Setting the Record Straight on the IPCC WG II Fourth Assessment Report


Martin Parry

Martin Parry

Guest post by Indur M. Goklany

Nature News is carrying an interview with Professor Martin Parry, co-chair of IPCC WG II during the preparation of its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), titled Setting the Record Straight.  Unfortunately, he is not asked about, nor does he address, any sins of omission. He does say, however, “I don’t think there’s a problem in the robustness, rigour and veracity of the entire volume. I don’t think there’s any systemic problem with the way the authors undertook their work.”

But can this be said for the Summary for Policy Makers, perhaps the only piece that policy makers and their advisors ever read?

In two previous posts I noted a number of the sins of omissions in the IPCC’s WG II Summary for Policy Makers:

  1. The IPCC: Hiding the Decline in the Future Global Population at Risk of Water Shortage — More Insidious than the Himalayan error.  This post shows that, contrary to the impression conveyed to any reader of the IPCC AR4’s Work Group II Summary for Policy Maker, the net global population at risk of water shortage is likely to drop because of climate change (according to the studies that the IPCC relied upon). The “trick” to “hide the decline” was accomplished through artful wording.  The SPM reported that “Hundreds of millions of people exposed to increased water stress.”  However, it neglected to inform the SPM’s readers that many hundreds of million more would actually see a reduction in water stress. This was also the subject of a report in the Wall Street Journal — Europe by Anne Jolis, titled, Omitted: The Bright Side of Global Warming.
  2. The IPCC: More Sins of Omission – Telling the Truth but Not the Whole Truth. This post discusses the omission of information from the IPCC’s Summary for Policy Makers that would show that even under the warmest scenario the contribution of climate change to hunger and malaria, two reasons frequently cited for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, ranges from the trivial (4% for malaria) to the small (21% for hunger), at least through the foreseeable future.  [I define “the foreseeable future” as the 2080s.]

Clearly, inclusion of such information in the SPM with respect to water shortages, malaria and hunger, would have put climate change in the larger context of the problems facing this world, which would, inevitably, have made climate change seem much less threatening.  It would have been quite informative to policy makers, many of whom are on record proclaiming that climate change is (among) the most important issues facing humanity, whether or not they had an open mind on the matter. Notably, water shortage, hunger and disease are among the reasons most frequently cited by our policy makers to do something dramatic about global warming.

Perhaps because I went to a Jesuit school too long, I have always regarded sins of omission as just as heinous as sins of commission.

In this case, the absence of context enabled by these sins of omission ends up skewing the world’s priorities, and threatening global well-being. In the hysteria over climate change we are now going to use funds that could have gone to help solve today’s truly urgent problems to solving the smaller problems of tomorrow — and which may or may not transpire even then (see here).

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56 thoughts on “Setting the Record Straight on the IPCC WG II Fourth Assessment Report

  1. The core science behind the report may in fact be false. The temperature increases over the 20th century as computed by NOAA, Hadley/CRU and others are all suspect. Between “lost” original data, falsification of the effects of “urban heat islands” and highly error ridden national data from submitting countries what proof of unusual warming is there? Worse, all the science used the few sets of temperature data to conduct their own studies.
    The IPCC is getting off far to lightly in the press and elsewhere. Its reports have no credibility.

  2. Hard to pick your way through the “Truth” when there are so many lies. I thought that’s what an accurate accounting was for–so I didn’t have to do all the research over again.

  3. It’s time the truth was told, instead of propaganda being shoved at us by the MSM, funded by billions of our own tax dollars. Let the guilty be punished and damages paid. It’s evident that the MSM are trying to keep the lid on all this. Good post.

    AMDG
    jorge

  4. Robustness, rigour and veracity…

    Now we are up to three terms that do not necessarily indicate good science, and perhaps should be avoided altogether.

    Thankfully the English language has other synonymous terms to fall back on. For now.

  5. A body in motion tends to stay in motion….
    A belief system in motion tends to stay in motion….
    A belief system in motion with monetary rewards for its proponents tends to weave a tangled web, seak and destroy opposition, and to stay in motion….

    Evil Shaman; Thow two virgins into volcano. No more eruptions.
    Smartalec; We threw a virgin in last month, it erupted anyway.
    Evil Shaman; Yes, not enough virgins, that’s why two this time.
    Smartalec; Look, I found the journal of your great great great grandshaman. It says here they threw a hundred virgins in, and the volcano still erupted.
    Evil Shaman; Let me see. Oh look, note in margin in strange writing that only I can read.
    Smartalec; Really? What’s it say.
    Evil Shaman; To prevent eruptions, throw in two virgins and one Smartalec.

  6. When I look at climate science, sometimes I feel overwhelmed, and sometimes I feel underwhelmed.

    It truly seems like these climate “scientists” have done nothing but attempt to obfuscate a very simple and soft science by doing a lot of weird calculations and making odd predictions. They want to make it seem much more complicated and harder than it is in order to pull the old “It’s much too complicated for you to understand, so just trust us.”

    Just read Gavin’s posts over at RealClimate – he attempts to make things as complicated as possible. He lies, tells half truths, and obfuscates everything and in the end he just is a zilch.

    I dunno. Just seems odd.

  7. Yeah, that Wikipedia Hockey Stick was robust alright. So was it’s replacement–already debunked by Steve M.
    The only thing robust about IPCC WG II is its chicanery. The same may be said for the editors at Nature.

  8. If they are gonna make up scary scenarios why just make up new ones instead of pretending they have any basis for the old ones (mega-hurricanes, inundation of all coastal cities, malaria in Sweden, simultaneous drought and flooding , etc).

    It’s getting stale. It’s like Halloween IV or some other weak horror sequel. In this report I want to see giant mutant man-eaters or widespread genital atrophy by 2050 or waves of toxic locusts and 5-pound hailstones.

    This could be the last go round for the IPCC so why not go out with a bang?

  9. Do the models take into account the orbital decay rate of the planet i wonder?
    And how much of an effect would it have on temperature?

    I was reading this article which puts it at 20m/year so 400m closer to the sun for the last 200 years if my maths is up to par ( which it isnt!)

  10. Anthony, this is ot, but you might be able to pick up some discussion topics from the recent USDA Agriculture Forum. Theme was “Sustainability”, and included many presentations related to climate change, energy, food production, etc., many of which are available here: http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum/

  11. “But can this be said for the Summary for Policy Makers, perhaps the only piece that policy makers and their advisors ever read?”
    ===========
    They didn’t need to read it. It was written to support their agenda. They created an “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”, and climate change they got.
    Done venting :)

  12. How many ways can you spell “evasion” …

    I have to assume that this gentleman is banking on the fact that most people reading the interview are not conversant with the hockey stick scandal, the surface station problems, and all the rest.

    And if this is true, it is an extraordinary exercise in bad faith. Or some sort of reality warp – or both.

    Which makes it all very interesting indeed.

  13. After reading Lacis’ latest reply to Revkin (which no longer has anything to do with clarifying his review statement) I think I’m starting to see the real problem/disconnect.

    Lacis at least, if not they (whoever they is), really do consider the underlying science closed. I wish I had the link handy (on my phone, so no copy/paste but it’s towards the bottom of the comments in the Lacis post), but he essentially explains how “it’s just a simple physics problem”. To him, which is even more bizarre, the entire stability of the climate is centered on CO2.

    The point is, from that mindset, the only point of the IPCC and further research seems to be to attribute observations to CO2 driven global warming. It’s really no surprise that they would produce a one-sided, and overly concrete sounding report if that were the prevailing mindset.

    I guess my question is… if it’s so settled why even bother? Might be because the only place it’s settled is in the minds of the people writing the report – not in the hard science, and thank goodness not i the minds of the public and leadership of 2 of the leading polluters

  14. Authors of the Summary for Policymakers-The Dirty Dozen. Names, please. So, maybe it’s a baker’s dozen. I’m tellin’ ya’, what they cooked up should’ve been run by the Royal Taster before being served to the masses. There are a few poisoned kings feeling a little sick at the moment.
    ========================================

  15. George Tobin (14:03:47) :
    “If they are gonna make up scary scenarios why just make up new ones”

    The ice caps melt, the centripetal force of the planets rotation moves the water all to the equator. This changes the distance of the mass of the water that was at the poles further from the Earths axis of rotation. Since the angular velocity must be constant the Earth will spin slower, lengthen the day and the night. This will increase daytime heating and night time cooling, leading to later and earlier frosts in the spring and fall and also more and higher maximum summer daytime temperatures.

    Then as a bonus the actual tilt of the Earth will change because of the increase of mass at a distance from the axis (it will become more plane to the orbit about the sun) which will virtually eliminate all seasons anywhere on earth.

    The tropics will bake completely and the grain growing regions in the Northern temperate zone will freeze often because they are stuck in a perpetual spring/fall (and the days are longer, see above). Food production will drop by 80%, starting major regional conflicts and then nuclear war between India and Pakistan, then China and India. Russia move south into the Balkans and ….

    It WILL happen.

  16. Andrew30 (14:53:12) :

    Interesting theory… but as Nihls Monier (spelling?) says, thats all very measurable… so far no indication of that (and we should be seeing indications by now….. but we aint…)
    If you want to see war and fighting for resources/space… just wait till the ice age commences…
    (that definately IS comming) And we know that the earth has gone into Ice age with much more co2 in the atmosphere than we have now .

    cheerio..

  17. What about the overwhelming number of scientists who commented on the relevant IPCC findings saying they disagreed with them? What about the case where one of them threatened to sue the IPCC if they didn’t remove his name from the list of reviewers in the IPCC report since he didn’t approve them to do it? Isn’t it time to threaten legal action on the IPCC fraud?

  18. JimR (16:37:58) :

    re: “Interesting theory…”

    Sorry, it’s just that it is getting a lot more difficult to top the ones that have already been published.

    I think that one of the newspapers should have a contest to see which of their readers could come up with the worst imaginable scenario of CO2 affect on the Earth. The readers would be asked to, in 500 words or less go from the first breath of a newborn harp seal (the tipping point) to the Earth either falling into the Sun; or flying out into interstellar space; or breaking apart into a new asteroid belt; or collapsing into a singularity. The readers would be restricted to only referencing information in, or referenced by, AR4 to support their conclusions.

    The top 10 submissions would be includes in AR5.

    First prize would be an aquarium full of trilobites.

  19. Re: Andrew30 (Feb 20 14:53),

    Boring. How do you sell a script (i.e., suck up more funding) with a lame plot like slow earth rotation if the the poles melt…. Now, if frozen sea monsters are released from under the ice to feed on the corpses of drowned polar bears then head south to attack Manhattan….

  20. George Tobin (18:01:34) : “Boring.”

    OK, similar but with a bit of a different spin. You could do the movie in flashbacks, the incremental disasters pretty much write themselves, lots of possibility to re-user old footage.

    The ice caps melt. The water is pulled to the Equator, this raises the tides. With the increased mass at a slightly increased distance from the rotational axis of the Earth the Earths rotation slows to maintain angular velocity. Since the force of gravity is inversely proportional to distance the pull on the Moon in increased slightly by the bulge of water at the Equator. This combined with the slowing of the rotation of the Earth increases the pull on the Moon and slows the Moons orbit. The Moons orbit decays and it slowly begins to fall into the Earth. It eventually strikes the Earth and the combined mass of the Earth and the Moon in the existing Earth orbit, with the orbital velocity of the Earth, are not sufficient to maintain an orbit around the Sun, so the Earth is pulled into the Sun.

    Let’s see the IPCC top that one!

  21. Re: Andrew30 (Feb 20 18:13),

    Better, Andrew. I can see PSA spots with Danny Glover doing the voiceover about how driving your SUV is causing the moon to fall… Only conservation can keep the moon in the sky. Do your part. Logo with green hand holding the moon… moonbats unite! …perfect ending for whole CAGW phenomenon.

  22. Certainly lunar orbital distance is increasing by the order of 20-odd mm per year, at about the rate many plate margins undergo displacement and ice-age rebound in parts of Fenno-Scandinavia. Quite what the net mass shift involving crust and mantle-the old ‘continental drift’ for viewers still reading Wegener et al(!)-coupled with recent sea-level rise with attendant density implications, would equate to in gravitational attraction terms I’m not able to quantify, but I’d suggest that it will take a heck of a lot more surficial water than is currently available in order to gravitationally re-attract the moon.

    As Fats Domino exclaims in the ‘Fat Man’, ‘They call me the fat man… ‘cos I know my way around…’

  23. Andrew and George,

    I want that trilobite aquarium.

    There is a consensus view that that a doubling of CO2 will lead to 2 degrees of warming. But what about a hexicentennial increase?

    1200 degrees of warming and no oxygen left to breathe.

    But my cute little trilobuddies will survive me and and run the planet in an enviromentally sound manner for millions of years.

    Where’s the downside?

  24. jlc,

    The blue-green algae will have subsumed control in restoration of 02. Those little agnathan fishes, given half a chance, would access the tank and later crunch the trilo’s back into the Cambrian. A wonderful record as they had, some, even early are seen to be dragging their heels.

    Careful with that water, Eugene……..this is serious.

  25. Should WUWT organize a report to include all of the papers on data fraud discovered to date which blows holes in ‘the underlying “science”‘ and everything the UNIPCC is pushing.

    Then distribute this report globally to be “peer” reviewed.

    Then we can present it to all the world and see if the truth will tell.

    [That would need to be peer reviewed by a criminal justice journal…]

  26. This man obviously thinks we are all stupid children who should accept whatever we are told by such people as gospel truth. Unfortunately, the whole global warming lie is falling apart…

    President Barack Obama’s climate change policy is in crisis amid a barrage of US lawsuits challenging government directives and the defection of major corporate backers for his ambitious green programmes.
    Texas, the Lone Star home state of Mr Obama’s predecessor George W Bush, is mounting one of the most prominent challenges to the EPA.

    Critics of America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are now mounting a series of legal challenges to its so-called “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health. That ruling, based in part on the IPCC’s work, gave the agency sweeping powers to force business to curb emissions under the Clean Air Act. An initial showdown is expected over rules on vehicle emissions.

    “With billions of dollars at stake, EPA outsourced the scientific basis for its greenhouse gas regulation to a scandal-plagued international organization that cannot be considered objective or trustworthy,” said Greg Abbott, Texas’s attorney general. “Prominent climate scientists associated with the IPCC were engaged in an ongoing, orchestrated effort to violate freedom of information laws, exclude scientific research, and manipulate temperature data. In light of the parade of controversies and improper conduct that has been uncovered, we know that the IPCC cannot be relied upon for objective, unbiased science – so EPA should not rely upon it to reach a decision that will hurt small businesses, farmers, ranchers, and the larger Texas economy.”

    Mr Abbott’s comments follow the controversy over the work of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, whose research was at the heart of IPCC findings. Leaked emails indicated that the freedom of information act was breached and that data was manipulated and suppressed to strengthen the case for man-made climate change.

    A series of exaggerated claims, factual mistakes and unscientific sourcing have subsequently been uncovered in the 2007 IPCC report – such as the alarming but unjustified warning that Himalayan glaciers might disappear by 2035. Scientists insistent that humans are causing climate change have said the mistakes do not overturn an overwhelming burden of proof backing their case.

    The case brought by Texas is one of 16 challenging the IPA over its data or procedures. They have been lodged variously by states, Republican congressmen, trade associations and advocacy groups before last week’s cut-off to file court actions.

    The pro-market Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and US Chamber of Commerce are also mounting high-profile battles to overturn the EPA decisions through petitions filed with the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington. “The Clean Air Act is an incredibly flawed way to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and the findings on which it is based are full of very shoddy science,” said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the CEI. Many policies and proposals that would raise energy prices through the roof for American consumers and destroy millions of jobs in energy-intensive industries still pose a huge threat.”

    Among those he listed were the EPA’s decision to regulate greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act, efforts to use the Endangered Species Act to stop energy production and new power plants, the higher fuel economy standards for new passenger vehicles enacted in 2007, and bills in Congress that require buildings to use more renewable electricity and introduce higher energy efficiency standards.

    The EPA, a federal agency which is increasingly key to Mr Obama’s green agenda as his legislative policies become bogged down in Congress, refuted the charges. “The evidence of and threats posed by a changing climate are right before our eyes,” said Catherine Milbourn, EPA spokeswoman. “That science came from an array of highly respected, peer-reviewed sources from both within the United States and across the globe.”

    Last week, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a grouping of businesses backing national legislation on reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, suffered a major blow when oil firms BP America and Conoco Phillips and construction giant Caterpillar left the group. The two oil firms, the most significant departures, walked out on the industry-green alliance protesting that “cap and trade” legislation would have awarded them far fewer free emission allowances than their rivals in the coal and electricity industries.

  27. I have a problem with Martin Parry’s stance – A large bulk of the science is likely to be funded by taxpayers’ money. It is Governments that dole this out.

    We have a good appreciation that climate alarmism brings in funding while climate skepticism does not. Therefore the science going in to the IPCC process is already skewed towards the side of alarmism. Further, where science is not alarmist only the negatives are highlighted making an alarmist message where there is none. Science that cannot be skewed is elbowed out of view.

  28. The IPCC AR4 is a bunch of science fiction, a video game.

    I explain: by their own admission ( chapter 8.1.2.3), they are not doing any error propagation on the multitude of parameters that enter their famous GCMs. This disqualifies the use of any probability estimate coming out of the blurb, and they do make a probability estimate, based on the convictions of the researchers.

    The above studies show promise
    that quantitative metrics for the likelihood of model projections
    may be developed, but because the development of robust
    metrics is still at an early stage, the model evaluations presented
    in this chapter are based primarily on experience and physical
    reasoning, as has been the norm in the past.

    It is equivalent to reading the astrology chart and making “projections” with probabilities based on the reasoning of the astrologer.

    I have been pointing this out ever since it was published but people do not seem to value error propagation the way we in the particle physics community do. It is nonsense to talk about probabilities from complicated models if there are is no error propagation.

    In addition I have been checking this famous forcing, which comes from the temperature into watts/m^2 conversion using the black body formula. BUT they are using the formula with the temperature of the atmosphere, which has a tiny amount of mass and it does not follow the black body radiation formula : http://www.ce.utexas.edu/prof/hodges/site2006/documents/thermodynamics.pdf .

    The ground which truly radiates as T^4 has much higher temperatures than the atmosphere at 2meters, in the sun, and much lower in the night. Nevertheless it is the surface temperature at 2 meters that enters the radiation budgets. Nobody measures true ground temperatures.

    That is an enormous systematic. In the deserts for example, there is over 70Watts difference between using the true ground temperature in the black body formula , and the atmosphere-at-2m temperature, during the day. They are talking of forcings of 1 and 2 watts. I have not seen this systematic error discussed anyplace in the energy budget discussions.

    In addition the ground is not black but gray body with varying constants all over the land mass.

    The GCMs are on top riddled with the assumptions of linear approximations when it is known to all that the system is made up of coupled nonlinear equations. Even if they had the error propagation in there, the models will fail in the future projections once the time stepping gets into the nonlinear regions.

  29. George Tobin (18:01:34) ,

    Variation of the movie has already been made. The Syfy movie (I use that term loosely) Wyvern is about a dragon released by melting ice.

  30. Indur Goklany, again you have given us excellent information and wisdom. One conclusion concerns me, however.

    “Perhaps because I went to a Jesuit school too long, I have always regarded sins of omission as just as heinous as sins of commission.

    In this case, the absence of context enabled by these sins of omission ends up skewing the world’s priorities, and threatening global well-being.”

    In my book, “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is what we all must aspire to, not just “elitist” (and excellent) educational systems like that of the Jesuits. Along with “transparency and accountability”, these values are a necessity for science as well as for the existence of a representative democracy. Honest opponents — liberals (not the current, fraudulent, authoritarian-marxist substitution) and conservatives (not the failed, materialistic, authoritarian-“conservative” Christain statists of the last administration) — must expose each others limitations in this regard by investigation, evaluation, judgement, and punishment.

    All school systems, governmental organizations, and corporate enterprises must strive to fulfill these values, no matter how often we (opportunistic) humans come up short. To the extent that those in positions of responsibility do not, then they must be judged guilty and held accountable. This statement includes students who are responsible for achieving their own excellent education, whether continued through school systems or apprenticeships.

    Honest opponents — in the U.S., liberals (not the current fraudulent, authoritarian-marxist substitution) and conservatives (not the failed, materialistic, Christian conservative statists of the last administration) — must expose each other’s limitations in this regard. “Paranoid politics”, a phrase once used to describe the political process in the U.S., has great value when we come to understand how many (including ourselves) would limit the prosperity and well being of the larger population for the elevation of their own clique/clan. (The wisdom of James Madison comes to mind.)

    With the exception of the burden this proposal would put on Anthony, I fully agree with:

    Steve J (23:00:21) :

    Should WUWT organize a report to include all of the papers on data fraud discovered to date which blows holes in ‘the underlying “science”‘ and everything the UNIPCC is pushing.

    Then distribute this report globally to be “peer” reviewed.

    Then we can present it to all the world and see if the truth will tell.

    [That would need to be peer reviewed by a criminal justice journal…]

  31. A question on the IPCC report, but the EPA endangerment findings rely on it as a trustworthy scientific document (I’m assuming there is some sort of legal standard in play here) – wouldn’t the inclusion of non-peer reviewed science disqualify its use?

    This is a legal question – not a scientific or ethical one.

  32. climategate on finnish television 1/3

    climategate on finnish television 2/3

    climategate on finnish television 3/3

  33. Hmmm….so the AGW community position is that even though there is lying, cheating and use of phony data, the predictions of AGW are just fine.
    That is like saying that Enron was a great company except for those pesky little problems.

  34. What I have never been able to figure out is why the first March issue of the AR4 SPM was withdrawn in a hurry, with no comment, and replaced by a June one. Does anyone have an answer?

  35. Indur Goklaney is not a credible author. His previous post covering the ‘sins of omission’ on ‘hiding the decline in future global population at risk of water shortage’ is one massive sin of omission itself. His post is found here:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/18/the-ipcc-hiding-the-decline-in-the-future-global-population-at-risk-of-water-shortage/

    As my comments there detail, his findings are dishonest at best. I’ll repost my two comments here:

    Comment 1:

    This article commits a sin of omission as well. While Arnell (2004) did find that a larger population is subjected to decreased water stress than increased, as shown in Table 10. However, Indur M. Goklaney fails to point out two major caveats cited by Arnell.

    1) The vast majority of those in the ‘reduced stress’ category from Table 10 are located in south and southeast Asia. Arnell says the increased precipitation occurs in the wet season in south and southeast Asia, but this will not alleviate drought during the dry season and would if anything increase flood damage.

    2) Most of the ‘reduced stress’ occurs in densely populated areas while the ‘increased stress’ has a much larger areal coverage. This would have a disparate impact on agriculture, although technically more people live in the ‘reduced stress’ region.

    These are two major caveats and one would think an article concerning ’sins of omission’ would have included them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the IPCC 2007 report discusses Arnell in more detail somewhere else besides the figure Goklaney has ripped from the report.

    Comment 2:

    Yep, as I suspected, IPCC WG II Ch 3.5.1 discusses Arnell (2004) in detail. It specifically states that the number of people living in ‘water stressed’ regions increases as an absolute number. But then it proceeds to note the two caveats Arnell noted as well (1. occurs in the wet season and is not useful, perhaps damaging; 2. occurs in densely populated areas, while increased stress occurs in much larger area causing more agriculture losses). The Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) is intended to present the concise basic conclusions and the conclusion that water stress will be an increasing net negative impact is thoroughly explained and justified in about 30+ pages throughout Chapter 3.

    IPCC 3.5.1 then goes on to point out that decreased water stress is modeled to occur over 20-29% of the earth’s surface and to increase on 62-76% of the earth’s surface. This is based on the same models Arnell 2004 used. Arnell would laugh at the way Goklaney is using his study.

    Oh wait, oh wait! I just can’t stand the irony. Nigel Arnell was the lead author in Chapter 3 of WG II. Goklaney is using his authorship in Arnell 2004 to debunk his authorship in IPCC 2007.

    I respectfully suggest WUWT remove this post immediately and not invite this author back.

  36. Andrew P (10:14:38) :…I respectfully suggest WUWT remove this post immediately and not invite this author back.

    Even if there is some truth in your allegations, those last words immediately make me doubt you, Andrew. The first thing a reputable journal does, or should do, is to give the author a chance to respond to criticism – not gag him without chance to defend himself, as you suggest. Moreover, you refer to a past article containing your comments in a way that looks as if you made those comments at the same time as everyone else with chance for others to respond – whereas you’ve only just made them.

    I await others’ responses.

  37. NickB. (07:28:31) :
    “wouldn’t the inclusion of non-peer reviewed science disqualify its use?
    This is a legal question – not a scientific or ethical one.”

    Peer review is irrelevant in court. See also Merck and Vioxx.
    Evidence is relevant and evidence has rules.

  38. Sorry everyone, but this is a long one.

    Re: Andrew P (10:14:38) :

    First off,

    IPCC 3.5.1 then goes on to point out that decreased water stress is modeled to occur over 20-29% of the earth’s surface and to increase on 62-76% of the earth’s surface.

    IPCC AR4 3.5.1 says “global land area” not “earth’s surface.” Doesn’t make much sense to talk about water stress over the surface of the oceans.

    Yep, as I suspected, IPCC WG II Ch 3.5.1 discusses Arnell (2004) in detail.

    That would be the paragraph above Table 3.2 near the bottom.

    It specifically states that the number of people living in ‘water stressed’ regions increases as an absolute number.

    From 3.5.1:

    The number of people living in severely stressed river basins would increase significantly (Table 3.2). The population at risk of increasing water stress for the full range of SRES scenarios is projected to be: 0.4 to 1.7 billion, 1.0 to 2.0 billion, and 1.1 to 3.2 billion, in the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively (Arnell, 2004b). In the 2050s (SRES A2 scenario), 262-983 million people would move into the water-stressed category (Arnell, 2004b).

    Note on Table 3.2:

    Table 3.2. Impact of population growth and climate change on the number of people (in millions) living in water-stressed river basins (defined as per capita renewable water resources of less than 1,000 m3/yr) around 2050 (Arnell, 2004b; Alcamo et al., 2007).

    Table simply says “water-stressed,” text says to look there for info on “severely stressed.” Okay…

    Table, Arnell 2004b, in millions:
    Baseline (1995) – 1,368.
    2050: A2 emissions scenario – 4,351 to 5,747
    2050: B2 emissions scenario – 2,766 to 3,958

    Subtract from baseline for increases:
    A2 – 2,983 to 4,379
    B2 – 1,368 to 2,590

    Text: 1.0 to 2.0 billion – at risk of increasing water stress for the full range of SRES scenarios
    Table: 1.368 to 4.379 billion – range for A2 and B2, increase of people living in water-stressed river basins.

    Looks to me like Arnell 2004b is saying you can have lots more people living in water-stressed river basins who are not at risk of increasing water stress.

    I guess it does specifically state “the number of people living in ‘water stressed’ regions increases as an absolute number” where it references the table at the beginning, with “regions” being “river basins.” However, merely being in such regions does not make one at risk of increasing water stress. Indeed, the text states that for A2 only “262-983 million people would move into the water-stressed category.” 2.983 to 4.379 billion increase in population with only 0.262 to 0.983 billion becoming water-stressed.

    But then it proceeds to note the two caveats Arnell noted as well (1. occurs in the wet season and is not useful, perhaps damaging; 2. occurs in densely populated areas, while increased stress occurs in much larger area causing more agriculture losses).

    Can’t directly comment on Arnell 2004b, it’s behind a paywall. But the abstract does note:

    In other water-stressed parts of the world—particularly in southern and eastern Asia—climate change increases runoff, but this may not be very beneficial in practice because the increases tend to come during the wet season and the extra water may not be available during the dry season.

    3.5.1 says:

    However, using the per capita water availability indicator, climate change would appear to reduce global water stress. This is because increases in runoff are heavily concentrated in the most populous parts of the world, mainly in East and South-East Asia, and mainly occur during high flow seasons (Arnell, 2004b). Therefore, they may not alleviate dry season problems if the extra water is not stored and would not ease water stress in other regions of the world.

    Increase reservoir capacity, store the water, reduce water stress. That’s just basic water conservation, save it when you got it for when you don’t.

    I do not see from this where you get “…and is not useful, perhaps damaging.” It would be useful with basic water conservation.

    From your second noted caveat, “…while increased stress occurs in much larger area causing more agriculture losses”. By the sequence you lay out, Arnell 2004b is discussed in detail, then 3.5.1 proceeds to note the caveats. However, starting from the beginning of the mentioned paragraph where Arnell 2004b is discussed in detail, “agri” does not appear in a search from there to the bottom. Reading the text, I see nothing specifically related to agriculture.

    But then comes a very serious issue with 3.5.1, as in the next-to-the-last paragraph:

    If water stress is not only assessed as a function of population and climate change, but also of changing water use, the importance of non-climatic drivers (income, water-use efficiency, water productivity, industrial production) increases (Alcamo et al., 2007). Income growth has a much larger impact than population growth on increasing water use and water stress (expressed as the water withdrawal-to-water resources ratio). (…) The principal cause of decreasing water stress is the greater availability of water due to increased precipitation, while the principal cause of increasing water stress is growing water withdrawals. Growth of domestic water use as stimulated by income growth was found to be dominant (Alcamo et al., 2007).

    If the people who are poor stay poor, there will be less water stress. If their wealth grows, leading to the usage of more water per person, there will be more water stress. Climate change itself is a minor issue.

    Save it when you have it for when you don’t. Spend more than you take in and you will get hurt. And if you can’t get enough where you are, move to where you can. The economics lessons responsible parents teach their children, could be stated as sensible conclusions for 3.5.1. Figure in the declining aquifers, and add in what gets said about going into debt.

    Mr. Goklany’s earlier post was about how the IPCC hid the decline in the future global population at risk for water shortage. Equating “shortage” with “stress,” I can see how the Table 3.2 info got highlighted, while buried in the 3.5.1 text is likely hopeful news. They go from the start of the section:

    3.5.1 How will climate change affect the balance of water demand and water availability?

    And where do they end up at in the text? Answer: We can’t say anything definite as there are more important factors involved.

    Was that the publicized conclusion? No.

    I find his comments honest, and have found about the same myself. I have found your “Comment 2” with the two caveats as mentioned there, pretty much worthless. From Comment 1 Caveat 1, apparently you neglected to mention that caveat had a caveat, namely the storage of the extra rain for use in the dry season. For Caveat 2, without having Arnell 2004b in hand, I can say from my own knowledge that conclusions about agriculture would be highly speculative.

    So I find no compelling reason for him to mention those two caveats at all.

  39. Andrew P (10:14:38) :
    The following are Andrew’s comments truncated slightly to make it easier for other readers. My comments are in boldface within brackets (unless otherwise noted): Also note that in my response I will refer to earlier posts on WUWT. If links to these posts are broken, readers can locate them via the “search box” on this page. My apologies for that.

    ANDREW:
    Indur Goklaney is not a credible author. His previous post covering the ’sins of omission’ on ‘hiding the decline in future global population at risk of water shortage’ is one massive sin of omission itself … [as] my comments there detail …

    [ Thanks for alerting me to the fact that you have only today posted comments on the earlier post, otherwise I would have missed it. I had assumed that thread was dead (for practical purposes), since the last comment on that before yours is now over a month old.]

    ANDREW:
    [Goklany’s] findings are dishonest at best. I’ll repost my two comments here:
    Comment 1:
    This article commits a sin of omission as well. While Arnell (2004) did find that a larger population is subjected to decreased water stress than increased, as shown in Table 10. [Thanks for confirming that the IPCC committed a sin of omission.] However, Indur M. Goklaney fails to point out two major caveats cited by Arnell.

    1) The vast majority of those in the ‘reduced stress’ category from Table 10 are located in south and southeast Asia. Arnell says the increased precipitation occurs in the wet season in south and southeast Asia, but this will not alleviate drought during the dry season and would if anything increase flood damage.
    [I plead “not guilty” to the charge of committing a sin of omission. The earlier post, The IPCC: Hiding the Decline in the Future Global Population at Risk of Water Shortage , links to an earlier post, How the IPCC Portrayed a Net Positive Impact of Climate Change as a Negative, (and a few papers) in which this matter is discussed in quite some detail. In that discussion I provided a long annotated quote from IPCC WG II Chapter 3.5 which pertains to precisely this matter, a portion of which I reproduce below (with my annotations from that older post bracketed in italics):

    However, using the per capita water availability indicator, climate change would appear to reduce global water stress. This is because increases in runoff are heavily concentrated in the most populous parts of the world, mainly in East and South-East Asia, and mainly occur during high flow seasons (Arnell, 2004b). Therefore, they may not alleviate dry season problems if the extra water is not stored and would not ease water stress in other regions of the world. [COMMENT: One should expect that societies would take action to store water if that’s what is necessary to avoid water stress. Such actions are not rocket science; they are probably as old as humanity itself, and have a successful track record going back for millennia. Moreover, if the IPCC’s emission scenarios, and the economic growth rates they assume are to be believed, these societies would be much wealthier in the future and should, therefore, have access to more capital to help adapt to such problems. See here (pp. 1034-1036, Tables 1 and 10).]

    I should also add that adaptations to control floods are not new either. In fact, many dam projects are designed simultaneously to store water, reduce floods, as well as do a host of other things.

    To summarize: First, Andrew agrees that the IPCC committed a sin of omission. Second, while irrelevant to the issue raised in this post (but a great ad hominem!), Andrew accuses me of omitting Arnell’s caveats. But these caveats WERE discussed in great detail in the links that were provided in my posts and, in any case, the caveats were not well justified. In fact, they illustrate one of the methodological flaws in Arnell’s analysis, which is endemic to virtually all climate change impacts analyses as noted here and here, namely, they systematically overestimate the net negative impacts of climate change because they do not fully account for autonomous adaptation and adaptive capacity. Regardless, even if I had not discussed these caveats it would not absolve the IPCC from its sin of omission. See the first point. ]

    ANDREW:
    2) Most of the ‘reduced stress’ occurs in densely populated areas while the ‘increased stress’ has a much larger areal coverage. This would have a disparate impact on agriculture, although technically more people live in the ‘reduced stress’ region.
    [ This is not germane to the issue of whether information was omitted. It was the IPCC that selected the “population at risk” as the measure of impact of climate change on water resources. If areal extent was the more important, they should have provided the information related to that. Having selected population at risk as the measure, they should have told readers of increases as well as decreases in the selected measure (or provided a “net” accounting). In any case, Andrew’s analysis is a little too glib. It matters whether the increases and decreases in water availability occur in areas of high or low agricultural productivity. But we don’t need to go through a hand-waving analysis since the effect on agriculture (and hunger) has been worked out: Arnell’s water resource study was part of a larger suite of studies, one of which was a study led by Professor Martin Parry on the impact of climate change on agriculture and hunger. This study was addressed under Item (2) in the post at the top of this page. ]

    ANDREW:
    These are two major caveats and one would think an article concerning ’sins of omission’ would have included them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the IPCC 2007 report discusses Arnell in more detail somewhere else besides the figure Goklaney has ripped from the report.
    Comment 2:
    Yep, as I suspected, IPCC WG II Ch 3.5.1 discusses Arnell (2004) in detail. [ Andrew, this would not have been such a great discovery on your part had you read my post and followed the links. They tell you explicitly where you can find this info — even provides the page number. ] It specifically states that the number of people living in ‘water stressed’ regions increases as an absolute number. What portion of this is due to population increases and what fraction due to climate change? Climate change by itself reduces the number of people under water stress. Check out the Appendix in the paper here: http://www.jpands.org/vol14no3/goklany.pdf. But then it proceeds to note the two caveats Arnell noted as well (1. occurs in the wet season and is not useful, perhaps damaging; 2. occurs in densely populated areas, while increased stress occurs in much larger area causing more agriculture losses). [ These are addressed above. ]The Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) is intended to present the concise basic conclusions [ Indeed, the SPM should be concise, but brevity should not be at the expense of sweeping inconvenient facts under the rug. By the way, it would have been just as brief, but more accurate, to have said, “climate change could reduce the NET global population at risk of water stress (defined as…) by many hundreds of millions.” Alternatively, one could try the following formulation: “While CC may increase the population at risk of water stress by many hundreds of millions, it could decrease water stress for billions.” ]

    ANDREW:
    … the conclusion that water stress will be an increasing net negative impact is thoroughly explained and justified in about 30+ pages throughout Chapter 3. [Andrew, see the above comments. ] .

    IPCC 3.5.1 then goes on to point out that decreased water stress is modeled to occur over 20-29% of the earth’s surface and to increase on 62-76% of the earth’s surface. [Andrew, again, see the above comments. ] .

    ANDREW:
    This is based on the same models Arnell 2004 used. Arnell would laugh at the way Goklaney is using his study. Oh wait, oh wait! I just can’t stand the irony. Nigel Arnell was the lead author in Chapter 3 of WG II. Goklaney is using his authorship in Arnell 2004 to debunk his authorship in IPCC 2007. [ Yes it is ironic. Arnell is cherry picking from his own studies! Well, I guess if you own the orchard … ] .

    [ To summarize, Andrew, great effort at misdirection. The issue was and is whether the IPCC WG 2 SPM contains sins of omissions. On the other hand, I should be honored that you are taking the trouble to try to debunk my credibility. ]

  40. I’m sorry Kadaka, a typo in my last post has completely altered the meaning.

    The quote (how does one indent and itlalize anyways?):

    “It specifically states that the number of people living in ‘water stressed’ regions increases as an absolute number.”

    should have read:

    “It specifically states that the number of people living in ‘water stressed’ regions decreases as an absolute number (due to climate change only and removing other variables).”

    This comes from 3.5.1:

    “However, using the per capita water availability indicator, climate change would appear to reduce global water stress.”

    My point was that 3.5.1 addresses the fact that climate change reduces water stress for more people than it reduces it, but points out this is not an important fact because of caveats 1 and 2 I noted. As they point out due to these two caveats:

    “Therefore they (reduced water stress in certain populous regions) may not alleviate dry season problems if the water is not stored and would not ease water stress in other regions of the world.”

    Thus there are few positive impacts because storing is expensive and many areas lack the infrastructure, and many negative impacts because areas with specific demand see availability reduced. One could also see how decreased water stress in some regions would not be nearly as economically or socially beneficial as increased water stress is harmful to human use adapted to a specific level of availability. The basic notion is change is bad because we are adapted to the present. Change offers some opportunities for growth but also immediate detrimental effects. These negative impacts on agriculture while not specifically mentioned in the last 4 paragraphs of 3.5.1 are implied from the earlier discussion in 3.5.1 of studies showing a net negative impact of climate change on irrigation in Texas, China, the Colorada River and Sacramento-Joacquin basins. In addition, even earlier in 3.5.1 the effects of increased climate volatility are noted as causing increased irrigation demand even when supply remains constant.

    Thus the text of 3.5.1, and Arnell 2004’s two caveats, support the notion presented rather simplistically in Figure 2 of the Summary for Policymakers (SPM.2) that climate change will have a net negative impact concerning water stress. By removing Arnell’s two caveats which are repeated in IPCC, removing the discussion of increased irrigation demand due to volatility, and removing the discussion throughout 3.5.1 of negative impacts, Glokaney reverses the truth. All he has done is strip some figures from Arnell but ignored the fact that Arnell himself says these figures are not representative of the socioeconomic costs. If he wants to use those figures to debunk SPM.2 using figures stripped from Arnell 2004 without context then he needs to address the caveats presented in Arnell 2004 as well as those in IPCC 3.5.1.

    Even if he concludes, as you do, that those caveats are incorrect, omitting them substantially alters the picture. Glokaney writes as if SPM.2 was formulated in direct opposition with Arnell 2004, and that it omits the fact that climate change reduces the population in ‘water stressed’ regions. This is not the case, SPM.2 is in agreement with Arnell 2004 and 3.5.1 which dismiss the positive impacts as outweighed by the immediate damage. Glokaney should be, as you are, questioning the scientific basis of the caveats found in Arnell 2004 and 3.5.1 which dismiss the positive socioeconomic effects of decreased water stress. You and Glokaney have taken substantively different routes of attack on SPM.2, and his is dishonest, yours is not.

    REPLY: Sir, if you wish to claim dishonesty for Mr. Goklany, you’ll need to put your full name and your University affiliation to your words. I won’t tolerate your anonymity when Mr. Goklany has put his name to his words. Academics such as yourself should do things in the open. Either retract or don’t post anymore.

    – Anthony Watts

  41. I retract any ad-hominem attacks because they have no place in this discussion, but I still believe that omitting Arnell’s caveats from your earlier WUWT post which reads as if SPM.2 just omitted the positive impacts was dishonest. SPM.2 doesn’t omit them, because 3.5.1 argues that the costs of increased water stress outweigh the benefits of decreased water stress.

    Sincerely,
    Andrew Piccirillo
    Middlebury College Biology Student

    REPLY: Thank you Andrew, good on you, welcome to the light. Feel free to discuss what shortcomings you see. – Anthony Watts

  42. Would you mind reinstating my reply to Mr. Glokaney with whatever edits you deem necessary? It was a long reply and I’d prefer not to have to retype it.

  43. Andrew P (19:10:54)

    1. It seems that you must have posted this response to kadaka before you read my response to your claims, at least I hope that’s the case. Please read my response and you’ll see that in the original posts leading up to this one (and in my response to you specifically), I do indeed question, in accordance with your own admonition, “the scientific basis of the caveats found in Arnell 2004 and 3.5.1 which dismiss the positive socioeconomic effects of decreased water stress.” Specifically, I have argued that Arnell’s results tend to overstate negative impacts and understate positive ones because they ignore autonomous adaptation. This is particularly egregious considering that future populations are, according to the IPCC’s emissions scenarios likely to be much wealthier than currently. I am not the only one who has pointed out that adaptation should have been considered. Tol, for instance, also notes this. [See Tol, R.S.J. (2005). “Adaptation and mitigation: trade-offs in substance and methods,” Environmental Science & Policy 8: 572–578.] Although I should add, that if one does not account for adaptation, then the study is methodologically flawed regardless of who says it (or not).

    2. I do urge you to look at the information that is in the tables in Arnell’s own study (two of which are reproduced in the Appendix at http://www.jpands.org/vol14no3/goklany.pdf), and to ponder on the notion you seem to have that it is OK to disregard or rationalize away the positive impacts, and focus on the negative ones. Is there a “scientific basis” for ignoring the fact that billions more (under the warmest scenario) could see a reduction in stress than would see an increase in stress? I am willing to admit that there is an asymmetry, but that’s a long way away from ignoring it altogether in the SPM.

    3. You say “Glokaney (sic) writes as if SPM.2 was formulated in direct opposition with Arnell 2004, and that it omits the fact that climate change reduces the population in ‘water stressed’ regions. This is not the case, SPM.2 is in agreement with Arnell 2004 and 3.5.1 which dismiss the positive impacts as outweighed by the immediate damage.” In fact, the numbers speak for themselves. The problem seems to be that Arnell was not happy to go where the numbers were leading him, so he tries to rationalize the improvement in the water situation due to climate change for a much larger segment of the global population (even as, admittedly, it made matters worse for a smaller segment). Unfortunately, one cannot cherry pick which set of results one wants to emphasize, even if it’s one’s own study – unless one has an excellent reason, and although Arnell has reasons, they just are not particularly good, especially given the direction and potential magnitude of the systematic biases introduced by ignoring adaptation in a much wealthier world. But instead of getting into a shouting match with you shouting “he can,” and me replying “he can’t,” the evidence should be laid out in full for all to see – yes, even in the SPM. And this is precisely why it should have been in the SPM.

  44. Andrew

    1. As a revieweer of the IPCC documents I can state that I, as a reviewer, did not agree with these rationalizations.

    2. If your accountant gave you a report telling you how much you were owed but did not provide information on how much you owed, you would be justified in firing him whether your credits outweighed your debits (or vice versa). Similarly, if a supposedly honest broker such as the IPCC provided information on the positive impacts but not on the negative impacts, they would deserve to be called on it. The reverse is equally valid. The difference is between providing information and making policy judgments regarding what ought to be emphasized. That’s why IPCC’s sins of omission are reprehensible.

    3. My suggestion is to think about whether it would have been acceptable had the SPM identified the positive impacts but not the negative impacts? Say, for example, the IPCC SPM had a long piece on reductions in death from excessive cold but ignored deaths due to heatwaves on the grounds that much of the latter seems to be an “harvesting” effect –would that have been acceptable? {For “harvesting,” check: http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N47/EDITb.php.

    Anthony — while I don’t approve of ad homs, I think I can handle it. Although I won’t always be able to respond promptly considering I have to work for a living (unfortunately).

    REPLY: Ad homs are one thing, claiming you are dishonest over a difference in opinion on procedure is something I won’t tolerate unless the accuser puts themselves on record as you’ve done. -A

  45. Mr. Goklaney,

    You are correct, I didn’t read your response until I had replied to Kadaka’s. I also responded to yours but that has been lost. The basic point was that while I now see you have questioned IPCC’s and Arnell’s argument that the benefits of decreased water stress are relatively low, you don’t bring any of this up in your WUWT post “The IPCC: Hiding the Decline in the Future Global Population at Risk of Water Shortage.”

    While you link to your previous writings on the subject, the text of this post and even its title imply that they were intentionally hiding something. Which they weren’t – the net reduction in population under water stress is openly stated and referenced in 3.5.1 of which the SPM is a synopsis. Since the beneficial impacts of this reduction are argued to be low in 3.5.1, it makes sense, and certainly is not dishonest to not include it in the SPM which was only of the most significant impacts. Your objection seems to be to this argument that they are not important found in 3.5.1, but instead you imply they were dishonest with words like “hiding” and by your failure to even mention their argument in 3.5.1. You obviously were aware of their argument against the significance of these benefits, but you don’t mention them. Granted you link to them, but the tile (“hiding”) and the text of the post read as if they had blatantly hidden the positive impacts. We see this in the text of your post here, for example:

    “And that is how a net positive impact of climate change is portrayed in Figure SPM.2 as a large negative impact. The recipe: provide numbers for the negative impact, but stay silent on the positive impact. That way no untruths are uttered, and only someone who has studied the original studies in depth will know what the true story is.”

    They don’t “portray” it as a large negative impact, they argue, with reasons (valid or not!) in 3.5.1 that it IS a large negative impact.

    They don’t use a “recipe” they selected the most significant impacts, in their opinion.

    They don’t hide the true story from the original studies, the original study, Arnell 2004, agrees the more significant impact is the negative one. But since you don’t bring up Arnell’s or IPCC’s argument in this post, we are led to believe it was a simple matter of deception and that the original literature suggests a significant perhaps even net positive impact.

    This doesn’t seem to be a simple act of omission of positive impacts to me. The SPM appears consistent with 3.5.1 to me. Both claim a net negative impact. And it seems your issue is with the interpretation in 3.5.1, not with the hiding of facts which are found readily in the text of 3.5.1 to which the SPM refers.

    By implying that is a simple matter of hiding facts when you seem to know that it is really more of a matter of interpretation of the facts, you can see why I might find that post dishonest in nature. I apologize if my language was more reckless than it would be in person. Your other writings you link to raise what appears to be a legitimate question about 3.5.1’s dismissal of the positive impacts.

    I agree that they appear pretty quick in dismissing these positive impacts, but personally I think you underestimating the cost of conserving increased water supply during the wet season in regions with little infrastructure currently. You also seem to assume the free flow of factors of production (labor, capital) which are not at all free. If suddenly parts of Asia, which weren’t before, become great places to farm and to have a nice green lawn etc. is the agriculture industry really going to migrate immediately and are all the suburbanites in Sacremento going to relocate their nice green lawns to some remote area of Asia because that’s where the water is now? There are areas of the world suitable for farming which are light years behind the Sacremento valley in terms of technology, farming practice, and yield because this is where the infrastructure, labor, human and financial capital has become the most highly developed.

  46. Andrew P (22:35:42) :

    (…)
    While you link to your previous writings on the subject, the text of this post and even its title imply that they were intentionally hiding something. Which they weren’t – the net reduction in population under water stress is openly stated and referenced in 3.5.1 of which the SPM is a synopsis. (…)

    WHERE? Such a net reduction is not mentioned in any sort of introductory paragraph. Then comes many mind-numbingly long and dense sections, of which a quick scan only reveals doom and gloom. Zip on down to the last paragraph for a summary, one finds “number of people under high water stress” “substantial increase is projected” “speed of increase will be slower for the A1 and B1…” Glance on up at Table 3.2 “Impact Of (population growth and) Climate Change” and OH MY GOD The Latest Study Says SEVEN BILLION WILL SUFFER!

    You have to dig into the text to find the “good news,” which for me kills off “openly stated” right there. What is in there?

    The number of people living in severely stressed river basins would increase significantly (Table 3.2).
    Doom.
    The population at risk of increasing water stress for the full range of SRES scenarios is projected to be: 0.4 to 1.7 billion, 1.0 to 2.0 billion, and 1.1 to 3.2 billion, in the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively (Arnell, 2004b).
    Doom.
    In the 2050s (SRES A2 scenario), 262-983 million people would move into the water-stressed category (Arnell, 2004b).
    Doom.
    However, using the per capita water availability indicator, climate change would appear to reduce global water stress.
    Not doom?
    This is because increases in runoff are heavily concentrated in the most populous parts of the world, mainly in East and South-East Asia, and mainly occur during high flow seasons (Arnell, 2004b). Therefore, they may not alleviate dry season problems if the extra water is not stored and would not ease water stress in other regions of the world.
    Nope, still doom. Unrelenting ongoing DOOM.

    The IPCC cranks out these reports to influence public opinion, which directly feeds into the “stated goal” of informing decision makers. What does the public hear? On one end: droughts, water shortages, food shortages, suffering, death. On the other end: horrific wet weather events, flooding, food shortages, suffering, death. Possible benefits are not mentioned. Indeed, from the second paragraph of 3.5.1 they are laying out the case that more water is not beneficial and will likely be harmful. For any politician or corporate executive, there is nothing “clearly stated” that says climate change will not be a catastrophe with regards to water. Attempt to dig out the “happy news” from 3.5.1 and explain to the public that, despite the SPM, there is no need to panic and act rashly, good things may happen… Well, good luck in your new job or retirement.

    While you link to your previous writings on the subject, the text of this post and even its title imply that they were intentionally hiding something. Which they weren’t…

    Oh Yes They Did. Drowned it with words, placed it next to the easy-to-notice alarming table, just before it they specifically direct you to look at the alarming table then give other alarming numbers, then state the possible benefit (singular) in language that says it is not what it appears to be, then proceed to discount it. Net effect, they never state any benefits at all. At All.

    This doesn’t seem to be a simple act of omission of positive impacts to me.

    I agree. This appears far more contrived and insidious. This is the hiding of an ice cube in a snow-covered field. It is technically there, with enough time one might find it, but its existence is not noted by anything, and that “detail” doesn’t show up in the SPM snapshot. At All.

    And then, finally, there is your last paragraph, which talks about other things.

    Ugh.

    …but personally I think you underestimating the cost of conserving increased water supply during the wet season in regions with little infrastructure currently.

    I’ve been looking, and I can’t find where he is estimating the costs at all, thus he cannot be charged with underestimating. He has said: “One should expect that societies would take action to store water if that’s what is necessary to avoid water stress. Such actions are not rocket science; they are probably as old as humanity itself, and have a successful track record going back for millennia.” That seems simple enough to follow. If it is needed to survive, one should expect a society to do it to survive. If it will help them prosper, the same.

    Such systems do not need to be elaborate and expensive. Here is a nice site I Googled, shows some good ideas. Concepts like this were done when “infrastructure” was dirt roads and wooden carts.

    As to the rest of the paragraph… Huh? Sacramento suburbanites relocating lawns to Asia?

    Sacramento and other places are already facing water shortages and will have to deal with them, period. Agriculture will not need to move to Asia, as what is already in the area would merely expand to new farmland. And beyond simple talk of “infrastructure, labor, human and financial capital” there is plenty the local people can do in agriculturally underdeveloped areas to increase yields, which require not much more than knowledge and possibly will need less effort and expenditures. Inexpensive solutions are out there, people just need to learn about them.

  47. Re: kadaka (Feb 22 06:33),

    Inexpensive solutions are out there, people just need to learn about them.

    I have to laugh at the arrogance of these people . In Greece we often have no rains from May to September, sometimes we only get few rains in the winter, and have survived and agriculture survived even before the big reservoirs built in the mountains to catch the winter rains and snow melt that can carry us over draught years.

    In the islands every house had a water cistern gathering the winter rain water for the summer. My mother inlaw’s house, built in Piraius in the 1850s, had a “well” in the kitchen which was for drawing water from the rain cistern.

    In the island of Santorini, a particularly dry island, they developed a species lentils and fava and grapevines that get irrigated by the fog coming in from the sea, when it comes. Very tasty cherry tomatoes too, all grown without irrigation. Very good wine, the Santorini wine.

    I have a rain water cistern in my holiday cottage and use the water for the garden, as do many people.

  48. Andrew P (19:10:54) :

    I’m sorry Kadaka, a typo in my last post has completely altered the meaning.

    The quote (how does one indent and italicize anyways?):

    Within pairs of angle brackets:

    use “i” and “/i” to start and stop italics.
    Use “b” and “/b” for bolding.
    Use “blockquote” and “/blockquote” for indenting. (These can be nested.)

  49. Response to Andrew P (22:35:42) . Note that responses and comments are bracketed and in bold.

    ANDREW: The basic point was that while I now see you have questioned IPCC’s and Arnell’s argument that the benefits of decreased water stress are relatively low, you don’t bring any of this up in your WUWT post “The IPCC: Hiding the Decline in the Future Global Population at Risk of Water Shortage.”

    [RESPONSE: First, within that post I had provided links to these specific criticisms precisely because that post built off the previous one. Second, it is a fact that the IPCC did not provide information within the Summary for Policy Makers, which has a special status as indicated in its title. It is supposed to be the single stopping point for policy makers, as opposed to my posting which provided explicit links and was clearly not supposed to be free-standing.]

    ANDREW: While you link to your previous writings on the subject, the text of this post and even its title imply that they were intentionally hiding something. Which they weren’t – the net reduction in population under water stress is openly stated and referenced in 3.5.1 of which the SPM is a synopsis.
    [RESPONSE: Below I am providing the specific paragraph from Section 3.5.1, page 194, where this is “openly stated”, with and without my annotations. Read them, and tell me whether you think what was provided in that Section constitutes proper and open disclosure. I am quoting the whole paragraph so that I don’t omit anything critical.]

    Global estimates of the number of people living in areas with high water stress differ significantly among studies (Vörösmarty et al., 2000; Alcamo et al., 2003a, b, 2007; Oki et al., 2003a; Arnell, 2004b). Climate change is only one factor that influences future water stress, while demographic, socio-economic, and technological changes may play a more important role in most time horizons and regions. In the 2050s, differences in the population projections of the four SRES scenarios would have a greater impact on the number of people living in water-stressed river basins (defined as basins with per capita water resources of less than 1,000 m3/year) than the differences in the emissions scenarios (Arnell, 2004b). The number of people living in severely stressed river basins would increase significantly (Table 3.2). The population at risk of increasing water stress for the full range of SRES scenarios is projected to be: 0.4 to 1.7 billion, 1.0 to 2.0 billion, and 1.1 to 3.2 billion, in the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively (Arnell, 2004b). In the 2050s (SRES A2 scenario), 262-983 million people would move into the water-stressed category (Arnell, 2004b). However, using the per capita water availability indicator, climate change would appear to reduce global water stress. This is because increases in runoff are heavily concentrated in the most populous parts of the world, mainly in East and South-East Asia, and mainly occur during high flow seasons (Arnell, 2004b). Therefore, they may not alleviate dry season problems if the extra water is not stored and would not ease water stress in other regions of the world.

    NOW FOR THE ANNOTATED VERSION:

    Global estimates of the number of people living in areas with high water stress differ significantly among studies (Vörösmarty et al., 2000; Alcamo et al., 2003a, b, 2007; Oki et al., 2003a; Arnell, 2004b). Climate change is only one factor that influences future water stress, while demographic, socio-economic, and technological changes may play a more important role in most time horizons and regions. [COMMENT: This seems to be an important point for policy makers to recognize, don’t you think? But it is not made clearly in the SPM, if at all. Count this as one omission. BTW, none of the analyses suggest that CC is a more important factor, so the “may” is somewhat disingenuous.] In the 2050s, differences in the population projections of the four SRES scenarios would have a greater impact on the number of people living in water-stressed river basins (defined as basins with per capita water resources of less than 1,000 m3/year) than the differences in the emissions scenarios (Arnell, 2004b). The number of people living in severely stressed river basins would increase significantly (Table 3.2). The population at risk of increasing water stress for the full range of SRES scenarios is projected to be: 0.4 to 1.7 billion, 1.0 to 2.0 billion, and 1.1 to 3.2 billion, in the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively (Arnell, 2004b). [COMMENT: These numbers are taken from Table 10 in Arnell, which is reproduced on page 74 here: http://www.jpands.org/vol14no3/goklany.pdf. Specifically, the text uses the results from the HadCM3 model runs. BUT the text is silent on the fact that the same table also tells us that climate change is projected to reduce the population at risk of water stress by 0.6 to 1.9 billion, 2.4 to 3.8 billion, and 1.7 billion to 5.4 billion for the corresponding time periods using the same HadCM3 model! (This is Omission 2.) The magnitude of these numbers substantially outweigh the number that might see an increase in water stress.] In the 2050s (SRES A2 scenario), 262-983 million people would move into the water-stressed category (Arnell, 2004b). [COMMENT: This is taken from Arnell’s Table 9, also reproduced on page 74 of http://www.jpands.org/vol14no3/goklany.pdf. Ask yourself, why the text went from “the full range of SRES scenarios” in the previous sentence to only “SRES A2 scenario” in this? Also, why did the text refer to 2050s but not 2020s or 2080s, as in the previous sentence? Might this have anything to do with the fact that this allows the text to use the highest range for this measure from Table 9? Check for yourself. More importantly, the same Table also tells us that the number of people who “would move” out of the water-stressed category ranges from 191-1,493 million. But the text omits this countervailing information. (This is Omission 4.)] However, using the per capita water availability indicator, climate change would appear to reduce global water stress. This is because increases in runoff are heavily concentrated in the most populous parts of the world, mainly in East and South-East Asia, and mainly occur during high flow seasons (Arnell, 2004b). [COMMENT: Finally!! But no numbers are provided, so as far as the reader knows, the net reduction could be 10 people, or 10,000 or even tens of millions. Don’t you think that they should have been “open” about the fact that, according to projections, water stress could be reduced for billions of people?] Therefore, they may not alleviate dry season problems if the extra water is not stored [COMMENT: What is the likelihood that people wouldn’t store the water if the other option is to be a passive victim of water stress? This is beyond ridiculous. As noted elsewhere, water storage is one of mankind’s oldest adaptations] and would not ease water stress in other regions of the world. [COMMENT: This ain’t necessarily so, but I’ll skip this one for now.]

    ANDREW: Since the beneficial impacts of this reduction are argued to be low in 3.5.1, it makes sense, and certainly is not dishonest to not include it in the SPM which was only of the most significant impacts. [COMMENT: What rational argument? There was an assertion based on speculation founded on the notion that human beings are too dumb to take steps to reduce an adverse impact on their well-being, and this assertion was made without reference to the numbers of people for whom water-stress would be reduced. In fact, had these numbers not been omitted, then these assertions would not have passed the “red face” test. By what stretch of logic do you ignore the fact that water stress could possibly be reduced for billions more?] Your objection seems to be to this argument that they are not important found in 3.5.1, but instead you imply they were dishonest with words like “hiding” and by your failure to even mention their argument in 3.5.1. You obviously were aware of their argument against the significance of these benefits, but you don’t mention them. [COMMENT: As noted previously, the links had been provided and “arguments” found wanting.] Granted you link to them, but the tile (“hiding”) and the text of the post read as if they had blatantly hidden the positive impacts. [COMMENT: Look at the annotated paragraph above. What would you have call it? BTW, I didn’t say it was blatant, in fact it was quite artful.] We see this in the text of your post here, for example:

    “And that is how a net positive impact of climate change is portrayed in Figure SPM.2 as a large negative impact. The recipe: provide numbers for the negative impact, but stay silent on the positive impact. That way no untruths are uttered, and only someone who has studied the original studies in depth will know what the true story is.” [COMMENT: Look at the annotated paragraph above. Would you not agree that while no untruths were uttered, they failed to be candid about the numbers that might benefit? And this in Section 3.5.1?]

    ANDREW: They don’t hide the true story from the original studies, the original study, Arnell 2004, agrees the more significant impact is the negative one. But since you don’t bring up Arnell’s or IPCC’s argument in this post, we are led to believe it was a simple matter of deception and that the original literature suggests a significant perhaps even net positive impact. [COMMENT: See the first response above, and the annotated paragraph above]

    ANDREW: This doesn’t seem to be a simple act of omission of positive impacts to me. The SPM appears consistent with 3.5.1 to me. Both claim a net negative impact. And it seems your issue is with the interpretation in 3.5.1, not with the hiding of facts which are found readily in the text of 3.5.1 to which the SPM refers. [COMMENT: No Andrew, the issue is whether the results of the original study were accurately reported. Section 3.5.1 does a slightly better job than the SPM, but even that is flawed, as shown above. Moreover, I note that probably the most frequent justification for sins of omission is that the perpetrators thought/believed the omission was not important for whatever reason. This is a necessary fiction, if for no reason other than that one needs a fig leaf. I am going to skip commenting on most of the following paragraph because it would be repetitious.]

    ANDREW: I apologize if my language was more reckless than it would be in person. [COMMENT: Apology accepted, but you should really have done your homework and read the links that had been provided, and saved everyone a lot of trouble.] Your other writings you link to raise what appears to be a legitimate question about 3.5.1’s dismissal of the positive impacts. [COMMENT: Thanks.]

    ANDREW: I agree that they appear pretty quick in dismissing these positive impacts [COMMENT: Not only were they quick to dismiss, by omitting the projections of the numbers that may see a reduction in water stress, they did so without providing a fair accounting of the benefits on the other side of the ledger.], but personally I think you underestimating the cost of conserving increased water supply during the wet season in regions with little infrastructure currently. You also seem to assume the free flow of factors of production (labor, capital) which are not at all free. If suddenly parts of Asia, which weren’t before, become great places to farm and to have a nice green lawn etc. is the agriculture industry really going to migrate immediately and are all the suburbanites in Sacremento going to relocate their nice green lawns to some remote area of Asia because that’s where the water is now? There are areas of the world suitable for farming which are light years behind the Sacremento valley in terms of technology, farming practice, and yield because this is where the infrastructure, labor, human and financial capital has become the most highly developed. [COMMENT: The situation that exists today in Asia won’t be anything like the Asia in 2085 (or 2050, for that matter). You underestimate mankind’s capacity to adapt. I have two posts on this site titled, “Socioeconomic Impacts of Global Warming are Systematically Overestimated.” I would suggest you read them. They can be located via the search box on this page. Also, for perspective, note that we have added 4.5 billion people to the earth since 1950, and the infrastructure that they need to not only survive but thrive. This includes not only infrastructure for electricity but water, public health, agriculture, trade, and everything else. If UN population projections are valid, we will be adding about 3 billion more this century. We’ll also be wealthier, and also have more effective technologies at our disposal (as noted in the posts just referenced). Therefore, building the infrastructure for that 3 billion should not be an insurmountable problem.]

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