Some notes on the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)

FYI. Some email correspondence in my Inbox, for those with an interest in an alternate viewpoint of the IPCC:

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At 10 AM PDT Tomorrow, Sunday, October 13th, you can watch a half hour program on KUSI TV via internet streaming at KUSI.COM.

The featured guests are the Dean of Global Warming Skeptics, Dr. Fred Singer, the eminent Australian based climate scientist Dr. Bob Carter, our hero of the Global Warming Skeptics campaign, the President of Heartland Institute, Joe Bast and his star Communications Director Jim Lakely. They all speak out strongly against the silliness of the bad science of Carbon Dioxide being classified as a Pollutant and the theory that through radiative forcing it causes significant global warming.

Please watch the live stream.

John Coleman

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USA Today Serves Fruits and Nuts on Global Warming

By Joseph L. Bast, October 12, 2013

On October 10, USA Today did its readers a grave disservice by running an op-ed full of smears and false statements by two of the fruitier nutcakes of the environmental movement, Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang.

They disparage Dr. Fred Singer and Dr. Robert Carter, two of the three lead authors of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, the latest report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). They also quote me, as head of The Heartland Institute, the organization that published CCR II. And for that, we thank them.

But the rest of their article is pure propaganda sludge.

They quote Dr. Carter, a paelaeontologist and marine geologist and former head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University (Australia), as saying “Currently the planet is cooling.” “Wrong,” they say. “The last decade (2000-2009) was the hottest on record; 2010 was the hottest year recorded.” Their claim is trivially true based on a heavily revised and controversial database that goes back only to about 1850. More reliable satellite data show no warming trend for nearly 17 years and a cooling trend in the last decade. Proxy data show the planet has been cooling since 2,000 years ago and 8,000 years ago.

Becker and Gerstenzang quote Dr. Fred Singer, saying “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.” “Nope,” they say. “Acting under U.S. Supreme Court direction, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that CO2 is a pollutant because of the harm it causes.” Gee, who should we believe here, lawyers and bureaucrats or one of the world’s most distinguished astrophysicists? It shouldn’t be a close call.

Some 97% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources and only about 3% from human activities. We exhale carbon dioxide. The Supreme Court and EPA can twist the meaning of “pollutant” to extend it to anything added to the air, including our breath, but that semantic trick has no scientific relevance. Dr. Singer is absolutely right: carbon dioxide is plant food, a net benefit to plant and animal life, and not a pollutant.

Becker and Gerstenzang then quote me: “Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth’s climate.” “Misleading, to say the least,” they write. “97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.” This is such a cheap parlor trick that one wonders if alarmists realize how foolish it makes them look whenever they use it.

Skeptics don’t say humans are not “causing global warming,” because we acknowledge that agriculture, building roads and airports and water treatment plants, and emissions of various kinds (including carbon dioxide) may indeed affect regional climates and may even be enough to have a discernable impact globally. But is it enough to “disrupt the Earth’s climate”? There is no evidence that it is.

Surveys that supposedly show a consensus in favor of the hypothesis of man-made dangerous global warming invariably ask meaningless questions, such as “is climate change real?” that any skeptic would answer “yes” to. A close look at the latest “study” used by alarmists to back their claim actually found that barely 1% of published scientific articles support the claim of dangerous man-made global warming. (See D. Legates et al., “Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation,’” Science & Education, DOI 10.1007/s11191_013_9647_9.)

When asked about climate models, the source of most of the alarmists’ claims and predictions, most scientists say they are too crude and unreliable to be useful for policymaking. And think about this: If there were really a “consensus” among scientists about climate change, why are there 78 different climate models that vary widely in their “parameters” (assumptions) and outcomes?

Becker and Gerstenzang make the familiar argument that the media shouldn’t allow global warming skeptics to air their views on their pages or as part of their broadcasts because doing so “equates serious climate science and evaluation of peer-reviewed reports with the declarations of individuals, most lacking academic degrees in climate research, who are often funded by those standing to profit if the United States fails to curb carbon dioxide emissions.”

I count four falsehoods in that one sentence, not counting the authors’ hubris in assuming that they are on the right side of this complex scientific debate. Can you find them?

The reports of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are not “serious climate science.” They are political documents produced to advance the political goals of the governments that created the IPCC, fund it, staff it, select the scientists who get to participate, and revise and rewrite the reports before their public release. Critics all around the world have pointed out how the IPCC’s reports are not reliable, not peer reviewed, and certainly not unbiased.

NIPCC, in contrast, is a group of some 50 skeptical scientists, all of them highly qualified to speak to the issues they address, with no financial stake in the outcome of the global warming debate. Many of them, such as Singer, are emeritus professors, meaning they are no longer competing for grant dollars. No corporate or government funding at all was used to support NIPCC or the publication of its Climate Change Reconsidered series of reports.

In the global warming debate there are two primary sources of reviews of the peer-reviewed science: the IPCC and NIPCC. The first is politicized, unreliable, and largely discredited. NIPCC is the new kid on the block, nonpolitical, and endorsed by many leading climate scientists. NIPCC now best represents the views of independent scientists.

It’s time to stop attacking the messenger and start listening to the message. It is very clear: The human impact on climate is small, future climate change attributable to human activities is likely to be too small to discern from natural variability, and efforts to reduce human carbon dioxide emissions are unnecessary.

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Joseph Bast is president of The Heartland Institute. He can be contacted at jbast@heartland.org.

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28 thoughts on “Some notes on the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)

  1. It might be enlightening if a major, reliable poling organization, such as Gallup, would poll a large crossection of reliable, qualified scientists, promising to protect their individual identity, on the subject of global warming. Maybe we could put to rest the myth that 97% of climate scientists support this fiction.

  2. Q quite good overview of the situation…

    Only one exception:
    Some 97% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources and only about 3% from human activities.

    That is a non-argument, because 98.5% (of which 0.6% human) of the total emissions are removed in natural sinks, thus increasing the atmospheric CO2 with 1.5%, mainly thanks to the human emissions.

  3. Just one nit. The Supreme Court did not determine that CO2 is a pollutant. They decided that the EPA had the authority to determine IF CO2 was a pollutant and to regulate accordingly IF they did. The fact that the EPA decided within milliseconds of the decision that it is a pollutant, after having purged all dissenting voices within, of course, should tell everyone the completely unscientific nature of the EPA.

  4. You guys (and gals) need to know, I use the stuff from WUWT all the time in disseminating information. Posts like these (and so many others) allow me to “softly” infiltrate conversations with friends and acquaintances on social networks, giving me solid layman terms and arguments to help educated those close to me. Yeah, I try to read through the hardcore stuff, but oftentimes it’s too much information for the masses (and me). So I love it when WUWT posts nuggets that are more easy to digest and propagate for us non-scientists. But, please, do not stop with the hardcore stuff! Little by little I’m gaining a new and powerful understanding of the real world I live in, even if I’m having to “learn Greek” in the meantime…

  5. 2010 was the hottest year recorded

    This is true for HadCRUT4 and GISS. But for the following five data sets, 1998 is the hottest year: UAH, RSS, HadCRUT3, Hadsst2, and Hadsst3.

  6. Joseph Bast said: “Some 97% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources and only about 3% from human activities.”

    Nature has a lot of individual sources and individual sinks of CO2 moving a lot of CO2 both into and out of the atmosphere. However, as a whole, nature is a net sink of CO2. Atmospheric CO2 rose less from human activities than it would have if nature’s CO2 sources and sinks matched each other.

    http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/global-carbon-budget-2010

    There is also the Seuss effect. Should it be true that 97% of atmospheric CO2 got there from nature, then a significant part of that 97% has carbon atoms that were previously in fossil fuels burned by humans, and these carbon atoms are in the atmosphere for not the first time since the fossil fuels that had them were burned.

  7. ““97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.” This is such a cheap parlor trick that one wonders if alarmists realize how foolish it makes them look whenever they use it.”

    Would have been much better IMO to have 1) identified the allegation as an attempt to ‘appeal to authority’ and 2) point out that the “study” asserting 97% consensus relied on an in supportable, exceedingly narrow definition of “climate scientists” which almost assured limitation of the population to federal employees or federally funded university research institutions developing climate models (one needed to publish something like 20 ‘climate’ articles in defined period (roughly one per year)). I say almost because a few highly prolific climate scientists such as Roger Pielke could not be excluded since he has authored or coauthored more than 300 studies.

  8. Re:
    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    October 13, 2013 at 5:02 am
    “Only one exception:
    Some 97% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources and only about 3% from human activities.”

    “That is a non-argument, because 98.5% (of which 0.6% human) of the total emissions are removed in natural sinks, thus increasing the atmospheric CO2 with 1.5%, mainly thanks to the human emissions.”

    Actually, I think Salby’s Hamburg lecture has shown conclusively that temperature is the driver of annual natural variability of CO2 and as a result increased CO2 in the atmosphere. Man’s contribution to increased CO2 in the atmosphere is therefore negligible in the grand scheme of things. In other words, atmospheric CO2 would continue to increase unabated if human emissions ceased entirely. (See Salby – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ROw_cDKwc0 )

    In that scenario CO2 reverts from being a “pollutant” back to what it was when I was in elementary school – a naturally occurring gas which provides plants, and indirectly us, with life.

  9. Donald L. Klipstein says:
    October 13, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Seventeen years ago is 1996. The flat trend didn’t begin with the 1998 El Nino spike, but two years before it. As Jones of UAH infamy himself admitted, there has been no statistically significant warming since 1996. Now in most data sets (& those least tampered with), cooling has already set in. After the ~decade-long flat plateau is more likely to come ~20 years of cooling than a resumption of the natural two-decade warming trend of c. 1977-96, just as happened for about 30 years after the natural two-decade warming trend of c. 1927-46, ie ~flat c. 1947-56, then cooling c. 1957-76.

    It’s the PDO.

  10. “NIPCC, in contrast, is a group of some 50 skeptical scientists, all of them highly qualified to speak to the issues they address, with no financial stake in the outcome of the global warming debate. Many of them, such as Singer, are emeritus professors, meaning they are no longer competing for grant dollars. No corporate or government funding at all was used to support NIPCC or the publication of its Climate Change Reconsidered series of reports.”

    Sadly, the reviewers of the document were limited to a group of skeptics.
    In some cases you have chapters where the principle work presented is that of a reviewer.
    There were no independent reviewers, no possibility of joining as a reviewer, and the reviewer comments are not public. Finally, I see no signed documents with regards to conflict of interest by any of the parties. On these same matters, the IPCC, while not perfect, performs much better.
    In fact the NIPCC enagages in pal review that is far worse than anything I’ve seen in the IPCC.
    Finally, the document is replete with non per reviewed sources and discussions of climategate, much of which they get wrong.

  11. Eric Booth says:
    October 13, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Actually, I think Salby’s Hamburg lecture has shown conclusively that temperature is the driver of annual natural variability of CO2 and as a result increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Actually, Salby (and many others, including many “warmers”) have shown conclusively that temperature is the driver of interannual natural variability of CO2. Salby (and other skeptics) have extrapolated that to the increase of CO2 over the past 50 years, but that are different processes at work: the short term variability around the increase and the current 70 ppmv increase are (near) completely independent of each other. The temperature increase over the past 50 years is only good for maximum 8 ppmv of the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, according to Henry’s law for the solubility of CO2 in seawater, not 70 ppmv.

    See the difference between short term variability of the rate of change of CO2 and temperature and the long term trend, according to Salby (based on T anomaly) and what the derivative of temperature does in WFT.

    While both T anomaly and dT (with a lag of CO2) can explain the short term variability, dT has zero slope, thus temperature itself can’t be the cause of the 1.5 times increase in rate of change of CO2 over the past 50 years. But the 3 times increase in emissions over the same time frame can easily be the cause of the slope in rate of change of CO2…

    See further my comment on Salby’s Hamburg lecture at WUWT…

  12. Werner Brozek says:
    October 13, 2013 at 9:04 am

    2010 was the hottest year recorded

    This is true for HadCRUT4 and GISS. But for the following five data sets, 1998 is the hottest year: UAH, RSS, HadCRUT3, Hadsst2, and Hadsst3.

    ===================================================================
    Mr Layman here.
    For my little spot on the globe in the April 2012 list of record highs from the NWS there was only one record high set back in 2010. In the January 2013 list there were suddenly eight record highs set back in 2010.
    Did they use a Time Machine to finally find the missing heat?

  13. I glanced through a couple dozen comments on the USA Today article … readers over there aren’t buying it. Only 2, maybe 3, of the comments I read agreed with the premise of the article. That’s encouraging … unless USA Today decides to stop allowing skeptics’ comments.

  14. @TeaqPartyGeezer –
    I’ve seen much the same response to Yahoo News’s unending stream of climate bullshit. At least 95 percent of the comments are skeptical. I suspect that polls taken by the mainstream media are phony, reporting far higher levels of belief in AGW than is actually the case among the general public. Of course the falsity of AGW is pretty quickly obvious to anyone who has simple common sense and is not blinded by ideology.

  15. They quote Dr. Carter, a paelaeontologist and marine geologist and former head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University (Australia), as saying “Currently the planet is cooling.” “Wrong,” they say. “The last decade (2000-2009) was the hottest on record; 2010 was the hottest year recorded.” Their claim is trivially true based on a heavily revised and controversial database that goes back only to about 1850.

    Let’s cut to the chase. Stop them right there at the bold part and demand an answer to one simple question … What should that decade rank as? Should we be seeing warming, cooling, or some fantasy static climate? No need to argue anything else, make them commit to an answer to this one question. And yes, it is a trap for them, but a righteous one. I want to hear them say we are supposed to still be in the Little Ice Age or the cooler 1960’s to 1970’s micro Ice Age.

    Perhaps Steve Mosher, who drove by above to nitpick some minutia can answer that question once and for all? Man up Steve, are we supposed to still be in the LIA?

    P.S. I have to disagree with Anthony for once. I don’t think “Their claim is trivially true based on a heavily revised and controversial database that goes back only to about 1850″. The adjustments are drastic and the revised database shouldn’t even be taken seriously at this point. Hansen and some other climate kooks are merely doing exactly what the climate kook-in-chief Mann did, sandpapering history to remove inconvenient truths. Even with that El Nino peak around 1998 I don’t see it surpassing the mid 1930’s.

  16. Thanks, Joseph. Very good article.
    Becker and Gerstenzang should get no more attention, until they reconsider and make amends.
    I very much doubt they would even reconsider.

  17. A licensed mechanical engineer (retired) who has been researching this issue (unfunded) for 6 years, and in the process discovered what actually caused global warming and why it ended, has six papers on the web that you may find of interest. They provide some eye-opening insight on the cause of change to average global temperature and why it has stopped warming. The papers use straight-forward calculations (not just theory) using readily available data up to May, 2013. (Data through August made no significant difference)

    The first one is ‘Global warming made simple’ at http://lowaltitudeclouds.blogspot.com It shows, with simple thermal radiation calculations, how a tiny change in the amount of low-altitude clouds could account for half of the average global temperature change in the 20th century, and what could have caused that tiny cloud change. (The other half of the temperature change is from net average natural ocean oscillation which is dominated by the PDO)

    The second paper is ‘Natural Climate change has been hiding in plain sight’ at http://climatechange90.blogspot.com/2013/05/natural-climate-change-has-been.html . This paper presents a simple equation that, using a single external forcing, calculates average global temperatures since they have been accurately measured world wide (about 1895) with an accuracy of 90%, irrespective of whether the influence of CO2 is included or not. The equation uses a proxy which is the time-integral of sunspot numbers (the external forcing). A graph is included which shows the calculated trajectory overlaid on measurements.

    Change to the level of atmospheric CO2 has had no significant effect on average global temperature.

    A third paper, ‘Conservation of energy & Sunspot Time-Integral’ at http://conenssti.blogspot.com/ shows that the time-integral of sunspot numbers calculates the average global temperature trend since 1610. An overlay of average global temperature measurements shows the OSCILLATIONS above and below the trend that are the net effect of ocean cycles. This is also shown at http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/01/blog-post_23.html.

    A fourth paper, ‘The End of Global Warming’ at http://endofgw.blogspot.com/ expands recent (since 1996) measurements and includes a graph showing the growing separation between the rising CO2 and not-rising average global temperature. It also discusses future uncertainties.

    The fifth paper http://consensusmistakes.blogspot.com/ exposes some of the mistakes that have been made by the ‘Consensus’ and the IPCC.

    The sixth paper at http://globaltem.blogspot.com/ addresses the scatter in all temperature measurements.

  18. Finglebean,

    “Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    October 13, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Q quite good overview of the situation…

    Only one exception:
    Some 97% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources and only about 3% from human activities.

    That is a non-argument, because 98.5% (of which 0.6% human) of the total emissions are removed in natural sinks, thus increasing the atmospheric CO2 with 1.5%, mainly thanks to the human emissions.”

    Read it again. The paragraph says NOTHING about warming. Only about the idea of CO2 being a pollutant.

  19. Oh, and Finglebean, if you had followed the political opera around the EPA declaring CO2 a pollutant you would know they did it illegally and still convinced a court to go along with them. GHG’s, whether you think they are going to boil the oceans or not, are simply not POLLUTANTS as defined by CONGRESS!!! Yes, the EPA DOES get their limits from Congress when the Executive abides by the LAW, which is rare during this regime.

  20. ““97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.” This is such a cheap parlor trick that one wonders if alarmists realize how foolish it makes them look whenever they use it.”

    But its best to demonstrate how cheap the trick is. Whenever I see or hear this 97% baloney I reply or comment with:
    “That claim is the result of an unscientific survey by a graduate student who polled over 10,000 people, mostly scientists but including some without PhD’s or Masters degrees. Over 3,000 replied; all but 77 responses were weeded out or discarded, and 75 agreed that “human activity is a significant contributing factor” to climate change. 75/77 = 97%. Impressed? “Are humans causing global warming” was not a question and the continued quoting of the bogus 97% result is meant to deceive you.”

  21. Donald L. Klipstein says:
    October 13, 2013 at 8:46 am
    Joseph Bast said: “More reliable satellite data show no warming trend for nearly 17 years and a cooling trend in the last decade.”

    1998 was a spike, not the beginning of the hiatus. The overall global temperature trend largely levelled off in 2001. Meanwhile, I look at the UAH satellite index, at: http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/ I don’t see any cooling trend in the past decade.

    Response,
    And that is an excellent point Donald, there is a flattening or a hiatus, but there is no cooling as such so the heat that has accumulated in our environment for whatever reason has not just disappeared, it’s still there, so we can safely say that the situation despite the hiatus remains the same, the climate has warmed. If it starts significantly cooling we will have to reconsider, but until then I don’t really think the hiatus changes the situation, it just enhances the idea that there are issues yet to be understood.

  22. Mosher:
    “In fact the NIPCC enagages in pal review that is far worse than anything I’ve seen in the IPCC.
    Finally, the document is replete with non per reviewed sources and discussions of climategate, much of which they get wrong.”

    I believe you should correct your obvious typographical error. NIPCC and IPCC should be reversed in the order of use. Otherwise, your statement patently false.

  23. The huge effective thermal capacitance of the oceans prevents average global temperature from changing more rapidly than about 0.025 K per year with a normal sun. Measurements demonstrate a random uncertainty in the yearly averages of s.d.≈ ±0.09 K.

    The growing measured separation between the rising CO2 and not-rising average global temperature since 2001 is shown at http://endofgw.blogspot.com/ .

    Paraphrasing Richard Feynman: Regardless of how many experts believe it or how many organizations concur, if it doesn’t agree with measurements, it’s wrong.

  24. Gareth Phillips:

    re your post at October 14, 2013 at 2:47 am.

    You and Donald L. Klipstein are making a semantic obfuscation of the truth.

    Being warmer is NOT the same as warming.

    Discernible global warming (at 95% confidence) stopped at least 17 years ago according to all data sets (RSS says it stopped 22 years ago). The most recent decade is warmer than previous decades because the previous decades were warming and the present decade shows no significant warming or cooling.

    The present absence of a discernible (at 95% confidence) trend in global temperature will end. It remains to be seen if the globe will then warm to the temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period or cool to the temperatures of the Little Ice Age.

    One thing that can be said with absolute certainty is that there cannot be known to be a “pause” or a “hiatus”. If the present absence of a discernible (at 95% confidence) trend in global temperature change ends with warming then the absence will have been a “pause”, but if it ends with cooling then it will have been a reversal.

    Discernible global warming has stopped. And that is the totality of what we know about the present trend in global temperature.

    Richard

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