Thursday, November 1, 2007

IPCC scientists against Gore

A couple of items. From the WSJ:

My Nobel Moment
November 1, 2007; Page A19

I've had a lot of fun recently with my tiny (and unofficial) slice of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But, though I was one of thousands of IPCC participants, I don't think I will add "0.0001 Nobel Laureate" to my resume.

The other half of the prize was awarded to former Vice President Al Gore, whose carbon footprint would stomp my neighborhood flat. But that's another story.

Both halves of the award honor promoting the message that Earth's temperature is rising due to human-based emissions of greenhouse gases. The Nobel committee praises Mr. Gore and the IPCC for alerting us to a potential catastrophe and for spurring us to a carbonless economy.

I'm sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see. Rather, I see a reliance on climate models (useful but never "proof") and the coincidence that changes in carbon dioxide and global temperatures have loose similarity over time.

[…] We discount the possibility that everything is caused by human actions, because everything we've seen the climate do has happened before. Sea levels rise and fall continually. The Arctic ice cap has shrunk before. One millennium there are hippos swimming in the Thames, and a geological blink later there is an ice bridge linking Asia and North America.

One of the challenges in studying global climate is keeping a global perspective, especially when much of the research focuses on data gathered from spots around the globe. Often observations from one region get more attention than equally valid data from another.

The recent CNN report "Planet in Peril," for instance, spent considerable time discussing shrinking Arctic sea ice cover. CNN did not note that winter sea ice around Antarctica last month set a record maximum (yes, maximum) for coverage since aerial measurements started.
Linked from Newsbusters and Eric Scheie, via Glenn Reynolds.

A Newsbusters commenter links to Lawrence Solomon at the Financial Post, writing about Dr. Vincent Gray:
IPCC too blinkered and corrupt to save
Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post
Published: Friday, October 26, 2007

Vincent Gray has begun a second career as a climate-change activist. His motivation springs from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body that combats global warming by advocating the reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Dr. Gray has worked relentlessly for the IPCC as an expert reviewer since the early 1990s.

But Dr. Gray isn't an activist in the cause of enforcing the Kyoto Protocol and realizing the other goals of the worldwide IPCC process. To the contrary, Dr. Gray's mission, in his new role as cofounder of The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, is to stop the IPCC from spreading climate-change propaganda that undermines the integrity of science.

"The whole process is a swindle," he states, in large part because the IPCC has a blinkered mandate that excludes natural causes of global warming.

" The Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) 1992 defined 'climate change' as changes in climate caused by human interference with atmospheric composition," he explains. "The task of the IPCC, therefore, has been to accumulate evidence to support this belief that all changes in the climate are caused by human interference with the atmosphere. Studies of natural climate change have largely been used to claim that these are negligible compared with 'climate change.' "

Dr. Gray is one of the 2,000 to 2,500 top scientists from around the world whom the IPCC often cites as forming the basis of its findings. No one has been a more faithful reviewer than Dr. Gray over the years -- he has been an IPCC expert almost from the start, and perhaps its most prolific contributor, logging almost 1,900 comments on the IPCC's final draft of its most recent report alone.

But Dr. Gray, who knows as much about the IPCC's review processes as anyone, has been troubled by what he sees as an appalling absence of scientific rigour in the IPCC's review process.

"Right from the beginning, I have had difficulty with this procedure. Penetrating questions often ended without any answer. Comments on the IPCC drafts were rejected without explanation, and attempts to pursue the matter were frustrated indefinitely.

"Over the years, as I have learned more about the data and procedures of the IPCC, I have found increasing opposition by them to providing explanations, until I have been forced to the conclusion that for significant parts of the work of the IPCC, the data collection and scientific methods employed are unsound. Resistance to all efforts to try and discuss or rectify these problems has convinced me that normal scientific procedures are not only rejected by the IPCC, but that this practice is endemic, and was part of the organization from the very beginning."
Consensus? As Paul Reiter said to John Stossel, the IPCC is a political organization, not a scientific one.

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