IPCC Warning Bleak Despite Political Interference

Fri, 2007-04-06 06:53Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

IPCC Warning Bleak Despite Political Interference

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its bleakest ever report on climate change today (April 6, 2007) - overcoming a pitched round of political interference in the process.

The worst fears of those who would deny climate change were confirmed in a marathon session of the IPCC's Working Group II: agenda driven politicians are indeed trying to overwhelm the efforts of impartial scientists. But it has been clear in Brussels this week that the politicians' agenda is to play down the risks of climate change. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States were reported as the governments most intent upon watering down the report.

Here's a copy of the edited, but still frightening, Summary for Policymakers .

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Let's examine this process: Computer climate modellers run programs that just skip over certain climactic variables because their programs can't process them. These flawed programs generate outputs that purport to know the climate 100 or 500 years in the future. Then other eco-hysterics in fields such as agriculture, economics, and health care use these phony predictions to spin their own fantastical scenarios of future calamities. These are then fed to the public as fact to whip up further hysteria and enthusiasm for the AGW agenda. It is all guesswork built on guesswork peddled by a mass media who know that bad news sells.

How many times can they cry “wolf” before people tune them out?

John, when you stick your head in the sand do you also close your eyes to increase your chances of not seeing what is happening around you?

If you would only do some real reading, look around you and you will see that what you are claiming is utter nonsense.

The models predict reality (Hansen’s work) and there are many easily identifiable situations where the effects of global warming are actually happening.

Who pays you to distribute this utter nonsense?

Ian Forrester

Will someone pay me to say what I know? Who? I could use the money. How do you know models predict reality, Ian, since they are predicting a future that hasn’t happened yet? Some models used to fuel AGW hysteria, when fed known historical climate data, weren’t even able to predict the climate we have today. Yet we are supposed to believe that they can foretell the future? Give me a break. If they can’t process all the variables that drive climate, they are flawed. Last year they predicted a fierce season for Atlantic hurricanes. Well, the computer boffins sort of overlooked an important variable – El Nino. Climatologist say climate is a non-linear, chaotic system. How can computers replicate such a system?

The models are, in fact, excellent at recreating events that have already occurred - but the only way they can recreate the climate trends of the latter half of the 20th century is to include the scientifically unquestionable impact of additional CO2 in the atmosphere. The best scientists in the world (a group to which I am not sure that you belong) have looked at the data and agreed.

In light of that, I don't get why you're clinging so desperately to this a potential escape in your “non-linear, chaotic system.” Forest fires are non-linear and chaotic, too, but that doesn't mean we don't try to prevent them - or fight them when they are burning toward our town.

Actually quite a bit, Richard. Here are examples I have come across of the poor predictability of some of the computer climate models: – The models that served as the scientific background for the 1992 Rio Treaty implied that the world should have warmed 1.5 C since the late 19th century. In actuality, the world warmed only 0.5 C, so the models were off by a factor of 3. – As computer simulations have become more sophisticated, projections of rising sea levels have become much smaller. A 25 foot increase predicted in 1980 fell to three feet by 1985 and then to one foot by 1995. – Computers forecast a warming of the troposphere of 0.224 C per decade, when actual measurements showed a warming of only 0.034 C per decade. Predictions were off by almost a factor of 7. – Atmospheric temperatures at the stratopause and mesopause regions (the atmospheric layers at about 30 and 50 miles altitude, respectively), at the Earth’s poles were found to be about 40-50 degrees F cooler than model predictions. – Computers apparently treat large areas of the earth as if they are on one elevation. Even the best models end up representing Greenland as a gently rounded mound rather than as a steep walled mesa. Because Greenland melting takes place only at lower elevations, the area prone to melting gets exaggerated in the models. In reality the largest mass of polar ice in the Northern Hemisphere, has thickened by up to seven feet since 1980. Forest fires? Really. I think they are pretty predictable when you know wind direction and the amount of combustible fuel available.

1) Hansen’s models weren’t predicting those numbers, and ice sheet models are not the same as climate models.
2) Thanks to the GRACE satellite, we know that Greenland is losing ice at a rate much faster than any models predicted.
3) The models underestimate sea level rise. For example, we can compare actual sea level rise vs. what was modeled in the TAR. http://www.realclimate.org/images/sealevel_2.jpg
More on this: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/the-ipcc-sea-level-numbers/#more-427

From testimony by Dr. Richards S. Lindzen to the UK House of Lords in Janaury 2005 – from the section entitled CLIMATE MODELS AND BASELESS ALARMISM – Essential to alarm is the fact that most current climate models predict a response to a doubling of CO2 of about 4C. The reason for this is that in these models, the most important greenhouse substances, water vapour and clouds, act in such a way as to greatly amplify the response to anthropogenic greenhouse gases alone (ie, they act as what are called large positive feedbacks). However, as all assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have stated (at least in the text — though not in the Summaries for Policymakers), the models simply fail to get clouds and water vapour right. We know this because in official model intercomparisons, all models fail miserably to replicate observed distributions of cloud cover. Thus, the model predictions are critically dependent on features that we know must be wrong. If we nonetheless assume that these model predictions are correct (after all stopped watches are right twice a day), then man’s greenhouse emissions have accounted for about six times the observed warming over the past century with some unknown processes cancelling the difference. This is distinctly less compelling than the statement that characterised the IPCC Second Assessment and served as the smoking gun for the Kyoto agreement: The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate. This is simply a short restatement of the basic agreement with the addition of a small measure of attribution. While one could question the use of the word “discernible”, there is no question that human influence should exist, albeit at a level that may be so small as to actually be indiscernible. As we have already noted, however, even if all the change in global mean temperature over the past century were due to man, it would still imply low and relatively unimportant influence compared to the predictions of the models that are drawn on in IPCC reports.
You can break up a long post by writing clicking “disable rich text” and then putting simple html code like <br> to create a scentence break or a <p> for a paragraph break.  
“Forest fires are non-linear and chaotic, too, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try to prevent them - or fight them when they are burning toward our town.”

In your analogy, you forgot to mention one important fact. I live in an area which sees hundreds of forest fires every season. Sometimes the best thing to do is just let them burn. Forest fire prevention has over the last decades in many cases actually worsened the duration and intensity of what would have otherwise been natural occurences.

Who’s to say that Global Warming policies pushed by people like you wouldn’t have similar unintended consequences. Certainly, economies would be wrecked, with no measurable effect on the climate. Or is that actually an intended consequence?
I think wrecking industrialized, advanced economies is the intended purpose of Kyoto. The Accord has impossibly stringent standards but offers an escape hatch that lets advanced economies buy carbon offset credits from poorer countries – the modern day equivalent of Indulgences. CO2 emitters can go right on doing it as long as they pay up. Obviously this option does nothing to lower CO2 emissions that are supposedly heating the planet to dangerous levels, but it does make rich countries poorer. This comment by Maurice Strong, as chair of the 1992 Rio Conference that hatched Kyoto, is revealing: – “What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? The group’s conclusion is “no.” The rich countries won’t do it. They won’t change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”

John Dowell, which intellectually dishonest rightwing website did you get the Maurice Strong quote from? Did it also fail to explain the context of the quote?

You wrote “…This comment by Maurice Strong, as chair of the 1992 Rio Conference that hatched Kyoto, is revealing:…” False; he did not say it as chair of the Rio conference. You have quoted part of an interview with Strong by Daniel Wood, which was published in West Magazine, Alberta, in May 1990.

He was talking about an idea he had for a novel. You know? Like, fiction, not factual? Like a work of the imagination? Like Michael Crichton writes?

Here is one discussion about the article, which itself does not seem to be online.

But of course there is another author who described the destruction of our civilization: Ayn Rand. So why don’t you go after all the libertarians and objectivists infesting the rightwing websites?

Wiki description of Atlas Shrugged:

“…The theme of Atlas Shrugged is “The role of man’s mind in society.” Rand upheld the industrialist as one of the most admirable members of any society and fiercely opposed the popular resentment accorded to industrialists. This led her to envision a novel wherein the industrialists of America go on strike and retreat to a mountainous hideaway. The American economy and its society in general slowly start to collapse. The government responds by increasing the already stifling controls on industrial concerns…”

Looks like a mirror image of Strong’s idea, doesn’t it?

John Dowell said: “How do you know models predict reality, Ian, since they are predicting a future that hasn’t happened yet”? Well John, Hansen published data in 1988 showing predicted temperature over the next few years (30 years, 1988 to 2020 IIRC). He used three scenarios which he called A, B and C. A required an exponential increases in CO2, B and c assumed lower emissions.

The actual temperature and CO2 emission data match the B and C scenarios very well. Does this not count as prediction in your world John? Scenario A did not match either temperature or CO2 emission (note that it was the CO2 concentrations that were wrong not the computer model).

Funny that when that “climate expert” Pat Michaels went before congress or whatever the only scenario he showed on his graph was scenario A, the one which did not match. Most reputable scientists consider this to be scientific fraud.

If you believe that the models do not match reality then you are either a bigger fool that I thought, or are a paid shill of the CO2 emitting industries.

Ian Forrester

… too criticize the work and conclusions of others than it is to actually back claims with evidence. As the weight of scientific evidence making the global warming reality clearer and clearer, the total void of scientific evidence on the part of the deniers gets bigger and bigger.

Couldnt agree more, perfect post
That was very clever with the ostrich and all. But fundamentally the latest reports from the IPCC result from people taking climate model predictions, treating them like there were real data, and then using them to weave their own doomsday scenarios. It’s all virtual world stuff.

Most of the content you provide to this site criticizes the work and conclusions of others. That’s the majority of what you bring here, what with your condemnation of the ‘deniers’, your list of bad guys and their conspiratorial ties to evil oil companies. Pot? Meet Kettle. Kettle? Pot.
Last year, Hansen predicted El Nino conditions, and that is what we got, which just goes to show that the weatherman would do well to listen to the climatologists.
“Computer climate modellers run programs that just skip over certain climactic variables because their programs can’t process them.” Thanks for the laugh of the day. If some computer modellers (or anyone else) take this approach, they don’t last long.

Actually, the model descriptions may look too difficult to read, but really they aren’t. Start back a ways, for example with this one by Hansen, http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/1983/Hansen_etal.html then work up through time, and see how they have tested, expanded, argued and refined. The major journals are easy to find on Web of Science or other summaries of journals. You can even find them with www.scholar.google.com. Reviews of different approaches will help, like

Forty years of numerical climate modelling, International Journal of Climatology 21(9):1067-1109

It would help to check out the various labs and institutes, for example (I hope these links all work), Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, CCCma, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, GISS, National Center for Atmospheric Research, NCAR, Hadley Centre Met Office (UK), Climatic Research Unit, CRU and many others (to some extent, they are competing, get it?).

It is obviously not something that you can jump right into, any more than international banking or designing an engine, etc., but it would be good to read about the climate models with an open mind and find out what the real issues are, rather than say something like the above, which makes everyone realize that you have never looked at any details of the real climate models. You could then argue without resorting to wornout arguments that have nothing to do with the actual analysis. It won’t solve the ‘insanity’ problem, but will give you more fact-based positions, against the science. You don’t have to be won over or agree. I mean, look at “per” - he’s a scientist (I think… peroxisomes, maybe) but loudly puts down anyone else’s science. You might even spot a serious flaw.

After that, the next step is going beyond climate science and finding out how environmental impacts might be anticipated (something beyond “there aren’t any”, or “too expensive to worry about”, or “the changes will all be for the good”).
Sorry - when I started that reply to the post by “John Dowell”, there weren’t any others. It’s probably no help. The poster won’t read it anyway, I guess.
…Or, if reading the details of the models is not that exciting, it apparently also works to skip all the reading and pencil-sharpening, and just call yourself the first PhD in Thinkology or something, and backdate as much as necessary to convince whoever you are talking to that you have convincing evidence for your position.
I am naturally skeptical when force-fed anything by the mainstream media (Ehrlich’s Population Bomb is a good example). Gore’s movie was a joke, science-wise (the downright dishonest use of the Uppsala Glacier, the predictions that even the IPCC won’t sign up to, etc.). That said, you’ve got the right idea. The very best thing we can do is examine the source data with open minds, and form conclusions that way. I have personally found it very difficult to find real data, as it is so often clouded by propaganda-style noise, labeling, etc. I am particularly interested in the opinion of MIT’s Richard Lindzen… he seems reasonably well respected on all sides, and expresses what seem to be well founded doubts about man’s impact on GW. If someone from the AGW camp can engage him in legit scientific discussion, maybe that will help the world to gain greater clarity on all this.

Gore’s movie was no joke. He had the science right for the most part. The climate scientists at RealClimate.org said so, themselves.

Time to stop drinking the kool-aid the denier PR spinners have provided you, John.

Lindzen’s doubts are refuted on the following site: http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptics/Lindzen.htm

Great blog! I appreciate the hard work every body is putting in to maintain the website and all the visitors to it, the webmasters are doing great job, thanks again to all the good people. Thanks

[x]

Problems caused by climate change are likely already dangerous and global warming may be irreversible, according to a draft science report by a United Nations committee.

The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report, leaked earlier this week to a number of major media organizations, said continued greenhouse gas emissions caused primarily by burning oil, coal and natural gas will probably increase the likelihood of  “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

The New York Times...

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