There’s been lots of whooping and celebrating by the warmist crowd lately over the retraction by the Sunday Times Jonathan Leake story about Amazongate.
The claim was that the sensitivity to rainfall reduction was based on peer reviewed literature. I’m here to tell you that claim is totally unsupportable, I’ll even go so far as to call the claim “bogus”, it is that bad. The proof lies in the screencap below:
Excerpts from what Christopher Booker writes in his latest Telegraph Column:
Last week, after six months of evasions, obfuscation, denials and retractions, a story which has preoccupied this column on and off since January came to a startling conclusion. It turns out that one of the most widely publicised statements in the 2007 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a claim on which tens of billions of dollars could hang – was not based on peer-reviewed science, as repeatedly claimed, but originated solely from anonymous propaganda published on the website of a small Brazilian environmental advocacy group.
The ramifications of this discovery stretch in many directions. First, it seems to show that the IPCC – whose reports governments rely on to justify presenting mankind with the largest bill in history – has been in serious breach of its own rules.
The document cited by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), which it later described, after a full internal inquiry, as a “report”, proved remarkably difficult to track down. Since then, both the WWF and Dr Nepstad have cited other papers in support of their claim – but none of these provided any support for the specific claim about the impact of climate change made by the IPCC.
The original read: “Probably 30-40 per cent of the forests of the Brazilian Amazon are sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall.” This was hyped up in the final drafting of the IPCC report, to claim that “up to 40 per cent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”. “Brazilian Amazon” – only around half the total rainforest area – was changed to include the entire forest. The word “sensitive” was changed to “react drastically”. And the original IPAM note had made no mention at all of climate change.
Please visit Booker’s article, to read the full story and to show support.
The Sunday Times piece (now retracted) was originally headlined “UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim”, though this headline was later changed on the website version. It said the 40% destruction figure was based on an “unsubstantiated claim by green campaigners who had little scientific expertise”.
That headline and claim has been borne out by facts. The Sunday Times should put the story back up, and retract their retraction. Leake had it right and the editors simply caved to pressure without doing a thorough investigation to see if his claim was supportable. It took bloggers like Dr. Richard North to do the job the Sunday Times would not do, even to save their own credibility.
The screencap above showing the proof of source to the IPCC claim via the WWF report was located by Dr. Richard North of the EU Referendum (with the help of commenter Gareth on that blog), thanks to the “Wayback Machine“, an archive of Internet web pages. I won’t provide the link here for the old IPAM web page, as I don’t want to overload the service, but you can see the IPAM web pages archived in the Wayback Machine search results page below:
As it stands, this is the only known source of this sentence. There is no author identified, the provenance of the web page is not identified and not in any possible way could this be considered “peer reviewed”. It has no academic or scientific merit – yet it is this on which the WWF and IPCC apparently rely.
What is also particularly important is that the IPCC uses the sentence, which it modifies slightly, to argue: “this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and the future situation.”
Meanwhile, real peer reviewed literature, published just this week, supports the idea that the Amazon is not all that sensitive to rainfall reduction:
“We were surprised to find that the primary production in the tropics is not so strongly dependent on the amount of rain,” says Markus Reichstein. “Here, too, we therefore need to critically scrutinize the forecasts of some climate models which predict the Amazon will die as the world gets drier.”
Read all about it here:
As for the sorry state of incompetence at the IPCC and their claims using WWF literature, Shub Niggurath suggested last week that no peer reviewed science references on the issue existed in first and second order IPCC drafts:
More importantly, contrary to what many have suggested, it does not seem, that a statement was formulated assessing all available literature at the time. The sentence in question remained virtually unchanged through the drafts (except for the ‘drastic’ addition), it referred to the same WWF report through three different versions.
Well worth a visit to his site.
The WWF, in my view, is a poison pill for respectable science. They should be avoided for any references in peer reviewed papers and in journalism.
This whole complaint forcing the Sunday Times into a retraction is a made up crisis, and it’s CYA bullshit of the highest order. Readers know that I don’t use that term in posts often, or lightly. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I used it in a story.
WUWT readers should make this IPCC folly known at other websites in comments. They wanted a debate, they wanted a retraction, well they got it. Now it is time for them to admit they supported a flawed premise based on shoddy activist driven “science”.