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New UN report is ‘assumption piled upon assumption about targets plucked out of thin air’

Worry about the intellectual climate, not climate change

by Steve Milloy

As a work of science, the new “Code Red” climate report from the United Nations is a complete and utter fraud.

The report’s alarmist message is that we are running out of time to control emissions. And if we don’t get serious about cutting them, we will fail to meet the Paris climate accord’s goal, keeping the increase in average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius to 2 degrees Celsius, 10 years earlier than previously predicted.

So let’s start there.

Neither temperature goal is based on any sort of scientific analysis. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe the 2009 “Climategate” emails in which University of East Anglia climate scientists Phil Jones admitted the targets were “plucked out of thin air .”

The inspiration for the 2-degree target seems to stretch back to a 1975 paper by prominent Yale University economist William Nordhaus, who not only is not any sort of scientist but whose economics are also suspect. As late as 1989, two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, Nordhaus’s university economics textbook maintained, “The Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.”

So much for any intersection between the U.N.’s temperature targets and science.

The Washington Post editorialized in a screed titled, “Climate doubters lose one of their last remaining arguments ,” that the U.N. report has now ruled out the possibility of benign warming. The newspaper decided this was so because the U.N. report narrowed the range of warming caused by a doubling in atmospheric carbon dioxide, from preindustrial levels, from the previous range of 1.5-4.5 degrees Celsius to a range of 2.5-4 degrees Celsius.

But as with the aforementioned temperature targets, the change was entirely arbitrary.

The climate models on which these temperature predictions rely are not any sort of “settled science” and are well known to run hot and to overestimate increases in average global temperature, another invented metric that occurs nowhere on Earth.

In fact, shortly before the U.N. report was released, the climate alarmist Science magazine ran an article acknowledging, “Many of the world’s leading models are now projecting warming rates that most scientists, including the modelmakers themselves, believe are implausibly fast.”

NASA satellite data reported that the Earth has steadily warmed at a rate of 0.14 degrees Celsius per decade since 1979. If that trend continues, the average global temperature won’t hit the arbitrary 1.5 mark until about 2050 or the 2-degree target until about 2090 or so. The U.N. report supposedly moves these targets up by 10 years.

But recall that these temperature targets are arbitrary in the first place. So what if we hit 1.5 in 2040, 2050, or whenever? Would either be catastrophic? Your guess is as good as Al Gore’s because there are no facts or science showing that warming is necessarily bad, much less necessarily catastrophic.

Warming and carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution have helped add almost 7 billion people to the planet, all of whom are fed by record agricultural production. Whose crystal ball says that will not continue?

In addition to the nonscientific assumption of planetary disaster caused by warming, it’s also an assumption that most of the warming is driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide. Of course, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and, all things being equal, will have some warming effect. But no one knows how much in the actual climate.

Virtually disregarded by the U.N. report, for example, is something called the urban heat island effect. This is warming that occurs in urban areas due to all the asphalt, concrete, and human activity. Climate scientist Roy Spencer has analyzed the urban heat island effect and says that almost all of the observed warming might be explained by this effect.

What about all the extreme weather this summer? The U.N. report admits that extreme weather observed today is not unprecedented in human history going back hundreds and thousands of years. All this summer’s weather has an explanation — it’s weather.

The new U.N. report is little more than assumption piled upon assumption about targets “plucked out of thin air.” Yeah, I’m worried about the climate — the intellectual climate, that is.

Steve Milloy publishes  and is the author of Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA.