Giving the IPCC a Pass on Errors of Omission, and Errors of Willful Omission:

The Dutch analysis of IPCC statements on regional impacts in the 2007 report

From Boy Scout Troop 373 - apparently a merit badge

Guest post by: Indur M. Goklany

What with the numerous panel reports on Climategate and the IPCC’s veracity, warmists may have solved our global warming problems: lots of whitewash, which should increase the earth’s albedo, and — voila — we’ll have cooling!

In this post I will discuss the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) report assessing the 2007 IPCC WGII report.

The accompanying press release is headlined, “Key findings of IPCC on regional climate-change impacts overall considered well founded” (emphasis added). I emphasize the word “regional” because that informs us that PBL limited itself to a review of those 8 (out of 20) WGII chapters that addressed regional impacts. The PBL report also alerts us to the fact that it did not review any of these chapters in their entirety (page 12, Executive Summary, ES). Thus, the PBL review could, at best, have a given the WGII report a clean bill of health on much less than half the report’s content. Yet many of the headlines implied a much more sweeping approval of the WGII report than warranted given PBL’s limited review. Eben Harrell at Time magazine’s Ecocentric blog, for instance, headlined his report, “Dutch agency affirms IPCC findings” and quoted Martin Parry, Chairman of WGII during the preparation of the IPCC assessment, as claiming vindication.

Let’s look more closely at what precisely PBL actually did and said. The first paragraph of the press release said:

“PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency found no errors that would undermine the main conclusions in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on possible future regional impacts of climate change. The IPCC report conclusively shows that these effects already are visible in many places around the world, and that these will become more serious under further temperature increases. However, the foundation for some of these conclusions could have been made more transparent.” [Emphasis added.]

First, few, including myself — and, I suspect, most skeptics — would take exception to the “main conclusions” of the IPCC as described by the PBL, particularly when the impacts are characterized as possible — a meaningless weasel word which should not be confused as being synonymous with “likely” or “very likely”, even if one accepts the IPCC’s devalued definitions of these terms (compared to normal scientific and statistical parlance). Of course, climate has changed, its impacts are visible, and they would increase were there to be further temperature increases. But the notion that impacts are already serious (as implied by PBL by the “more serious” in the second sentence) is not only unsubstantiated but contradicts Figure SPM.2 in the WGII Summary for Policy Makers which indicates that impacts from a further 1 degree C increase over the 1980-1990 level would not necessarily be specially “serious.”

More importantly, given PBL’s methodology, its exoneration with respect to the listed “main conclusions” is almost a foregone conclusion because PBL focused on sins of commission rather than sins of omission, as is revealed in the following passage in the Executive Summary:

“Given the constraints regarding time and capacity, it was not possible for the PBL to check a hundred per cent of all texts and references in the eight regional chapters of the Working Group II Report for errors, considering that it had taken hundreds of authors and reviewers to produce the report over the course of five years. Instead, we limited ourselves to the IPCC summary statements, and framed the central questions of this report as follows:

Are the summary conclusions on regional impacts well founded on the underlying chapters and literature references? Are there errors in statements that have travelled from the scientific literature references and/or the main texts through to the summary conclusions? If errors are found, do they affect the validity of these conclusions? What recommendations can we derive from our investigation in order to further improve the quality of the assessment process for the Fifth Assessment Report (due in 2014)?” [PBL Report, page 12; Italics in the original; bold is added.]

But while PBL focused on errors of commission, it is sins of omissions that are more likely to be committed.

I. The PBL did not count as errors systematic silence on the benefits of climate change

There is a general tendency to overlook errors of omission because, as the sage noted, to err is human. But by the same token, errors of omission are more likely to be committed than those of commission because its perpetrators know it is hard to prove malintent when it comes to omissions. It could result from negligence and carelessness — hardly hanging offenses, even if potentially criminal under U.S. law. But more importantly, there is that time-honored and much-abused justification for willful omissions beloved by bureaucrats and biased newspapers and their reporters, namely, the exigencies of space. This excuse works especially well for packing Executive Summaries and Summaries for Policy Makers (SPMs) with cherry-picked information. In fact, a cynic might say that the cover they provide for cherry picking is a major reason why we have such summaries. [This is why in my comments to the InterAcademy Council, I recommended dispensing with SPMs, among other things.] And, unfortunately, PBL’s PR release seems quite sympathetic to this justification:

“[T]he IPCC Working Group II Report put an emphasis on projections of the more serious, negative impacts of climate change. This selection was an obvious choice, and also had been approved by the governments that constitute the IPCC. However, this meant that the less severe impacts and any positive effects did not make it into the summaries for policymakers, which made the overall tenor of the summaries more negative than that of the underlying chapters.” [PBL PR.]

But given the uncertainties associated with impacts assessments, and the inability — or is it unwillingness — of researchers to systematically quantify or otherwise characterize these uncertainties, how does anyone compare one of set of impacts with another to determine which is more serious? At best, one may have a gut feeling. But science and risk analysis (and an IPCC assessment) must be based on more than that.

The Government of New Zealand’s comment 406 on the final draft of the Summary for Policy Makers provides a methodology to proceed on these issues:

“We are concerned that this section appears to focus on the negatives (i.e. on the most vulnerable sectors and regions). It is our view that the assessment would be much stronger if it assessed both the negatives and positives, and only then, if appropriate, concluded that the negatives outweigh the positives.” [Emphasis added.]

But it was never implemented by the IPCC.

And what about the impropriety of providing a balanced and unbiased assessment?

II. The PBL did not consider it egregious that the IPCC summary tended to single out the negative impacts of climate change while maintaining silence on benefits

Despite PBL’s — for lack of a better word, forgiving — methodology, the opening paragraph of its Executive Summary (page 9) notes that “the investigated summary conclusions tend to single out the most important negative impacts of climate change” [emphasis mine]. That is, the IPCC summary conclusions reported virtually exclusively on the costs of climate change while ignoring its benefits. But these are nothing but errors of omission!

Yet, not only does the PBL avoid calling these errors, which they most certainly are, it does not find this particularly objectionable. In fact, it confers legitimacy to systematically omitting information on the benefits by gracing it with the label, “risk oriented approach”, and claiming that this deceptive approach was implicitly endorsed by governments. Specifically, it states:

“The PBL has labelled this as a ‘risk-oriented’ approach, which had been implicitly endorsed by the governments that constitute the IPCC (including that of the Netherlands).” [Executive Summary, page 10. Emphasis added]

But where is the evidence for the PBL claim that governments “implicitly endorsed” this biased approach? The Dutch may have endorsed this implicitly, but the review comments to the final draft of the WGII Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) indicate that some governments explicitly asked for greater “balance”. See, for example, New Zealand’s comment provided above, and comment 970 for the US.

The fact that despite such comments calling for a systematic accounting of benefits and costs and greater balance, the WGII SPM “single[d] out the most negative impacts” (PBL, ES, p. 9). This attests, first, to the lack of persistence on the governments’ part rather than to their implicit endorsement. Second, it also is a testament to the fact that the one that controls the pen, controls the narrative, especially if there are hard limits on the time and space allotted for producing a product. And, believe me, the pressures to finalize an IPCC report on time are tremendous (see here). Third, they indicate that these omissions were not through oversight, but willful. That is, they are truly errors of commission.

More important, however, is that it is the IPCC’s job to provide an unbiased assessment. This duty holds no matter what. As noted on its website:

“Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment of current information… the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers.” [Emphasis added.]

But focusing on the negative impacts, while virtually ignoring benefits is neither objective, nor complete, nor rigorous, nor balanced. In fact, had governments explicitly admonished it to provide a biased report, the IPCC would have been duty-bound to reject such an admonishment; but to produce a biased report absent any such explicit admonishment is worse than a dereliction of duty. [One is reminded here of Thomas More’s bewilderment at Richard Rich’s perjury — “Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales?”]

III. The PBL considered it notable, but not reprehensible, that the IPCC summary tended to highlight the upper end of the range of negative impacts even while it was silent on benefits

To compound matters, not only did the IPCC WGII summary reports virtually ignore any benefits from climate change, to quote the PBL (page 39), “often [,] the upper ends of uncertainty ranges (the worst outcomes that are projected) were highlighted.” Of course, this is generally tempered by scientifically-precise wording such as “might”, “may”, “could” and “up to” [☺]. So, strictly speaking, these statements are not untrue, but they are certainly inaccurate (as opposed to “true but inaccurate”). These are inaccuracies of commission. Unfortunately, the PBL was silent on this tendency of the IPCC to highlight the upper end of the range of bad outcomes in both its press release (PR) and Executive Summary (ES). Worse, it seems to accept such biased reporting as acceptable practice under a “risk-oriented approach” (PBL, page 39).

[As an aside, note that both the PBL’s PR and ES noted that the IPCC summaries emphasized the “main negative impacts of climate change”. But “main negative impacts” is not synonymous with the “upper end of the range”. ]

IV. The PBL condoned the IPCC’s failure to provide context to gauge the importance of climate change — more errors of omission in the IPCC summary statements

The PBL also noted that the IPCC failed to provide information that would provide policy makers to view the impacts of climate change in the wider context of other factors that could have similar impacts. “This was even the case when these other factors were much larger than the impact that was attributable to climate change” [PBL, page 39; emphasis added]. However, while the PBL comments on some of these and notes that “some policymakers may wish to see both numbers – that is, changes with and without climate change – within the same context in a summary” (page 39), it does not label these as errors and seems to find such errors acceptable. They are, in fact, errors of willful omission, similar to the systemic neglect of benefits in the summary statements.

Here too, some governments had specifically commented on the lack of context in their comments on the final draft of the WGII SPM (e.g., US in comment 363, Finland in 78) but with no greater success. For example, comment 56 was:

Lack of Context in which Climate Change Occurs

“In addition, the U.S. Government recommends inclusion of some discussion of the role of socio-economic and other non-climate-change-related factors, as these play important roles in both reducing and increasing vulnerability to climate risks. Climate change, for the most part, exacerbates existing problems rather than creates brand new ones (although location-specific details may vary). Fortunately, the information providing this context exists in the chapters and, in many cases, in the Technical Summary. Policymakers would benefit from being provided estimates of the relative significance of non-climate-change-related factors and climate change with respect to various climate-sensitive problems.” [Comment 56, emphasis in the original.]

Ironically, the IPCC claims that it should be “policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive” (see here). But what could be more policy relevant than trying to establish how climate change compares in impact with other factors?

Elsewhere, I have tried to establish the importance of climate change relative to non-climate change-related factors for a variety of impacts. See, for example, the post, Setting the Record Straight on the IPCC WG II Fourth Assessment Report, which discusses and links to yet other posts which indicate that even under the warmest scenario:

(a) Climate change would reduce the net global population at risk of water shortage, and

(b) 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.]

To quote myself, in the absence of context even the smallest molehill can be mistaken for a Mount Everest. Which is why for a report to be policy-relevant, the broader context is obligatory.

V. Summary: PBL gives the IPCC’s errors of omission a pass, and its approach to risk analysis would create their own risks

To summarize, the PBL gave the IPCC’s summary statements on regional impacts a relatively clean bill of health because it only looked for errors of commission in a limited number of chapters while deeming errors of omission to be an acceptable part of a “risk-oriented approach.” Under the latter approach, it would be acceptable for executive summaries to emphasize costs and, moreover, highlight the upper end of these costs, even as they eschew information on benefits. And providing policy makers with the broader context might be nice, but optional.

PBL may label this a “risk-oriented approach”, but most rational people would label it “biased and unbalanced”.

PBL’s approach would institutionalize biased summaries and, worse, an asymmetric approach to risk analysis so that costs (negative consequences) are conveyed to policymakers but not benefits. It’s then only a short step to justifying an asymmetric precautionary principle in which we examine, for example, the costs of a technology (e.g., genetically modified crops or DDT) but not its benefits (e.g., reduced hunger and saved lives). As detailed in the book, The Precautionary Principle, these specific asymmetric applications of the principle have led to more harm than good. Although such outcomes are not necessarily inevitable, ignoring one side of the cost-benefit equation (but not the other) is an invitation to be visited by unintended consequences.

In the global warming arena, we have seen such unintended consequences for biofuels substantially increase hunger and poverty worldwide without significantly reducing either greenhouse gas emissions or, more importantly, global temperatures.

These consequences, while unintended were not inevitable (see this paper from 1999). They were enabled by selective risk analysis. Policy makers, enamored of the benefits of biofuels, compounded by hysteria about climate change, were happy to ignore a full accounting of the social, environmental and economic consequences. And their bureaucracies were happy to oblige.

PBL’s approach to risk analysis would make such snafus more likely because it would institutionalize an asymmetric precautionary principle.


newest oldest most voted
Notify of

I understand why people like Al Gore, Michael Mann, Romm, Hansen, et al with a large financial and personal prestige stake in global warming keep pushing it even though it all seems to have fallen apart and bears no relationship to what the world’s climate is actually doing. What I can’t understand is why so many average citizens are so desperate to still believe AGW has any validity. Every action the warmists want to impose on the world will simple make everyone’s life more expensive, more miserable, more desperate, and less interesting. I know that AGW and indeed all of modern environmentalism is a religion now but why do they still have faith in this nonsense that will worsen their lives? The definition of “faith” is when you believe things that no one in their right mind would believe seems totally appropriate with regard to AGW. Or put another way, what the hell is wrong with these people?


Viola. The perfect defense for Bernie Madeoff’s appeal.
He just omitted to tell his investors that he wasn’t investing thier money, until someone else has laid thier cash down.
The IPCC has merely omitted to tell the world that it cites wild predictions as peer-reviewed facts.
They were going to fess up someday, only someone else beat them to it.


For equivalent lunacy, c/o independent Scottish Gov, see desperate affects towards ‘renewables.’ Just like big oil took, big oil government now hikes up the taxes. Complicit as thieves.

Evan Jones

Regions such as the Amazon and Himalayas?


I read it twice…and it’s still all double Dutch to me!


‘e’, of course

Although I don’t know who “Viola” is, you’ve got a good point on Madeoff’s possible defence — at least if a government panel on climate change had been examining him.


I’m not sure “admonished” is the right, or best word. I think you meant
something like “charged, directed, ordered”.

Ulric Lyons

“(b) 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.”
21% for hunger? surely elevated co2 levels are increasing biomas and crop yields, and overall, rainfall is greater with higher temp`s too. I can see the biofuel market raiding staple food supplies, and sold at prices lifted by crude oil prices being responsible for a massive increase in 3rd world hunger very recently.

Dave McK

This is very thin gruel – and too much of it.
All the outcomes of the investigations were reported over a month ago in the WSJ. The implications were also reported. Everybody knew then. Nobody’s expectations were violated. It is the doldrums.
You know, while you fiddle, cap and tax is getting ready for xmas.
People are still of the opinion that discussion is an option.
We are headed toward trouble.

That’s twice the Dutch have let me down tonight. They’re normally such sensible folk.

“Admonished” may not be the best word, but its been used appropriately.
“To admonish” also means “to urge”. See 2nd definition in “The Pocket Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus” by Elizabeth J. Jewell, pages 13-14 at

I would be very, very grateful if someone tells me if by chance there is an IPCC publication talking about the “warming of the surface by the downwelling radiation from the atmosphere”. I need it to complete a new article debunking this hypothesis.
Thanks! 🙂


As this AGW parade continues it appears there must be some reason beyond preventing the unlikely cacastrophy some predict. Virtually none of ominous scenarios we were told would happen have come to pass and indeed most things like more severe droughts and storms are showing no trend or possibly lower frequency. I know the trends are not the end all of the discussion but The IPCC summaries virtually ignore these facts which leads me to question what’s the point.
I believe most western (modern) countries are finding it hard to continue the endless slide into socialist economies without the support of the capitalist systems that provided the wealth which enabled the progression to begin with. Simply put, the costs both actual money and those arising from lost productivity unintentionally caused by social safety nets being poorly devised and even worse managment and oversight are bankrupting them. It is political suicide to raise taxes to catch up and they wouldn’t work anyway as taxes tend to weaken economies not shore them up so a new approach was needed. The AGW cause is the required emergency that needs the population to dig deep and tough out the enhanced burden thrust upon them and it has the added advantage of a guilt trip as it is the fault of our indulgent socoety. The next step is to disguise it so it appears like a win/win scenario.
The win/win is a brand new elightened economy with eco-friendly jobs and nobody has to feel guilty anymore. The world will be saved and everyone will be better off as we rid ourselves of the “big oil and big coal” monopolys that were the root cause of the evil CO2 increase that was burning up the earth. The initial capital will be sold like the race to space was necessary to maintain the cold war balance of power and save the world.
It make good press releases and shows that all these governments can and will get things done. One small problem remains. None of the suggested solutions have any real chance of actually supporting the lifestyles we have become accustomed to or the production base we require. In fact as we develop more and more of these non-solutions (solar, wind and biofuels) using the precious resources we have to support these non-selfsustaining options we move further and further from the ability to recover from actual disasters. So what will happen if we continue on this path is our economies will collapse under the enormas weight of dept and reduced productivity and we will revert back to so called fossil fuels but in a very weak condition.
Or we could just call the whole thing off.
Just my two cents worth on why the reports only highlight the negative,
Barry Strayer

Dr A Burns

“… findings of IPCC on regional climate-change impacts …”
“… possible future regional impacts …”
“… most important negative impacts … ”
There’s no problem figuring out the “impacts” but where is the evidence that any of it is actually going to happen ?
As we all know, the IPCC has not presented any shred of evidence whatsoever.

F. Ross

“Are the summary conclusions on regional impacts well founded on the underlying chapters and literature references? …”

It would be nice to know: do the underlying chapters and literature references make use of models? If so, are the model results based on arbitrarily “homogenized data”? Do those models accurately track what has happened historically [without “diddling” to get the desired tracking]. Have those models accurately predicted up to the present? If the answers are “yes,” “no,” and “no”, then what good are conclusions?

Jack Simmons

I wish I could find an IRS agent who would affirm less than half my income and give me a pass on the rest.


The Dutch Oven Patrol sounds like people you’d like to mess with.


Enginear says:
July 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm””
Barry, you took the words right out of my mouth,
only without all the cuss words I would have used. 😉

It is obvious that there are a lot of “reports” exonerating these climate scientists ever since climategate. Not a coincidence. This is damage control. “See,” the argument will go, “climategate was just a bunch of emails taken out of context and therefore not important. Don’t examine them yourself. And besides, they emails were illegally obtained.” I still hear the true believers saying the emails were stolen because of a hack, despite any evidence to support this claim. Damage control in action. This ain’t over.


Sorry Anthony, this is a Patrol Name, not a Merit Badge. A patrol is a group of 4-10 boys who work together to handle all of their scouting activities from teaching new scouts life skills to the daily necessities while camping and hiking (pitching tents to cooking meals).
Kim, if by “messing with” you mean eating (messhall) you’ve probably made a safe bet, since dutch oven cooking is one of the highest forms of art. If you mean it the other way, I encourage you to remember these are boys in the 11 to 18 yr old range and that’s a very dangerous group :).
To every one here at WUWT, sorry I’m not posting something serious with regard to climate, but we’ve all been over the ignorance and downright dishonesty that the AGW crowd keeps throwing out there so I figured I’d take a lighter path.

Joe Lalonde

Proxies make good evidence to the IPCC when manipulation is easily attained.
Far more temperature stations in warm areas compared to colder regions.

Evan Jones

Although I don’t know who “Viola”
She’s right there.


Indur M. Goklany says: July 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm
““Admonished” may not be the best word, but its been used appropriately.
“To admonish” also means “to urge”.”
Ah but the first purpose of writing is to convey meaning, so if you mean “urge”,
the best way to convey that meaning is to say “urge”, no? I read it as meaning
“rebuke” (the first meaning given in your source) and was confused – which is
not really what an author wants.

hide the decline

Anthony – with respect to the use of the word “regional”. I have noticed that a lot of alarmist bloggers are now using that word in the context of a (singular) “Global” temperature. Is it just me or is it that the goal posts have been moved yet again, as in the change in terminology from global warming to the more benign ‘Climate Change’ ??
It follows that there is a marked shift in the analogy of the AGW thesis from the cumulative affect of the thesis across all data sources and sets to form the backbone of the “Global” temperature to that now where a (singular) “Regional” data set means “Global”.

evanmjones says:
July 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm
Although I don’t know who “Viola”
She’s right there.
Took me a moment. Good one.

anna v

I would like to remind committees looking into regional effects, of the paper , discussed in CA a while ago,
It is worth reproducing their conclusions
• The performance of the models at local scale at 55 stations worldwide (in addition to
the 8 stations used in Koutsoyiannis et al., 2008) is poor regarding all statistical
indicators at the seasonal, annual and climatic time scales. In most cases the observed
variability metrics (standard deviation and Hurst coefficient) are underestimated.
• The performance of the models (both the TAR and AR4 ones) at a large spatial scale,
i.e. the contiguous USA, is even worse.
• None of the examined models reproduces the over‐year fluctuations of the areal
temperature of USA (gradual increase before 1940, falling trend until the early 1970’s,
slight upward trend thereafter); most overestimate the annual mean (by up to
4°C) and predict a rise more intense than reality during the later 20th century.
• On the climatic scale, the model whose results for temperature are closest to reality
(PCM‐20C3M) has an efficiency of 0.05, virtually equivalent to an elementary
prediction based on the historical mean; its predictive capacity against other indicators
(e.g. maximum and minimum monthly temperature) is worse.
• The predictive capacity of GCMs against the areal precipitation is even poorer
(overestimation by about 100 to 300 mm). All efficiency values at all time scales are
strongly negative, while correlations vary from negative to slightly positive.
• Contrary to the common practice of climate modellers and IPCC, here comparisons are
made in terms of actual values and not departures from means (“anomalies”). The
enormous differences from reality (up to 6°C in minimum temperature and 300 mm in
annual precipitation)
would have been concealed if departures from mean had been

bold mine
Note particularly the obfuscating effect of using anomalies when predicting regional effects. Maybe it is time to challenge head on all these implicit assumptions that create the CAGW illusions. The anomaly assumption is the grossest one.

anna v

Continuing on the use of anomalies versus real values in gauging temperatures etc.
Lets take water.
An anomaly of two degrees in temperature when the base value is 0C means that ice will melt. This has a large number of consequences, for example: while it melts the skin surface temperature remains less than two degrees, no matter what the air says.
An anomaly of two degrees when the base value is 99C means water will turn to steam and again the skin surface temperature will remain around there until all evaporates.
Note: skin surface temperature is what should enter the gray body radiation calculations.
Lets take plants.
Depending on the species, they are very sensitive to temperatures, dying if it gets lower than their limit by 2C and not caring if it goes over the 20C they thrive in and maintain their leaf temperature at.
Take warm blooded animals, humans included.
In addition to the water turning to ice danger line, the comfort zone around and above 37C is very sensitive to small changes. in between 0C and 37C more than a 2 degree anomaly happens every 24 hours without creating problems.
Conclusion: It is the real temperature averages we should be worrying about and not the anomalies. And, as Koutsoyanis et al have shown and as also Lucia
has shown in her blog, the IPCC models do a terrible job of predicting temperatures.
They are even worse in extrapolating cloud cover, which is so absolutely essential for albedo. A 2 percent change in albedo can change temperatures by 2C.
Using anomalies is like wearing grossly distorting glasses and trying to repair a car. One will be seeing some connection with the real space locations but missing the screw by feet, particularly as one is not seeing the hand to be able to calibrate to the changed distances.


Allencic: “What I can’t understand is why so many average citizens are so desperate to still believe AGW has any validity. “
This is a complex issue and one we badly need to understand. But I can think of at least five reasons why AGW remains such a persistent meme in the face of all the evidence against it:
1. Excitement. It’s simply more exciting to imagine yourself living in a time of crisis than a boring old stretch of ordinary history. Especially if you can imagine your actions are Making a Difference (see below).
2. Solidarity. It feels good to get together with your friends to discuss how you are averting the coming catastrophe and cuss out those wicked sceptics. As we saw in the Blitz in London, shared fear promotes companionship.
3. Self-righteousness. Now that religion in the West is collapsing, really smug sanctimony is getting hard to achieve. AGW beliefs provide that sense of holier-than-thouness without the need to actually do very much. In fact…
4. Because the problem is so universal and amorphous, an AGW advocate can do pretty much anything they want to and still feel good about their role in saving the planet.
5. Obviously governments aren’t going to let an opportunity like this go by without taking advantage of it: it’s a wonderful chance to impose all kinds of legislation and controls that would be rejected under normal circumstances.
There is plenty of documentation available concerning many of the millennial cults that have come and gone over time; reading some of that can give a real insight into the AGW mindset.

Baa Humbug

hide the decline says:
July 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm
Regards the change from global to regional, I think you’ll find the upcoming AR5 will focus more on regional “predictions” of 10-30 years with large error bars. Trenberth has said as much.
There also is a group called CLIVAR (Climate Variability and Predictablity) due to finalise their work this year. This group has been working on climate predictions in various regions for the last 10 years, armed with a swathe of ships, aircraft and latest technology.
IMHO their goal is to be able to predict (within the large error bars) climate events such as floods and droughts.
Can anyone here visualise the headlines if the IPCC were to predict (or fluke) just one flood or drought?
This is their way of gaining unquestionable authority over the globes climate. The very minute one of these events is predicted (or fluked) us sceptics can pour petrol over our heads and light up, no one will listen, game over.
We need many sets of eyes pouring over the CLIVAR documents to head them off at the pass so to speak.

Hector M.

Ulric Lyons says:
July 11, 2010 at 5:28 pm
“(b) 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.”
The expected impact on hunger is much lower. To begin with, it should be calculated on the agricultural output and level of hunger that would exist in 2100 without climate change (but assuming expected population growth and economic growth). Second, the assessed impacts are much lower: the percentage of people at risk of hunger in 2100 would be a maximum of 6% in the worst hypotheses (the discredited population projections of scenario A2), and much less in other scenarios. Per capita agricultural output would be much larger than today, even assuming an extremely modest rate of economic growth, poor technical change in agriculture, and a worsening in income distribution, the actual impact of climate change on the prevalence of hunger by 2100 would be negligible. This assumes a rate of economic growth in this century far below the growth required to produce IPCC-predicted levels of CO2 emissions.
These estimates are based on the IPCC climate projections, and assessments of impact on agriculture and food security prepared by FAO and IIASA (the only ones providing worldwide figures, the first one using Ricardian models and the second one using Integrated Assessment tools). If IPCC projections happen to be exaggerated, or income distribution does not worsen (which is probable since growth is associated with somewhat more equal distributions of income), or technical change/economic growth happen to be higher than the modest levels assumed, the outcome would be yet better.
A detailed analysis, focused on Latin America but revising also worldwide figures, can be found at my recent (co-authored) monograph available at

Beth Cooper

…..The risk orientation approach. Don’t you just love bureau speak! Sleepalot tells us that the first purpose of writing is to convey meaning. Wake up, Sleepalot, in the finest traditions of ‘Yes Minister’ we discover that the first purpose of writing is obfuscation.

jonjermey says:
July 11, 2010 at 10:12 pm
Allencic: “What I can’t understand is why so many average citizens are so desperate to still believe AGW has any validity. “
This is a complex issue and one we badly need to understand. But I can think of at least five reasons why AGW remains such a persistent meme in the face of all the evidence against it:
[some very good reasons]
But going back to Allencic’s original question: ‘why are so many average citizens desperate to still believe AGW has some validity’ …
I consider myself an “average citizen” … and back in the halcyon days of my innocence (up to about 10 days BC [Before Climategate]), I gave the matter very little thought, beyond a somewhat mild curiosity as to how CO2 (which according to my very sketchy recollection of the science I learned in school was “good for the planet”) came to be considered the “primary culprit”.
Back in those days, I didn’t know that weather != climate, I’d never heard of CRU or GHCNs or SRES, or the “hockey stick”- or even the IPCC. For several years, I’d been hearing/reading that “global warming” was happening – but it wasn’t something that grabbed my interest. And I certainly did not know that “peer review” does not include any verification of data and methodology.
You might say that I was blissfully ignorant. And my guess is that this is very much the case with “many average citizens”. When I first embarked on my course of “due diligence”, the greatest shocker to me was that so much of this “climate science” was not really “science” (as I was taught during the course of my pre-post-modernist education), but rather adventures in computerized what ifs!
My hypothesis is that “the average citizen” has been just as “brainwashed” by the coalition of willing media sycophants as I was – and has no idea how much “climate science” depends on the inputs to /outputs from computers.
One study that I would like to see conducted amongst “average citizens” – regardless of whether or not they believe that human generated CO2 is the primary cause of global warming/climate change – is the extent of their awareness of how climate science is actually “done”.
I think the results of such a study would be far more enlightening than, for example, the recent PNAS travesty 😉
All of that being said, there’s one climate scientist who certainly got something right. On Oct. 26, 2009 at the 31st Session of the IPCC in Bali, Joseph Alcamo (one of the pre-Kyoto “consensus” whipper-uppers) was perhaps far more prophetic than he intended to be when he said:
“as policymakers and the public begin to grasp the multi-billion dollar price tag for mitigating and adapting to climate change, we should expect a sharper questioning of the science behind climate policy.”


It’s worth noting that the former director of KNMI, the Dutch meteorological institute, is skeptical of the AGW narrative. However, I believe at the time he was director, he had to tow the AGW line. It’s a shame that people are forced to be silent to preserve their jobs if their views, even if it is based on facts, counter those of the pack mentality.

Dave McK

“It’s a shame that people are forced to be silent to preserve their jobs if their views, even if it is based on facts, counter those of the pack mentality.”
It’s disgusting to provide excuses for cowardice.
It is not possible for a person to be false to his beliefs. It is not possible to force a person to be false to his beliefs because it is not possible to force a mind to think.
People make their choices and the choice to pretend one didn’t make a choice is perhaps the lamest of them all. Abdicating reason per se is a confession of unbounded stupidity.
But apologists are generous with their approval of treachery because they anticipate that one day they will want the same generous treatment when they betray their own humanity.


A regional approach by Prof.Timo Niroma:


The main IPCC error it is that it bases its assumptions on Atmosphere models, and we all already know that no matter what changes could happen in the atmosphere (The Air), this can not “hold” enough energy as water (Seas) can: Air volumetric heat capacity= 0.00192 joules, while Water heat capacity is 4.186, i.e., 3227 times.
So, kids, remember: Greenhouse gases=Gases in a Greenhouse, and you know: Earth has no ceiling=so everything is just a lie to scare the illiterate or the fool ones.
To those who will tell: “But CO2 absorbs heat”, tell them the example of the heated air balloon: It flies up, up and away, thanks to heating the air in it, (air+combustion gases=CO2+Water, from burned propane); as it goes up it gives its heat away, beyond the earth´s open top.
If insisting on how bad and dark is CO2, then make them take a mirror and exhale on it, then ask: How dark black is the mirror?; as they will see nothing, then say: See?, CO2, what we exhale, it is transparent, you exhale about 900 grams a day of it….to be inhaled by green plants and trees, which will give us back the Oxygen we need to live.


Gino @ 7:06 PM


Dave McK says:
“It’s disgusting to provide excuses for cowardice.”
I know, but such is the world we live in my friend. Several very accomplished and well respected University colleagues of mine who don’t believe the AGW narrative rubbish would never say so for fear of being blacklisted or…gasp…IMMORAL. Ah yes, the leftist charge of immorality. You can’t use reason against that at all. Unfortunately in the Netherlands, the whole country is run by very left wing politics (including the media) and as such, you cannot speak out against leftish issues without being branded a facist (or be charged with hate speech!). Reasoning has left the building a long time ago. Sigh.


I know it’s off topic… but in view of the logo you might like to know that a “Dutch Oven” is a (sadly retired) British term for breaking wind in bed. I believe it dates from the 1600s when a period of Anglo/Dutch warfare bred many such derogatory terms, a few of which (such as “Dutch Courage”) are still around today.

Roger Knights

a “Dutch Oven” is a (sadly retired) British term for breaking wind in bed.

That reminds me of a joke:
“You know the honeymoon’s over when one spouse pulls the bedclothes over the other’s head after farting in bed.”

PBL means Plan Bureau Leefomgeving = Planning Institution Life Environment, this is a by the dutch gouvernment paid institute to check and control environmental matters. It is highly populated with left people/researchers and PBL received the order to check the ICCP report due to questioning in the parlement about the East-Anglia University climate e-mail fraude. The minister involved was Mrs. Cramer, a very left socialistic minister for environmental matters. Mrs. Cramer is adoring Obama and Al Gore and had functions in Milieudefensie; an institute mainly paid by gouvernment to protect the environment in a extreme green way.


A great deal of all of this is directly due to the huge expansion of the main stream media, which strongly amplifies everything of a negative nature. Particularly since TV began to come into wide use. “A picture is worth a thousand words” says the old maxim, and in the same way, a picture has an impact of a thousand words.
Consider: A deranged killer murders a child in say, Alabama. That will be broadcast, with visuals, on every TV station in the US, and perhaps even in foreign countries. Certainly it is a tragedy, and the manhunt is on in Alabama, but the news story is broadcast so widely that it would seem to viewers that there are 1,000 or more deranged child killers lurking all over the US. The cry, “We must do something,” rings out across the entire nation, when the real problem is entirely local. Parents in Podunk Iowa become quickly afraid to allow their children go outside to play except under their watchful eyes.
It is the same way with the television broadcasting regarding AGW. The broadcasts right now are all of a heat wave where there is one, but nothing is much broadcast about the record or near record cold temperatures where these low temperatures are occurring. Those broadcasts are local only, which have no where near the impact on the aggregate minds of the American citizenry. A thousand broadcasts have far greater impacts than a single broadcast.
Then too there is the crafty way the cheerleaders of AGW use language. In describing warmer weather, the word used is “hot”. When this last winter the temperatures in Iowa were well below zero, and the forecast was that far lower temperatures would be coming, the word used was that it would be cooler the next day. Heaven forbid the word “cold” be used as in “colder”. Stating that going from 5 degrees below zero to 25 degrees below is just “cooler”, and using the term “hotter” to describe a temperature increase of a single degree goes beyond the sublime to the ridiculous.
When a prolonged time of really cold weather occurs, no matter how enduring it is, the term used is cold “snap”, whereas a short duration warming is a heat “wave”, no matter how short in duration the warmer period is.
Words, to be useful, have to have agreed upon meanings. Amplifying the warmer and diminishing the colder changes the picture in the minds of the beholders, that is, the American voters, tremendously and presents a completely false picture..

Allencic sayd:
July 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm
“I understand why people like Al Gore, Michael Mann, Romm, Hansen, et al with a large financial and personal prestige stake in global warming keep pushing it even though it all seems to have fallen apart and bears no relationship to what the world’s climate is actually doing. What I can’t understand is why so many average citizens are so desperate to still believe AGW has any validity.”
jonjermey says:
July 11, 2010 at 10:12 pm
jonjermey, you explained that there are at least five reasons why AGW advocacy policy and success persist: 1. Excitement… 2. Solidarity… 3. Self-righteousness… 4. [Impunity of] AGW advocates… 5. Opportunity for governments [to impose controls]….
hro001 says:
July 12, 2010 at 1:29 am
“….I consider myself an “average citizen” … and back in the halcyon days of my innocence (up to about 10 days BC [Before Climategate]), I gave the matter very little thought, ….
You might say that I was blissfully ignorant. And my guess is that this is very much the case with “many average citizens”. When I first embarked on my course of “due diligence”, the greatest shocker to me was that so much of this “climate science” was not really “science” (as I was taught during the course of my pre-post-modernist education), but rather adventures in computerized what ifs!
My hypothesis is that “the average citizen” has been just as “brainwashed” by the coalition of willing media sycophants as I was – and has no idea how much “climate science” depends on the inputs to /outputs from computers….”
jonjermey, you listed some of the consequences of but not the primary process itself by which those consequences are being brought about, but hro001 actually hit the nail on the head without identifying the hand that wields the hammer (namely, the hammer being “the coalition of willing media sycophants”).
Advertising is what brings the media the hoped-for profit that permits them to stay in operation. For example, the price charged for a newspaper covers the cost of the paper it is printed on. Advertising revenue covers all of the overhead of producing the newspaper: journalists, copywriters, composing, printing, and distributing.
Government (local, regional and national) is the primary advertiser. Large corporations are next in rank. It can be argued that non-governmental organizations are large corporations, too; take for example the WWF.
The newspapers are the pipers whom the advertisers pay. The pipers plays the tune the advertisers pay to have played. If not, advertising revenue will dry up and go to competing media.
The influence of “the coalition of willing media sycophants” has a power base that is far larger than merely the media. For example, take your “average” education and the “brainwashing” it had given you. That would hardly have been as effective as it was if the brainwashing would only have been done by the media alone. It took the willing and deliberate cooperation of the education system to succeed as well as it had done.
Funding for the various agents of the education system comes from the same sources that provide advertising revenue to the media. It can be argued that the media are an extension of the education system, so that the control of the brainwashing process ranges from the time kids begin to watch television (pre-kindergarten) well into and all the way through adulthood.
Consider and never forget that Joseph Goebbes’ official title was “Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda”, whose jurisdiction included all of the education system, publishing, theatres, broadcasting, movie-industry and visual arts.
It makes little difference whether a program for indoctrination is driven by the ideology of a central party committee, by that of a dictator or by the ideology that unifies a coalition of government- and privately-owned advocacy organizations that all wish to reap the benefits that the indoctrination they impose will provide them with.
What matters is whether they have the power to influence and control. Money is power, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
hro001, you mentioned that you consider yourself to be “an average citizen”, but you also indicated that you were “taught during the course of [your] pre-post-modernist education.” That seems to indicate that you received a university education.
Being an average citizen and having a university education are mutually exclusive. Most people do not have a university education. However, if anything, your qualifications and educational experience subjected you to a somewhat more intense course of indoctrination than it does the average Joe.
You indicated that your visits to WUWT helped to open your eyes, but there, too, as large as the number of visitors to WUWT is, it is a far cry short from reaching half of all Internet users, let alone even a substantial part of the world’s population. The “average citizen” is far more likely to help increase the traffic-volume to sex- and porn-sites than he is to visit WUWT and to become enlightened and objective about matters of scientific investigation of climate issues.

“Goebbes” should of course be “Goebbels”.

Walter Schneider says:
July 15, 2010 at 10:53 am
The “average citizen” is far more likely to help increase the traffic-volume to sex- and porn-sites than he is to visit WUWT and to become enlightened and objective about matters of scientific investigation of climate issues.
Wait. There’s porn on the Internet? What the hell am I doing here!?

Allencic sayd:
July 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm
“What I can’t understand is why so many average citizens are so desperate to still believe AGW has any validity.”
One more comment: Under Hitler and in other totalitarian regimes, propaganda was an art. It can be said that today it is a science.
“….bear in mind that Hitler was only in power for twelve years and that the schools named after him existed for only eight. Since 1945 techniques of indoctrination have become more subtle and development of the mass media has enabled propaganda to be put out on a scale that would arouse the envy of Goebbels. We cannot afford to assume that it is only under totalitarian regimes that such techniques will today be applied; no country can dare to neglect the safeguards that make for freedom within its educational system. The potentialities of totalitarian man and his mob-mind are inside us all. (Education and Elitism in Nazi Germany, Robert Cecil, 1971; monograph at )