Monday, July 16, 2012

IPCC: "Yeah, We're A Bunch Of Lying Hacks"

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  In plain English: the IPCC reports are not peer-reviewed.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.


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