thinking. “[M]any were concerned that reinterpretations of the assessment’s findings, suggested in the final Plenary, might be politically motivated,” the IAC auditors wrote. The scientists they interviewed commonly found the Synthesis Report “too political” (p. 25).

Really? Too political? We were told by everyone — environmentalists, reporters, politicians, even celebrities — that the IPCC reports were science, not politics. Now we are told that even the scientists involved in writing the reports — remember, they are all true believers in man-made global warming themselves — felt the summaries were “too political.”

Here is how the IAC described how the IPCC arrives at the “consensus of scientists”:

Plenary sessions to approve a Summary for Policy Makers last for several days and commonly end with an all-night meeting. Thus, the individuals with the most endurance or the countries that have large delegations can end up having the most influence on the report (p. 25).

How can such a process possibly be said to capture or represent the “true consensus of scientists”?

Another problem documented by the IAC is the use of phony “confidence intervals” and estimates of “certainty” in the Summary for Policy Makers (pp. 27-34). Those of us who study the IPCC reports knew this was make-believe when we first saw it in 2007. Work by J. Scott Armstrong on the science of forecasting makes it clear that scientists cannot simply gather around a table and vote on how confident they are about some prediction, and then affix a number to it such as “80% confident.” Yet that is how the IPCC proceeds.

The IAC authors say it is “not an appropriate way to characterize uncertainty” (p. 34), a huge understatement. Unfortunately, the IAC authors recommend an equally fraudulent substitute, called “level of understanding scale,” which is more mush-mouth for “consensus.”

The IAC authors warn, also on page 34, that “conclusions will likely be stated so vaguely as to make them impossible to refute, and therefore statements of ‘very high confidence’ will have little substantive value.” Yes, but that doesn’t keep the media and environmental activists from citing them over and over again as “proof” that global warming is man-made and a crisis…even if that’s not really what the reports’ authors are saying.

Finally, the IAC noted, “the lack of a conflict of interest and disclosure policy for IPCC leaders and Lead Authors was a concern raised by a number of individuals who were interviewed by the Committee or provided written input” as well as “the practice of scientists responsible for writing IPCC assessments reviewing their own work. The Committee did not investigate the basis of these claims, which is beyond the mandate of this review” (p. 46).

Too bad, because these are both big issues in light of recent revelations that a majority of the authors and contributors to some chapters of the IPCC reports are environmental activists, not scientists at all. That’s a structural problem with the IPCC that could dwarf the big problems already reported.

So on June 27, nearly two years after these bombshells fell (without so much as a raised eyebrow by the mainstream media in the U.S. — go ahead and try Googling it), the IPCC admits that it was all true and promises to do better for its next report. Nothing to see here…keep on moving.

Well I say, hold on, there! The news release means that the IAC report was right. That, in turn, means that the first four IPCC reports were, in fact, unreliable. Not just “possibly flawed” or “could have been improved,” but likely to be wrong and even fraudulent.

It means that all of the “endorsements” of the climate consensus made by the world’s national academies of science — which invariably refer to the reports of the IPCC as their scientific basis — were based on false or unreliable data and therefore should be disregarded or revised. It means that the EPA’s “endangerment finding” — its claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and threat to human health — was wrong and should be overturned.

And what of the next IPCC report, due out in 2013 and 2014? The near-final drafts of that report have been circulating for months already. They were written by scientists chosen by politicians rather than on the basis of merit; many of them were reviewing their own work and were free to ignore the questions and comments of people with whom they disagree. Instead of “confidence,” we will get “level of understanding scales” that are just as meaningless.

And on this basis we should transform the world’s economy to run on breezes and sunbeams?

In 2010, we learned that much of what we thought we knew about global warming was compromised and probably false. On June 27, the culprits confessed and promised to do better. But where do we go to get our money back?

WryHeat comment:

This report confirms many of the criticisms “skeptics” have had about the IPCC. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, the IPCC reports are political rather than scientific. The EPA uses the IPCC reports to justify the EPA’s draconian regulations on energy production, especially coal. It seems that EPA regulations are based on junk science.

Policies attempting to control carbon dioxide emissions have no basis in fact, nor does the rationale for subsidizing expensive solar and wind generation of electricity.

Some of these criticisms may be found in my posts:

The Case Against the IPCC and Proponents of Dangerous Anthropological Global Warming

The Assumed Authority

IPCC and Peer Review

Book Review: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert, an IPCC Exposé

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11 comments

      1. “idiot”? Guess you must be one of those who can’t think beyond your navel, or haven’t seen anything other than what’s in your little cave. Get out from under your rock and check out the rest of the country.

      2. Not really sure the advice to ‘check out the rest of the country’ works out to the benefit of those promoting the idea of man-caused global warming. When I lived in the mountains east of Albuquerque NM back in the ’70s-’80s, it was always a bit annoying how the place was lacking in rainfall. When I’ve gone back to visit recently and when I’ve seen videos or photos of the area, I’m struck by how much greener the place is. In my visit, I personally saw running streams and springs in a particular arroyo that hadn’t run like that since many decades earlier, around the ’40s if I remember the stories right.

        The insinuation that ‘climate change’ is something to worry about sorta blows up in that case, doesn’t it? Apply this same kind of observations around the world and it crumbles more: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/02/co2-is-greening-the-planet-african-savannahs-getting-a-makeover-to-forests/

    1. I’m 70 and have lived in tornado and hurricane country (Oklahoma and Texas) all my life. Reporting and warning systems are much, much better, but I can’t say I’ve noticed any significant change in the weather.

  1. Well, you have won your media and public perception war.

    Now comes the hard bit , justifying your beliefs and “science” with peer reviewed 100% verifiable science explaining what has been happening and what is coming. If you are right you can make predictions that are more accurate than the lying fraudulent AGW scaremongers, cant you?

    Reality and Nature do not care a whit for ideologies or theories. Those massive shifts of mass in the form of water on land masses near the rotational circumference affect the rotational stability and the tectonic plates.

    Better have your hard evidence and proveable theories handy as the shoe is now on the other foot.

    You have to defend your stance as people and economies suffer and insurance premiums become unaffordable as th discredited ones predictions unfold.

    Good luck when the witch hunts start

    1. ” … you have won your media and public perception war. …”

      Perhaps more accurate to say that the folks pushing the idea of man-caused global warming have a ‘media and public perception’ campaign that is unraveling at every edge.

      Among those is the notion that skeptic scientists were on the payroll of big coal & oil to ‘manufacture doubt’ about the so-called settled science of man-caused global warming. Sounds plausible, but it falls apart just like so many other aspects of the issue, when placed under very hard scrutiny. Please see my own article on that, “Global Warming’s Killer: Critical Thinking” http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/global_warmings_killer_critical_thinking.html

  2. As the article suggests, the case for global warming is rapidly falling apart. The smell of a massive long term deliberate fabrication is in the air. Highly reliable satellite data shows there has been no significant global warming for the 14 year period from 1997 to 2011. (see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_temperature_measurements )

    Under the global warming hypothesis temperature is supposed to go up when CO2 goes up. During the same 15 period (1997-2011) that global temperature did not rise, Hawaii’s reliable Mauna Loa data says atmospheric CO2 has gone up significantly. This sort of contradiction normally sends an unproven hypothesis to the back burner. Global warming advocates cobbled together a quick explanation blaming soot from coal-fired plants in China.

    Third-graders everywhere were mystified when the IPCC again quickly poo-pooed the idea that the Sun may be the controlling factor rather than CO2. And the monkeys in the mainstream media didn’t miss a beat, as they danced and partied in the strange Land of Obliviousity.

    Perhaps the most noteworthy public statement about all this came from Dr. James Lovelock, the godfather of the global warming hypothesis. In an April 23rd, 2012 MSNBC story Lovelock publicly retracted his extreme predictions of rapid global warming. He apologized for his earlier alarmist predictions. Great scientists admit errors.
    According to Lovelock’s description, we don’t know what we’re doing. In essence, he says the current state of government sponsored climate science sucks. It is immature, crude, and quasi-religious. It is certainly unfit for use in making trillion dollar public policy decisions. Lovelock has a rapidly growing list of impressive company in the scientific community. Embarrassed elected officials are beginning to follow suite.
    Some of the commenters on this article might qualify as quasi-religious cAGW True Believers. Some might be unwavering followers of Al Gore and Jim Hansen. It is interesting to note that Lovelock urged both of these gentlemen to join him in his apology for unfounded alarmism. I haven’t heard a thing so far. Have you?

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