One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived. Niccolo Machiavelli
Alarmist: “Someone who is considered to be exaggerating a danger and so causing needless worry or panic.”
Guest essay by Dr. Tim Ball
Richard Tol resigned from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) because their latest report was too alarmist. His action proves that the latest IPCC Report (AR5) raised the level of alarmism without justification. He complained about the problem back in 2010 in a guest post for Roger Pielke’s Jr, but did nothing. Apparently they crossed some threshold of alarmism that scared adherents.
IPCC controllers realized the new level was required as polls showed little public concern for climate change, politicians were asking questions and, more alarming, cutting funding while global temperature continued its 17-year lack of increase. Failures of IPCC predictions (projections) indicate the failure of their science. Instead of re-examining the science they did what they’ve always done, increased the level of alarmism.
Tol as a member of IPCC since 1995 should have known the entire exercise was deliberately alarmist from the start. Apparently he did not know what was going on because he did not understand climatology. He simply accepted what the science people said in the IPCC Report The Physical Science Basis. Even those who knew the science accepted it without question as Klaus Eckert Puls courageously confessed.
“Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.”
Reasons for the blind faith include: an assumption that scientists are apolitical, the funding was attractive, it was a career opportunity, a desire to save the environment, an affinity for the political slant of offsetting inequality, an interest in punishing polluters, reining in profiteers, and a naive trust in government, among others. Some believed in all of them. Maurice Strong, who organized the entire political and scientific process of the IPCC, exploited all of these vulnerabilities as he has throughout his career.
IPCC Structure To Promote And Exploit Alarmism
The IPCC was created to predetermine a scientific result and amplify it through alarmism. This meant creating a controlled and directed political structure, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and a politically controlled scientific structure, the IPCC.
Sir John Houghton, formerly head of the UK Met Office (UKMO) and first Co-Chair of the IPCC denies saying “Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen.” A vigorous campaign was launched to claim he did not say it. Why? Because it was the standard established along with the transition of the 1995 Report to a purely political objective. In the forefront of that campaign was Bob Ward, former employee of the Royal Society. Yes, the same Ward who launched the recent shameful attack on Richard Tol for quitting the IPCC because of alarmism. Ward’s rigorous defence of Houghton smacked of protesting too much, especially since it happened four years after it was first cited.
But consider the alarmism in Houghton’s comment about why we need to deal with climate change.
A special responsibility that God has given to humans, created in His image, is to look after and care for creation (Genesis 2:15). Today the impacts of unsustainable use of resources, rapidly increasing human population and the threat of climate change almost certainly add up to the largest and most urgent challenge the world has ever had to face – all of us are involved in the challenge, whether as scientists, policy makers, Christians or whoever we are.
You can’t appeal to a higher authority (Ad Verecundiam) than that.
The switch from the reasonable 1990 Report to the alarmist 1995 Report is critical and driven by what happened at Rio 1992. An illustration of the change was the urgency in counteracting the troubling 1990 Figure 7c with its Medieval Warm Period (MWP) because it contradicted their claim that temperatures were the warmest ever. Their concern was to show it was inaccurate. McIntyre exhaustively examined the origin and travails of this diagram.
IPCC 1990 Report Figure 7c
But Figure 7c triggered another form of raising alarmism, namely altering the record to make events more extreme than reality. Later it was McIntyre again who exposed the rewriting of history by the elimination of the MWP in the 2001 Report.
This pattern of rewriting records also appeared when modern instrumental records were adjusted to make earlier daily temperatures colder than actually measured. Every adjustment increased the rate of warming thus increasing alarmism; it’s more and faster than we thought.
IPCC Working Group Structure; Progressive Alarmism
Three IPCC Working Groups all build on alarmism. Working Group I (WG I), The Physical Science Basis was limited, by the UNFCCC definition, to only human causes of global warming/climate change; effectively only CO2. It also meant they did not have to put the possible human impact in the context of natural variability. As soon as that is done the alarmism is removed immediately. They produced climate models programmed to guarantee a temperature increase with CO2 increase. They produced annual measures of increasing CO2 thus raising alarmism every year.
WG I’s results became the sole starting assumption for Working Group II (WG II), Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability. They became the source of speculated alarmism that focussed only on negative impacts. Like the Stern Report it was a cost without the benefit study. There was no good news.
WG II’s amplified alarm becomes the basis of proposals from Working Group III (WG III), Mitigation. They provide policy with singular directives for politicians all involving more government.
To achieve the original predetermined objective of blaming human produced CO2 so governments would limit industry and development, they created the Summary for Policymakers (SPM). It raises the level of falsehoods and alarmism created by working Group I then takes them directly to the public. The SPM is released before the Science Report because the difference between the two is deliberately wide to ramp up alarmism.
An early example of SPM increased alarmism occurred with the 1995 Report. The 1990 Report and the drafted 1995 Science Report said there was no evidence of a human effect. Benjamin Santer, graduate from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and shortly thereafter lead author of Chapter 8, changed the 1995 SPM for Chapter 8 drafted by his fellow authors that said,
“While some of the pattern-base discussed here have claimed detection of a significant climate change, no study to date has positively attributed all or part of climate change observed to man-made causes.”
“The body of statistical evidence in chapter 8, when examined in the context of our physical understanding of the climate system, now points to a discernible human influence on the global climate.”
As planned the phrase “discernible human influence” became the headline. This was deliberate and carefully orchestrated alarmism. Professor Fred Singer and Dr Frederick Seitz identified what was going on, but the PR machine, such as the one run by Bob Ward, kicked in. The attacks were ferocious and nasty, which has become a measure of proximity to the truth.
It is fitting that those chosen to raise the recent IPCC alarmism to another level were identified by Rob Jordan’s WUWT article as a group from Stanford University led by Chris Field. Stephen Schneider of Stanford set the tone and justification for deception in his comment to Discover magazine in 1988.
And like most people, we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we have to get some broad-based support, to capture the publics imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This double ethical bind which we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
There is no decision. Schneider was involved from the start and remained involved, especially when the IPCC deception was failing. These comments parallel the argument of the end justifying means more formally justified because of peer-review in the recent article Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements.
Stanford was the birthplace of alarmism and deception about overpopulation, climate and human impacts. Central to the overpopulation claim was Stanford faculty member Paul Ehrlich’s book The Population Bomb and Dennis Meadows Limits to Growth. Co-author with Ehrlich on Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment was PhD Stanford graduate John Holdren. Now Obama’s Science Czar Holdren has used the White House to raise alarmism with new titles like Climate Disruptions or Climate Catastrophes and his recent laughable video on The Polar Vortex. The global warming scare evolved at Stanford University as a central issue framed by the Club of Rome (COR), whose ideas became the foundation of UN Agenda 21 and the UN Framework Committee on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 1991The First Global Revolution was published and identified “the threat of global warming”.
“The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
Another example of the end justifies the means was Peter Gleick’s actions as a protégé of Schneider at Stanford. He falsely obtained documents from the Heartland Institute (HI) and used them to vilify that organization. Presumably it was because HI dared to hold international conferences presenting the other side of the climate debate.
The IPCC was and remains about alarmism. Fortunately, the blindness of ‘the end justifies the means’ approach results in extremism. That makes people look more closely and they are finding, as did Klaus-Eckert Puls, that the IPCC claims and methods do not bear investigation. Unfortunately, they will not abandon the strategy because it has been effective, so the cost of lies, deceptions and alarmism will continue.