The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, their foremost and super-cereal authoritative body on the matter, released phase two of their four-part report they compile every so often to make recommendations to policymakers the world over about how much the world is warming and what to do about it. As Jeff already noted this morning, this latest issue is replete with dire warnings about food security and declining crop yields, economic shocks, drought and water supplies, regional conflicts and war, and etcetera. So, in a nutshell, the same type of catastrophic warnings that progressive environmentalists have been prophesying for decades now, without any such calamities coming to pass.
The IPCC has several available explanations for the pause in warming we’ve been experiencing since the late 1990’s (and indeed, the panel hotly debated how best to present that information to the public in their first chapter of the report released last fall, ahem), ranging from particles from volcanic eruptions blocking out the sun’s heat to the accrued warmth currently residing within the depths of the oceans — but the point is, climate science is an extremely complex and nuanced science with a million different factors going into it, and we don’t quite know what we don’t quite know. That’s not to say that climate change isn’t a serious problem and that human activity couldn’t be some of the impetus behind it, but when climate scientists and globalist bureaucrats make huge, sweeping, and obviously politicized conclusions that they insist are absolutely beyond dispute and that the science is therefore “settled,” they kind of discredit their own cause, no? Like when, say, they dismiss one of their own as “fringe” for daring to step outside the very tiny box they have decided is the only way to think about climate change? Via the Financial Times:
Two of the world’s leading climate researchers have clashed over a report on the impact of global warming and rising sea levels. The chief author of the study by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said an economist drafting a key chapter had made “meaningful errors” that had to be fixed and was on the “fringe” of the scientific community’s thinking.
Chris Field, professor of environmental studies at Stanford University in California, made the comments about Professor Richard Tol of the University of Sussex in the UK, a senior author of the report’s chapter on climate change’s economic impacts.
Professor Tol revealed last week that he had asked for his name to be removed from the study’s summary – the most widely read section of the IPCC report – because he believed it was too “alarmist” and included “silly” statements about the vulnerability of people in war zones to climate change. …
“When the IPCC does a report, what you get is the community’s position. Richard Tol is a wonderful scientist but he’s not at the centre of the thinking. He’s kind of out on the fringe,” Prof Field said.
The good news, as rational optimist Matt Ridley explained in the WSJ this weekend based on leaks of the IPCC’s latest report, is that the UN actually did actually take a slightly more conservative stance this time around with making precise predictions and admitting to some of the vast areas of uncertainty to which climate science is prone. Even while it exaggerates the amount and causes of warming, the IPCC did get a little more cautious with the effects, Ridley writes:
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will shortly publish the second part of its latest report, on the likely impact of climate change. Government representatives are meeting with scientists in Japan to sex up—sorry, rewrite—a summary of the scientists’ accounts of storms, droughts and diseases to come. But the actual report, known as AR5-WGII, is less frightening than its predecessor seven years ago.
The 2007 report was riddled with errors about Himalayan glaciers, the Amazon rain forest, African agriculture, water shortages and other matters, all of which erred in the direction of alarm. ..
It puts the overall cost at less than 2% of GDP for a 2.5 degrees Centigrade (or 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature increase during this century. This is vastly less than the much heralded prediction of Lord Stern, who said climate change would cost 5%-20% of world GDP in his influential 2006 report for the British government. …
The forthcoming report apparently admits that climate change has extinguished no species so far and expresses “very little confidence” that it will do so. There is new emphasis that climate change is not the only environmental problem that matters and on adapting to it rather than preventing it. Yet the report still assumes 70% more warming by the last decades of this century than the best science now suggests. This is because of an overreliance on models rather than on data in the first section of the IPCC report—on physical science—that was published in September 2013. …
And the group’s dislike of dissent hardly breeds confidence in their methods or their motivations. As I’ve said before, these guys would be doing themselves a huge favor if they would just abandon the catastrophe-or-bust alarmism strategy on which they’ve been relying for years and the subsequent recommendations that require the world’s economies to conscientiously contract to save the planet — rather than more marginal and growth-oriented ideas that could actually convince more people to get on board.