For the first time, an assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be widely judged more for what it says about the IPCC than for what it says about the climate. Its 2007 predecessor bombed during the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference as a number of errors came to light. “The mistakes all appear to have gone in the direction of making it seem like climate change is more serious by overstating the impact,” Bob Watson, a former IPCC chairman, conceded. “That is worrying.”
The IPCC fifth assessment report is being published in the run-up to the Paris climate conference in 2015, when the governments of the world are meant to do what they signally failed to do at Copenhagen: agree. Advertised as summaries of scientific knowledge, IPCC reports — note that the “I” stands for “intergovernmental” — are subject to review by governments and by scientists, many of them employed by governments, making the reports politico-scientific documents.
Their function is to serve as canonical texts for global-warming orthodoxy, providing an updated climate-change catechism for its followers. Writing in the Times of London last week, the current chief scientific adviser to the British government and his three predecessors stated that the IPCC will present “even greater confidence” that the climate is warming as a result of human activities. Only, as the rest of the world knows, observed temperatures haven’t risen for at least a decade and a half.
Climate scientist Judith Curry of Georgia Tech has described the IPCC’s position as “incomprehensible.” The IPCC has increased its confidence in attributing the cause of global warming to greenhouse gases when there has been less warming and more greenhouse gases.
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