Monday, January 25, 2010

More hits on the IPCC's credibility

When "Glaciergate" broke, the response of the IPCC Chairman—multi-millionaire businessman Rajendra K Pachauri—was unequivocable: "you can't say it's careless science ... it's one mistake".

You say one... I say more than one.

For starters, the IPCC's ARA4 seems to be many, many assertions that only cite WWF reports.
Many of those associated with the WWF are lovely human beings. But that doesn't change the fact that the WWF is not a neutral, disinterested party. It has an agenda, an ax to grind, a definite point-of-view. Rather than being a scientific organization, it is a political one. In the UK, the media aptly calls the WWF a "pressure-group."

The IPCC, on the other hand, describes itself as "a scientific body" that provides "the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change" by assessing "the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information." [bold added]

Quite: the WWF is not impartial and it is not, actually, a scientific organisation. It most certainly isn't a reputable climatologist.

Additionally, EUReferendum has found that the assertion about glaciers actually made it into a couple of places in the latest IPCC report—and not all have been corrected in the light of recent mistakes.

In the meantime, the traditional media has been keeping up the pressure, with The Times claiming to have found yet another problem.
THE United Nations climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.

It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny — and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link too weak. The report's own authors later withdrew the claim because they felt the evidence was not strong enough.

Whoops!
The new controversy also goes back to the IPCC's 2007 report in which a separate section warned that the world had "suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s".

It suggested a part of this increase was due to global warming and cited the unpublished report, saying: "One study has found that while the dominant signal remains that of the significant increases in the values of exposure at risk, once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend."

The Sunday Times has since found that the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, at the time the climate body issued its report.

Okay. But what about after that date...? The paper might just have been held in the queue for publication—perhaps it had been mistaken for a sceptic's submission?

Ah. No. [Emphasis mine.]
When the paper was eventually published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses."

Well, that's a little inconvenient, isn't it? Still, what with the IPCC being such a noble organisation—dedicated solely to the disinterested advancement of the most precise science—they will have published a retraction, won't they.
Despite this change the IPCC did not issue a clarification ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit last month. It has also emerged that at least two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts — but were ignored.

Oh. And what have the IPCC to say about these attacks on their credibility?
The claim will now be re-examined and could be withdrawn. Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a climatologist at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, who is vice-chair of the IPCC, said: "We are reassessing the evidence and will publish a report on natural disasters and extreme weather with the latest findings. Despite recent events the IPCC process is still very rigorous and scientific."

Really? You are still going to assert that? I think that you're in dangerous waters, my friend, because hundreds of people the world over are going to start going through the ARA4 with a fine tooth-comb. Are you absolutely sure that you don't want to think again, Jean-Pascal?
The academic paper at the centre of the latest questions was written in 2006 by Robert Muir-Wood, head of research at Risk Management Solutions, a London consultancy, who later became a contributing author to the section of the IPCC's 2007 report dealing with climate change impacts. He is widely respected as an expert on disaster impacts.

Muir-Wood. Muir-Wood. That name rings a bell...
Muir-Wood's paper was originally commissioned by Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, also an expert on disaster impacts, for a workshop on disaster losses in 2006. The researchers who attended that workshop published a statement agreeing that so far there was no evidence to link global warming with any increase in the severity or frequency of disasters. Pielke has also told the IPCC that citing one section of Muir-Wood's paper in preference to the rest of his work, and all the other peer-reviewed literature, was wrong.

He said: "All the literature published before and since the IPCC report shows that rising disaster losses can be explained entirely by social change. People have looked hard for evidence that global warming plays a part but can't find it. Muir-Wood's study actually confirmed that."

Oooooh yes: the Muir-Wood paper is the one that was quoted in the Stern Review—the results of which seem to have magically been changed. Well, whadda you know?

The longer this goes on, the more the IPCC is compromised: these are not personal revelations about Pachauri (amusing though those are)—these are attacks on the very way in which the IPCC carries out its business.

As I wrote a few days back, the IPCC is catastrophic anthropogenic climate change: it is the Cochrane Collaboration of climate science. But, as is increasingly becoming clear, the IPCC is not only corrupted financially and politically—their very methodology is entirely suspect.
This kind of revelation strikes at the very heart of the CACC foundations because without the IPCC there is no catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. Let me explain...
...

One of the weaknesses of climate science is the relative paucity of raw data: despite the protestations of warmists, there is only one network of climate stations across the world; there are only a few trees suitable for tree ring proxies; there are only a few suitable ice core sites, etc. And all of the agencies doing temperature reconstructions use those same data. These agencies then apply their own adjustments to determine the information that they want (apart from GISS, which takes NOAA's adjusted figures and then add their own adjustments).

In the same way, most climate scientists do not collect their own data: they rely on the data and findings of previous papers. If those data and findings are wrong or compromised, then so are all of the reports based on them—which is the majority of them.

Think of the process as a massive inverted pyramid with the downward-facing point as the raw data and the ever-increasing mass on top as the multiplicity of reports based on said data. Obviously, if the data are wrong, so are all of the models, reports and prognostications based on them.

Similarly, the faith in CACC is based on the credibility of the IPCC simply because people do not have the time to do what the IPCC does, i.e. to collate and assess the many hundreds of reports on climate. And the IPCC is increasingly compromised.

To bring it back to Goldacre's analogy, imagine if it emerged that those who were involved in the Cochrane Collaboration were in the pay of the makers of infant steroids; not only this, but they had deliberately overlooked critical studies and included results that were mere hearsay to back up their report.

This is the situation that the IPCC is in—its credibility is increasingly being shot to pieces and, with it, the major underpinnings of the CACC movement. Once the lights are switched on and the IPCC god is shown to be nothing more than a man in a crudely painted suit, the entire CACC religion will come crashing down.

All of these revelations strike at the credibility of the IPCC and, as such, the entire CACC movement. And whilst many people have been concentrating their fire upon Pachauri and his pet projects, Counting Cats—amongst others—has started to look towards the mighty NASA.

And knowing what I already know about some of that agency's methodologies and predictions, if I were James Hansen—the disgusting, fraudulent little goblin at the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)—I'd be starting to get extremely nervous right now...

8 comments:

DocBud said...

The useless bastards have already started on AR5 even as they are being forced to revise AR4:

http://www.ipcc.ch/

Presumably they daren't use the WWF this time round, which should make it much shorter and a lot less scary.

Anonymous said...

"fine tooth-comb" ... ahem.

Dick Puddlecote said...

I can see the IPCC being 'reorganised' and renamed - that's normally how discredited bodies are reborn and cast as a font of unquestionable integrity.

And despite the Times' laudable work in this instance, the MSM will largely fall for it ... as usual.

microdave said...

"the MSM will largely fall for it ... as usual."

Well Moonbat in the Grauniad certainly still thinks that WE are the crooks!
You really should read some of the comments - but not if you have a liquid refreshment near the key board...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/apr/30/climate-change-scepticism-climate-change

mr said...

A relatively tame Hitler parody video

Glaciergate: Hitler's Last Straw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b-6U5MwyDM

Anonymous said...

Alas, the Brown government ignores reality and throws good money after bad on its climate policy. Look at Canada. The British High Commission in Ottawa, unable to get traction on the issue through its gossipy little media relations office, turns to hiring a former cancer organization flack to sell its policy. Give up, already!

Rob said...

If the IPCC was, say, a major pharmacutical company, it's directors would currently be sitting in a prison cell and all their computers, servers, etc would be sitting in neatly tagged evidence boxes.

Tim Wallace said...

And the amazon rainforest claim was nonsense too...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7009705.ece