Tuesday, September 24, 2013

IPCC Chairman Denies Global Warming Slowdown & peer-reviewed research

Daily news roundup from the Global Warming Policy Foundation newsletter [and added commentary]:

IPCC Chairman Denies Global Warming Slowdown

Climate Science Faces Crisis Over Global Warming Pause

Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN's climate panel, dismissed suggestions of a slowdown in global warming. "There’s definitely an increase in our belief that climate change is taking place and that human beings are responsible,” he told me. "I don't think there is a slowdown (in the rate of temperature increase). I would like to draw your attention to the World Meteorological Organization which clearly stated on the basis of observations that the first decade of this century has been the warmest in recorded history. And I think the rest will be brought out by the report itself when it’s released." --Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 23 September 2013

[IPCC Chief Pachauri is denying the findings of recent peer-reviewed research published in Nature Climate Change stating that there has been no statistically-significant warming for the past 20 years.]

Data shows global temperatures aren't rising the way climate scientists have predicted. Now the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change faces a problem: publicize these findings and encourage skeptics -- or hush up the figures. --Axel Bojanowski, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel Online, 23 September 2013

BBC 10 O'Clock News, 23 September 2013

Germany's Federal Ministry of Research would prefer to leave any discussion of the global warming hiatus entirely out of the new IPCC report summary. The Ministry for the Environment's identical stance: "Climate fluctuations that don't last very long are not scientifically relevant." Germany's highest-ranking climate researcher, physicist Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, is fighting back against this refusal to face facts. Marotzke, who is also president of the German Climate Consortium and Germany's top scientific representative in Stockholm, promises, "We will address this subject head-on." The IPCC, he says, must engage in discussion about the standstill in temperature rise. --Axel Bojanowski, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel Online, 23 September 2013

"Climate policy needs the element of fear," Ott openly admits. "Otherwise, no politician would take on this topic." --Axel Bojanowski, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel Online, 23 September 2013

For a quarter of a century now, environmental activists have been issuing predictions in the vein of the Catholic Church, warning people of the coming greenhouse effect armageddon. Environmentalists bleakly predict global warming will usher in plagues of biblical dimensions -- perpetual droughts, deluge-like floods and hurricanes of unprecedented force. The number of people who believe in such a coming apocalypse, however, has considerably decreased. A survey conducted on behalf of SPIEGEL found a dramatic shift in public opinion -- Germans are losing their fear of climate change. While in 2006 a sizeable majority of 62 percent expressed a fear of global warning, that number has now become a minority of just 39 percent. --Axel Bojanowski, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel Online, 23 September 2013

The Met Office method of predicting climate change contains flaws that cause it to overestimate the warming Britain will experience, according to a report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The conflict between computer model predictions and actual measurements of the temperature is being discussed this week in Stockholm by climate scientists and government officials from around the world. The IPCC’s summary is expected to include an admission that there are weaknesses in the results from computer models which appear at odds with the slowdown in the rate of global warming since 1998. --Ben Webster, The Times, 24 September 2013

The Met Office was unable to say yesterday how long the 15-year apparent pause in global warming would have to continue before it accepted its model was flawed. A spokesman said: “No date has been set at which point you’d say the models are wrong. Short-term fluctuations in global temperature do not invalidate models, or determine timelines for their development.” --Ben Webster, The Times, 24 September 2013

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has an image problem. It appears unsure how to regain the trust of voters and politicians, but not of the science it is supposed to assess. This week’s report is expected to conclude with more confidence than ever that humans have caused more than half the planet’s warming in the past 60 years. This may seem provocative in the circumstances, but the truth is that the real question for scientists now is not whether climate change is happening but how fast. So far there are only theories as to why the Earth has warmed so much slower in the past 15 years than some models predicted. The models may have been wrong. The scenarios inferred from them may have been alarmist. This much is clear: the IPCC must tackle head-on what it calls the “hiatus” in global warming, and follow the evidence rather than buckle to political pressure from either side of the debate. --The Times Editorial, 24 September 2013

So, it’s come down to this — we now have widespread agreement from numerous true believers that the climate models — the only source of scary scenarios — are junk. But the true believers want us to take action on climate change regardless, out of prudence, on the mere possibility that the sky could be falling. It’s an “insurance policy,” Pindyck explains, with other true believers nodding in agreement. This is a peculiar species of insurance policy, one where the premiums that we’re being asked to pay total literally trillions of dollars, where the perils that we’re being protected against are ill- or undefined, and where — should any of the perils ever materialize — no benefits will be paid out to us policyholders. --Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, 24 September 2013

1) IPCC Chairman Denies Global Warming Slowdown - BBC News, 23 September 2013

2) Climate Science Faces Crisis Over Global Warming Pause - Spiegel Online, 23 September 2013

3) Met Office’s Climate Model ‘Is Exaggerating Warming Effect’ - The Times, 24 September 2013

4) The Times Are A Changin’ - The Times Editorial, 24 September 2013

5) Lawrence Solomon: Let’s Play Chicken Little - Financial Post, 24 September 2013

Also today:


The aim of the IPCC is to freeze political debate



This Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is set to publish the first instalment of its three-part, 2,000-page draught-excluder, the memorably titled Fifth Assessment. This, like its predecessor, which was published at the height of climate-change mania in 2007, will tell us ‘unequivocally’ that climate change is happening, that the situation is perilous, and that there is a sliding scale of bad scenarios awaiting us in the warmed-up future.

As such, the prophecies leaked from the draft version sound a comfortably familiar note of terror, like the ever-resurrected bad guy in a tired horror-movie franchise. We’ll be told that the glaciers are melting quicker than thought, that sea levels could rise by three feet and that temperatures could rise up to 4.8 degrees Celsius this century. And, on the back of The Science, the old alarmist lags have once again been demanding that we do something. In the words of Lord Stern, author of the environmentally friendly The Stern Review in 2006, we need to decide what ‘kind of world we want to present to our children and grandchildren’. That is, one scorched by our present greed or saved by our cutting back.

That’s the point of the IPCC’s infrequent assessments. They constitute the Word of a very secular God, the expert, the scientist. They tell us what we ought to do. No questioning. No debate. And therefore, no politics.

But there’s one big fat sceptical fly stuck in the IPCC’s ointment. And that’s the small matter of a distinct absence of global warming over the past 15 years, despite the IPCC’s models insisting otherwise. In December 2012, for instance, the UK Met Office released a forecast, suggesting not only had global temperatures not risen for over a decade, but also that they werw unlikely to rise significantly in the period up to 2017. Likewise, earlier this year, even someone as committed to climate-change alarmism as James Hansen, the recently retired head of NASA’s climate-change research arm, admitted that the ‘five-year-mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade’.

In the draft version of the report, the IPCC does acknowledge that the ‘the rate of warming over the past 15 years is smaller than the trend since 1951’. In fact, the IPCC now admits that the rate of warming between 1998 and 2012 was about half the average rate since 1951. And as it stands, no one is quite certain why this is, with everything from the oceans’ ability to absorb heat to the solar cycle being blamed.

read more

The IPCC's Great Dilemma

Row Over IPCC Report As Nations ‘Try To Hide Global Warming Pause’

The IPCC’s dilemma is this. How can it expect the public to believe that recent warming is mostly manmade when the models on which it has based this claim have been shown to be fatally flawed? --Andrew Montford, The Spectator, 23 September 2013

Scientists working on a landmark UN report on climate change to be published this week are at loggerheads over their explanation for why the earth’s surface temperature has stopped rising as rapidly as they previously predicted. The behind-the-scenes wrangling is likely to cast a shadow over the publication on Friday of the 2,000-page report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). --Robert Mendick, The Sunday Telegraph, 22 September 2013

For the first time, an assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be widely judged more for what it says about the IPCC than for what it says about the climate. It is not the climate that needs fixing but the climate models. --Rupert Darwall, National Review Online, 22 September 2013

Now that the global warming ‘pause’ has made the transition from sceptical to mainstream the exclusion of it from previous debates because of the ‘false balance’ argument can be seen for what it was. It actually kept the truth from the audience. It was censorship. It turned out to be the right idea, and journalism – the testing of viewpoints in the cauldron of debate – misled the audience. The handling of the ‘pause’ in global surface temperature has been a failure for science communication and science journalism. --David Whitehouse, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 23 September 2013

More than ever, scientists say they’re convinced the Earth’s climate is warming. Yet lawmakers are struggling to do anything about it because the pace of change has unexpectedly slowed. The data has caused a United Nations panel to lower predictions of the pace of global temperature increases by 2100, according to draft documents obtained by Bloomberg ahead of publication due on Sept. 27. The findings muddy the picture about how much carbon dioxide output is affecting the climate, giving ammunition to those who doubt the issue needs urgent action. Skeptics have succeeded in “confusing the public,” said Michael Jacobs, who advised the U.K. government on climate policy until 2010. --Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 23 September 2013

It's a climate puzzle that has vexed scientists for more than a decade. Since just before the start of the 21st century, the Earth's average global surface temperature has failed to rise despite soaring levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases and years of dire warnings from environmental advocates. Now, as scientists with the IPCC gather in Sweden, they are finding themselves pressured to explain this glaring discrepancy. "The stakes have been raised by various people, especially the skeptics." --Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times, 23 September 2013

This unpredicted hiatus just reflects the fact that we don't understand things as well as we thought and vocal critic of the climate change establishment. Now the IPCC finds itself in a position that a science group never wants to be in. It's in spin management mode. -- Roger Pielke Jr., Los Angeles Times, 23 September 2013

Political leaders who reject urgent action to cut emissions should be punished at the ballot box because the world is heading for a “heart attack” caused by rising temperatures, according to one of the UN’s top climate officials. Halldor Thorgeirsson was speaking before today’s opening of a meeting of scientists and government officials from around the world to negotiate the final wording of a major report on climate change. The negotiations will include a debate about how the report should explain an unexpected slowdown in the rate of warming since 1998. A draft of the Summary for Policymakers by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, seen by The Times, appears to concede that there are weaknesses in the computer models on which many politicians and scientists rely for doom-laden predictions. --Ben Webster, The Times, 23 September 2013

Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation saw it differently. He seized on reports of the Arctic ice cap’s recovery, circulating them to ministers, MPs and other policymakers. “The science is going nowhere,” he said. “Even if you accept the idea that CO2 and other greenhouse gases will warm the world, science cannot tell us by how much or what the effects are. The climate models have failed.” --Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times, 22 September 2013

What seems clear is that whatever our response to climate change, whether it is geoengineering or replacing fossil-fueled electricity generation with low-carbon power stations and wind farms, the bills are likely to be astronomical. As long as public confidence in climate science is falling, it would be a brave political leader to sanction spending on that scale. --Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times, 22 September 2013

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