We have Bigger Problems than Climate Change; So sayeth IPCC AR5

Guest essay by David M Hoffer [Doug L. Hoffman]

It is remarkable what gems of wisdom one can find simply by sitting down and reading the IPCC AR reports and seeing what they actually say. Having spent more time than I would like to admit on WGI (the science) over the years, I decided to spend some time on WGII (the impacts). How bad is it going to be according to the collective wisdom of 97% of the world’s climate science brain trust?

Now it is a long report, it would take weeks to work through all the chapters, the tortured language, and dig into the references, many of which would be pay walled. So I went straight for sections on the economy. Now I’m not an economist, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that anything bad that happens on a global basis will have a negative impact on our global economy. I wanted to know, if the 97% of scientists are right, how bad is it going to be? The answer blew me away. I won’t keep you in suspense, I’ll go straight to the money quote (bold theirs):

For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers (medium evidence, high agreement). Changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is large relative to the impact of climate change. {10.10}

That’s the opening statement in the Executive Summary of IPCC AR5 WGII Chapter 10 (Key Economic Sectors and Services).

As [poll after poll] shows, the public rates climate change at the very bottom of their list of concerns. The United Nations IPCC AR5 brain trust is stating, point blank, that not only will changes in population, age, income, technology, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other things have a bigger impact on our socioeconomic wellbeing, they will be much bigger. Read it for yourself here:

https://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap10_FINAL.pdf

In fact, Chapter 10 goes into considerable detail showing us how little climate change is going to affect us. Based on a two degree rise in temperature over the next 50 to 100 years, they break it down sector by sector:

Table 10-10 | Summary of findings.

Sector Climate change drivers Sensitivity to climate change Sign Other drivers Relative impact of climate change to other drivers
Winter tourism • Temperature

• Snow

clip_image002 Negative • Population

• Lifestyle

• Income

• Aging

Much less
Summer tourism • Temperature

• Rainfall

• Cloudiness

clip_image003 Negative for suppliers in low altitudes and latitudes Positive for suppliers in high altitudes and latitudes Neutral for tourists • Population

• Income

• Lifestyle

• Aging

Much less
Cooling demand • Temperature

• Humidity

• Hot spells

clip_image004 Positive for suppliers Negative for consumers • Population

• Income

• Energy prices

• Technology change

Less
Heating demand • Temperature

• Humidity

• Cold spells

clip_image005 Negative for suppliers Positive for consumers • Population

• Income

• Energy prices

• Technology change

Less
Health services • Temperature

• Precipitation

clip_image006 Positive for suppliers Negative for consumers • Aging

• Income

• Diet/lifestyle

Less
Water infrastructure and services • Temperature

• Precipitation

• Storm Intensity

• Seasonal Variability

clip_image007 Negative for water users Positive for suppliers Spatially heterogeneous • Population

• Income

• Urbanization

• Regulation

Less in developing countries Equal in developed countries
Transportation • Temperature

• Precipitation

• Storm intensity

• Seasonal variability

• Freeze/thaw cycles

clip_image008 Negative for all users

Positive for transport construction industry

• Population

• Income

• Urbanization

• Regulation

• Mode shifting

• Consumer and commuter behavior

Much less in developing countries

Less in developed countries

Insurance • Temperature

• Precipitation

• Storm intensity

• Seasonal variability

• Freeze/thaw cycles

clip_image009 Negative for consumers Neutral for suppliers • Population

• Income

• Regulation

• Product innovation

Less or equal in developing countries

Equal or more in developed countries

The tourism industry (both winter and summer) will be much less affected by climate change than by population, lifestyle, income and aging. You’d think cooling and heating demand would change dramatically with climate change, but no, climate change gets trumped by population, income, energy prices and technology. Health services? With all the disasters to befall us, you’d think there would be major stress on our healthcare services. Turns out that even diet trumps climate change as a driver of impacts to our wellbeing (Curiously, technology did not make the list of drivers for health services!) . For transportation climate change gets trumped by no less than a list that includes population, income, urbanization, regulation, mode shifting (if someone knows what mode shifting is, by all means post in comments) consumer and commuter behaviour. The insurance industry is apparently the only sector where climate change rivals other drivers, and then only in developed countries.

So where’s the alarm? The message to governments is pretty clear. On a global basis, there is a lot more to worry about while planning your country’s economy than climate change. Chapter 10 makes a valiant attempt to keep on message:

Losses accelerate with greater warming (limited evidence, high agreement), but few quantitative estimates have been completed for additional warming around 3°C or above.

So…. In trying to keep the fear and uncertainty at a fever pitch (losses accelerate with warming), the IPCC tacitly admits that they don’t actually know. They have, in their own words, limited evidence to draw this conclusion. Nonetheless, they forge on, insisting that they have high agreement (in the absence of evidence they nonetheless appear to have faith!). What evidence do they have? Here is the money chart from the same Chapter 10:

image

As can be seen from this chart, almost as many studies have been done at 3 degrees as have been done at 2.5 degrees, and they come up with almost the same result. In fact, their claim of a “few” studies at greater than 3 degrees is only two studies. One is a study done a 5.5 degrees. Given the constraints on sensitivity in the current literature, that large a temperature change could only be driven by natural variability. A single study done at 3.25 degrees which projects a negative impact of more than 12% appears to be the straw the IPCC is grasping at to keep the potential for the disaster meme alive. It is an obvious outlier from the rest of the literature, which the report tries to gloss over.

Now let’s ponder for a moment just how small these negative impacts actually are. The IPCC charts rating changes compared to other economic drivers as “less” or “much less” don’t paint the picture very well. Keeping in mind that 2% at two degrees (and that is the upper range in the estimate) is spread over the timeframe that it takes to reach that temperature. Since the target date in the Paris fear festival was 2100, let’s round it off to 100 years for easy figuring.

That’s 0.02% per year. Forecasted economic growth for most countries in the world ranges from -5% to +5% per year. In other words, the IPCC is telling us that the socioeconomic impacts of climate change are less than a rounding error. I’ll end this article by quoting the initial statement from the IPCC again. The public and government alike have a lot more to worry about than climate change:

For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers

So sayeth the United Nations

IPCC AR5 WGII Chapter 10

I accept them at their word.

121 thoughts on “We have Bigger Problems than Climate Change; So sayeth IPCC AR5

  1. Thanks for this. Coupled with the many indefinite and admitted unknown aspects in the science report, it is surprising that the politicos get away with all the deception. This will be a useful piece for local efforts to counter the mania.

  2. Doug your analysis seems almost prescient, and certainly well argued, but it has a fatal flaw; it argues on enemy territory.

    The very same people who have consistently (and falsely) alerted on Climate Change (AKA cAGW) are also the people who are dismissing it as a non-event relative to other economic factors we can only surmise they have less understanding of than Climate.

    • Bartleby,

      Fatal flaw?

      “The very same people who have consistently (and falsely) alerted on Climate Change (AKA cAGW) are also the people who are dismissing it as a non-event relative to other economic factors …”

      In B-ball you’da heard: “In your face!! ; )

  3. I always felt that the words, “limited evidence, high agreement” more or less summarize the state of the entire IPCC enterprise. Possibly though, an improvement on “zero evidence, unanimity of agreement” which can be found in religious organizations and cults, widely.
    Although the distinction is perhaps not as great as many may imagine.

    • I recall that AR5 also discounted the effects of Sun+GalacticCosmicRays+Aerosols=Cloud cover variation.
      They dismissed this effect with – surprise surprise – ““limited evidence, high agreement”.
      It’s true that if we continue to dismiss the effect then we can preserve the current position of basing our opinions on limited evidence a.k.a. high ignorance. Robust ignorance can be maintained.
      Judith Curry made this sarcastic remark in relation to the AR5’s bold assertion that the Sun and GCR’s can be ignored and that GHG’s run the show.
      “What a relief that the IPCC consensus has decreed with high confidence that solar variations won’t influence the 21st century climate. For a minute there, after reading the NRC Report, Svensmark and Vahrenholt, I thought us scientists might have more work to do to figure out how the Earth’s climate system works.”

      • supplement to indefatigablefrog — “Sun —- variation” — the IPCC argued this creates cooling but they forgot the fact, these will reduce the energy available at the ground [energy balance] for greenhouse effect. When there is no energy how CO2 will convert it to temperature rise.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

        supplement to indefatigablefrog — “Sun —- variation” — the IPCC argued this creates cooling but they forgot the fact, these will reduce the energy available at the ground [energy balance] for greenhouse effect. When there is no energy how CO2 will convert it to temperature rise.

        No.

        No, I think it is actually worse than that.

        The CAGW community, regardless of their motives and their corruption of the scientific process of unbiased research and fact-based analysis, really truly “believes” their hearts and minds that they have (somehow) been accurately and correctly calculating the entire earth’s past, present, and (thus) future radiation energy balance by minutely analyzing EVERY interaction they can think of into their General Circulation MOdels (lately renamed Global Climate Models).

        To do that, they have, since the early mid-1980’s GCM, been starting with the sun’s energy release – The sun’s Top of Atmosphere (TOA) radiation spectrum. If that TOA spectrum is wrong, NO other part of their GCM modeling can possibly be right.

        Now, since everything hinges on the TOA radiation, and since today’s solar scientific community lives and dies on ITS TOA radiation studies, it is essential we look at TOA radiation over time, right? So, the solar scientists claim that there is NO change in TOA radiation since satellite measurements and earth-surface measurements began in 1979-1980, and that their proxy studies can extend this “static sun” model back as far as sunspot records exist.

        Fine, we must let them make that claim.

        But, these same solar scientific groups claim that ALL published decreases in their “established” levels of TOA radiation are NOT due to a change in the solar output of energy, but are ONLY due to repeated instrument inaccuracies and instrument improvements. (“What we reported 20 years ago is the same value as what we are reporting today, but the number is lower because today’s instruments are better than the old instruments that gave us a higher value.” )

        IF that plotted series of near-continuous lower TOA reported values is correct, then the EARLIER GCM model analysis – EVERY GCM model result prior to today’s 1362 watts/m^2 needs to be revised DOWN, since the actual top of atmosphere radiation used in the CGM computers in 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012 were NOT 1374, 1370, 1367, 1366, nor 1364.

        Thus the CAGW community’s projected future radiation “forcing” of 3 watts/doubling of CO2 have already been EXCEEDED by the 10-12 watt/m^2 apparent decrease in the TOA radiation that their models “expect”.

        So. We are left to speculate – since the modeler community refuses to address this “supply side decrease in TOA Radiation” – what the true effect of doubling CO2 is. The calculated effect of doubling? 0.5 to 1.5 to 3.0 watts, right?

        But are not measured global average world temperatures “stagnant” as the CO2 level ever more rises but the solar TOA values is “actually” stagnant?

        But their models’ “calculated” increase in temperatures (due to CO2’s increase) MUST decrease to show this 10 watts “loss” at Top of Atmosphere from EVERY earlier model! The 1976-1996 “baseline period” or “model calibration period” for the CGM’s that use ANY TOA value higher than today’s 1362 watts/m^2 average is NOT “stagnant”!

      • Dr. Reddy, as the IPCC is a quasi governmental agency, I don’t think they so much “argued this creates cooling” as they ruled this creates cooling.

  4. For decades now the IPCC has been working up a lather of alarm, all the while fully aware of the deception. At some point our leaders must call “the game is up”.

  5. I would be surprised if Richard Tol and B. Lomborg have not discussed this. And if they had, I am surprise I have not heard it. Tol was an author, yes? I recall there was some controversy in the process. Perhaps someone can remind us. Clearly the IPCC consensus is closer to Tol than Stern.

    • I wondered about that when I wrote this. It was my understanding that Richard Tol resigned from AR5 because he thought it was to alarmist. So, I was surprised to see his name at the top of the Chapter 10 document. Perhaps I misunderstood, perhaps they left his name on it anyway.

  6. In other words our world leaders have either not been informed of what the IPCC actually said in the report or know what’s in the report and are lying to us. Probably both. Looks like our vaunted Fifth Estate can’t read either or doesn’t want to tell the truth about the AGW scam. My take is that it’s some of each.

    • The leaders, such as the POTUS, neither know nor want to know. Would John Holdren tell B. O.? Would Axelrod or Jarrett want B. to know? Knowing would present problems. Remember, it is not about climate. It is about power and wealth redistribution under a new form of world government.
      Can it be said they lied if they don’t know anything?

    • “Looks like our vaunted Fifth Estate can’t read”

      Wouldn’t surprise me. Certainly can’t write decent English.

  7. I think you meant “poll after poll”…..the public rates climate change at the very bottom of their list of concerns.

  8. IPCC is playing safe. When later this century they will be called to account (as they surely will) they will blithely point to their main report and tell the world : “This is what we said! – And it is not our fault that you suckers only looked at our politically-determined summary!!!!”. And I think they have a point.

    • No need for despair AndyE. The following is extracted from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change website ipcc.ch

      Major decisions of the IPCC will be taken by the Panel in plenary meetings
      Principles Governing IPCC Work

      Approval of the Summary for Policymakers at the Session of the Working Group, signifies that it is consistent with the factual material contained in the full scientific, technical and socio-economic
      Assessment or Special Report accepted by the Working Group
      . Coordinating Lead Authors should be consulted in order to ensure that the Summary for Policymakers is fully consistent with the findings in the main report . . . For a Summary for Policymakers approved by a Working Group to be endorsed as an IPCC Report, it must be accepted at a Session of the Panel.

      Procedures for the preparation, review, acceptance, approval, adoption and publication of IPCC
      reports

      Any international public civil service organization secretariat respecting good governance principles should maintain a public list of the heads of the delegations of the member countries of their governing bodies. Or in this case principal delegates of the Panel. It turns out to be surprisingly obscure, but I’m not giving up yet.

      Although the IPCC lead authors have a major responsibility, the list of panel members will reveal the names of the 195 who IMO can and should be held accountable for this fundamental inconsistency and mind-blowing non-compliance against their own principles and procedures.

      • Jaakko Kateenkorva – You write that “[you are] not giving up yet”. Well, you’d better – because you are up against sovereign nations which you cannot take to any court and expect to follow their own (paper)rules, principles and procedures. You are hitting your head against a concrete wall – the concrete wall will win that battle.
        As a comparison I can draw the fact that The Soviet Union had the most admirable, democratic constitution you could imagine – whereas a country like New Zealand, for example, blithely sailed (and still sails) along without any written constitution at all. Sovereign nations don’t really give a hoot about paper promises – that is why the recent Paris agreement isn’t worth the paper it is written on. What strong countries like e.g. U.S.A., China, Germany or France will look back and worry about promises given many years before??

  9. You’d think cooling and heating demand would change dramatically with climate change, but no, climate change gets trumped by population, income, energy prices and technology

    This is tricky. Energy prices are affected by our stupid CAGW driven policies like carbon taxes. Heating and cooling demand will be affected by CAGW because our beloved politicians will make it so that we won’t be able to afford fuel or electricity.

    Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false. Bertrand Russell

    • This is absolutely true and highlights a vital point the IPCC report misses – The things we DO to ‘avoid’ Climate Change, real or not, WILL have a strong depressing effect on any economy choosing to take such actions. The most obvious impact is in the energy field where wealth multiplication by being able to efficiently (cheaply) move products to the place in the world where they can fetch the best possible price will drastically affect the costs, and therefore the volume sold. There are thousands of similar examples.
      I see NO consideration of this aspect in the report. ie what will be the probable economic impact if we DO all the things the self appointed ‘experts’ tell us need to be done.

  10. Since when did anyone shed a tear for the 5 billion Iraq UN Troops (Angels of God) slaughtered in Kewait during Operation Desert Storm?

    [5 billion? Out of a total armed forces of … <1.0 million, most of whom are still living now? .mod]

  11. “They have, in their own words, limited evidence to draw this conclusion. Nonetheless, they forge on, insisting that they have high agreement (in the absence of evidence they nonetheless appear to have faith!) …”.
    ==================================
    Surprise me, they have little to no evidence to support their signature statement, their fundamental premise: “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”, except “expert judgment”.

  12. “Turns out that even diet trumps climate change as a driver of impacts to our wellbeing”.
    Yeah, whodathunkit?
    It turns out that people prosper when they have plentiful food and warmth and low taxes.
    We can potentially provide all three by not transforming the global economic model to meet the non-challenge of global warming.
    This changes everything. So let’s quit freaking out and focus on expanding the reach of modern agriculture and energy infrastructure to the world’s poor. Property rights, access to education, access to capital markets, security, telecommunications and good governance.
    Plus plentiful atmospheric CO2.
    Some may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

    • I’ve only read Chapter 10 in detail, so I don’t know about the rest of the report. Chapter 10 did speculate that climate change may lock in the poverty cycle, though the evidence for same wasn’t convincingly presented. If there was anything about armed conflicts, I missed it.

    • From the SPM: “Violent conflict increases vulnerability to climate change (medium evidence, high agreement). Large-scale violent conflict harms assets that facilitate adaptation, including infrastructure, institutions, natural resources, social capital, and livelihood opportunities.16” (Page 8).

      “Climate change can indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence by amplifying well-documented drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks (medium confidence).” (Page 20)

      But no guesstimates….

      • Hmm, large scale violent conflict also tends to dramatically change technology, industries, and economies. I think there may be some positive feedbacks to consider.
        I thought most of your Marxists considered war, crisis, and conflict as an opportunity to increase their power; and thus their ability to manage this ‘fever’ the earth has.

  13. Irrelevant.

    The only document that counts is the SPM; it sets the tone and the agenda (and the funding priorities). That’s why the SPM is released first … everyone gets in lockstep behind it and funding goes to those conforming to the agenda. If anyone makes too much of a fuss over anything in this report from a working group that strays from accepted dogma, it’ll be corrected in AR6.

    • Politicians never read reports, only the Executive Summary, (SPM) which is written to reflect the policy wishes that were sought at the outset. On a lesser scale, so are minutes of meetings.

  14. David:
    Thanks for this.

    Apologies for omitting “medical technology”. Malaria is indeed being curtailed faster than we dared to hope only 10 years ago, and a dengue vaccine is in trial. These are two key concerns about the impact of climate change.

    At the same time, obesity has spread to lower middle-income countries, and this makes people much more susceptible to heat stress.

    These things change so much faster than climate, but climate research remains focussed on ceteris paribus.

    • No Richard, thank you.
      I see upthread that you withdrew from the AR5 SPM but not Chapter 10 itself. So we all owe you a note of thanks for ensuring that the facts stayed in Chapter 10. Please know that none of my sarcasm was aimed at you, but at those who raise alarm while hoping that the facts as you have laid them out are never read by the public. (The thought that you might read this hit me about ten seconds too late for a rewrite)

      • “a note of thanks for ensuring that the facts stayed in Chapter 10”
        that needs to be seconded (supported) – thanks, from an amateur, but fellow human life-scientist

    • Richard Tol:

      In the absence of statistically meaningful warming in any of the pertinent metrics over the past two decades [margins of error being what they are] it seems to me that the issue of “heat stress” due to increased economic well being and accompanying girth is one of local weather rather than of climate.

      In other words, obese or rail thin, the odd 50C vs.a regular 42C day [in the shade, of course] in Fatehpur Sikri hits one considerably harder than 0.8C over 100 years.

      Mvg

    • These are two key concerns about the impact of climate change….
      ===
      Wouldn’t the temperature have to actually change first?

    • Seriously though, obesity and related health problems are proving to be a far more urgent problem than non-existent “extreme weather”.
      “By 2010, seven out of ten Mexicans were overweight with a third clinically obese. Mexico ranks the most obese country in the world in adult obesity (as of 2013), and first for childhood obesity with about 4.5 million children diagnosed as such. Mexico passed the United States as the most obese country in the world. Since the 1990s, fat has become the principal source of energy in the Mexican diet and it is assumed that the consumption of highly processed food will continue increasing. As a consequence, Mexico has seen the same kind of health issues that other countries with overweight populations have. Standardized mortality rates (SMR) for diabetes, acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and hypertension have increased dramatically. As of 2012, diabetes – associated with obesity – was the largest single killer of Mexicans.”
      Source wikipedia.
      Meanwhile a major pacific hurricane hit Mexico in 2015 and tossed some deck chairs several yards up a beach. The world has some pretty skewed priorities.
      Of course, on top of this is the massive problem with the drugs trade and uber-violent gore-fest created by warring drugs cartels. I seriously doubt whether barely detectable trends in the frequency or intensity of weather phenomena are high in their minds.

      • Indefatigable,

        From my years of observation, Mexicans consume very high levels of sugar (Coca Cola, sweets, etc.) and carbohydrates (corn), which are far more fattening than fats proper.

  15. Great post, showing again the political manipulation of the IPCC process.
    “Mode shift”, otherwise referred to as “modal shift”, just means changing from one mode of transport to another, e.g. swapping from a car to a bus, or from walking to cycling.

  16. For transportation climate change gets trumped by no less than a list that includes population, income, urbanization, regulation, mode shifting (if someone knows what mode shifting is, by all means post in comments)

    Presumably it means changing the mode of transport, for example when an African farmer can afford to buy a moped so that he doesn’t have to walk to market.

  17. Losses accelerate with greater warming (limited evidence, high agreement), but few quantitative estimates have been completed for additional warming around 3°C or above.

    One of my main concerns with this so called ‘science’ is a failure to properly and realistically measure and ascertain uncertainties/errors, and then to present the uncertainties/error bonds with the data, whenever the data is presented. .

    The above is a classic case. If there is limited data, or if the data that exists is of poor quality, how can one have certainty or agreement on anything. Limited data produces only speculation.

    I do not see how, if people are being objective, there can be high agreement on a statement (in this case the assertion that losses accelerate with greater warming) when there is limited evidence on that very issue.

    • Perhaps they mean they have high agreement that there is limited evidence. At least, this is what they could claim when the trials begin.

  18. I thought the biggest problem for un, ipccc, is how to organize cop and mop without any fossil fuel. They are so dependent on fossil fuel that i thought they will be giving gratitude to fossil fuel and technologies using lots of fossil fuel at the closing of cop21 rather than condemning it.

  19. Congratulations to David M Hoffer for having the persistence and fortitude to wade through all that opaque IPCC AR5 Report to draw out for us these gems of political dynamite. The conclusions drawn out of the report to fuel the Gab Fest at COP21 are far, far away from the substance of the science. The political circus has gone way out on a limb on this one and it is time to saw it off from the trunk.

  20. My searches in a couple of hours have been superficial, but this promises interesting leads at least from good governance principles perspective:

    The IPCC website states: The 31st panel session members adopted the 5th IPCC report in Bali (26-29 October 2009). https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/

    Having looked at the final meeting report of the 31st panel session at https://ipcc.ch/meetings/session31/final_report_31.pdf, the adoption of the summary for policy makers isn’t that explicit IMO. The closest is perhaps the item 3.6 AR5 Synthesis Report: The Panel agreed on the outlines of the three Working Group contributions to the AR5 as decided by the respective Sessions of the Working Groups and decided on a revised timetable for the AR5 as follows: . . .

    Fortunately the participants of the 31st panel are listed with their names in the annex VI of the final meeting report. They have now a chance to either
    -deny their acceptance, as still stated at the IPCC website, and blame the IPCC secretariat or
    -confirm their acceptance of the embarrassingly fundamental inconsistency, as outlined in David M Hoffer’s excellent post.

    Either way, we’ll find out those responsible/accountable. If the participants opt the first option, it will be interesting to see what the UN audits have reported on the issue. Perhaps Planet GIGO news take more than 6 years to reach Ban Ki-moon.

    • Jaakkokateenkorva – you must be a lawyer. You are absolutely right – but where will you find a court with enforceable jurisdiction (see my reply to a similar entry from you above).

      • Thanks AndyE. If someone can detect 0.001 °C environmental cooling upwind, it’s a seasoned politician. Politicians’ mandate is fixed term and the ballot box is their employer.

        One can argue the ‘ClimateGate e-mails’ and ‘delinquent teenager mistaken as climate expert’ were insufficient to compromise the IPCC mandated reports due to the institutional safeguards. But in this case the institutional safeguards themselves have failed. And that’s something the politicians cannot ignore.

  21. SPM does not = Summary for Policy Makers
    SPM does = Spin for Policy Makers (by UN Socialists, in our best interests, of course)

    • It’s shameful. For example Canada pledged $2.5 billion to the UN for this scam.

      That money could have been used for AIDS or influenza virus research, or to buy 100 million Malaria mosquito nets, or to search for extinction sized asteroids maybe.

      But no. Instead it will be given to unelected UN bureaucrats, so they can continue to earn six figure salaries, drive around in limos and eat caviar. Canadians should be ashamed of themselves.

      • Hey I didnt vote for the selfie prince. The voters were well aware of what they were voting for. I still cant believe it. A 1 percenter who has never had to work to pay bills is in charge of making these kinds of decisions with taxpayers money. Anyone but Harper crowd should be ashamed of themselves, but they aren’t. The media hasnt put the 2.5 billion number out there. Its the first time that I have heard that.

    • Yes, but before it gets thoroughly wasted, it feeds (literally – T&E accounts) a lot of political & climate bureaucrats and gives them control over millions of people’s lives…before the next slug on (tax) money comes rolling in.

  22. No surprise. However, keep in mind that environmentalists and climate alarmists seldom if ever consider economic consequences of their advocacy.

  23. well, one very strong impact is the fact that sulfur is going to be much greater and maybe we should read up on PEM in ruminants. Remember those 200,000 llamas or guanacos that died?
    And I wonder just how much impact it had on those antelope up on the Tibetan plateau.
    I recommend reading P Ward’s Under a Green Sky again.

  24. Thanks a lot for putting this together. I’ve also been astonished by the contrast between what the actual papers/reports say and what the media/politicians/activists portray. It happens in sea level rise, in carbon budgets, in climate-induced ‘disasters’ and more.

    Something very noticeable in the chart you posted is that very few studies have looked at effects of warming below 2.5ºC. In fact it seems they only considered four of these studies, and it’s not even clear from them if the effects will be good or bad.

    Just a bit of nitpicking though: when they talk about a temperature increase, they don’t mean from today but from a ‘preindustrial’ baseline, which is usually taken to mean 1870. Since we are currently at 1ºC of warming compared to pre-industrial levels, or 0.85ºC if we remove the current El Niño, it seems total warming over the next 100 years could exceed 2ºC (just an additional 0.12ºC/decade would put us over that mark, even if only barely).

    But, I don’t have any idea how this is supposed to affect the ‘division’ of damage by years (i.e. a lot of the damage has supposedly happened already). And in any case it’s hard to fault you when the IPCC itself isn’t very clear on what baseline it’s using.

  25. John Broome is one of the authors of the AR5 Summary for Policy Makers. Here he describes the process:
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2014/05/08/john-broome/at-the-ipcc/

    A few choice extracts:

    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognises that climate change is a moral problem or, to use its cautious language, it ‘raises ethical issues’. The authors of the IPCC’s recent Fifth Assessment Report therefore included two moral philosophers. I am one of them. I have been a member of the IPCC’s Working Group 3 since 2011.”

    “The outcome is a 2000-page report, which has already been published on the internet. Because no one will read a report of that size, our efforts in the last few months have gone into writing two summaries. A subgroup of authors from Working Group 3 hammered them out over the last eight months. The fuller and more reliable one is the Technical Summary. The name puts people off reading it, but actually it is not particularly technical. It is simply a summary of the main report. The shorter, 30-page précis known as the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) attracts more attention but is subject to political influence.”

    “Every single sentence of the SPM has to be either approved or rejected by delegates from governments. At the Plenary meeting, the draft is projected on a screen sentence by sentence. As each sentence comes up, the chairman asks delegates for comments on it and proposed amendments. Delegates propose amendments and the authors then consider whether they can be supported by the main report. A sentence is approved only if it is supported by the main report, and only if there is a consensus on approving it among the delegates.”

    “In effect, the text is edited by several hundred people sitting together in a big room. One hundred and seven countries sent delegations of varying sizes. The delegates arrive with political interests. Many oppose each other. Their governments are already locked in negotiations preparing for the major climate-change meeting planned for Paris next year. The wording of the SPM matters to the delegates, since it may be quoted in the negotiations. At our IPCC meeting, they treated the SPM as though it were a legal document rather than a scientific report. To achieve consensus, the text of the SPM was made vaguer in many places, and its content diluted to the extent that in some places not much substance remained.”

    “The section of the SPM that I was involved with came up early in the proceedings. It was quickly apparent that it could not be agreed in the Plenary Session where all the delegates sat. So the authors of that section were sent as a ‘Contact Group’ to a smaller room to negotiate the details with some tens of countries. We worked for three and a half days on one page. Meetings each day ran from 8 a.m. till midnight with hardly time to eat. The delegates made comments, we went away to rewrite the text on the basis of the comments, the delegates made further comments, we rewrote again, and so on. Several delegates in the meetings were sending their governments photos of the text on the screen as it was negotiated, and taking instructions from their governments by phone.”

    “Late on Wednesday evening, during a brief break, the delegates formed a huddle in the corner, trying to agree text between themselves. We, who would be named as authors of the final product, were left as spectators.”

    “The main report and the Technical Summary were not touched by the destructive process of the meeting. They make publicly available all the information that was deleted from the SPM. Because of the way it is created, the SPM has to be regarded as partly a political document. It contains nothing that has not been approved by the authors, but it was prevented from giving a complete picture as we see it. The deleted information is needed as a basis for making good climate policy.”

    Needless to say, the deleted information is never seen by politicians, as in David Hoffer’s piece, which motivated me to go and look for the SPM writing team. It was led by Rajendra Pachauri and included one of the main “2 degree, leave it in the ground” protagonists, Myles Allen.

    Also noteworthy are Ottmar Edenhofer, John Schellnhuber’s co-director at Potsdam and an advisor with him to the Papal Encyclical, plus Michael Oppenheimer, of Princeton, long time activist via Environmental Defense and co-founder of the Climate Action Network of NGO’s. He is also a long time promoter of the 1.5-2 degrees meme, even before 2 degrees was claimed by Schellnhuber.

    [Thank you. Good find. .mod]

    • dennisambler on January 2, 2016 at 7:35 am

      John Broome is one of the authors of the AR5 Summary for Policy Makers. [Broome wrote the following],

      “The authors of the IPCC’s recent Fifth Assessment Report therefore included two moral philosophers . I am one of them.” – [said John Broome]

      dennisambler, thanks for reporting that.

      I wonder who the other moral philosopher was.

      John

      • I’m somewhat taken aback to learn that there are only two moral philosophers in the first place. I wonder what all the rest of the philosophers in the world think, and why anyone should trust them. :)

    • Thanks dennisambler. IPCC needed moral philosophers for break-out sessions? It must have been budgeted and approved in advance for the IPCC by the relevant governing body. Like a nanny in the kindergarten.

      Break-out sessions as such are quite common even in well organized intergovernmental meetings in case of controversial topics.

    • In effect, the text is edited by several hundred people sitting together in a big room.

      This is also done when revising and creating engineering technical documentation. The only differences are that we are actively looking for mistakes in our own writing, we work towards actually building something and know when we’re finished, the media doesn’t breathlessly report any of our work and we don’t have virtually unlimited taxpayer money to complete our tasks. Oh yeah, and we tend to get fired if we eff things up.

    • Great, dennisambler!

      “The fuller and more reliable one is the Technical Summary. “
      and
      “The main report and the Technical Summary were not touched by the destructive process of the meeting. They make publicly available all the information that was deleted from the SPM.”

      WR: So politicians and journalists must be advised to read the true story in the Technical Summary when they don’t want to read 2000 pages.

      “Late on Wednesday evening, during a brief break, the delegates formed a huddle in the corner, trying to agree text between themselves. We, who would be named as authors of the final product, were left as spectators.”

      “Because of the way it is created, the SPM has to be regarded as partly a political document. It contains nothing that has not been approved by the authors, but it was prevented from giving a complete picture as we see it.”

      WR:
      SPM ≠ SCIENCE ↔ SPM = GOVERNMENT

  26. Posting from my IPad
    Thank you for a great post. I hope everyone is encouraged to read more of the IPCC reports past and present to find more of these nuggets.

    Some nuggets already known: That graphic from the AR#1 that shows the medieval warm period, The quote from the AR4 Chapter 5? That tells us that a warmer world will have moe evaporation, water vapor and precipitation and then we listen to the media drone on about drought. Chapter 10 in the AR4 has a table uh 10.21? That shows that Antarctica will contribute negatively to sea level rise through 2100. The IPCC’s charter that says to report on man-made effects of CO2. The AR5’s chapter 11 has a chart reproduced twice no less that shows how badly the models have predicted the average temperature. The opening sentence in the AR4 Chapter 5? Executive Summary that tells us ocean temperatures are up 0.01 or 0.1 degrees since 1962. Really they can measure that close? I think the AR#1 has a quote that sea level is going up at 1.7 mm per year.

    That’s off the top of my head, there are most likely quite a few illustrations that show the divergence between the IPCC and media blather.

    Apologies for my uncertainties above, I’m away from home and on an IPad

  27. David M Hoffer,

    Worthwhile work and very well presented.

    So, I need to get an excel spreadsheet showing the all WGs results versus those in the associated chapters of the SPM. It seems it will be hard work though.

    John

  28. So government is the biggest problem not climate change considering most of the other causes mentioned are impacted by regulation and governance. Probably 97 percent.

  29. Yes, it’s always a good idea to go to the source, even the dense, pedantic, impenetrable source.

    Thanks for highlighting this. I’ll spend a lot more time with the AR5.

  30. I don’t think that referring to the other drivers of economies as “problems” clarifies the issues. These other drivers plus changing climate have always primary influences for changing economies. People adapt to these challenges or not. Those who don’t adapt see their culture vanish. Technology has moderated the influence of climate upon cultures and economies, but the impact of climate still exists. Only the AGW crowd could believe this is all new.

    The author has done a service to read through this tome. I am not at all surprised to see that the summaries reflect not the research, but preferred political conclusions. However, I am bothered that an ethicist can admit to the shennanigans, without broadcasting these to the public widely. Does he not believe in giving all parties to an arrangement symmetrical information?

  31. Climate has always changed . . .naturally. There is little that humans can do about it. The last change is it stopped warming. The next change is accelerated cooling. Sustained cooling will be a problem. The expected average global temperature trend for the next couple of decades is at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com

  32. They always leave themselves with an out.
    “For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers (medium evidence, high agreement).”
    I could rework this to say: However for some economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be large.
    From table 10.10, relative impact of climate change to other factors:
    – Water infrastructure & services: Equal in developed countries.
    – Insurance: Less or equal in developing countries. Equal or more in developed countries.
    So there you have it – the biggest impacts will not be in those poor African countries that need our billions to mitigate climate change, but in our own countries that will run out of water presumably, and suffer from more storms.
    We need that climate fund to save ourselves:-)

  33. Consider the subsistence farmer or herder in sub-Saharan Africa, with essentially no “income”. Losing a crop or a herd would be disastrous but amount to essentially zero change on the economic balance sheet. Is this addressed here?

    • Hi Barry, nice to see that you’re still hanging around. Sue me if you think this a straw man but you seem to be implying that human emissions of CO2 are going to cause said farmers crop and live stock loss more than otherwise would occur. You don’t know that, nobody does, spending trillions on an unproven theory to save your hypothetical farmer isn’t sound policy.

    • Is this addressed here?

      Sorta. If you take a look through the first chart, in some cases the rating are broken out between developed and undeveloped countries. Of course the details as to why and how the conclusions are drawn would require additional investigation.

    • “Barry

      January 2, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Consider the subsistence farmer or herder in sub-Saharan Africa, with essentially no “income”.”

      A subsistance farmer or herder HAS no income. Idiot!

    • Barry:

      One of the many problems with strawmen comments: you define a crop/herd to have zero value. If losing a crop/herd (NOTE: lost is different than never existed; an existing crop/herd, no matter how small, has some presumed value) would have “essentially zero change on the economic balance sheet” (eg: the crop/herd had 0 value), then a successful crop/herd must also have zero impact.

      That implies a crop/herd of any size still has exactly zero value (i.e.: x * 0 = 0). That’s just nuts.

      Unless, of course, you argue that a lost crop/herd has no value, but a “saved” herd/crop has value. I’d bet the subsistence farmer/herder would claim his lost crop/herd had significant value.

  34. Over one million human lives lost annually during “planning” rites in America alone.

    Yeah, the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming prophecy seems low risk comparatively.

  35. It lookes as if everybody agrees that climate change has a low impact. If that’s so, why not go on heating the earth up for example 5 or 10 degrees more? I see a lot of numbers here, but less logical reasoning. One of the concerns about global heating is that a relatively equilibrated situation will be broken. For example, with heating actually dissolved carbon dioxide will be liberated and increase heating and melting of the North and the South Pole will reduce sunlight reflection and therefore increase heating. Climate change and human activity reduce biological diversity and increase unstability (remember the effects of the reduction of the bee population). If we want to avoid this to happen, we have to make sure global heating will remail limited to a level we’re certain will not create major problems (however, it seems nobody is interested in this). Avoiding it means that greenhouse gasses have to be reduced and this does have an important impact which, as it seems, the above study hasn’t taken into account, as we basically have to switch from fossil-based economy to a circular economy which implies paying for switching itself and paying for additional costs related to a sustainable circular economy. In the end, this means will have to pay for what now illegitimately is being subsidied. According to an IMF study of May 2015, Energy subsidies are projected at US$5.3 trillion in 2015, or 6.5 percent of global GDP, since energy taxes are not high enough to account for the consequences of using (mainly) fossil-based energy, such as environmental damage and climate change. Isn’t this a major impact?

    • BGG writes:

      “It lookes as if everybody agrees that climate change has a low impact.”

      That’a a meaningless sentence. It indicates fuzzy thinking. And where does nonsense like this come from:

      …the consequences of using (mainly) fossil-based energy, such as environmental damage and climate change.

      This is a science site, but you’re writing emotional propaganda.

      The basic issue with the ‘man-made global warming’ scare is CO2. The claim was that a rise in CO2 would cause runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. That has been completely falsified. The substantial rise in CO2 has not caused any measurable global warming. In fact, the rise in CO2 has been highly beneficial.

      There is nothing either unusual or unprecedented happening with ‘the climate’. We are in a century long “Goldilocks” temperature range. You cannot identify a prior century when global temperatures were as flat as they have been recently.

      Global temperatures have fluctuated by only ≈0.7ºC during the past hundred and fifty years. That is as close to flat as you can find. What do you want? A century long 0.00º change?? Just prior to the current Holocene, temperatures fluctuated by TENS of degrees, within only a decade or two. That was before any industrial CO2 emissions.

      Your writing indicates that you are another victim of the bogus “climate change” narrative. But if you think for yourself instead of letting the media control your thinking, you will understand the scam and why they’re doing it: carbon taxes.

    • BGG January 3, 2016 at 6:40 am
      It lookes as if everybody agrees that climate change has a low impact. If that’s so, why not go on heating the earth up for example 5 or 10 degrees more?

      No one said anything about 5 to 10 degrees. Nor is there any reason to. The science upon which we are being asked to rely is increasingly clear that sensitivity to CO2 isn’t anywhere near high enough to produce that kind of temperature change. Check the IPCC WG1 reports for yourself. Second, the preponderance of evidence in this report shows that a temperature rise of 2 to 3 degrees would have, at most an economic impact that is tiny in comparison to many other factors, at only 2% (spread out over the better part of a century). So, should we devote 6.5% of out economic our GDP to fix a 2% problem? If that sounds like a good investment to you, I have a Nigerian oil prince who would like to meet you. The point of the article is that a whole array of factors are going to have major impacts on our socioeconomic well being that require a whole lot more attention than climate change is getting.

  36. This article made me think of my blog about prediction: https://logiclogiclogic.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/why-is-prediction-hard-some-prediction-connundrums-part-i-predictions-on-healthcare/

    In 1980 computer models created by the club of Rome (a group of elite professors from MIT and other elite US universities) predicted in 20 years the earth would be practically despoiled by our rapacious need for the good life. No matter what we did the human population would die of massive pollution or lack of food or … unless we implemented a draconian socialist economy. 20 years later the earth was cleaner than it had been in decades and we were richer than ever after we had implemented the policies of Ronald Reagan which included reduced taxes, reduced government. In other words 20 years later by doing the exact opposite of what the Club of Rome said we averted worldwide disaster.

    The computer models were extremely sophisticated. Everyone believed them. The IPCC is saying something amazing. The club of rome couldn’t make economic predictions 20 years in advance that were within 1% of being accurate. Now we are being told the IPCC with its amazing modeling capabilities can project 200 years into the future the economy of the world.

    I am baffled how this kind of thing could be given 2 seconds thought by anybody. Any prediction is hard. These are ludicrous predictions. not because of what they say but like the climate models they have been artfully engineered to produce data they want us to accept. The models are constructions meant to produce a polticial agenda. There is ZERO POINT ZERO probability these models have any more validitiy than the climate models which project carefully programmed global warming. It is simply well beyond our ability to predict such things.

  37. So why does Obama say that the planet will be economically and socially (as well as physically) destroyed unless the COP21 agreements are not only followed, but followed by more agressive action?

    A recent Idaho poll showed that 84% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats didn’t think climate change was a signficiant problem. If the current Republican/Democrat split (Trump et al/Clinton et al) is corrent at roughly 50:50, then 42% of the American population don’t think there is a problem worth their time or money. Despite all the rhetoric and fear-mongering!

    So why the aggressive action on the climate? One can only speculate. Are our governors really that much smarter than us?

  38. I found the blog interesting. I think impact assessment is a very uncertain field and I think Richard Tol has been given a perhaps unreasonably hard time (though I wasn’t party to any of the controversy). However I’ve now read the chapter and the SPM and I really can’t agree with the blog author’s reading of it. I didn’t find Chapter 10 purely sanguine — it indicates that the uncertainty lies towards the downside for any given amount of warming, that the increase in damage is likely not linear with temperature increase, and that the impacts are likely to be be worse for the worse off. The majority of the sectoral assessments are interesting but not necessarily that important from a welfare perspective in my opinion – they are of interest for those working on those sectors but this is mostly a question of facilitating market adaptation. The overall economic damage is visible in the aggregate. A social cost of carbon of 30/tonne implies pretty significant action, and if this chapter is a correct about high uncertainty towards the upside on that cost, then a higher CO2 price is implied. Anyway, combine this with the point made above that the impact assessment is actually much broader than Chapter 10 and I don’t really see a massive conflict between this chapter and the SPM. Both make much of the uncertainty and emphasise the downside risks. I think it takes a real effort to see a conspiracy unmasked here.

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