IPCC on the hotseat…
IPCC Chairman Denies Global Warming Slowdown
Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN’s climate panel, dismissed suggestions of a slowdown in global warming. “There’s definitely an increase in our belief that climate change is taking place and that human beings are responsible,” he told me. “I don’t think there is a slowdown (in the rate of temperature increase). I would like to draw your attention to the World Meteorological Organization which clearly stated on the basis of observations that the first decade of this century has been the warmest in recorded history. And I think the rest will be brought out by the report itself when it’s released.” –Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 23 September 2013
Data shows global temperatures aren’t rising the way climate scientists have predicted. Now the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change faces a problem: publicize these findings and encourage skeptics — or hush up the figures. –Axel Bojanowski, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel Online, 23 September 2013
Germany’s Federal Ministry of Research would prefer to leave any discussion of the global warming hiatus entirely out of the new IPCC report summary. The Ministry for the Environment’s identical stance: “Climate fluctuations that don’t last very long are not scientifically relevant.” Germany’s highest-ranking climate researcher, physicist Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, is fighting back against this refusal to face facts. Marotzke, who is also president of the German Climate Consortium and Germany’s top scientific representative in Stockholm, promises, “We will address this subject head-on.” The IPCC, he says, must engage in discussion about the standstill in temperature rise. –Axel Bojanowski, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel Online, 23 September 2013
“Climate policy needs the element of fear,” Ott openly admits. “Otherwise, no politician would take on this topic.” –Axel Bojanowski, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel Online, 23 September 2013
For a quarter of a century now, environmental activists have been issuing predictions in the vein of the Catholic Church, warning people of the coming greenhouse effect armageddon. Environmentalists bleakly predict global warming will usher in plagues of biblical dimensions — perpetual droughts, deluge-like floods and hurricanes of unprecedented force. The number of people who believe in such a coming apocalypse, however, has considerably decreased. A survey conducted on behalf of SPIEGEL found a dramatic shift in public opinion — Germans are losing their fear of climate change. While in 2006 a sizeable majority of 62 percent expressed a fear of global warning, that number has now become a minority of just 39 percent. –Axel Bojanowski, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel Online, 23 September 2013
The Met Office method of predicting climate change contains flaws that cause it to overestimate the warming Britain will experience, according to a report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The conflict between computer model predictions and actual measurements of the temperature is being discussed this week in Stockholm by climate scientists and government officials from around the world. The IPCC’s summary is expected to include an admission that there are weaknesses in the results from computer models which appear at odds with the slowdown in the rate of global warming since 1998. —Ben Webster, The Times, 24 September 2013
The Met Office was unable to say yesterday how long the 15-year apparent pause in global warming would have to continue before it accepted its model was flawed. A spokesman said: “No date has been set at which point you’d say the models are wrong. Short-term fluctuations in global temperature do not invalidate models, or determine timelines for their development.” —Ben Webster, The Times, 24 September 2013
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has an image problem. It appears unsure how to regain the trust of voters and politicians, but not of the science it is supposed to assess. This week’s report is expected to conclude with more confidence than ever that humans have caused more than half the planet’s warming in the past 60 years. This may seem provocative in the circumstances, but the truth is that the real question for scientists now is not whether climate change is happening but how fast. So far there are only theories as to why the Earth has warmed so much slower in the past 15 years than some models predicted. The models may have been wrong. The scenarios inferred from them may have been alarmist. This much is clear: the IPCC must tackle head-on what it calls the “hiatus” in global warming, and follow the evidence rather than buckle to political pressure from either side of the debate. —The Times Editorial, 24 September 2013
So, it’s come down to this — we now have widespread agreement from numerous true believers that the climate models — the only source of scary scenarios — are junk. But the true believers want us to take action on climate change regardless, out of prudence, on the mere possibility that the sky could be falling. It’s an “insurance policy,” Pindyck explains, with other true believers nodding in agreement. This is a peculiar species of insurance policy, one where the premiums that we’re being asked to pay total literally trillions of dollars, where the perils that we’re being protected against are ill- or undefined, and where — should any of the perils ever materialize — no benefits will be paid out to us policyholders. –Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, 24 September 2013
Their fear is that the intergovernmental panel might be pulling punches.
It turns out that the Nobel Prize, welcome as it might have been back in 2007, served the same function it has for many other scientists who have won it over the years: it painted a fat target on the committee’s back. The group has been subjected to attack in recent years by climate skeptics. The intimidation tactics have included abusive language on blogs, comparisons to the Unabomber, e-mail hacking and even occasional death threats.
Who could blame the panel if it wound up erring on the side of scientific conservatism? Yet most citizens surely want something else from the group: an unvarnished analysis of the risks they face.
To be clear, even if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ends up sticking with the lowball numbers in these two instances, they are worrisome enough. As best scientists can tell, the question with sea level is not whether it is going to get to three feet and then five feet of increase, but merely whether it will happen in this century or the next.
A Climate Alarm, Too Muted for Some – Justin Gillis, NYTimes.com
h/t to Dr. Benny Peiser at The GWPF and Marc Morano for these sources