Over at Power Line, John Hinderaker made an extremely important point about any allegedly “scientific” report that comes out now regarding climate change, especially if the report is connected with the IPCC:
The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is about to release its fifth report on global warming. One of the problems with the IPCC, and with the alarmist cause in general, is that it is impossible to determine the extent to which alarmist scientists are in it for the money. Billions of dollars in government funding flow to alarmist scientists–much of it from our own government–while nothing, or virtually nothing, goes to the realists. So if you want to live high off the hog on taxpayer money, it isn’t hard to figure out what conclusions you want to advocate.
Wittingly or not, people are biased when big money is at stake. The Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change doesn’t stand to make any money one way or another in analyzing the impact (if any) that human’s have on the earth’s climate. Their more realistic report is therefore worth reviewing. The report is detailed, but there are two summaries that are easy to understand, and that I’ll share with you here and now:
First, the overall summary of the NGIPCC’s findings:
• Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is a mild greenhouse gas that exerts a diminishing warming effect as its concentration increases.
• Doubling the concentration of atmospheric CO2 from its pre-industrial level, in the absence of other forcings and feedbacks, would likely cause a warming of ~0.3 to 1.1°C, almost 50% of which must already have occurred.
• A few tenths of a degree of additional warming, should it occur, would not represent a climate crisis.
• Model outputs published in successive IPCC reports since 1990 project a doubling of CO2 could cause warming of up to 6°C by 2100. Instead, global warming ceased around the end of the twentieth century and was followed (since 1997) by 16 years of stable temperature.
• Over recent geological time, Earth’s temperature has fluctuated naturally between about +4°C and -6°C with respect to twentieth century temperature. A warming of 2°C above today, should it occur, falls within the bounds of natural variability.
• Though a future warming of 2°C would cause geographically varied ecological responses, no evidence exists that those changes would be net harmful to the global environment or to human well-being.
• At the current level of ~400 ppm we still live in a CO2-starved world. Atmospheric levels 15 times greater existed during the Cambrian Period (about 550 million years ago) without known adverse effects.
• The overall warming since about 1860 corresponds to a recovery from the Little Ice Age modulated by natural multidecadal cycles driven by ocean-atmosphere oscillations, or by solar variations at the de Vries (~208 year) and Gleissberg (~80 year) and shorter periodicities.
• Earth has not warmed significantly for the past 16 years despite an 8% increase in atmospheric CO2, which represents 34% of all extra CO2 added to the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution.
• CO2 is a vital nutrient used by plants in photosynthesis. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere “greens” the planet and helps feed the growing human population.
• No close correlation exists between temperature variation over the past 150 years and human related CO2 emissions. The parallelism of temperature and CO2 increase between about 1980 and 2000 AD could be due to chance and does not necessarily indicate causation.
• The causes of historic global warming remain uncertain, but significant correlations exist between climate patterning and multidecadal variation and solar activity over the past few hundred years.
• Forward projections of solar cyclicity imply the next few decades may be marked by global cooling rather than warming, despite continuing CO2 emissions.
Second, the scientific problems with the IPCC’s model:
IPCC’s Three Lines of Argument
GLOBAL CLIMATE MODEL PROJECTIONS
IPCC modelers assume Global Climate Models (GCMs) are based on a perfect knowledge of all climate forcings and feedbacks. They then assert:
• A doubling of atmospheric CO2 would cause warming of up to 6°C.
• Human-related CO2 emissions caused an atmospheric warming of at least 0.3°C over the past 15 years.
• Enhanced warming (a “hot spot”) should exist in the upper troposphere in tropical regions.
• Both poles should have warmed faster than the rest of Earth during the late twentieth century.
Postulates are statements that assume the truth of an underlying fact that has not been independently confirmed or proven. The IPCC postulates:
• The warming of the twentieth century cannot be explained by natural variability.
• The late twentieth century warm peak was of greater magnitude than previous natural peaks.
• Increases in atmospheric CO2 precede, and then force, parallel increases in temperature.
• Solar forcings are too small to explain twentieth century warming.
• A future warming of 2°C or more would be net harmful to the biosphere and human wellbeing.
Circumstantial evidence does not bear directly on the matter in dispute but refers to circumstances from which the occurrence of the fact might be inferred. The IPCC cites the following circumstantial evidence it says is consistent with its hypothesis:
• Unusual melting is occurring in mountain glaciers, Arctic sea ice, and polar icecaps.
• Global sea level is rising at an enhanced rate and swamping tropical coral atolls.
• Droughts, floods, and monsoon variability and intensity are increasing.
• Global warming is leading to more, or more intense, wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events.
• Unusual melting of Boreal permafrost or sub-seabed gas hydrates is causing warming due to methane release.
Set out in that coherent table, even a high school science student can see the fundamental flaws underlying the studies that have driven a panicked world into a frenzy of useless wealth redistribution. (Well, not useless, of course, if your actual goal was wealth distribution, not a quixotic effort to change the earth’s climate.)
The report has other easy-to-read charts and summaries, but I find the above two the most compelling because the first has actual science, while the second exposes the fallacy underlying the study that Americans are being browbeaten into believing is God’s own truth.
As for me, I’m feeling smug. In our household, I’m the word person, while Mr. Bookworm is the science person. And make no mistake, he’s very smart and very good at science. In this instance, however, he allowed his rational brain to be overwhelmed by the hysterical emotionalism coming to him from all sides in his Progressive intellectual milieu.
Despite murmurings about my being a flat-earther and a climate denier, I have assured my children for years that they need not panic. They are responsible for taking care of the earth on which we live, simply because a clean world is nicer than a dirty one. Moreover, we know that, when things get too dirty, we can irrevocably change the local environment or leave it needing decades or centuries of renewal. But we do not control the earth’s entire climate. We are too puny for that.
Frankly, it’s nice to be proven right.
I’m not deluding myself, of course, that the true believers will come around any time soon. After all, the NGIPCC got funding from the Heartland Institute, which is funded by the “evil” Koch Brothers. The fact that data is data is irrelevant. Indeed, the true believers have already made it clear that, to the extent data conflicts with their Gaia-centered religion, the data is irrelevant. Also at Power Line, Stephen Hayward caught the perfect moment when someone invested emotionally and financially in climate change brushed off facts as if they were so many pesky flies:
I think I’ve spotted the “tell” of the climate campaign knowing that the end is near (for their energy-suppression crusade–not the planet). It comes from European Climate commissioner (who knew they had such a post?) Connie Hedegaard, who told the Daily Telegraph yesterday:
“Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?.”
This is the “tell” of someone holding a very bad hand. Strike “some decades from now” and you have it about right. I give it to the end of this month, when the next IPCC climate science report comes out. (By the way, the answer to her question is “No.”)