IPCC warnings about African crops also bogus

posted at 9:30 am on February 15, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Another key element of the IPCC report on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) turns out to be based on deliberate decisions to use the most hysterical claims by advocates rather than on science.  The IPCC warnings of the African crop projections have a more demonstrably corrupt basis, as the report deliberately ignored actual science that showed little risk of crop yields — science funded by the British government at a cost of over £2.5 million.  Who compiled the IPCC Synthesis that ignored peer-reviewed science for the speculation of one Moroccan activist, whose report didn’t even agree with its cited sources?  Rajendra Pachauri’s own business — and he got over £400,000 for the work:

One of the most widely quoted and most alarmist passages in the main 2007 report was a warning that, by 2020, global warming could reduce crop yields in some countries in Africa by 50 per cent. Dr Pachauri not only allowed this claim to be included in the short Synthesis Report, of which he was co-editor, but has publicly repeated it many times since.

The origin of this claim was a report written for a Canadian advocacy group by Ali Agoumi, a Moroccan academic who draws part of his current income from advising on how to make applications for “carbon credits”. As his primary sources he cited reports for three North African governments. But none of these remotely supported what he wrote. The nearest any got to providing evidence for his claim was one for the Moroccan government, which said that in serious drought years, cereal yields might be reduced by 50 per cent. The report for the Algerian government, on the other hand, predicted that, on current projections, “agricultural production will more than double by 2020″. Yet it was Agoumi’s claim that climate change could cut yields by 50 per cent that was headlined in the IPCC’s Working Group II report in 2007.

What made this even odder, however, was that the group’s co-chairman was a British agricultural expert, Dr Martin Parry, whose consultancy group, Martin Parry Associates, had been paid £75,000 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for two reports which had come to totally different conclusions. Specifically designed to inform the IPCC’s 2007 report, these predicted that by 2020 any changes were likely to be insignificant. The worst case they could come up with was that by 2080 climate change might decrease crop yields by “up to 30 per cent”.

British taxpayers poured out money for the section of the IPCC report for which Dr Parry was responsible. Defra paid £2.5 million through the Met Office, plus £330,000 for Dr Parry’s salary as co-chairman, and a further £75,000 to his consultancy for two more reports on the impact of global warming on world food supplies. Yet when it came to the impact on Africa, all this peer-reviewed work – including further expert reports by Britain’s Dr Mike Hulme and Dutch and German teams – was ignored in favour of a prediction from one Moroccan activist at odds with his own cited sources.

However, the story then got worse when Dr Pachauri himself came to edit and co-author the IPCC’s Synthesis Report (for which the IPCC paid his Delhi-based Teri institute, out of the £400,000 allocated for its production). Not only did Pachauri’s version again give prominence to Agoumi’s 50 per cent figure, but he himself has repeated the claim on numerous occasions since, in articles, interviews and speeches –such as the one he gave to a climate summit in Potsdam last September, where he boasted he was speaking “in the voice of the world’s scientific community”.

In the other IPCC scandals, Pachauri took the blame because he ran the organization.  However, in this case, Pachauri played a key role in disseminating erroneous claims, at the very least.  He not only included a false claim on the affect of AGW on crop yields — a key argument that Pachauri himself continues to use — but he ignored peer-reviewed science in favor of these hysterical claims.

How many other such decisions still remain in the IPCC reports?  We know that one of the IPCC’s most important think tanks, the East Anglia CRU, threatened to redefine “peer review” to keep such contradictory evidence out of the AGW reports.  This “hide the lack of decline” moment is nothing more than that impulse put into process by Pachauri himself.  If he had no problem ignoring science in this case, then it’s not too difficult to imagine that he made the same decision on other parts of the IPCC report.

The Washington Post reports today on the discrediting of the IPCC, but curiously doesn’t mention any of the reporting done this weekend by the British press about Dr. Phil Jones’ admissions or this part of the African crop lies.  It does, however, include this strange passage, buried at the end, emphasis mine:

And Christopher Field — co-chair of the second working group for the IPCC’s next assessment — said the panel needs to improve its fact-checking, even if it means enlisting report contributors’ students to help do the job.

“My goal is to produce a report that’s 100 percent error-free, to the maximum extent possible,” he said. “The fact that the IPCC runs on volunteer labor makes it a challenge, but it’s too important a challenge to ignore.”

Volunteer labor?  Pachauri got almost a million dollars to write that IPCC synthesis.  He wants the AGW gravy train to continue; small wonder he ignored the science in favor of the hysteria.  We’re not talking typos here, but major claims that turn out to be bogus, based not on science but on speculation from AGW advocates and approved by people with financial interest in maintaining the hysteria.

Update: Fausta has a good “global warming blizzard” roundup going.

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