UN IPCC In Crisis As Climate Predictions Fail: ‘There is a high probability we will witness the crackup of one of the most influential scientific paradigms of 20th century, & the implications for policy & global politics could be staggering’


By: - Climate DepotSeptember 17, 2013 9:02 AM

CCNet 17/09/13

IPCC In Crisis As Climate Predictions Fail

EU Climate Policy Is Right Even If Science Is Wrong, Says Climate Commissioner

To those of us who have been following the climate debate for decades, the next few years will be electrifying. There is a high probability we will witness the crackup of one of the most influential scientific paradigms of the 20th century, and the implications for policy and global politics could be staggering. –Ross McKitrick, Financial Post, 17 September 2013The IPCC graph shows that climate models predicted temperatures should have responded by rising somewhere between about 0.2 and 0.9 degrees C. But the actual temperature change was only about 0.1 degrees, and was within the margin of error around zero. In other words, models significantly over-predicted the warming effect of CO2 emissions for the past 22 years. The IPCC must take everybody for fools. Its own graph shows that observed temperatures are not within the uncertainty range of projections; they have fallen below the bottom of the entire span. –Ross McKitrick,Financial Post, 17 September 2013

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Something big is about to happen. Models predict one thing and the data show another. The various attempts in recent years to patch over the difference are disintegrating. Over the next few years, either there is going to be a sudden, rapid warming that shoots temperatures up to where the models say they should be, or the mainstream climate modeling paradigm is going to fall apart. –Ross McKitrick, Financial Post, 17 September 2013

 

That climate models and predictions are out of sinc with reality is not that much of a surprise. Many experts in climate and economic modeling have warned for years that the models are flawed and based in large part on self-fulfilling programs. The IPCC meetings at the end of the month are intended to install the science foundation for later meetings next year in Japan and Germany on adaptation and mitigation. The question then becomes: To what are we adapting and mitigating? –Terence Corcoran,Financial Post, 17 September 2013

Regardless of whether scientists are wrong on global warming, current European Union energy policies are the right ones even if they lead to higher prices for consumers, Europe’s climate action commissioner has said. –Bruno Waterfield, The Daily Telegraph, 16 September 2013

Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change? –EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, The Daily Telegraph, 16 September 2013

The recent pause in average global surface temperature rises made lifting confidence in the extent of the human contribution to climate change “incomprehensible”, a leading US climate scientist has said. Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, yesterday published her analysis of a leaked IPCC draft report that has sparked an international furore. “If there are substantial changes in a conclusion in the AR5 (2013 report) relative to a confident conclusion in the AR4 (2007 report) then the confidence level should not increase and should probably drop, since the science clearly is not settled and is in a state of flux,” Professor Curry said. “Further, the projections of 21st century changes remain overconfident.” –Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 17 September 2013

Climate change has always been a polarising issue. The debate has been dominated by extreme opinions, which assume certainties where only probabilities exist. The “truth” about global warming, if it exists, lives somewhere in a constantly shifting probability cloud. The only certainty is that, worldwide, there will always be a need for growth in the sectors of industry, energy and food. –Editorial, The Indian Express, 17 September 2013

1) Ross McKitrick: IPCC In Crisis As Climate Predictions Fail - Financial Post, 17 September 2013

2) Terence Corcoran: The Tide Is Rising On Climate Models And Policies - Financial Post, 17 September 2013

3) Green Logic: EU Climate Policy Is Right Even If Science Is Wrong, Says Climate Commissioner - The Daily Telegraph, 16 September 2013

4) Temperatures Rise Over ‘Inconsistencies’ In IPCC Draft Report - The Australian, 17 September 2013

5) Editorial: The Truth Isn’t Out There - The Indian Express, 17 September 2013

6) And Finally: Cli-Fi - Brian Mickelthwait, 16 September 2013

1) Ross McKitrick: IPCC In Crisis As Climate Predictions Fail
Financial Post, 17 September 2013

In the next five years, the global warming paradigm may fall apart if the models prove worthless

There has been a lot of talk lately about the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, and whether it will take into account the lack of warming since the 1990s. Everything you need to know about the dilemma the IPCC faces is summed up in one remarkable graph.

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The figure nearby is from the draft version that underwent expert review last winter. It compares climate model simulations of the global average temperature to observations over the post-1990 interval. During this time atmospheric carbon dioxide rose by 12%, from 355 parts per million (ppm) to 396 ppm. The IPCC graph shows that climate models predicted temperatures should have responded by rising somewhere between about 0.2 and 0.9 degrees C over the same period. But the actual temperature change was only about 0.1 degrees, and was within the margin of error around zero. In other words, models significantly over-predicted the warming effect of CO2 emissions for the past 22 years.

Chapter 9 of the IPCC draft also shows that overestimation of warming was observed on even longer time scales in data collected by weather satellites and weather balloons over the tropics. Because of its dominant role in planetary energy and precipitation patterns, models have to get the tropical region right if they are credibly to simulate the global climate system. Based on all climate models used by the IPCC, this region of the atmosphere (specifically the tropical mid-troposphere) should exhibit the most rapid greenhouse warming anywhere. Yet most data sets show virtually no temperature change for over 30 years.

The IPCC’s view of the science, consistently held since the 1990s, is that CO2 is the key driver of modern climate change, and that natural variability is too small to count in comparison. This is the “mainstream” view of climate science, and it is what is programmed into all modern climate models. Outputs from the models, in turn, have driven the extraordinarily costly global climate agenda of recent decades. But it is now becoming clear that the models have sharply over predicted warming, and therein lies a problem.

As the gap between models and reality has grown wider, so has the number of mainstream scientists gingerly raising the possibility that climate models may soon need a bit of a re-think. A recent study by some well-known German climate modelers put the probability that models can currently be reconciled with observations at less than 2%, and they said that if we see another five years without a large warming, the probability will drop to zero.

What’s more, the U.K.’s main climate modeling lab just this summer revised its long-term weather forecasts to show it now expects there to be no warming for at least another five years. Ironically, if its model is right, it will have proven itself and all others like it to be fundamentally wrong.

To those of us who have been following the climate debate for decades, the next few years will be electrifying. There is a high probability we will witness the crackup of one of the most influential scientific paradigms of the 20th century, and the implications for policy and global politics could be staggering.

It is the job of the giant UN IPCC panel to inform world leaders of up-to-the-minute developments in the field. With its report due out within days, you would think it would be jumping at the chance to report on these amazing developments, wouldn’t you? Well, guess again.

Judging by the drafts circulated this year, it is in full denial mode. Its own figure reveals a discrepancy between models and observations, yet its discussion says something entirely different. On page 9 of Chapter 1 it explains where the numbers come from, it talks about the various challenges faced by models, and then it sums up the graph as follows: “In summary, the globally-averaged surface temperatures are well within the uncertainty range of all previous IPCC projections, and generally are in the middle of the scenario ranges.” Later, in Chapter 9, it states with “very high confidence” that models can correctly simulate global surface temperature trends.

The IPCC must take everybody for fools. Its own graph shows that observed temperatures are not within the uncertainty range of projections; they have fallen below the bottom of the entire span. Nor do models simulate surface warming trends accurately; instead they grossly exaggerate them. (Nor do they match them on regional scales, where the fit is typically no better than random numbers.)

In the section of the report where it discusses the model-observation mismatch in the tropics, it admits (with “high confidence”) that models overestimate warming in the tropics. Then it says with a shrug that the cause of this bias is “elusive” and promptly drops the subject. What about the implications of this bias? The IPCC not only falls conspicuously silent on that point, it goes on to conclude, despite all evidence to the contrary, that it has “very high confidence” that climate models correctly represent the atmospheric effects of changing CO2 levels.

There are five key points to take away from this situation.

First, something big is about to happen. Models predict one thing and the data show another. The various attempts in recent years to patch over the difference are disintegrating. Over the next few years, either there is going to be a sudden, rapid warming that shoots temperatures up to where the models say they should be, or the mainstream climate modeling paradigm is going to fall apart.

Second, since we are on the verge of seeing the emergence of data that could rock the foundations of mainstream climatology, this is obviously no time for entering into costly and permanent climate policy commitments based on failed model forecasts. The real message of the science is: Hold on a bit longer, information is coming soon that could radically change our understanding of this issue.

Third, what is commonly called the “mainstream” view of climate science is contained in the spread of results from computer models. What is commonly dismissed as the “skeptical” or “denier” view coincides with the real-world observations. Now you know how to interpret those terms when you hear them.

Fourth, we often hear (from no less an authority than Obama himself, among many others) slogans to the effect that 97% of climate experts, 97% of published climate science papers, and all the world’s leading scientific societies agree with the mainstream science as encoded in climate models. But the models don’t match reality. The climate science community has picked a terrible time to brag about the uniformity of groupthink in its ranks.

Finally, the IPCC has proven, yet again, that it is incapable of being objective. Canadian journalist Donna LaFramboise has meticulously documented the extent to which the IPCC has been colonized by environmental activists over the years, and we now see the result. As the model-versus-reality discrepancy plays out, the last place you will learn about it will be in IPCC reports.

Ross McKitrick is Professor of Economics and Chair of Graduate Studies, Department of Economics, University of Guelph. He is a member of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council.

2) Terence Corcoran: The Tide Is Rising On Climate Models And Policies
Financial Post, 17 September 2013

As climate models and economics founder, both the politics and science of climate change are on the ropes at UN and across the globe

You don’t have to be a dyed in the wool climate skeptic to conclude that the great United Nations climate policy regime is in serious trouble. Even extreme greens are worried. Greenpeace recently felt compelled to issue a long attack denouncing “the denial machine” that seems to be winning the policy and science debate. Titled “Dealing in Doubt,” the Greenpeace operatives — still fighting the last war — blamed Exxon-Mobil for funding a denier industry. In Washington, the Climate Reality Project, an Al Gore joint, has a campaign called “Draw the Line on Denial” under way. Tied in part to the Keystone pipeline issue, it has major demos and/or social media campaigns planned for tomorrow in advance of House of Representatives committee investigating the economic costs to the U.S. economy of climate policies.

The Climate Reality Project, founded and chaired by the former vice president, describes itself as “dedicated to unleashing a global cultural movement demanding action on the climate crisis. Despite overwhelming international scientific consensus on climate change, the global community still lacks the resolve to implement meaningful solutions. The Climate Reality Project exists to forge an unwavering bedrock of impassioned support necessary for urgent action. With that foundation, together we will ignite the moral courage in our leaders to solve the climate crisis.”

So far, however, bedrocks are collapsing and resolve seems to be fading. In Australia, a new government was just elected headed by Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott. The election is widely seen as having been a referendum on carbon taxes and carbon trading, with the Liberal victory dealing a death-blow to the policy and installing a Prime Minister who is quoted as having said climate change is “complete crap.”

The Australian carbon plan is to be dismantled. It’s a decision that makes sense economically. A new OECD report on carbon policy—Addressing Competitiveness and Carbon Leakager Impacts Arising from Multiple Carbon Markets—concluded that individual countries that impose carbon taxes and other policies risk losing economic development to other countries. The risks apply to other nations, not just Australia. The OECD reports that when countries act alone production could shift to non-acting countries, causing losses at home but also “reducing the overall effectiveness of the climate mitigation policy.”

Canada and the United States would face the same problems were they to unilaterally or even jointly bring in carbon taxes and controls. Without international co-ordinated action, losses seem likely. Attempts to shift the carbon tax burden to imports create other risks, including “potential incompatibility with WTO and the risk of retaliation by other countries.”

Since few of the world’s citizens would favour a trade war over climate theory, the outlook is grim for advocates of national carbon taxes of the type now being contemplated by President Obama in the United States. The economy is the main reason the leader of of Canada’s Official Opposition, the New Democrat’s Thomas Mulcair, recently retreated from carbon taxes as a party platform.

In Europe and Britain, there is constant waffling on carbon emission targets. In South Africa, opposition to planned carbon taxes is mounting.

The policy environment is about to get muddier when the science of climate change comes up for review at a meeting of the Intergovernmenal Panel on Climate Change next week in Stockholm. The final report of the Fifth Assessment Report, covering the physical science basis for climate change theory, will be released. Warmists and skeptics have already established positions on the report. But this is more than just a case of interpretation of the numbers and the data.

No matter what side of the debate one is on, there is no denying that the actual global temperature record for the last 15 or more years shows no sign of warming. Guelph University’s Ross McKitrick reviews the graphic evidence. The record clearly has fallen outside the prediction bounds produced by a succession of IPCC computer climate models back to 1990. The record points to big trouble for the IPCC and the whole climate theory. “Something big is about to happen,” says Prof. McKitrick. “Models predict one thing and the data show another. The various attempts in recent years to patch over the difference are disintegrating. Over the next few years, either there is going to be a sudden, rapid warming that shoots temperatures up to where the models say they should be, or the mainstream climate modeling paradigm is going to fall apart.”

That the models and predictions are out of sinc with reality is not that much of a surprise. Many experts in climate and economic modeling have warned for years that the models are flawed and based in large part on self-fulfilling programs. One of the more devastating critiques was issued in July by Robert S. Pindyck, of the MIT Sloan School of Management. In a paper published by the National Bureau of Econmic Research, Mr. Pindyck concluded that “the models are so deeply flawed as to be close to useless as tools of policy analysis. Worse yet, their use suggests a level of knowledge and precision that is simply illusory, and can be highly misleading.”

Model uncertainty will not be removed in the coming weeks of IPCC sessions. Indeed, the climate science environment is likely to increase. As a result, the policy environment is also likely to get murkier. The IPCC meetings at the end of the month are intended to install the science foundation for later meetings next year in Japan and Germany on adaptation and mitigation. The question then becomes: To what are we adapting and mitigating?
So it’s no wonder the activists are worried. They’ve had to endure what is shaping up as a possible major global climb down on climate policy.

3) Green Logic: EU Climate Policy Is Right Even If Science Is Wrong, Says Climate Commissioner
The Daily Telegraph, 16 September 2013

Bruno Waterfield

Regardless of whether scientists are wrong on global warming, current European Union energy policies are the right ones even if they lead to higher prices for consumers, Europe’s climate action commissioner has said.

Europe's climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard
Europe’s climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Connie Hedegaard’s comments come as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to admit that previous scientific predictions for global warming and the effects of carbon emissions have been proved to be inaccurate.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Europe’s most senior climate change official argued that the current policies are the correct ones because a growing world population will put pressure on energy supplies regardless of the rate of global warming.

“I personally have a very pragmatic view.

“Say that 30 years from now, science came back and said, ‘wow, we were mistaken then now we have some new information so we think it is something else’. In a world with nine billion people, even 10 billion at the middle of this century, where literally billions of global citizens will still have to get out of poverty and enter the consuming middle classes, don’t you think that anyway it makes a lot of sense to get more energy and resource efficient,” she said.
“Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?.”

The Danish commissioner also rejected public complaints over increases in electricity prices to subsidise renewable energies, such as wind farms, as unrealistic because, she said, increased competition over diminishing energy resources such as oil and gas will lead to higher bills.

“I believe that in a world with still more people, wanting still more growth for good reasons, the demand for energy, raw materials and resources will increase and so, over time so, over time, will the prices,” she said.

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4) Temperatures Rise Over ‘Inconsistencies’ In IPCC Draft Report
The Australian, 17 September 2013

Graham Lloyd

The recent pause in average global surface temperature rises made lifting confidence in the extent of the human contribution to climate change “incomprehensible”, a leading US climate scientist has said.

Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, yesterday published her analysis of a leaked IPCC draft report that has sparked an international furore.

The leaked draft said it was “extremely likely” that human influence on climate caused more than half of the increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.

The draft report said the world would continue to warm catastrophically unless there was drastic action to curb greenhouse gases.

Britain’s Mail on Sunday said the draft report showed climate models, and the IPCC, had significantly overestimated the rate of global warming.

Australian climate scientists said the IPCC report had not yet been finalised.

But they said the revised warming figure of 0.12C a decade in the draft IPCC report was within the range quoted in the 2007 IPCC report of between 0.1C and 0.16C.

Britain’s The Daily Mail said the IPCC had previously estimated warming at 0.2C a decade.

It has been widely acknowledged that climate models have consistently overstated the rise in global temperatures. A report published in Nature Climate Change last week said recent observed global warming had been less than half the rate simulated by climate models.

“By averaging simulated temperatures only at locations where corresponding observations exist, we find an average simulated rise in global mean surface temperature of 0.3 degrees Celsius per decade,” the report said.

“The observed rate of warming given above is less than half of this simulated rate.”

The paper said the observed trend between 1998 and 2012 suggested a temporary “hiatus” in global warming.

Several explanations have been offered to explain the pause, which is now widely acknowledged, including a take-up of heat in the deep oceans and the cooling effect of volcanoes and particulate emissions from increased coal burning in China, among others.

Australian climate scientists said the issues would be more thoroughly examined in the final IPCC report, which was due to be published on September 27.

Professor Curry said she believed there were inconsistencies in the draft report.
“If there are substantial changes in a conclusion in the AR5 (2013 report) relative to a confident conclusion in the AR4 (2007 report) then the confidence level should not increase and should probably drop, since the science clearly is not settled and is in a state of flux,” Professor Curry said.

“An increase in confidence in the attribution statement, in view of the recent pause and the lower confidence level in some of the supporting findings, is incomprehensible to me.
“Further, the projections of 21st century changes remain overconfident.”

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5) Editorial: The Truth Isn’t Out There
The Indian Express, 17 September 2013

The upcoming IPCC report is likely to confirm that there are only uncertainties on climate change.

The leaked draft of a report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits what the sceptics want to hear: that the predicted rate of global warming was overstated, that there has actually been a pause in warming and that scientists have not given due weightage to the planet’s natural weather cycles of ice ages punctuated by warmer spells — the last was the Medieval Warm Period. Paradoxically, the report also claims to be 95 per cent sure that increases in global temperature owe to human activity. In short, the report reconfirms old truths, the only truths out there: the issue of global warming remains as contentious as ever, the outcomes of modelling climate remain as uncertain as ever, and it remains 95 per cent futile to expect absolute certainties from a probabilistic model.

Climate change has always been a polarising issue. The strangest ideas have flourished in the debate. The North has charged that methane produced in the guts of Indian cattle is more damaging than automobile emissions. The South has countered by championing gobar as the clean fuel of the future. The debate has been dominated by extreme opinions, which assume certainties where only probabilities exist. The “truth” about global warming, if it exists, lives somewhere in a constantly shifting probability cloud. The only certainty is that, worldwide, there will always be a need for growth in the sectors of industry, energy and food. If growth has unintended consequences, they must be offset. The process of cancelling them out would create new, specialised industries, disciplines and jobs. Not entirely a bad thing in a world that is constantly job-starved.

The IPCC report, the first since 2007, is being treated as infallible even before it is out. On the contrary, it is a scientific review of the literature of the last six years and at least one of its authors has protested against it being treated like a religious tract offering certainties. Meanwhile, the 195 countries which back the IPCC have filed 1,800 questions concerning the report. Since the quest for truth is illusory, governments should decide on green taxes and subsidies according to their political inclinations, using climate science reports only as rough guides, not as justifications of scriptural force.

6) And Finally: Cli-Fi
Brian Mickelthwait, 16 September 2013

Does this photo tell us the direction the Great Climate Debate is going?  I took it in Foyles, underneath the Royal Festival Hall, London, on September 2nd:

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