By its actions, the IPCC Admits Its Past Reports Were Unreliable

Foreword: Readers may recall that we covered the InterAcademy Council finding here on WUWT, in IAC slams IPCC process, suggests removal of top officials followed by IPCC’s Pachauri should resign for “failures of leadership” Now, with virtually no notice, the IPCC has implemented a change in response to these findings, essentially admitting their past work was flawed both procedurally and factually. As a sidenote, we have Donna Laframboise to thank for much of the work in uncovering flaws in the IPCC. – Anthony

By Joseph L. Bast

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.

The rewriting of the Summary for Policy Makers by politicians and environmental activists — a problem called out by global warming realists for many years, but with little apparent notice by the media or policymakers — was plainly admitted, perhaps for the first time by an organization in the “mainstream” of alarmist climate change thinking.  “[M]any were concerned that reinterpretations of the assessment’s findings, suggested in the final Plenary, might be politically motivated,” the IAC auditors wrote.  The scientists they interviewed commonly found the Synthesis Report “too political” (p. 25).

Really?  Too political?  We were told by everyone — environmentalists, reporters, politicians, even celebrities — that the IPCC reports were science, not politics.  Now we are told that even the scientists involved in writing the reports — remember, they are all true believers in man-made global warming themselves — felt the summaries were “too political.”

Here is how the IAC described how the IPCC arrives at the “consensus of scientists”:

Plenary sessions to approve a Summary for Policy Makers last for several days and commonly end with an all-night meeting.  Thus, the individuals with the most endurance or the countries that have large delegations can end up having the most influence on the report (p. 25).

How can such a process possibly be said to capture or represent the “true consensus of scientists”?

Another problem documented by the IAC is the use of phony “confidence intervals” and estimates of “certainty” in the Summary for Policy Makers (pp. 27-34).  Those of us who study the IPCC reports knew this was make-believe when we first saw it in 2007.  Work by J. Scott Armstrong on the science of forecasting makes it clear that scientists cannot simply gather around a table and vote on how confident they are about some prediction, and then affix a number to it such as “80% confident.”  Yet that is how the IPCC proceeds.

The IAC authors say it is “not an appropriate way to characterize uncertainty” (p. 34), a huge understatement.  Unfortunately, the IAC authors recommend an equally fraudulent substitute, called “level of understanding scale,” which is more mush-mouth for “consensus.”

The IAC authors warn, also on page 34, that “conclusions will likely be stated so vaguely as to make them impossible to refute, and therefore statements of ‘very high confidence’ will have little substantive value.”  Yes, but that doesn’t keep the media and environmental activists from citing them over and over again as “proof” that global warming is man-made and a crisis…even if that’s not really what the reports’ authors are saying.

Finally, the IAC noted, “the lack of a conflict of interest and disclosure policy for IPCC leaders and Lead Authors was a concern raised by a number of individuals who were interviewed by the Committee or provided written input” as well as “the practice of scientists responsible for writing IPCC assessments reviewing their own work.  The Committee did not investigate the basis of these claims, which is beyond the mandate of this review” (p. 46).

Too bad, because these are both big issues in light of recent revelations that a majority of the authors and contributors to some chapters of the IPCC reports are environmental activists, not scientists at all.  That’s a structural problem with the IPCC that could dwarf the big problems already reported.

So on June 27, nearly two years after these bombshells fell (without so much as a raised eyebrow by the mainstream media in the U.S. — go ahead and try Googling it), the IPCC admits that it was all true and promises to do better for its next report.  Nothing to see here…keep on moving.

Well I say, hold on, there!  The news release means that the IAC report was right.  That, in turn, means that the first four IPCC reports were, in fact, unreliable.  Not just “possibly flawed” or “could have been improved,” but likely to be wrong and even fraudulent.

It means that all of the “endorsements” of the climate consensus made by the world’s national academies of science — which invariably refer to the reports of the IPCC as their scientific basis — were based on false or unreliable data and therefore should be disregarded or revised.  It means that the EPA’s “endangerment finding” — its claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and threat to human health — was wrong and should be overturned.

And what of the next IPCC report, due out in 2013 and 2014?  The near-final drafts of that report have been circulating for months already.  They were written by scientists chosen by politicians rather than on the basis of merit; many of them were reviewing their own work and were free to ignore the questions and comments of people with whom they disagree.  Instead of “confidence,” we will get “level of understanding scales” that are just as meaningless.

And on this basis we should transform the world’s economy to run on breezes and sunbeams?

In 2010, we learned that much of what we thought we knew about global warming was compromised and probably false.  On June 27, the culprits confessed and promised to do better.  But where do we go to get our money back?

Joseph L. Bast (jbast@heartland.org) is president of The Heartland Institute and an editor of Climate Change Reconsidered, a series of reports published by The Heartland Institute for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.

51 thoughts on “By its actions, the IPCC Admits Its Past Reports Were Unreliable

  1. I just sent a donation to Heartland. They’re David to the media’s Goliath, and they are doing a great job getting the truth out on a shoestring budget.

  2. The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is lining the clouds.
    ==================

  3. Where is Al Gore’s warm swaddling cloud. Apparently it’s gone missing.
    Don’t all the computer models say it’s necessary? So all the computer models are junk, proved falsified?

  4. In the UK there are calls for bankers to be prosecuted for fixing Libor rates.

    But when climate academics do the same with climate statistics … no one in the mainstream media and politicians seem to care even though the cost is so much higher for global warming non-science.

  5. But again the problem is seeing the word “science” and assuming we are talking about a body of knowledge that has stood up to scrutiny regarding the earth and chemistry and physics and biology. We have to begin to appreciate the use of language to obfuscate. We need to appreciate the terms being used by politicians and bureaucrats to mislead us.

    When you see the word science and the model does not work or the facts contradict it or just in general, ask what is the function of this model on people? On the economy? Ultimately on our political structure? If I was a Soviet planner and this model was my tool what could I accomplish with it?

    It’s the behavioral sciences the schemers have in mind 9 times out of 10 these days. If we can get the real scientists to start looking at the models as political tools instead of mistakes, we will likely see these faulty models lining up to tell us precisely what is really going on. Using our money and the power of the state.

  6. We should not lose sight of the simple fact that “on average”, the “cooking” monster that initiates the whole “global warming ” phenomenon; that is, gets it started from the ground up; BEFORE the atmosphere and its GHGs gets involved, is as benign as an ordinary bottle of water at refrigerator Temperature.

    The well known science guy “demonstration” of the CO2 trapping effect of LWIR escaping energy, instead uses an infra-red source that is 10,000 times as bright as the real thing (the earth), and 1/16th as bright as the sun. Moreover it puts out photons of ten times the energy of the real source, which are even more strongly absorbed by the GHGs in the test air sample, than the real world LWIR ones.

    Next winter try warming yourself with a nice bottle of Evian out of the frig.

  7. IPCC’s Dr. Seuss on Trenberth’s consensus about the missing heat:

    I think we can.
    You think we must.
    And better still we’ll make a fuss.
    It may be hotter;
    maybe not.
    But then of course,
    it’s all we got.
    Our heads are better–
    can’t be truer;
    all the rest is pure manure.

  8. These activists just keep going. They ignore everything that refutes them. They carry on as though everyone is behind them and as though their word is true. The damn media is in bed with them, which doesn’t help. How did the world turn so red? IPCC fraud should go to the High Courts of every land, this should be world-wide slapped down and booted out with serious jail-time for the big names. Where’s the long arm of the law? Someone, wake up the sheriff, will you? I mean it!

  9. IPCC “unreliable” but with potential consequences for your Pension Funds.

    posted this in the Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup comments where it may not be seen by many, but it is such an important piece which needs to go viral, because so much of the money in the stock market these days comes from Pension Funds and the like. it is by Bill Gunderson, president of Gunderson Capital Management Inc. in San Diego. He is also the host of the “Best Stocks Now” radio show, and the creator of the Best Stocks Now app.

    5 July: San Diego Union Tribune: Green energy bad idea for pension funds
    State pension fund managers you can relax now: Al Gore is here.
    Gore wants to put your retirement savings in green energy. He does not want to tell us what companies or how much.
    Just last month it was revealed that Al Gore’s investment company has been managing assets for New York state and city pension funds for three years. Pension fund officials say Al is doing a great job.
    But they refuse to tell us where Gore is putting the money.
    The news of Gore’s involvement in state pension funds comes the same week several research reports surfaced that said state public employee pension funds are in crisis and underfunded by $1 trillion to $4 trillion…
    I’m sorry if I am as skeptical of Gore’s financial acumen as I am of his meteorological expertise. But green investments are terrible performers.
    More than a year ago I told my clients and readers to “sell everything under the sun.” I shorted First Solar, America’s largest solar manufacturer.
    The stock was at $120. Today is at $14.
    Line ’em up: The green-energy cars, green battery companies, green solar, green wind, green you name it: They are toxic to a portfolio. Unless of course you short them.
    Four years ago, the Solar Index – TAN – was $307 a share. Today it is $19.
    The Wind Index was $31 a share. Today it is $6.
    Vestas Wind was $25 in 2009. Today it is $1.70.
    The list of lousy green stocks is just about the closest thing we have to an infinite renewable resource…
    Months before President Obama made his now infamous visit to Solyndra, I wrote about how Solyndra was “not a going concern” in several papers throughout the country.
    A lot of people in the investment business knew it. If any reporters did, they did not see fit to share it with us. Maybe they were in it for the long term…

    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/05/green-energy-bad-idea-for-pension-funds/

  10. But,but, but……the MODELS! What of the models? All our hopes and dreams were based upon the MODELS! Oh, the HUMANITY!!!

  11. This should be program interrupting news on every channel and front page headlines of every newspaper. Sadly it will be ignored and our world leaders go on believing in the largest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind, wasting tax dollars and forcing us and businesses to waste our resources as well. Alas, there are so many “useful idiots” in the world. Thanks Anthony for your good work.

  12. I always thought that the IPCC were hacks.

    It is very worrying that in its political train, the worlds leading scientific academies have been brought into disrepute, for having sold their integrity to the highest bidders.

  13. Gotham City, that ain’t a carney light sweeping around up there against the clouds.
    ================

  14. Sorry, Babsy, but for the sake of Gaia, humanity has to go. The moles and horses and ants, though, will be fine. How very nice.

  15. Joe, you must be reading the responses here. No one else has asked, so I will: when does the boom drop on Peter Gleick?

    Are you folks proceeding with that, or are you letting him skate free?

  16. Reblogged this on JustMEinT's General Blog and commented:
    Tha last four IPCC Reports have been seriously flawed admits the IPCC, yet nothing of this has appeared in the Lame Stream Media to date.
    The entire worldwide farce about man made global warming has its foundations in this farce. So now will the local politician and governments listen to alternative points of view? Not Bloody Likely me says…. there is far too much money tied up in these schemes. It never was about climate or weather and always was about ego and dollars! Enjoy the article and pass it far and wide please.

  17. Every day, in every way, the lies are being exposed but being ignored by the media. Reposted to Weatherzone where no doubt the resident troll will either ignore it or take it completely out of context but no matter, the forum is read by enough journalists for someone to pick it up and at least read it.

  18. The IPCC is totally corrupt. They should hang their heads in shame at the deception they are foisting upon the world. Heartland, Watts, Nova, McIntyre, Curry and all are true heros for speaking against the lying so-called scientists.

  19. The only real solution is vote conservative.
    Don’t vote for conservative because you like or trust them, vote for
    them as insect repellent against lefties.
    If Lefties are looking in instead looking out, they would attack such
    institutions a IPCC.
    And we all know media has left bias, that how to get the media going
    after this clowns in some serious way.

  20. So given all this what are the chances of getting the EPA endangerment finding overturned in court? The EPA is so damn pretentious. There is just as likely to be a lurking endangerment from an uncommonly late spring paired with early fall frosts as anything to do with warming. If the EPA did not explore the statistics and agronomy of short growing seasons then they weren’t thorough and if they weren’t thorough then they were arbitrary. Just because the endangerment finding was long doesn’t make it thorough.

  21. Craig Goodrich says:
    July 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Oh, yeah. I forgot. All hail Mother Gaia! Now I feel better knowing I’ve given proper homage to Mother Gaia, her caretakers, and their models.

  22. “because political considerations are given more weight than scientific qualifications”

    Don’t they require certain numbers of people from each continent? That’s either political or geological, but it is not by achievement.

  23. Hey Joe.

    “The near-final drafts of that report have been circulating for months already. They were written by scientists chosen by politicians rather than on the basis of merit; many of them were reviewing their own work and were free to ignore the questions and comments of people with whom they disagree. ”

    This is incorrect. The SOD has not been circulated yet. As a reviewer of the FOD, and critic of Ar4, I’m happy to report that the process is much improved and the writers are very open. the near final drafts have not been circulating for months. The ZOD was out a while ago and the FOD closed up a bit ago. Papers have to be submitted by July 31st and chapter authors are making sure that people normally outside the process are getting fair notice to have their papers submitted by July 31st. I for one am grateful the IPCC allowed me ( and anthony ) to be reviewers. To repeat near final drafts have not been circulating. please refer to the published schedule.

  24. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
    WERE ABLE to put Humpty together again

    Bless them for giving an old story – a happy ending.
    They can now return to their high wall and forget the fall, after all…
    It’s just a little egg on their faces. That’s what AR5 napkins are for and the EPA will do the wiping. GK

  25. Steven Mosher says:
    July 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm
    Watch for the “unique” conclusion in a SPM after you’ve submitted. But they would never do that would they?

  26. I have read the IPCC statement. It changes nothing of consequence. For example, “revisions to procedures for electing the IPCC’s Bureau – the Chair, IPCC Vice-Chairs, Co-Chairs of the Working Groups and the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI) and the Vice-Chairs of the Working Groups – including strengthening the representation of Southwest Pacific states;” achieve exactly what? Pachauri remains in place, as presumably does everyone involved in writing the Summary for Policymakers.

    The outcome I suspect will be that whereas AR4 said CAGW was very likely, AR5 it will say that because they have made these important changes which deal with all past criticisms, CAGW is now very very likely and there are now no remaining grounds for scepticism.

    You doubt it? Tell me, how does strengthening the representation of Southwest Pacific states improve the quality of the science?

  27. Copied from N-G rgb discussion thread earlier:

    Wayne Delbeke says:
    July 16, 2012 at 11:32 am
    Thanks to both parties for sharing their thoughts. The comments triggered and old bug bear.

    I have read AR3 and AR4 cover to cover. I commented on this years ago: – I am completely dumbfounded as to how the Summary for Policy Makers could be derived from the Working Group Papers. It is like the Summary for Policy Makers was written independently of the Working Group Papers and it didn’t matter what is in the science section as the political section trumped it in all cases. I read AR4 several times trying to connect the dots. I couldn’t but perhaps others can. As an engineer who has written many reports based on good data and being required to be responsible for the technical and FINANCIAL recommendations I am surprised more scientists haven’t refused to participate in the writing of the Working Group papers. But then that would only leave the politically driven scientists, WWF and Greenpeace to author the WG papers so I guess they are firmly between a rock and a hard place.

    Interesting to see this post a few hours later.

  28. And when are the new people coming into IPCC?
    Quoting from the press release “…, and the limitation of the term of office of the Chair, IPCC Vice-Chairs and Co-Chairs to one term – usually the timeframe of one assessment.”
    Seems that some of the existing Exec have long overstayed that new mandate.

  29. Re Steven Mosher @9.04: I’m glad you posted that, Steven, anyone like Joe Bast who wishes to take issue with the IPCC must surely be scrupulously correct themselves if they want their criticisms to be effective. We can’t demand a certain standard from the IPCC then not maintain it ourselves.

  30. ‘The process may have been flawed, but the conclusions are correct.’
    – paraphrased vague memory of “Hockey Stick” defense

  31. The IAC report was never intended to be really critical of the IPCC, as Chairman Harold Shapiro said in an interview at the time: “Our charge here was not to review the science, but simply to ask, “Are their policies and practices set up in such a way as to minimize errors and generally achieve the authoritative nature they sought in the report? And so once you ask the question that way, it’s not a unique organization; it’s just a quality control problem.”

    See:
    Is The IPCC Endangered By The IAC Report (Sept. 2010)

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/ipcc_endangered_by_iac_report.html

  32. Ally E. says:
    July 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    These activists just keep going. They ignore everything that refutes them. They carry on as though everyone is behind them and as though their word is true. The damn media is in bed with them, which doesn’t help. How did the world turn so red? IPCC fraud should go to the High Courts of every land, this should be world-wide slapped down and booted out with serious jail-time for the big names. Where’s the long arm of the law? Someone, wake up the sheriff, will you? I mean it!

    Exactly.

    Blind are the eyes of men, and vanquished
    By base example, virtue prostrate lies:
    All light is turned to darkness, courage dies,
    In falsehood’s triumph, truth is captive led.

    — Michelangelo, Sonnet LXVIII

  33. Blind are the eyes of men, and vanquished
    By base example, virtue prostrate lies:
    All light is turned to darkness, courage dies,
    In falsehood’s triumph, truth is captive led.

    –Michelangelo, Sonnet LXVIII

  34. Disband the IPCC. Get the UN out of the “climate” business. (Not a chance in Hades, I know, but one can dream.)

    I’m sure the IAC’s findings will be trumpeted on/by CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC (both of them), BBC, NYT, WaPo, etc.

  35. More reasons why the IPCC’s reports need to be taken with buckets of salt. Some comments from IPCC insiders about peer review given to the InterAcademy Council.

    Non-peer-reviewed literature should obviously be minimized but cannot be totally avoided. (page 2)

    …the length of the [IPCC report] was constrained, so the number of citations was constrained. Hence, reviews (including those in the “grey” literature) were strongly favored if those reviews cited the primary literature. (p. 7)

    In some fields non-peer reviewed is the way the science is done. It just has to be carefully used and identified clearly. (p. 22)

    There cannot be any assessment of impacts and possible response strategies to climate change on peer-reviewed literature only. (p. 48)

    My WG III chapter depended heavily on non-peer reviewed literature and I have yet to hear a complaint about its quality. (p. 52)

    Governments want the chapter to cover questions of current relevance for which there [is] often “grey literature” but little peer reviewed literature. (p. 68)

    …to address
    …………………………………………………………

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/01/21/grey-literature-ipcc-insiders-speak-candidly/

    http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/Comments.pdf

    And yet in February 2008 Rajendra Pachauri said:

    …we carry out an assessment of climate change based on peer-reviewed literature, so everything that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to carry [the] credibility of peer-reviewed publications, we don’t settle for anything less than that.

    http://tinyurl.com/7fqhv4t

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/11/22/pachauris-rhetoric-vs-reality/

  36. The proper spin would be for the IPCC to remind the world that the recommendations contained therein were based on scenarios, IE fiction. And imaginative fiction at that. Which is probably why they put Pachauri, a fiction writer, at the helm.

    Now that climate fiction is in writing, they can safely replace Pachauri with a talking head. And soon, fiction will become religious truth, and soon after that, creative scientific design, soon followed by equal science based representation in science textbooks. Oh wait. That has already happened. Never mind.

  37. I was the former Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway (the locks that connect the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean). I just wrote a column for the Great Lakes -Seawy News (www.greatlakes-seawaynews.com) which explained to the Seaway stakeholders why man-made global warming was a myth and a fraud and why they should not expect ice to disappear from the Great Lakes in wintertime. Let’s hope the EPA is brought under control after November.

  38. Stuff from Joe Bast and the Heartland Institute has a distorted view of science that it is not worth reading. They often reach conclusions that are just opposite to the original papers.

  39. My recent experience with the IPCC’s process is diametrically opposed to that of Steven Mosher. By policy, the IPCC keeps successive drafts of AR5 under lock and key, circulating copies of the document only to those it has annointed. The IPCC’s procedure for annointment facilitates exclusion of those who might rock the boat by flagging the numerous fallacies in the IPCC’s argument.

Comments are closed.