‘Forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong’ – UN IPCC Report Leaked to UK Daily Mail: ‘IPCC scientists accept their forecast computers may have exaggerated the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures – and not taken enough notice of natural variability’


By: - Climate DepotSeptember 15, 2013 8:14 AM

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(http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=c920274f2a364603849bbb505&id=7cdf4e5062&e=f4e33fdd1e) .

** CCNet 15/09/13
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** IPCC Report Leaked
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** Scientists Admit They Got Warming Rate Wrong
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A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong. The Mail on Sunday has obtained the final draft of a report to be published later this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the ultimate watchdog whose massive, six-yearly ‘assessments’ are accepted by environmentalists, politicians and experts as the gospel of climate science. The IPCC recognises the global warming ‘pause’ first reported by The Mail on Sunday last year is real – and concede that their computer models did not predict it. But they cannot explain why world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase since 1997. –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 15 September 2013 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html)

Last night Professor Judith Curry, head of climate science at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said the leaked Summary for Policy-makers showed that ‘the science is clearly not settled, and is in a state of flux’. She said it therefore made no sense that the IPCC was claiming that its confidence in its forecasts and conclusions has increased. ‘The consensus-seeking process used by the IPCC creates and amplifies biases in the science. It should be abandoned in favour of a more traditional review that presents arguments for and against – which would better support scientific progress, and be more useful for policy makers.’ –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 15 September 2013 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html)

Dr Benny Peiser, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, described the leaked report as a ‘staggering concoction of confusion, speculation and sheer ignorance’. As for the pause, he said ‘it would appear that the IPCC is running out of answers … to explain why there is a widening gap between predictions and reality’. –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 15 September 2013 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html)

The British Met Office has issued ‘erroneous statements and misrepresentations’ about the pause in global warming – and its climate computer model is fundamentally flawed, says a new analysis by a leading independent researcher. Nic Lewis, a climate scientist and accredited ‘expert reviewer’ for the IPCC, also points out that Met Office’s flagship climate model suggests the world will warm by twice as much in response to CO2 as some other leading institutes, such as Nasa’s climate centre in America. –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 15 September 201 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html) 3 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html)

Since the last IPCC report in 2007, much has changed. It is now more than 15 years since global average temperature rose significantly. Indeed, the IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri has conceded that the “pause” already may have lasted for 17 years, depending on which data set you look at. A recent study in Nature Climate Change by Francis Zwiers and colleagues of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, found that models have overestimated warming by 100% over the past 20 years. Explaining this failure is now a cottage industry in climate science. The most plausible explanation of the pause is simply that climate sensitivity was overestimated in the models because of faulty assumptions about net amplification through water-vapor feedback. This will be a topic of heated debate at the political session to rewrite the report in Stockholm, starting on Sept. 23, at which issues other than the actual science of climate change will be at stake. –Matt Ridley, The Wall Street
Journal, 14 September 2013 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324549004579067532485712464.html)

There is a degree of nervousness internationally that the central climate change message is being lost as efforts are being made to build a global agreement. The concern is the Abbott government’s change of heart on a carbon tax will encourage other countries to delay or weaken their commitment. The election of an Abbott government has focused attention on Australia. Former prime minister John Howard has been booked to deliver this year’s Global Warming Policy Foundation lecture in November. The title of his address: One Religion is Enough. –Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 14 September 2013 (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/carbon-tax-on-ice-climate-science-left-to-deal-with-pause-in-proceedings/story-e6frgd0x-1226718786991)

A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change that compared 117 climate predictions made in the 1990′s to the actual amount of warming finds that 99% of them overestimated the amount of warming. On average, the predictions forecasted two times more global warming than actually occurred. –Maxim Lott, Fox News, 12 September 2013 (http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/09/12/climate-models-wildly-overestimated-global-warming-study-finds/)

Scientists have had only limited success persuading us to care about climate change so perhaps it is time to call in the philosophers. That appears to be the approach of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has engaged a philosopher to help to produce its forthcoming report on how to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Professor Broome’s role appears to be to rein in the economists in the IPCC team and remind them to take ethics into account when considering how much governments should spend on cutting emissions. He contributed to Lord Stern’s Review of the Economics of Climate Change, which was criticised by many economists for justifying spending billions of pounds mitigating climate change by attaching a much higher value to goods available in the next century. –Ben Webster, The Times, 11 September 2013 (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article3865731.ece)

1) IPCC Report Leaked: Scientists Admit They Got Warming Rate Wrong – Mail on Sunday, 15 September 2013 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html)

2) Met Office Misleading Public On Global Warming Pause, New Study – Mail on Sunday, 15 September 2013 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html)

3) Matt Ridley: Dialing Back The Alarm On Climate Change – The Wall Street Journal, 14 September 2013 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324549004579067532485712464.html)

4) Carbon Tax On Ice, Climate Science Struggles To Deal With Warming Pause – The Australian, 14 September 2013 (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/carbon-tax-on-ice-climate-science-left-to-deal-with-pause-in-proceedings/story-e6frgd0x-1226718786991)

5) 99% Of Climate Model Predictions Overestimated Global Warming, Study Finds – Fox News, 12 September 2013 (http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/09/12/climate-models-wildly-overestimated-global-warming-study-finds/)

6) IPCC Calls In Moral Philosopher As People Cool On Global Warming – The Times, 11 September 2013 (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article3865731.ece)

1) IPCC Report Leaked: Scientists Admit They Got Warming Rate Wrong
Mail on Sunday, 15 September 2013 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html)

David Rose

A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.

The Mail on Sunday has obtained the final draft of a report to be published later this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the ultimate watchdog whose massive, six-yearly ‘assessments’ are accepted by environmentalists, politicians and experts as the gospel of climate science.

They are cited worldwide to justify swingeing fossil fuel taxes and subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy.

Yet the leaked report makes the extraordinary concession that the world has been warming at only just over half the rate claimed by the IPCC in its last assessment, published in 2007.

Back then, it said that the planet was warming at a rate of 0.2C every decade – a figure it claimed was in line with the forecasts made by computer climate models.

But the new report says the true figure since 1951 has been only 0.12C per decade – a rate far below even the lowest computer prediction.

The 31-page ‘summary for policymakers’ is based on a more technical 2,000-page analysis which will be issued at the same time. It also surprisingly reveals: IPCC scientists accept their forecast computers may have exaggerated the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures – and not taken enough notice of natural variability.

* They recognise the global warming ‘pause’ first reported by The Mail on Sunday last year is real – and concede that their computer models did not predict it. But they cannot explain why world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase since 1997.

* They admit large parts of the world were as warm as they are now for decades at a time between 950 and 1250 AD – centuries before the Industrial Revolution, and when the population and CO2 levels were both much lower.

* The IPCC admits that while computer models forecast a decline in Antarctic sea ice, it has actually grown to a new record high. Again, the IPCC cannot say why.

* A forecast in the 2007 report that hurricanes would become more intense has simply been dropped, without mention.
graphic
This year has been one of the quietest hurricane seasons in history and the US is currently enjoying its longest-ever period – almost eight years – without a single hurricane of Category 3 or above making landfall.

One of the report’s own authors, Professor Myles Allen, the director of Oxford University’s Climate Research Network, last night said this should be the last IPCC assessment – accusing its cumbersome production process of ‘misrepresenting how science works’.

Despite the many scientific uncertainties disclosed by the leaked report, it nonetheless draws familiar, apocalyptic conclusions – insisting that the IPCC is more confident than ever that global warming is mainly humans’ fault.

It says the world will continue to warm catastrophically unless there is drastic action to curb greenhouse gases – with big rises in sea level, floods, droughts and the disappearance of the Arctic icecap.

Last night Professor Judith Curry, head of climate science at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said the leaked summary showed that ‘the science is clearly not settled, and is in a state of flux’.

She said it therefore made no sense that the IPCC was claiming that its confidence in its forecasts and conclusions has increased.

For example, in the new report, the IPCC says it is ‘extremely likely’ – 95 per cent certain – that human influence caused more than half the temperature rises from 1951 to 2010, up from ‘very confident’ – 90 per cent certain – in 2007.

Prof Curry said: ‘This is incomprehensible to me’ – adding that the IPCC projections are ‘overconfident’, especially given the report’s admitted areas of doubt.
head of climate science at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said the leaked summary showed that ¿the science is clearly not settled, and is in a state of flux¿.
Head of climate science at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said the leaked summary showed that ‘the science is clearly not settled, and is in a state of flux’
Starting a week tomorrow, about 40 of the 250 authors who contributed to the report – and supposedly produced a definitive scientific consensus – will hold a four-day meeting in Stockholm, together with representatives of most of the 195 governments that fund the IPCC, established in 1998 by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The governments have tabled 1,800 questions and are demanding major revisions, starting with the failure to account for the pause.

Prof Curry said she hoped that the ‘inconsistencies will be pointed out’ at the meeting, adding: ‘The consensus-seeking process used by the IPCC creates and amplifies biases in the science. It should be abandoned in favour of a more traditional review that presents arguments for and against – which would better support scientific progress, and be more useful for policy makers.’ Others agree that the unwieldy and expensive IPCC assessment process has now run its course.

Prof Allen said: ‘The idea of producing a document of near-biblical infallibility is a misrepresentation of how science works, and we need to look very carefully about what the IPCC does in future.’

Climate change sceptics are more outspoken. Dr Benny Peiser, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, described the leaked report as a ‘staggering concoction of confusion, speculation and sheer ignorance’.

As for the pause, he said ‘it would appear that the IPCC is running out of answers .  .  . to explain why there is a widening gap between predictions and reality’.

The Mail on Sunday has also seen an earlier draft of the report, dated October last year. There are many striking differences between it and the current, ‘final’ version.

The 2012 draft makes no mention of the pause and, far from admitting that the Middle Ages were unusually warm, it states that today’s temperatures are the highest for at least 1,300 years, as it did in 2007. Prof Allen said the change ‘reflects greater uncertainty about what was happening around the last millennium but one’.

A further change in the new version is the first-ever scaling down of a crucial yardstick, the ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ – the extent to which the world is meant to warm each time CO2 levels double.

As things stand, the atmosphere is expected to have twice as much CO2 as in pre-industrial times by about 2050. In 2007, the IPCC said the ‘likeliest’ figure was 3C, with up to 4.5C still ‘likely’.

Now it does not give a ‘likeliest’ value and admits it is ‘likely’ it may be as little as 1.5C – so giving the world many more decades to work out how to reduce carbon emissions before temperatures rise to dangerous levels.

As a result of the warming pause, several recent peer-reviewed scientific studies have suggested that the true figure for the sensitivity is much lower than anyone – the IPCC included – previously thought: probably less than 2C.

Last night IPCC communications chief Jonathan Lynn refused to comment, saying the leaked report was ‘still a work in progress’.

Full story (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html)

2) Met Office Misleading Public On Global Warming Pause, New Study
Mail on Sunday, 15 September 2013 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html)

David Rose

The British Met Office has issued ‘erroneous statements and misrepresentations’ about the pause in global warming – and its climate computer model is fundamentally flawed, says a new analysis by a leading independent researcher (http://niclewis.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/metoffice_response2g.pdf) .

Nic Lewis, a climate scientist and accredited ‘expert reviewer’ for the IPCC, also points out that Met Office’s flagship climate model suggests the world will warm by twice as much in response to CO2 as some other leading institutes, such as Nasa’s climate centre in America.
The Met Office model’s current value for the ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ (ECS) – how much hotter the world will get each time CO2 doubles – is 4.6C. This is above the IPCC’s own ‘likely’ range and the 95 per cent certainty’ level established by recent peer-reviewed research.

Lewis’s paper (http://niclewis.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/metoffice_response2g.pdf) is scathing about the ‘future warming’ document issued by the Met Office in July, which purported to explain why the current 16-year global warming ‘pause’ is unimportant, and does not mean the ECS is lower than previously thought.

Lewis says the document made misleading claims about other scientists’ work – for example, misrepresenting important details of a study by a team that included Lewis and 14 other IPCC experts. The team’s paper, published in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience in May, said the best estimate of the ECS was 2C or less – well under half the Met Office estimate.

He also gives evidence that another key Met Office model is inherently skewed. The result is that it will always produce high values for CO2-induced warming, no matter how its control knobs are tweaked, because its computation of the cooling effect of smoke and dust pollution – what scientists call ‘aerosol forcing’ – is simply incompatible with the real world.

This has serious implications, because the Met Office’s HadCM3 model is used to determine the Government’s climate projections, which influence policy.

Mr Lewis concludes that the Met Office modelling is ‘fundamentally unsatisfactory, because it effectively rules out from the start the possibility that both aerosol forcing and climate sensitivity are modest’. Yet this, he writes, ‘is the combination that recent observations support’.

3) Matt Ridley: Dialing Back The Alarm On Climate Change
The Wall Street Journal, 14 September 2013 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324549004579067532485712464.html)

IPCC draft report points to lowers estimates of future global warming.

Later this month, a long-awaited event that last happened in 2007 will recur. Like a returning comet, it will be taken to portend ominous happenings. I refer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) “fifth assessment report,” part of which will be published on Sept. 27.

There have already been leaks from this 31-page document, which summarizes 1,914 pages of scientific discussion, but thanks to a senior climate scientist, I have had a glimpse of the key prediction at the heart of the document. The big news is that, for the first time since these reports started coming out in 1990, the new one dials back the alarm. It states that the temperature rise we can expect as a result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide is lower than the IPPC thought in 2007.

Admittedly, the change is small, and because of changing definitions, it is not easy to compare the two reports, but retreat it is. It is significant because it points to the very real possibility that, over the next several generations, the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet.

Specifically, the draft report says that “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS)—eventual warming induced by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which takes hundreds of years to occur—is “extremely likely” to be above 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), “likely” to be above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and “very likely” to be below 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 Fahrenheit). In 2007, the IPPC said it was “likely” to be above 2 degrees Celsius and “very likely” to be above 1.5 degrees, with no upper limit. Since “extremely” and “very” have specific and different statistical meanings here, comparison is difficult.

Still, the downward movement since 2007 is clear, especially at the bottom of the “likely” range. The most probable value (3 degrees Celsius last time) is for some reason not stated this time.

A more immediately relevant measure of likely warming has also come down: “transient climate response” (TCR)—the actual temperature change expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide about 70 years from now, without the delayed effects that come in the next century. The new report will say that this change is “likely” to be 1 to 2.5 degrees Celsius and “extremely unlikely” to be greater than 3 degrees. This again is lower than when last estimated in 2007 (“very likely” warming of 1 to 3 degrees Celsius, based on models, or 1 to 3.5 degrees, based on observational studies).

Most experts believe that warming of less than 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels will result in no net economic and ecological damage. Therefore, the new report is effectively saying (based on the middle of the range of the IPCC’s emissions scenarios) that there is a better than 50-50 chance that by 2083, the benefits of climate change will still outweigh the harm.

Warming of up to 1.2 degrees Celsius over the next 70 years (0.8 degrees have already occurred), most of which is predicted to happen in cold areas in winter and at night, would extend the range of farming further north, improve crop yields, slightly increase rainfall (especially in arid areas), enhance forest growth and cut winter deaths (which far exceed summer deaths in most places). Increased carbon dioxide levels also have caused and will continue to cause an increase in the growth rates of crops and the greening of the Earth—because plants grow faster and need less water when carbon dioxide concentrations are higher.

Up to two degrees of warming, these benefits will generally outweigh the harmful effects, such as more extreme weather or rising sea levels, which even the IPCC concedes will be only about 1 to 3 feet during this period.

Full comment (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324549004579067532485712464.html)

4) Carbon Tax On Ice, Climate Science Struggles To Deal With Warming Pause
The Australian, 14 September 2013 (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/carbon-tax-on-ice-climate-science-left-to-deal-with-pause-in-proceedings/story-e6frgd0x-1226718786991)

Graham Lloyd

As it seeks to rebuild momentum, the IPCC is keenly aware it has a credibility problem because of mistakes and politicking in the past. How it handles the completion and release of the fifth assessment report will be crucial.

[...] Following the record Arctic ice melt last year to the lowest extent in the satellite record, this year’s rebound does not disprove climate change. In fact the 6.09 million sq km ice extent for last month was still 1.13 million sq km below the 1981 to 2010 average for August, and similar to the years 2008 to 2010.

But combined with a widespread debate over how to explain a more than decade-long pause in global average surface temperature increases, the Arctic rebound has added a new level of difficulty for those who had wanted a simple, cut-through message in support of global action. […]

There is a degree of nervousness internationally that the central climate change message is being lost as efforts are being made to build a global agreement. To help with “messaging”, the Ted Turner-created UN Foundation has engaged the Australian public relations arm of an international advertising agency to help manage difficult media ahead of the release of the IPCC report.

The concern is the Abbott government’s change of heart on a carbon tax will encourage other countries to delay or weaken their commitment….

As it seeks to rebuild momentum, the IPCC is keenly aware it has a credibility problem because of mistakes and politicking in the past. How it handles the completion and release of the fifth assessment report will be crucial.

There already have been leaks from draft copies of the report giving mixed signals. The official line seems to be that confidence has increased about the impact of human activity on climate.

But other research in the draft indicates scientists may have overstated the problem in the past. The IPCC has said that may not make it into the final report.

It is not possible, however, to escape the pause. [...]

The mixed international outlook and absence of a clear “shock” message – despite the continuing high level of concern among many scientists – has many in the climate change community nervous.

The election of an Abbott government, with its promise to scrap the carbon tax, has focused attention on Australia.

Former prime minister John Howard has been booked to deliver this year’s Global Warming Policy Foundation lecture in November. The title of his address: One Religion is Enough.

Full comment (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/carbon-tax-on-ice-climate-science-left-to-deal-with-pause-in-proceedings/story-e6frgd0x-1226718786991t)

5) 99% Of Climate Model Predictions Overestimated Global Warming, Study Finds
Fox News, 12 September 2013 (http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/09/12/climate-models-wildly-overestimated-global-warming-study-finds/)

Maxim Lott

A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change that compared 117 climate predictions made in the 1990′s to the actual amount of warming finds that 99% of them overestimated the amount of warming. On average, the predictions forecasted two times more global warming than actually occurred.

Can you rely on the weather forecast? Maybe not, at least when it comes to global warming predictions over short time periods.

That’s the upshot of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change (http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs/Climate%20change/Climate%20model%20results/over%20estimate.pdf) that compared 117 climate predictions made in the 1990′s to the actual amount of warming. Out of 117 predictions, the study’s author told FoxNews.com, three were roughly accurate and 114 overestimated the amount of warming. On average, the predictions forecasted two times more global warming than actually occurred.

Some scientists say the study shows that climate modelers need to go back to the drawing board.

“It’s a real problem … it shows that there really is something that needs to be fixed in the climate models,” climate scientist John Christy, a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told FoxNews.com.

But other scientists say that’s making a mountain out of a molehill.

“This is neither surprising nor particularly troubling to me as a climate scientist,” Melanie Fitzpatrick, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told FoxNews.com.

“The work of our community is constantly to refine our understanding of the climate system and improve models based on that,” she added.

The climate models, Fitzpatrick said, will likely be correct over long periods of time. But there are too many variations in climate to expect models to be accurate over two decades.

But John Christy says that climate models have had this problem going back 35 years, to 1979, the first year for which reliable satellite temperature data exists to compare the predictions to.

“I looked at 73 climate models going back to 1979 and every single one predicted more warming than happened in the real world,” Christy said.

Many of the overestimations also made their way into the popular press. In 1989, the Associate Press reported: “Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide 2 degrees by 2010.”

Full story (http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/09/12/climate-models-wildly-overestimated-global-warming-study-finds/)

6) IPCC Calls In Moral Philosopher As People Cool On Global Warming
The Times, 11 September 2013 (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article3865731.ece)

Ben Webster

Scientists have had only limited success persuading us to care about climate change so perhaps it is time to call in the philosophers. That appears to be the approach of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has engaged a philosopher to help to produce its forthcoming report on how to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The report, the fifth of its kind since the IPCC was created in 1988, will focus more heavily on ethical issues than previous reports.

Abstract concepts, such as the relative importance of non-existent people and how much we value a second bathroom, will enter the debate alongside more mundane matters, such as how to insulate millions of lofts.

John Broome, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University, is one of the lead authors of the IPCC’s report on the mitigation of climate change, to be published next April.

Professor Broome’s role appears to be to rein in the economists in the IPCC team and remind them to take ethics into account when considering how much governments should spend on cutting emissions.

He argues that we should be thinking not simply about the impact our emissions will have on our grandchildren but also on non-existent generations, who will not be born because of population changes as parts of the world become less habitable

In an article for Scientific American, he wrote: “Many people, some living, others yet to be born, will die from the effects of climate change. Is each death equally bad? How bad are those deaths collectively? Many people will die before they bear children, so climate change will prevent the existence of children who would otherwise have been born. Is their non-existence a bad thing?” [...]

Professor Broome is also an expert on the ethics of discount rates, the tool economists use to apply values to future events. For example, he asks whether we should attach less importance to the death of a 10-year-old in 100 years’ time than the death of a 10-year-old now.

He contributed to Lord Stern’s Review of the Economics of Climate Change, which was criticised by many economists for justifying spending billions of pounds mitigating climate change by attaching a much higher value to goods available in the next century.

Bob Ward, the policy director at the LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, which is chaired by Lord Stern, said philosophers were essential to help the IPCC and governments to value the well-being of future generations.

“Philosophers also help on questions of equity, such as the extent to which developed countries should be doing more than developing countries to address the problem,” he said.

However, Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which argues that the threat from climate change has been overstated, said that the inclusion of a philosopher would weaken the IPCC’s authority further.

“They should be addressing basic questions of economic common sense, such as what’s the best way of spending money on climate change, not philosophical questions,” he said.

“I don’t think philosophers are good advisers on these questions because they haven’t got a clue about hard economic issues and they are not experts in the field of policy-making.”

Full story (subscription required) (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article3865731.ece)

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