Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All the IIPC's "gates"

The revelations about the lack of science behind the assertions in the United Nations IIPC's 2007 report just keep piling up. Andrew Neil writes on the BBC site that the floodgates are open on all the unsubstantiated assertions that made their way into that influential report that is supposed to be the basis for all the economy-destroying actions that governments should be taking to avert the predicted catastrophes. First there was the climate-gate scandal revealed through the leaked emails. And now there are three more stories about how strongly assertions got inserted into the IIPC report.
But the flood gates really opened after the IPCC had to withdraw its claim that the Himalayan glaciers would likely all have melted by 2035, maybe even sooner.

This turned out to have no basis in scientific fact, even though everything the IPCC produces is meant to be rigorously peer-reviewed, but simply an error recycled by the WWF, which the IPCC swallowed whole.

The truth, as seen by India's leading expert in glaciers, is that "Himalayan glaciers have not in anyway exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat."

So the 40% of the world's population that relies on the seven major river systems supplied by these glaciers can sleep a little more soundly in the knowledge that their water won't run out in 25 years after all.

Then at the weekend another howler was exposed. The IPCC 2007 report claimed that global warming was leading to an increase in extreme weather, such as hurricanes and floods. Like its claims about the glaciers, this was also based on an unpublished report which had not been subject to scientific scrutiny -- indeed several experts warned the IPCC not to rely on it.

The author, who didn't actually finish his work until a year after the IPCC had used his research, has now repudiated what he sees has its misuse of his work.
His conclusion: "There is insufficient evidence to claim a statistical link between global warming and catastrophe loss."
Yet it was because of this -- now unproved -- link that the British government signed up to a $100 billion transfer from rich to poor countries to help them cope with a supposed increase in floods and hurricanes.
And it doesn't end there. And that's not all.
Now after Climate-gate, Glacier-gate and Hurricane-gate -- how many "gates" can one report contain? -- comes Amazon-gate. The IPCC claimed that up to 40% of the Amazonian forests were risk from global warming and would likely be replaced by "tropical savannas" if temperatures continued to rise.

This claim is backed up by a scientific-looking reference but on closer investigation turns out to be yet another non-peer reviewed piece of work from the WWF. Indeed the two authors are not even scientists or specialists on the Amazon: one is an Australian policy analyst, the other a freelance journalist for the Guardian and a green activist.

The WWF has yet to provide any scientific evidence that 40% of the Amazon is threatened by climate change -- as opposed to the relentless work of loggers and expansion of farms.
So when you hear that the scientific consensus is clear, remember that some of that consensus isn't from scientists but just some random scare-mongering puffed up by the IIPC writers without any scientific foundation.

And who knows what the next "gate" will be.