Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why the IPCC delay? Maybe it's legit...

The IPCC has released its summary report on climate change, and the rhetoric (as usual) is hotter than either the numbers behind it or the measured temperatures that we are supposed to be worrying about.

One of the criticisms levelled at the IPCC is that the detailed science won't be published for another three months, and until then insiders will be editing the details to match the summary. Given the manipulative track record of this organization, the alarm bells are completely justified.

But there may be another explanation. I'll get to it, but first a paragraph of tedious background information.

The theme of the summary reports has been "the science is settled" but the basic calculation at the heart of the AGW argument, the rate at which industrial CO2 levels lead to higher temperatures, has just changed. The report issued in 2001 concluded that our greenhouse gas emissions had caused a radiative forcing of 2.43 watts per square meter, which would lead to a temperature increase of 3.5 C degrees. But the current report concludes that the radiative forcing is just 1.6 watts per square meter, and the resulting temperature increase will be 3.0 C at the levels of CO2 that the models are using. And the report writers are now admitting the significant cooling impact of particulates and aerosols, which were the prime culprits in the peer-reviewed Global Cooling studies of the 1970s but which were not considered significant net contributors in the 2001 report.

So here is what I figure. Someone at the top of the IPCC has the integrity to recognize that the science that was 'settled' five years ago isn't settled at all. He or she further figures that if the latest findings aren't reflected in both the summary and the detailed papers, sooner or later the sham will be revealed and everyone associated with the IPCC will be discredited. And he or she knows that a certain amount of dogma has crept into the research of the IPCC scientists, who after all are human and who have been rewarded with research money for not being contrarians.

I suggest, entirely without evidence and simply as an observer of human behaviour, that the IPCC is actually going through the details of the science and editing the most extreme claims and convenient omissions, the ones that do not square with the reality that global temperatures have remained flat for five years, that the oceans have actually cooled, and that the claimed climate forcings do not stand up to scrutiny. In other words, the editors are actually policing the scientists.

Truth has its own power. I wonder whether finally that's what is at work within the IPCC.

1 comment:

JR said...

Good post. I think the IPCC also wants to be able to generate another flury of media hype with the release of the full report in a couple of months. Keeps the propaganda momentum going. They've had a pretty effective communications strategy working for them so far.