Laframboise and McKitrick on the IPCC
By William Walter Kay
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is at the forefront of the global warming hoax. IPCC Assessment Reports are gospels to politicians and journalists. Two recent publications – investigative journalist Donna Laframboise’s woefully titled The Delinquent Teenager who was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert, and economics professor Ross McKitrick’s What is Wrong With the IPCC? – slam-dunk these Assessment Reports into the dumpster. What follows is a collated, abridgement of these two documents.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
IPCC Structure and Function
Climate-gate & Himalaya-gate
The IPCC Insiders' Club
The Censored Consensus
IPCC Structure and Function
The IPCC is a joint venture of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). A 1988 UN General Assembly resolution missioned the IPCC to:
“…assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change...”
Despite its boasts about transparency, few people understand how the IPCC operates.
The IPCC’s main output has been four Assessment Reports on climate matters: AR1990, AR1996, AR2001, and AR2007. A fifth AR is due in 2014. (The IPCC issues lesser reports on renewable energy, carbon capture, etc.) AR1990 was short and hastily written. The 3,000-page AR2007 contains the most alarmist assertions to date.
Organizationally, the IPCC has three layers. On top is a Panel of delegates from 195 states. This Panel oversees a 31-member Bureau (and an accompanying Secretariat), which manage IPPC operations including the supervision of three report-writing Working Groups.
While the Panel elects the Bureau and is the IPCC’s supreme authority, in reality it is a dysfunctional oversight body, providing superficial input. The Bureau controls the flow of information to the Panel and manipulates Panelists’ confused, inconsistent demands.
Most Panelists are indifferent and unengaged. 90% of national delegations made no review comments regarding AR2007. No African, Middle Eastern, or Pacific island state delegate commented. They likely never read AR2007 yet deemed themselves sufficiently briefed to vote, with fanfare, to “accept” the document.
The Bureau has a Chair (currently 71-year-old Rajendra Pachauri), Vice Chairs, Working Group Co-Chairs, and two dozen officers subordinate to the Working Group Co-Chairs. (A separate Task Force on Greenhouse Gas Inventories has its own 14-member team.)
The current Bureau, elected in 2008 at a Panel plenary in Geneva, has reps from Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Malaysia, Maldives, Madagascar, and two from Sudan. IPCC’s main financiers (Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and USA) also enjoy representation.
AR2007 is three Reports bundled together. Each Working Group does a “literature review”, then an “assessment.” Working Group I does the hard science and draws conclusions about the pace of global warming and about the climate impact of industrial emissions.
Working Groups have three classes of writers. Coordinating Lead Authors are in charge of entire AR chapters. Each chapter has two. Lead Authors write most of the text. They vary in number from several to 50ish per chapter. Contributing Authors provide supplemental information but do not attend meetings. Chapters have zero to 20 Contributing Authors.
The Bureau solicits nominations for authors from the Panel but is not limited to Panel nominees; it may choose “other experts as appropriate.” The Bureau does not reveal the names of nominees nor explain its selection criteria. Thus the Bureau has a free hand in picking Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors. These authors have a free hand in picking Contributing Authors. This politically-charged process completely predetermines AR conclusions.
In many European countries, Green Party politicians control the environment ministries that nominate persons for IPCC roles. Unsurprisingly, Lead Authors for half AR2007 Working Group I chapters, and for all AR2007 Working Group II chapters, were affiliated with enviro-activist organizations.
In 1992, the UN-enviro-leviathan convinced most the world’s governments to declare CO2 their arch-enemy. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty was the Rio Summit’s main achievement. UNFCCC is missioned to stabilize atmospheric CO2 concentrations. UNFCCC conferences are circuses where legions of enviro-activists, whom the UNFCCC grants observer status, stage publicity stunts to embarrass government delegates who themselves are usually enviro-ministry bureaucrats.
In 2008 IPCC Chair Pachauri proclaimed: “The UNFCCC is our main customer.” Months earlier UNFCCC’s Director said failure to reduce CO2 emissions was “nothing less than criminally irresponsible.”
The IPCC is officially “policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.” The IPCC’s main purpose is aiding UNFCCC. The UNFCCC is officially policy-partial, always policy-prescriptive.
This contradiction explains the consternation at UNFCCC’s 2007 Bali confab after Sweden’s Environment Minister declared:
“Science has given crystal clear confirmation of what is required of us to avoid a dramatic threat to our earth’s climate… Science urges us that we therefore need to limit global warming to 2 degrees… By 2050 the emissions need to be reduced by at least 50 to 85 percent. This is what the IPCC tells us.”
His Ministry immediately issued a correction, saying the IPCC took no such policy positions.
Climate science is largely government funded. Scientific institutions adopt positions on climate controversies with their paymasters’ views in mind.
British Government views on climate controversies are no state secret. In 2009 PM Brown declared: “We mustn’t be distracted by the behind-the-times, anti-science, flat-earth climate skeptics.” His Environment Secretary added: “Skeptics are playing with science in a dangerous and deceitful manner.”
Conterminously, Australian PM Rudd called the questioning of AR2007:
“…a political attempt to subvert what is now a long-standing scientific consensus, an attempt to twist the agreed science in the direction of predetermined political agenda.”
In the 1990s an Australian climatologist publically doubted global warming’s disaster potential. He was quickly told by higher-ups at Australia’s top scientific body that if he made such comments again, then the project he was working on would be defunded.
A full-page notice in a US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) publication lauded the 120 NOAA scientists who contributed to AR2007. NOAA’s party line is: Human activity causes catastrophic climate change. NOAA scientists are unlikely to be skeptics.
Government influence largely explains the April 9, 2010 Financial Times letter-to-the-editor signed by the Presidents of Britain’s Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, assuring:
“…neither recent controversies, nor the recent cold weather, negate the consensus among scientists: something unprecedented is now happening.”
IPCC Assessment Report writing begins with a Zero Order Draft written by Lead Authors with input from Contributing Authors. This Draft is reviewed by experts. Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors discuss review comments before writing a First Order Draft and submitting it to experts and governments for review. After a Second Order Draft is written and reviewed, a Final Draft is written by key Lead Authors, then submitted, unreviewed, to the Bureau who hit it with the Panel’s rubberstamp.
Expert Reviewer selection is open. People can self-nominate and skeptics are prolific reviewers. However, IPCC review differs from academic review in four ways:
- Academic reviewers study the entire document. AR reviewers read only what interests them. There is no guarantee a chapter will be reviewed by anybody, let alone by anyone critical.
- Academic review is anonymous. The IPCC attaches names to each review comment. Senior IPCC authors are well-known and are often influential in science circles. Aspiring scientists are reluctant to challenge them.
- In academia, neutral journal editors resolve disputes. Senior IPCC authors judge their own work and that of their critics.
- In academia, a paper may be rejected. AR chapters, however flawed, get published.
Intellectual conflicts of interest define the IPCC. In AR2007, 884 IPCC authors helped write chapters that cited their own research. If a topic has identifiable sides or points of view, Lead Authors invite experts from only their side. Lead Authors often simply scribble “rejected” on critical submissions without further explanation. Review Editors are supposed to describe differences of opinion in an Annex, but no such Annexes are published.
In AR2007, the basic “global warming” hypothesis, i.e. human CO2 emissions will cause climate catastrophe, is taken up in Chapter 9. This chapter had 56 authors and 62 reviewers. Seven reviewers were also authors. Three reviewers were editors; one was an IPCC employee. Twenty-six reviewers authored papers cited in Chapter 9. Ten reviewers used their review to praise their own papers. Most reviewers contributed one or two comments, suggesting they had not read the whole chapter.
Lead Authors add substantial amounts of new material to ARs after the final review. AR2007 reviewers had various deadlines, depending on the chapter. Most deadlines were in the summer/fall of 2006. One AR2007 science chapter cited six papers published in 2007. Chapter 11 cited seventeen 2007-published papers. These papers were unknown to reviewers, indeed to the entire scientific community, when Lead Authors incorporated them into AR2007.
One AR2007 reviewer spotted references to two yet-to-be published papers. When he asked to examine the data underlying these papers, he was told to contact the authors. One author, Gabriele Hegerl, refused outright. The other told him to contact the journal the paper had been submitted to. For contacting this journal, the reviewer was accused, by Working Group I Co-Chair Susan Solomon, of violating IPCC confidentiality provisions. He was threatened with expulsion from the list of reviewers. (Time magazine dubbed Solomon “one of the world’s 100 most influential people.”)
The 700-page climate alarmist Stern Review was written by a team of British economists led by Nicholas Stern. In a tribute to how clueless Pachauri is about what goes on under his watch, he said the Stern Review could not be used in AR2007 because it was not peer-reviewed. He also said AR2007 included no studies published after January 2006. The Stern Review, released October 2006, was cited 26 times across 12 AR2007 chapters.
IPCC insiders use their contacts to get helpful information published in peer-reviewed journals so it can be cited with authority. For example, 16 of 21 papers from the May 2007 issue of Climatic Change were used in AR2007. Fifteen of these papers were not even accepted by Climatic Change until after AR2007’s submission deadlines.
(Climatic Change was launched in 1977 following the release of alarmist supremo Stephen Schneider’s book, Climate and Global Survival. Schneider led Climatic Change until his 2010 death.)
AR2007’s Chapter 11 relied on ten papers from Climatic Change’s May 2007 issue. Three of these papers were co-written by Danish climate modeller, Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen. Jens was Chapter 11’s Coordinating Lead Author. Jens was Climatic Change May 2007’s guest editor.
Climatic Change is now edited by Michael Oppenheimer and Gary Yohe (Coordinating Lead Author). Christensen is a Coordinating Lead Author for AR2014.
Innumerable critics, including IPCC authors, bemoan the IPCC’s non-existent data quality control. ARs, in and of themselves, are indisputably not properly reviewed documents.
However, IPCC stalwarts contend “fact-checking” is the job of the journals. In their minds, if an alleged fact appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, it should be presumed valid. The IPCC and the legacy media not only subscribe to this view, they further claim all AR facts are from peer-reviewed literature.
The US Environmental Protection Agency believes this. In 2009-2010 when the EPA released its Endangerment Finding on greenhouse gases, it took the unusual step of not conducting an in-house evaluation of the science. Instead, the EPA relied on, among other things, IPCC ARs because “these assessment reports undergo a rigorous and exacting standard of peer review by the expert community.”
IPPCers use their “peer review” logo as an instrument of censorship. Michael Mann sloughed-off a skeptical former US Energy Secretary with:
“I am not familiar with any peer-reviewed work that he has submitted to the scientific literature.”
A pro-global warming Australian scientist said a skeptic should be ignored: “until he is willing to subject his views to the rigorous peer review process.”
Two problems with this approach are: 1) conflating academic peer review with factual accuracy is a big mistake; and 2) the IPCC does not rely on peer reviewed literature nearly to the extent it claims.
Re problem one: There are thousands of academic journals and no process guarantees their quality. In the words of two seasoned vets of the peer review game:
“A reviewer is normally not paid for his work. With the best will in the world, he is able to spend no more than a few hours examining any particular manuscript. He is able to do little more than see that the story being told is superficially coherent and makes no obvious errors of fact.”
“A couple of reviewers, of course, are a poor substitute for mass scrutiny. Sometimes reviewers are chosen poorly; often times they are lazy.”
A Lancet editor adds:
“Peer review does not prove that a piece of research is true. The best it can do is say that, on the basis of a written account of what was done and some interrogation of the authors, the research seems on the face of it to be acceptable for publication…peer review is an extremely unreliable way to detect research misconduct.”
Peer review is even more compromised regarding computer models and climate research. Computational science journal articles are mere advertising; the actual scholarship is a program containing millions of lines of code that reviewers do not touch. Climate research involves volume collection of weather data from thousands of locations. Reviewers do not crunch these numbers.
Top IPCCer, Phil Jones, publishes in prestigious journals. While testifying before a UK parliamentary committee, Jones was asked if reviewers examined his raw data and computer codes. His response: “They’ve never asked.”
Re problem two: There were 18,531 references in AR2007. (This does not equal 18,531 separate publications as many documents are referenced multiple times. The IPCC cites itself ad nauseam. As well, the same piece of research is often cited multiple times using different titles or first authors. One publication is cited five different ways.)
Of these 18,531 references, 5,587 were from non-peer-reviewed sources. In 21 of 44 chapters, over 40% of the material relied upon came from “grey literature” – i.e. newspaper clippings, unpublished Master’s theses, press releases, and Greenpeace documents.
IPCCers argue grey literature use is unavoidable. The issue becomes one of flagging such sources in the reference section. For AR2007, non-peer-reviewed sources were supposed to be flagged. 0.1% were.
Government leaders don’t read ARs. They read the 20-page Summary for Policymakers and/or news reports about Summaries. (A 2007 New York Times editorial, The Scientists Speak, implores all Congressmen to read the Summary.)
Summaries are not scientific statements. They are written during multi-day meetings where every line is agonizingly word-smithed on a giant screen in front of 195 government reps. AR2007’s Summary writing proceedings ran 48 hours non-stop. Enviro-activists may observe these proceedings but journalists are barred. Journalists glean info on these proceedings by interviewing green activists. When the Summary is released, the AR is held back to render fact-checking impossible during the media furore. When the AR is released, the matter is no longer newsworthy.
Climate-gate & Himalaya-gate
Emails hacked in 2009 exposed top IPCCers distorting data and stifling debate. Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth et al. flagrantly manipulated IPCC texts for “the cause.”
For AR2001, the Jones Gang coveted an empirically-based global temperature history to accompany their dodgy computer model reconstructions. Their “nice, tidy story” was muddied because not all historical reconstructions agreed on a warming trend. In particular, Keith Briffa’s temperature graph failed to show a modern warming anomaly; thus, contradicted the “consensus viewpoint we’d like to show.” One Lead Author acknowledged there was no good reason to exclude Briffa’s data, but feared skeptics would have a “field day” over the divergent graphs.
In a 1999 email to co-conspirators, Jones bragged:
“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”
Jones was referring to a graph used in a WMO report. An AR2001 graph similarly concealed declining temperature data to create a false impression of global warming.
The hide-the-decline trick uses Briffa’s pre-1961 data while replacing Briffa’s post-1961 data (and its cooling evidence) with other data – without notice to the reader – in order to make 20th Century warming appear exceptional.
The “hockey stick” graph appears five times in AR2001 and is showcased in the Summary for Policymakers. The graph line purports to track global temperatures from 1000 AD to the 1990s and makes a dramatic warming uptick near its end, resembling a hockey stick’s blade.
Don Easterbrook taught geology for 50 years while writing three textbooks and 150 papers. When he saw the hockey stick, he laughed:
“If you look in GeoRef, which is the bibliography for publications, you will find 485 papers on the Medieval Warm Period and you’ll find 1,413 on the Little Ice Age. So the total number of papers in the geological literature is 1,900. And we’re expected to believe that one curve (based on) tree rings is going to overturn all of those 1,900 papers.”
Even AR1990 acknowledged the Medieval Warm Period and subsequent Little Ice Age. Both these historic temperature fluxes were flattened by the hockey stick’s handle.
The hockey stick’s fabricator, Michael Mann, attained his PhD in 1998. Simultaneously, his hockey stick appeared in Nature magazine. The IPCC harnessed this rising star to co-write the AR2001 chapter that decided his hockey stick clobbered all previous temperature reconstructions.
When skeptics sought Mann’s unpublished supporting material, he directed them to a discrepancy-filled online archive. When skeptics requested Mann’s computational codes, he declared these were private property. The National Science Foundation rushed to Mann’s defence; telling the skeptics to ‘talk to our lawyers.’
Two independent teams published studies claiming the expansion of industrial cities contaminated thermometer readings in ways that magnify the appearance of global warming. Referring to these papers, Jones emailed Mann in 2004, stating:
“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin (Trenberth) and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer review literature is!”
Neither study was mentioned in any AR2007 draft.
To investigate “Climate-gate” three panels were struck.
The Oxburgh Panel sought obvious examples of dishonesty in a sample of journals. Lord Oxburgh said: “The science was not the subject of our study.” No mention was made of “hide the decline.”
The Muir Russell inquiry conceded the WMO graph was misleading but flubbed their cursory inspection of the IPCC version of the same graph.
The Penn State Inquiry ignored the hockey stick and exonerated Mann.
No inquiry interviewed IPCC critics. Neither Oxburgh nor Penn State’s inquisitors called out for evidence.
Jones remains perched atop one of the world’s premiere climate research facilities. Mann, “one of the country’s leading climate scientists,” runs Penn State’s Earth System Science Center and Chairs the National Academy of Sciences’ Frontiers of Science program. Trenberth is busy writing AR2014.
AR2007 predicted Himalayan glaciers would completely melt away by 2035. In January 2010 the London Sunday Times exposed the IPCC to have relied upon a single World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) document for this prediction. In turn, WWF had relied on a single New Scientist magazine article. New Scientist’s information came from a single interview with “little known Indian scientist” Syed Hasnain, who plucked the year 2035 out of thin mountain air. Glaciologists found Hasnain’s prediction “ludicrous.”
A Coordinating Lead Author of AR2007’s “Himalaya chapter” told the Times:
“I am not an expert on glaciers and I have not visited the region so I have to rely on credible published research. The comments in the WWF report were made by a respected Indian scientist and it was reasonable to assume he knew what he was talking about.”
(A laudatory 2009 Time magazine article quotes Hasnain: “The debate is over. We know the science. We see the threat. The time for action is now.”)
Himalaya-gate was a huge scandal in India and Britain. Consequently, a review of IPCC procedures was undertaken by the InterAcademy Council (IAC) – a body jointly sponsored by national academic societies. The IPCC Bureau requested this review and selected the IAC to carry it out. The IAC had not previously undertaken such a project. In 2007 the IAC co-produced a pro-alternative energy report with top IPCC officials.
After the IAC reported back to the Bureau (August 2010), the Bureau struck Task Groups to prepare presentations for an upcoming Panel plenary (Abu Dhabi, May 2011).
The IAC recommended the establishment of a “Council” to mind Panel interests between plenaries. Three of five members of this Council were to come from outside the “climate community.” Inscrutably, the Council actually formed includes the IPCC’s Chair, Vice Chairs, and Working Group Co-Chairs. It concentrates more power in the Bureau.
The IAC recommended the range of viewpoints considered by Working Groups be documented. Even though this issue goes to the core of IPCC objectivity, only 6 of 195 delegations commented on it. The Bureau’s response was classically bureaucratic. They “agreed” with the recommendation, then proposed weasel-worded actions to undermine it. They proposed “due consideration” be given the range of viewpoints. They claimed necessary principles should “continue to be applied” – implying past practices were appropriate. Ultimately, the IPCC decided not to document contrary views.
Pre-2011 the IPCC had no conflict of interest policy. One Task Group recommended senior authors and editors declare their conflicts. The Abu Dhabi plenary opted for superficial reform. Conflicts of interest are to be described on a form, but it is unclear to whom this form is to be presented. Conflict of interest appears to be narrowed to financial, not intellectual, matters. The Bureau ensured AR2014 authors were exempt from these requirements.
The IAC recommended enforcing grey literature flagging requirements. The Bureau then did away with the requirement that grey literature be flagged.
The Abu Dhabi plenary left the Bureau’s opaque author selection process unchanged.
Fewer than 10% of national delegations at Abu Dhabi submitted responses to reform proposals. All voted to accept the reforms.
The IPCC Insiders' Club
Chairman Pachauri calls his team: “people who are at the top of their profession;” “the best talent available;” “almost four thousand of the world’s best scientists,” etc.
Mainstream journalists, being IPCC boosters, parrot these assertions.
The IPCC’s claim that AR2007 had 450 Lead Authors and 800 Contributing Authors glosses over the common practice of authors performing multiple roles. AR2007 is allegedly vetted by 2,500 reviewers, but this ignores the wide overlap between authors and reviewers.
The several hundred people who authored/reviewed AR2007 were of two main types. In the passenger’s seat, waving to the media, were hundreds of tokens from developing countries. In the driver’s seat were the IPCC Insiders’ Club.
The UN’s “geographic balance” mandate brings aboard the IPCC a legion of incompetent “scientists” from developing countries. Sound evidence regarding this cohort comes from the 678 pages of responses to the IAC’s online questionnaire. Here are some comments, from IPCC participants:
“…Lead Authors (generally although not always from the developing countries) are clearly not qualified to be Lead Authors.”
“There are far too many politically correct appointments, so that developing country scientists are appointed who have insufficient scientific competence to do anything useful.” (This respondent estimated half the Lead Authors in his chapter were incompetent.)
“The whole process…is flawed by an excessive concern for geographical balance.”
“…half the authors are there for simply representing different parts of the world.”
And this gem:
“The team members from the developing countries (including myself) were made to feel welcome and accepted as part of the team. In reality we were out of our intellectual depth as meaningful contributors to the process.”
IPCC Insider Club members are from a self-selecting ring of enviro-policy wonks who populate regulatory bureaucracies across Europe and North America. This ring banishes those who question the enviro-agenda. OECD’s former Chief Economist believes:
“…members of the IPCC Bureau and more broadly of its directing circle, have from the outset shared the conviction that anthropogenic global warming presents a threat which demands prompt and far-reaching action by governments…”
The Bureau recruits scientists based on criteria disconnected from expertise. Ideology trumps professionalism. Scientists allied with enviro-organizations are profoundly over-represented.
Pachauri signals his entire organization by penning “forwards” to Greenpeace publications.
In a 2008 interview with Yale U’s Environment 360 magazine, Pachauri said: “A price on carbon is absolutely essential,” and, “We need to bring down emissions very rapidly.”
Pachauri advocates fighting Climate Change by: a) skipping meat one day a week; b) billing hotel guests for their electricity usage; c) levying hefty aviation taxes to deter air travel; and d) curtailing ice water use in restaurants. He warned:
“…western society must undergo a radical value shift if the worst effects of climate change were to be avoided. A new value system …was now urgently required.”
In a 5,000-word ode to their 2007 ‘newsmaker of the year’ the journal Nature relayed this Pachaurism:
“We have been so drunk with this desire to produce and consume more and more whatever the cost to the environment that we’re on a totally unsustainable path. I am not going to rest easy until I have articulated in every possible forum the need to bring about major structural changes in economic growth and development. That’s the real issue. Climate change is just part of it.”
With Pachauri at the helm, the makeup of the crew becomes predictable.
In 1992, Richard Klein, age 23, completed his Master’s degree and found work as a Greenpeace campaigner. By 1994 he was an IPCC Lead Author. Klein helped write six IPCC documents. He has thrice been a Coordinating Lead Author. He got his PhD in 2003.
Bill Hare is a legend inside Greenpeace, for whom he has been a spokesman since 1992. He was Greenpeace’s Chief Climate Negotiator in 2007. IPCC lists Hare’s affiliation as: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research – thus concealing his Greenpeace connection. For AR2007, Hare was a Lead Author, Expert Reviewer, and a member on the elite Synthesis Report team. He is working on AR2014.
Malte Meinshausen co-authored (with Hare) an analysis of the Kyoto Protocol. In 2002-2003 Meinshausen was a top Greenpeace spokesperson. For AR2007 he was a Contributing Author for three chapters. AR2007 contains a graph that Hare and Meinshausen are the sole designers of.
Between 1994 and 2000, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg wrote four reports for Greenpeace about global warming’s damage to coral reefs. After 2000 he wrote two reports for WWF. Nine AR2007 chapters base their conclusions on his work. He was a Contributing Author for AR2007 and is a Coordinating Lead Author for AR2014.
Greenpeace climate campaigner Sven Teske wrote the IPCC’s Special Report on Renewable Energy (2011). This report came out with a press release trumpeting:
“Close to 80% of the world’s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century…”
This claim derives from a report co-published by Greenpeace, co-authored by Teske.
In 1999 Laurens Bouwer became a Lead Author while working on his Master’s thesis. His expertise was water resources, yet he co-wrote AR2001’s Insurance and Other Financial Services chapter. He was a Munich Re trainee at the time. He is currently with a Dutch enviro-studies institute.
Lisa Alexander got her PhD in 2009. In 2008 she was a research assistant at a small Australian university. Lisa was a Contributing Author for AR2001 and a Lead Author for AR2007.
Sari Kovats got her PhD in 2010. Aged 25 and unpublished, Sari helped write AR1995’s health chapter. For AR2007 she co-wrote four chapters and was an Expert Reviewer. Sari is helping write AR2014.
Australian epidemiology prof Anthony McMichael was the senior author for AR1990 and AR1995’s health chapters. He coordinated the health chapter with a Kenyan researcher in AR2001, then played a lesser role for AR2007.
In 1993 McMichael wrote Planetary Overload - a polemic against our “ecologically distorted lifestyle” that imparts: “humans cannot live apart from nature, remote from the great web of life” and calls for “reordering of social values.”
While Planetary Overload is not listed in AR1995’s reference section, 11 long passages from this book appear in AR1995’s health chapter including a paragraph about malaria in Africa containing elementary geographical errors and wrongly claiming Nairobi to have long been malaria free. This chapter’s assertion that global warming is spreading malaria is mainly based on a magazine article co-written by Paul Epstein who, as a Lead Author, sat in judgement of his article’s suitability for inclusion.
In 2008 Epstein opined:
“…we must wean ourselves from fossil fuels…we may just be able to steer society onto a path leading to a healthy and sustainable energy future.”
Epstein co-authored several papers with Jonathan Patz – a man chosen as an AR1995 Lead Author despite being a recent Master’s grad without publications. Patz, a Lead Author for AR2001 and AR2007, bills himself as a “UN IPCC Scientist.” He believes: “Our energy policy is indirectly exporting diseases” and that there is “urgent need to end our addiction to fossil fuels.”
New Zealand epidemiology prof Alistair Woodward has co-written every AR health chapter and is Coordinating Lead Author for AR2014’s health chapter. Of his ten publications, five deal with Climate Change. A Woodward-Epstein paper argues no amount of fossil fuel technology improvement will avert the need for “radical sociopolitical change.” In his inaugural address, upon becoming head of Auckland U’s School of Population Health, Woodward attacked climate skeptics by name, adding:
“If diseases like malaria are not a serious concern, then there are fewer compelling reasons to cut carbon emissions.”
A recent Woodward piece for The New Zealand Medical Journal claims:
“If climate change is not controlled through timely central government means, then health losses will occur worldwide.”
Months later this journal published a screed by Woodward et al. demanding New Zealand halve its CO2 emissions by 2020. This article cites multiple Greenpeace and WWF documents while calling on doctors to badger their patients about global warming.
Long-time IPCCer Michael Oppenheimer directs an enviro-policy program at Princeton. For 20 years he was Environmental Defense Fund’s chief scientist. He continues to advise EDF. For AR2007 Oppenheimer was: Contributing Author, Lead Author, co-author of Working Group II’s Summary for Policymakers and Technical Summary, and an Expert Reviewer of the Synthesis Report. He also co-wrote a special IPCC report on climate extremes and disasters. He is a senior player in AR2014.
Swiss climate modeller Thomas Stocker has ten years IPCC experience and now Co-Chairs Working Group I. In a media interview he demanded “all societies on this planet [adopt] clear schedules of emission reductions.” Every sector of every economy must decarbonise. Gasoline prices must triple. At a UNFCCC conference he demanded sanctions against recalcitrant countries.
Arizona U geo-science prof Jonathan Overpeck served in five capacities in AR2007 including Coordinating Lead Author. He recruited his wife as a Contributing Author. In 2009 Overpeck told the US Congress the only way to avert a water crisis in the Colorado River Basin was to spend $200 million studying the matter, and to cut global CO2 emissions by 80%. In 2010 Overpeck sponsored a special lecture at Arizona U on “climate misunderstanding.” Guest lecturer Max Boykoff advocates media censorship of climate skeptics in order to stifle “counter-productive debates.”
Richard Moss has been with the IPCC for 20 years. During 2006-2009 he served as WWF’s Managing Director for Climate Change and as a Senior Director for the UN Foundation’s Energy and Climate desk. He is currently WWF’s Senior Fellow, Climate Change. At a 2009 meeting Moss represented both the WWF and the IPCC. Moss is a Review Editor for AR2014.
In 2010 the IPCC hired Jennifer Morgan to write a special report. For several years Morgan was the WWF’s climate change spokesperson. She led WWF’s delegation at the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. Earlier, she worked for Climate Action Network. She currently directs the World Resources Institute’s climate program.
In 2004, WWF launched ‘Climate Witness’ to collect anecdotes about alleged local impacts of Climate Change. Scientists were recruited to add a scholarly veneer to the anecdotal observations. Participation was an expression of ideological affinity with the WWF; 130 scientists adorn the WWF’s Climate Witness Advisory Panel.
Seventy-eight WWF Climate Advisors participated in AR2007 and/or AR2014, among them: David Karoly (Lead Author and five other functions for AR2007 and Review Editor for AR2014), Zbigniew Kundzewicz (4 functions for AR2007 including Coordinating Lead Author), Michael MacCracken (wore five hats for AR2007), Daithi Stone (wore seven hats for AR2007 and is a AR2014 Lead Author), Murari Lal (four hats AR2007 including Coordinating Lead Author), Poh Wong (Coordinating Lead Author for AR2007 and AR2014), and Osvaldo Canziani (Working Group II Co-Chair, AR2001 and AR2007).
WWF Advisors helped write 28 of AR2007’s 44 chapters. Twenty-three Coordinating Lead Authors were WWF Advisors. In three chapters, both Coordinating Lead Authors were WWF Advisors. In one chapter eight authors were WWF Advisors.
A key subset of the IPCC Insiders’ Club are the climate modellers.
Climate modelling labs survive by convincing governments that Climate Change is real and that climate computer simulations are useful in researching this threat. Despite their obvious conflict of interest, the IPCC deploys climate modellers to evaluate climate model utility.
Environment Canada’s George Boer built a career out of selling climate models to governments. He was a Lead Author on AR1995’s Climate Models – Evaluation chapter. Five out of dight of this chapter’s authors were career climate modellers.
AR2007’s climate model evaluation chapter was again dominated by the model mafia. Coordinating Lead Authors were: Francis Zwiers (head of Canada’s flagship climate modelling lab from 1997 to 2006) and Gabriele Hegerl (published her first climate model paper 20 years ago). Hegerl served in several capacities in AR2007 and is working on AR2104.
Climate modelling is not traditional scientific research. Climate modellers maddeningly treat their simulations like hard evidence from real world, empirical investigation. World-class physicist Freeman Dyson says this of climate models:
“They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds.”
AR2007’s Second Draft acknowledges models lack physical realism and overstate the significance of warming trends. (Senior authors’ emails betray awareness of these deficiencies.) Nevertheless, AR2007 blandly uses these models. A Draft passage stating models were “likely to overestimate” warming trends was changed to “could be overestimated.” This textual change was un-reviewed.
According to the models, CO2-induced warming should be greatest near the equator. Stashed within AR2007 is an acknowledgement that observed warming is not where the models say it should be. The authors conclude the thermometer readings, not their models, must be wrong. The entire issue goes unmentioned in the Summary for Policymakers.
Ascertaining the climate’s sensitivity to changing CO2 levels from the historical-geological record is problematic. Models guess at this sensitivity. Assumptions programmed in these models are sacrosanct.
A 2005 study about the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption concluded climate sensitivity was lower than most models assumed. A response to this paper was published by an IPCC team. The Mount Pinatubo authors published a rebuttal. AR2007 dismisses the Mount Pinatubo study based on the IPCC team’s paper and does not mention the rebuttal.
AR2007 contains several model-based graphs of climate sensitivity and one graph based on real world evidence. The latter evidenced lower sensitivity than the model-based graphs. AR2007’s version of this graph is skewed to make it consistent with model-based graphs.
The entire climate catastrophe hypothesis is predicated on an assumption of “positive feedbacks.” Negative feedbacks are tendencies within systems that neutralize disturbances to the system. Positive feedbacks magnify disturbances. Without negative feedbacks, no natural system would survive.
IPCC’s models assume small additions of CO2 to the atmosphere will spiral into catastrophe. Negative feedbacks, which neutralize additional CO2, abound in the atmosphere and are discussed in peer-reviewed climate literature. Dubious positive feedbacks are deviously programmed into computer climate simulations. No discussion of the negative-versus-positive feedback debate appears in the Summary for Policymakers.
The Censored Consensus
The IPCC is not marginalizing “outlier” scholars. The IPCC is marginalizing the mainstream “consensus” academic community. Here are seven examples.
In 2005, atmospheric scientist William Gray told US Senators:
“Despite my 50 years of meteorology experience and my many years of involvement in seasonal hurricane and climate prediction, I have never been asked for input on any of the [IPCC] reports…They know my views and do not wish to have to deal with them.”
Former President of the Sea Level Change Commission (and former head of geodynamics at Stockholm U) Dr. Nils-Axel Morner has 40 years’ experience in his field. In 2003 Morner and fellow sea level experts, after five annual international conferences, concluded sea levels were unlikely to rise more than 10cm by 2100. IPCC computer models think otherwise.
Renowned economist Richard Tol contends AR2007 favours contrarian views from the non-peer-reviewed economic literature over prevailing views in the peer-reviewed literature. In the AR2007 chapter, Tol was referring to 42% of references trace to “grey literature.”
Mosquito-borne disease expert Dr. Paul Reiter dismisses AR1995’s health chapter as “amateurish” adding: “Not one of the lead authors had ever written a research paper on the subject.” AR1995’s computer simulations predict the percentage of humanity at risk of malaria will increase 50% by 2050. After AR1995’s release, Britain’s Independent newspaperblared:
“The consensus of 2,000 top meteorologists and other experts consulted by the IPCC is that tropical diseases will increasingly spread into temperate areas.”
Twenty-one authors, not 2,000 (and none of them top meteorologists), wrote this chapter.
Desperate to make a warming-malaria connection, the chapter’s authors maintained that because malaria-transmitting mosquitos rarely survive where winter temperatures drop below 16 C, the disease’s northern presence is aberrant. Reiter notes: Siberians died from malaria in the 1800s and Shakespeare mentioned malaria 13 times.
Chris Landsea, a Contributing Author and Expert Reviewer for AR1995 and AR2001, was slated to write about hurricanes for an AR2007 chapter supervised by climate modeller Kevin Trenberth. Landsea’s career focused on hurricanes; Trenberth’s had not.
In 2004 Landsea learned Trenberth intended to announce at a press conference that global warming intensified hurricane activity. At Trenberth’s side would be Harvard biologist James McCarthy (AR2001 Working Group II Co-Chair). Neither man had published on hurricanes.
Before the conference Landsea emailed Trenberth, complaining:
“There is no known scientific studies that show a conclusive physical link between global warming and hurricane frequency and intensity.”
Trenberth went ahead with the conference whereat he was introduced as a senior IPCC author in charge of an upcoming report dealing with hurricanes. Reuters’ story on the conference bellowed:
“…the four hurricanes that bashed Florida and the Caribbean within a five-week period over the summer…are only the beginning.”
In the ensuing dispute, Pachauri, Susan Solomon, and Martin Manning (Working Group I Technical Support Chief) sided with Trenberth. Landsea resigned from the IPCC. The Washington Post and Science briefly mentioned the “spat.” Science conceded that no hurricane expert saw a link between hurricane intensity and global warming.
Contrary to Trenberth’s prediction, a hurricane drought followed 2005. The IPCC clings to the hurricane/warming link with references to computer models.
Enviro-studies prof Roger Pielke considers Climate Change a legit concern and decarbonising our energy supply a legit goal. He does not think extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe or that weather-related disaster damage is exacerbated by global warming.
AR2001’s claim that human CO2 emissions increase weather damage was based on a single, non-peer-reviewed report, which concealed its methodology. This report was paid for by Munich Re and was co-written by a Lead Author of the very AR2001 chapter where the claim was repeated.
A 2005 Science magazine article by professional consultant Evan Mills linked Climate Change to rising disaster costs. For evidence Mills cited AR2001 and the Munich Re report. At last there was a peer-reviewed paper confirming the global-warming-weather-damage connection!
In 2006 Pielke organized a conference on CO2 emissions and weather disasters. Twenty-four papers were submitted. A post-conference statement declared it was impossible to link storm damage to human CO2 emissions. A single, non-peer-reviewed submission suggested the opposite. Despite missing AR2007’s deadline, this paper was incorporated into three AR2007 chapters. AR2007’s position on weather damages rests on this paper. Its Summary highlights this paper.
Separately, AR2007 displays a graph showing two upward trending lines, one representing warming and the other disaster costs. However, this graph does not appear in the paper it is attributed to. A graph from the cited paper appeared in an AR2007 Draft, but as this graph was criticized by reviewers, the chapter’s authors simply made up a new graph. One of this chapter’s Coordinating Lead Authors, Cynthia Rosenzweig, is a NASA climate modeller who performed six jobs for AR2007.
A 196-page report on potential Climate Change damage presented to the US Congress in 2009 treats Mills’ Science article and Rosenzweig’s AR2007 chapter as the definitive factual sources.
The media echoes Pachauri’s refrain about 20-30% of Earth’s species being at risk of extinction from human-induced Climate Change. This canard’s source is an AR2007 paragraph freighted with the words: estimate, possibility, uncertainty, likely, and maybe. This paragraph contains estimates ranging from 1% to 80%.
AR2007’s extinction analysis rests heavily on a paper by Chris Thomas et al., which guesses 9% to 31% of species may become extinct by 2100 if Earth warms 1.2 to 2 C. The Thomas paper debuted in a January 2004 issue of Nature magazine and instantly became a lead news story worldwide.
By July 2004 Nature felt obliged to publish three critiques of the Thomas paper. Critics noted Thomas’ unusual analytical approach ignored the species-rich tropics and the corollary that an expanding tropics might expand species numbers. Thomas was accused of overestimating our understanding of genetics and placing too much faith in computer models.
A 2005 paper published by Oxford biologist Owen Lewis argued the widespread ability of species to survive when transplanted outside their original range means nature is more resilient than Thomas alleges. Lewis also notes Thomas’ focus on species occupying small niches. Such species are extinction prone.
Long-serving biology prof Daniel Botkin called the Thomas paper: “the worst paper I have ever read in a major scientific journal.” He complained Thomas used crudely defined biomes and lacked uncertainty factors. In 2007 Botkin et al. published a paper trashing grandiose biological computer models, adding:
“…the fossil record indicates that, in most regions, surprisingly few species went extinct during the [last 2.5 million years] – in North America, for example, only three species have gone extinct.”
Coordinating Lead Authors of AR2007’s “extinction chapter” were Swiss biologist Andreas Fischlin and South African eco-physiologist Guy Midgley. Both men are WWF Climate Advisors, as are five other of this chapter’s authors.
Fischlin, who also worked on AR2001, is a fixture on the Swiss UNFCCC delegation and is thus beholden to the climate line of the Swiss government. Two Contributing Authors for this chapter are computer modellers whose doctorates Fischlin supervised. Fischlin is helping write AR2014.
Midgley co-authored the Thomas paper. (Another Thomas co-author, Leslie Hughes, also co-authored this chapter.) Twenty-three papers co-written by Midgley were cited in this chapter. Midgley is working on AR2014.
Also involved in the “extinction chapter” was US biologist Jeff Price – a former American Bird Conservancy climate change director and the author of A Birdwatcher’s Guide to Global Warming. Formerly a UNEP man, Price is now with WWF. He is certain: “we are on the threshold of a massive extinction event.”
If you want to build a transcontinental pipeline, hire several hundred guys with journeyman welder’s tickets. If you want to build an international scientific consensus, hire several hundred folk with science PhDs. Welders are probably more expensive, as they should be. Campuses teem with “post-docs” – college bums with PhDs for whom there are no jobs. Given adequate finances, marshalling a choir of these sad creatures to chant whatever hymn is not difficult.
What is difficult is forecasting the fortunes of the Climate Change campaign. International climate negotiations gridlocked years ago. There is clear evidence of an orderly standing down by enviro-activists and their media allies. The number of climate alarmist stories appearing in the media is diminishing. Climate Change no longer appears high on the list of ruses deployed by the enviro-activists challenging energy projects. Climate Change suddenly seems so passé; so pre-Copenhagen. Have skeptical nerds been left holding the global warming bag?
One must distinguish enviro-sound from enviro-fury; pretexts from goals. The Climate Change campaign is an effort to impose energy, land-use, and political policies. Regarding energy, it is a war on coal and petroleum. Regarding land-use, it seeks restrictions on the amount of utilized land. Politically, it is an effort to disenfranchise the masses. While Climate Change is placed on the back burner, the underlying effort to impose these policies is heating up.
The EPA’s recent salvo in its war on coal, the December 2011-issued MATS (Mercury and Air Toxic Standards) regulations, hardly mentions Climate Change. Le cause de celebre is mercury poisoning. Mercury is a natural aerosol with a trace presence in our every breath. Less than 0.5% of the mercury floating over America comes from coal-fired power plants. Coal-burning’s alleged thousands of mercury-poisoned fatalities are “virtual people” buried in computers owned by health activist orgs funded by the EPA. MATS forces owners of non-compliant coal-fired power plants to spend billions on retrofits or face plant closure. Non-compliant plants produce a quarter of America’s electricity.
In North America, the war on petroleum’s most active front is the siege of Alberta’s oil sands. In the blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline, the focal canards were property rights, water pollution, and ecosystem destruction. Broadsides against the oil sands’ alleged climate damage, hitherto prominent in the “Tar Sands” campaign, were shelved.
Another proposed oil sands pipeline, Northern Gateway, was recently stuffed by a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency decision to entertain testimony from 4,500 witnesses at the pipeline’s approval hearings, which consequently will drag on for two years. A miniscule fraction of these witnesses possess expertise on petroleum transport. Pipeline opponents have threatened protracted litigation if authorities do not sufficiently prostrate themselves before the manifest malarkey of “aboriginal knowledge.” Climate Change is not a marquis concern at these hearings, nor is what commercial engineers think is safe petroleum transport. Both are trumped by worries about the emotional well-being of racially-obsessed shamans with wooden boxes on their heads.
Climate Change is not dead nor was it a dud. The campaign is in abeyance and might roar back – depending on AR2014’s reception, depending on the weather. Let no one say the campaign failed. When this campaign was hatched in the mid-1970s, wind power, solar power, and biofuels were novelties. These are now multi-billion-dollar industrial complexes on both sides of the Atlantic. Having their own social momentum and lobbying clout, these industrial complexes, according to plan, make Climate Change too big to suddenly fail.
Except for the Addendum, all facts in this document are from:
Laframboise, Donna; The Delinquent Teenager who was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert, (2011), Ivy Avenue Press, Toronto, Canada.
McKitrick, Ross; What is Wrong With the IPCC? (2011) Global Warming Policy Foundation, London.