More bogus AGW information in IPCC report?

posted at 12:55 pm on January 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The UN’s team on climate change, the IPCC, has had a rather bad few months.  First came the uncovered e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, a key research organization for the IPCC,  that showed deception and professional character assassination by so-called scientists attempting to block data and analyses that contradicted the CRU conclusions on anthropogenic global warming (AGW).  Next, a scandal hit closer to home when the IPCC’s reliance on a theory of dissipating Himalyan glaciers turned out to be unscientific speculation — that the IPCC badly misquoted anyway.  Now the Telegraph’s James Delingpole reports that another key claim by the IPCC also comes from non-peer-reviewed work by scientists operating out of their field of work:

Here’s the latest development, courtesy of Dr Richard North – and it’s a cracker. It seems that, not content with having lied to us about shrinking glaciers, increasing hurricanes, and rising sea levels, the IPCC’s latest assessment report also told us a complete load of porkies about the danger posed by climate change to the Amazon rainforest.

This is to be found in Chapter 13 of the Working Group II report, the same part of the IPCC fourth assessment report in which the “Glaciergate” claims are made. There, is the startling claim that:

“Up to 40%of theAmazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and the future situation (Rowell and Moore, 2000). It is more probable that forests will be replaced by ecosystems that have more resistance to multiple stresses caused by temperature increase, droughts and fires, such as tropical savannas.”

At first sight, the reference looks kosher enough but, following it through, one sees:

Rowell, A. and P.F. Moore, 2000: Global Review of Forest Fires. WWF/IUCN,
Gland, Switzerland, 66 pp. http://www.iucn.org/themes/fcp/publications
/files/global_review_forest_fires.pdf.

This, then appears to be another WWF report, carried out in conjunction with the IUCN – The International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The WWF is not a university or research center.  It is the World Wildlife Fund, an environmentalist advocacy group, one best known here for having an agency that produced and distributed (without the WWF’s permission) an ad that used 9/11 as a way to accuse people of committing terrorism against the planet.  Dr. Rowell works on policy analysis, not research.   PF Moore isn’t a scientist at all; he’s a “green activist” and a reporter for the Guardian newspaper.  And not only is this work not peer-reviewed and not conducted by environmental scientists in a normal research model, Dr. North can’t even find the claim that 40% of the rainforest is at risk over slightly reduced precipitation in any of WWF’s own research.

How did the IPCC come to include this claim in its report to the UN?  Supposedly, all of the underlying data is supposed to be peer-reviewed, legitimate research by professional scientists and not advocates.  Yet within nine days we have seen two of its major claims turn out to be anecdotal speculation based on nothing at all.  It goes right along with those Himalayan glaciers that were supposedly going to disappear within 25 years — at best, speculation that the IPCC falsely presented as scientific research, and likely a large load of carbon-rich effluvium.

Speaking of the glaciers, I Hate The Media has twelve glaciers that haven’t gotten the IPCC’s marching orders yet.  Most interesting: the new glacier forming in the concave top of Mount St. Helens in Washington.


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