From Thursday’s Daily Telegraph
On Friday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change delivers its latest verdict on the state of man-made global warming. Though the details are a secret, one thing is clear: the version of events you will see and hear in much of the media, especially from partis pris organisations like the BBC, will be the opposite of what the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report actually says.
Already we have had a taste of the nonsense to come: a pre-announcement to the effect that “climate scientists” are now “95 per cent certain” that humans are to blame for climate change; an evidence-free declaration by the economist who wrote the discredited Stern Report that the computer models cited by the IPCC “substantially underestimate” the scale of the problem; a statement by the panel’s chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, that “the scientific evidence of… climate change has strengthened year after year”.
As an exercise in bravura spin, these claims are up there with Churchill’s attempts to reinvent the British Expeditionary Force’s humiliating retreat from Dunkirk as a victory. In truth, though, the new report offers scant consolation to those many alarmists whose careers depend on talking up the threat. It says not that they are winning the war to persuade the world of the case for catastrophic anthropogenic climate change – but that the battle is all but lost.
At the heart of the problem lie the computer models which, for 25 years, have formed the basis for the IPCC’s scaremongering: they predicted runaway global warming, when the real rise in temperatures has been much more modest. So modest, indeed, that it has fallen outside the lowest parameters of the IPCC’s prediction range. The computer models, in short, are bunk.
To a few distinguished scientists, this will hardly come as news. For years they have insisted that “sensitivity” – the degree to which the climate responds to increases in atmospheric CO₂ – is far lower than the computer models imagined. In the past, their voices have been suppressed by the bluster and skullduggery we saw exposed in the Climategate emails. From grant-hungry science institutions and environmentalist pressure groups to carbon traders, EU commissars, and big businesses with their snouts in the subsidies trough, many vested interests have much to lose should the global warming gravy train be derailed.
This is why the latest Assessment Report is proving such a headache to the IPCC. It’s the first in its history to admit what its critics have said for years: global warming did “pause” unexpectedly in 1998 and shows no sign of resuming. And, other than an ad hoc new theory about the missing heat having been absorbed by the deep ocean, it cannot come up with a convincing explanation why. Coming from a skeptical blog none of this would be surprising. But from the IPCC, it’s dynamite: the equivalent of the Soviet politburo announcing that command economies may not after all be the most efficient way of allocating resources.
Which leaves the IPCC in a dilemma: does it ’fess up and effectively put itself out of business? Or does it brazen it out for a few more years, in the hope that a compliant media and an eco-brainwashed populace will be too stupid to notice? So far, it looks as if it prefers the second option – a high-risk strategy. Gone are the days when all anybody read of its Assessment Reports were the sexed-up “Summary for Policymakers”. Today, thanks to the internet, skeptical inquirers such as Donna Laframboise (who revealed that some 40 per cent of the IPCC’s papers came not from peer-reviewed journals but from Greenpeace and WWF propaganda) will be going through every chapter with a fine toothcomb.
Al Gore’s “consensus” is about to be holed below the water-line – and those still aboard the SS Global Warming are adjusting their positions. Some, such as scientist Judith Curry of Georgia Tech, have abandoned ship. She describes the IPCC’s stance as “incomprehensible”. Others, such as the EU’s Climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, steam on oblivious. Interviewed last week by the Telegraph’s Bruno Waterfield, she said: “Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said: ‘We were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of the things you have to do in order to combat climate change?” If she means needlessly driving up energy prices, carpeting the countryside with wind turbines and terrifying children about a problem that turns out to have been imaginary, then most of us would probably answer “No”.