When somebody hits you with that new 'IPCC is 95% certain' talking point on global warming, show them this

People send me stuff.

The IPCC has announced (via a “leak” campaign only to selected media outlets, such as Reuters, NYT, WaPo) that they are now 95% certain. From Reuters:

Drafts seen by Reuters of the study by the U.N. panel of experts, due to be published next month, say it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities – chiefly the burning of fossil fuels – are the main cause of warming since the 1950s.

I’m glad they pinned down “…since the 1950s”, that’s important.

According to this MotherJones report:

According to Jonathan Lynn, who is head of communications at the IPCC, the organization expects that leaks will occur because report drafts wind up in so many different hands. Lynn cautions that “there’s no question that the final report will not be the same as the drafts.”

I’ve been in touch with IPCC secretariat Mr. Jonathan Lynn, and while he’s glad to point out issues on WUWT, neither he nor any of the media outlets that have the “leaked” report are willing to provide WUWT with a copy. No matter, we’ll simply go with what we know.

Here is the statement again, emphasis mine:

Drafts seen by Reuters of the study by the U.N. panel of experts, due to be published next month, say it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities – chiefly the burning of fossil fuels – are the main cause of warming since the 1950s.

OK, so here’s the 64 thousand dollar questions for IPCC cheerleaders:

  1. Which side is which time period?
  2. What caused the warming before CO2 became an issue to be essentially identical to the period when it is claimed to be the main driver?
  3. How is the IPCC 95% certain one side is caused by man and the other is not?


h/t to Burt Rutan, but I believe the original comparison concept was by Warren Meyer.

BTW, the answer should be obvious which is which due to the telltale 1997-1998 El Niño signature in one graph.


newest oldest most voted
Notify of

The null hypothesis wins.
No reason to imagine that the more recent warming is any less natural in origin than the prior.


This is why I’m not buying the whole “Brightening” theory presented yesterday all that much…


Anthony Watts:
This has often been pointed out on WUWT and I have often seen dbstealey post the graph with two trend lines showing the same trend for the two twentieth century warming periods.
Perhaps he could post it again here?

Ooh ooh, I know the answer.

95% is a figure provided by the politically naive to the numerically ignorant – just like the rest of the IPCC report, that is…


Obviously there needs to be a whole lot more adjustin’ goin’ on.


Why are you using Hadcrut 3? I know it’s probably more accurate and I presume it proves your point better than Hadcrut 4. But the warmists will be onto it in a flash.


The one that looks like a hockey stick.

Was this the chart you asked about?
And here is another chart based on Phil Jones data.


That is a most telling comparison. It requires a great deal of concentration to pick which is which. It is a clear example of history repeating itself. Only the Warmistas could say there is a difference.

Let’s not forget that these IPCC models are considered to be the antithesis of the “physics-based notion that sound science equals reductionist, high control, high precision science.” That quote was supporter Briane Wynne in a 1994 book.
When you read my sources they pretty consistently say that the ‘science’ involved at the IPCC is actually sociology. Which many of us do not believe deserves the label.

The argument is that the traditional definition of scientific knowledge “tacitly reflects and reproduces normative models of social relations, cultural and moral identitie, as if these were natural.”
Can’t have that even if it takes a hockey stick to be the wrecking iron.

The only “evidence” the IPCC has are their models which allegedly show only natural + anthropogenic forcing can explain the latter 1957-2008 warming.
Of course, they conveniently leave out of the models ocean oscillations, global brightening, accumulated solar energy anomaly [the “sunspot time integral”], etc. which can more than explain the 1957-2008 warming.


CNN was touting this and emphasizing the Greenland glacier melt causing massive sea level rise. Of course they didn’t mention that the temps haven’t gone up in over 15 years and sea level rise has not changed.

Harold Ambler

@ Bob, lol.


dbstealey says:
August 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm
The slight difference in warming per decade on Jones’ chart during the 1975-1998 period as opposed to 1975-2009 implies cooling since the end of or some point in the shorter period.


Just wondering, why was CRUT3 used? Aren’t they on 4 or 5 by now?


I’d recommend going back and using CRUT4 data. I just went over to woodsfortrees and plotted it and the shapes still remain the same. Using CRUT3 data just allows it to be completely dismissed by the other side.

William Astley

The 95% percent confidence is a politically derived number. It has no scientific basis.
Odd that the IPCC would ignore the fact that there are nine (9) cycles of warming and cooling in the paleo record. The warm periods correlate with grand solar magnetic cycle maximums and the following cold periods correlate with Maunder like minimums.
The regions of the planet that warmed during the nine (9) Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles are the same regions that warmed in the last 70 years.The nature vs man question as to the cause of the warming will likely be answered as solar cycle 24 progresses.
Greenland ice temperature, last 11,000 years determined from ice core analysis, Richard Alley’s paper.

David L. Hagen

Nicola Scafetta provides a model that accounts for both warming periods and the “pause” since then.
REPLY: I no longer assign any credibility to Scafetta’s model, its seems little more than hindcast curve fitting – Anthony

Robert of Ottawa

The leak to Reuters was a test flight of their next excuse. I think it safe to say it crashed and burned on contact with a truth missile.
Expect AR5 to come up with some other slogan … as a student of rhetoric, I will not help them.


Be “funny” if you plotted the decline in temperatures (from the 1890’s into 1920’s), the static temperature curve between 1965-1978 (as it curved back into the 1975-1998 heating), and the decline (between 198-45 into 1968) and the recent 15 year static period as well.
Then, just to be “honest” mix them up with a “CO2 rising” under the “wrong ones” ….

Reblogged this on Power To The People and commented:
The weather was more extreme in 1913. https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/how-extreme-was-us-weather-in-2012/
The Climate models being used by the IPCC to justify “skyrocketing” fuel costs to “save the earth” have no relationship with reality and harm the poor the most who cannot afford to pay for the high fuel costs. High fuel costs = more poor people = more children dying. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/15/james-hansens-policies-are-shafting-the-poor/
“When the climate models do not agree with the reality”, Vahrenholt thundered, “then reality is not what’s false!” http://notrickszone.com/2013/08/15/vahrenholt-thrashes-leading-ipcc-former-ncar-scientist-in-hamburg-debate-the-wound-of-climate-science/


There were few climate change jobs before 1950.
I think one might find that climate change attribution to humans corresponds with the number of paid climate change alarmists. But the good side is this, once the temperature fails to warm, the number of employed alarmists will fall, and so will the general attribution of climate change to humans.
As Al Gore himself said, ‘it’s difficult to get someone to understand something, if their salary depends on them not understanding it’. This sort of thing has always been a thorn in those who advocate social change, they never seem able to apply their principles and criticisms of others to their own arguments, people, and agendas.

Gail Combs

The actual quote should be:
“The IPCC is now 95% certain the Climate Model Ensembles are crap do not reflect reality.”
IPCC GRAPH of Models vs global temperature.


A primer for disproving IPCC’s theory of man made global warming using observed temperature data

Right, and they were 95% certain that in the 1970s that we were heading for an ice age, or in the ’80s they were 95% certain that we were headed for much of the world being under water by now. Their own words:
“If present trends continue, the world will be about eleven degrees colder by the year 2000.” -Kenneth Watt, Earth Day 1970
“Entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” -Noel Brown, ex UNEP Director, 1989
“[in twenty years {2008}] the West Side Highway [and thus much of Manhattan] will be under water.” -James Hansen, 1988, NASA
“[Inaction will cause]… by the turn of the century [2000], an ecological catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust.” -Mustafa Tolba, 1982, ex Executive Director of the UN Environment Program
Enough with the never ending predictions of doom!


If 95% confidence doesn’t force people to do what they want then in the next report they will be 120% confident.


You were too kind Anthony Lubos did a much more scientific dissection on it
There is going to start being a chasm opening up between climate science and science itself if they keep doing this. I hope they really rethink this whole idea before any release and have the intelligence to leave the confidence levels alone.

CO2 is doing nothing..
And that’s huge, from the graph we see the rate of temperature change — in time of low & higher CO2 concentrations — is the same. Exactly the same. This doesn’t jive with the theory of how the “established physics” on CO2 should be affecting things. Because, as far as temps, CO2 is obviously not affecting anything. Nothing. Nada. Nil. Zilch. On and on. It don’t jive!!
I know some will say, look, there’s a slightly steeper slope for the second half of the 20th century. Well, that would be like some kind of sleight of hand or chartsmanship. And to think also that the chart for the second half of the 20th century is a product of the warmists’ data manipulations and has been influenced by the urban heat effect. CO2 isn’t doing squat. Time to retire the GHE as (obviously incorrectly) postulated over a century ago.


100% of climate models do not work.
Now that is a consensus and a certainty anyone can live with.

John West

Yea, I see the El Niño but where’s Mt. Pinatubo?


I would guess they are 95% sure of human influence since the ’50s and some number less than that (maybe 90% sure?) for warming before the 50’s. The difference probably owes to less reliable data.


Lubos Motl wrote a magnificent article about that thin air guess


George Carlin on human responsibility for saving the planet (warning: R-rated for language):


At 2220 ADT I just watched NBC TV news repeat the whole litany of 95% certainly, three feet of sea level rise by the end of the century, CO2 emissions are at fault and emissions must be reduced, etc., etc. etc. What we are seeing is a battle of press releases, and the warmists obviously have a team of experts at work, actively supported by believers in the MSM.

The other Phil

I agree with Bill.


I believe I’ve read on these very pages that natural reasons account for 96% of all CO2 while human CO2 is 4% (unless someone has compelling reasons why that 4% is the only contribution that can possibly push us to a tipping point). That being the case, even if we quit adding CO2 to the system the CO2 level would still have risen above 400ppm through natural causes in the not so distant future. Has anyone plotted a curve set of catastrophic apocalypses with and without the human contribution? I think it would make a great doomsday calendar to count down the days when there’s nobody left to feed the dog or feed the hysteria, which ever comes first.

Rattus Norvegicus

You know, I watched that Carlin piece a few nights back. I like Carlin, his social commentary is generally quite good and even when it is wrong, it is funny. This one started out with ignorance and just got worse and it never got funny. Rather ironic for someone who was generally so perceptive.

Richard M

If one looks at ocean warming (HADSST3) over the latest 60 year cycle of the PDO it comes out to .35C. That is .06C/decade. The total warming in the previous 120 years (2 cycles) comes out to about .01C/decade. If one assumes this is a recovery from the LIA then we are left with .05C/decade. Interestingly, if we extrapolated this out for 200 years (the next doubling of CO2 at current emissions) we end up with 1C. That is the base warming calculated by the physics for the GHE of CO2 without any feedbacks. Hmmmmmm.

John Norris

Not every warming claim the IPCC makes is erroneous; just 95% of them.


95 seems to be coming up frequently. Didn’t observed temps recently fall outside the 95% confidence range of the models per the Silver Fox, Dr. Roy Spencer.


Rattus Norvegicus;
This one started out with ignorance and just got worse and it never got funny. Rather ironic for someone who was generally so perceptive.
Yeah, that’s why the audience broke into cheers several times and gave him a standing ovation at the end. Rather an obtuse comment for someone who is generally so…. oh wait, you were being true to form. Never mind.


Rattus Norvegicus says:
August 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm
I thought that it was perceptive & surprisingly well informed. Alarmist humans give our species credit for far more power than we in fact possess. Nor does it really matter it the planet what we actually might be able to do, since it’s doomed anyway, or at least life on its surface.
The rock itself might survive if the sun loses enough mass for the planet’s orbit to move farther out before our star goes red giant, but odds are against that. But in any case, it will lose its surface water long before that time.
Humans are puffed up with pride, which goes before a fall. For our species to survive, it will have to move out to artificial habitations in the asteroid belt or beyond. Maybe we’ll find a way to engineer the solar system & possibly even the galaxy to thrive, but it’s a long shot.
We’re basically no different from any other organism, over 99% of which have gone extinct.

R. de Haan

We can show the all we want but it won’t stop them because of the money flow that rewards them for their BS. Eureferendum just reported about one of the EU money sources aimed to protest (and ban) shale gas exploration in the EU.
Read Energy, the new Battle of Britain

Steve in Seattle

thanks for that great clip … i’m gonna keep the URL for that one !

Rattus, that Youtube clip has almost 600,000 hits. I suspect many of those viewing it found it very funny. Faced with your your sour comment, I’m pretty sure the late Carlin would reply that Copernicus proved a long time ago that the Sun does not shine from your fundament.

Doesn’t the chart based on Phil Jones data linked by dbstealey show the 30 year ups and downs of the 60 year ENSO cycle? How did humans produce that?


Re “it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities – chiefly the burning of fossil fuels – are the main cause of warming since the 1950s.”
Dont lose sight of what they’re actually saying here. “main cause” means 50% or more of the warming and so prior to the 1950’s they can argue that say 49% of the warming was anthropogenic and keep their story consistent in that way.
However…if they do that, then they’re explicitely putting the “main cause” at around 50% and not 90%+ which is what the likes of SkS likes to argue.


You just can’t stop the truth, can you?
Reminds me of a song……..
Enjoy,,,,,,,,,!,,and how many hits did this one get? 😉