Latest posts by Paul Chesser (see all)
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Ten days ago the Environmental Protection Agency issued its proposed rule for the implementation of regulations of carbon dioxide on utilities’ coal-fired power plants. Last week revealed news that there is no reason for costly government-imposed limits on such emissions, as the global warming they were supposed to cause has been absent for 15 years.
That didn’t stop the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from issuing yet another alarm on Friday, ahead of its official report yesterday, that said increased carbon dioxide caused by people is negatively affecting the earth’s climate.
“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” said the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers, which previewed the official physical science findings released Monday. The bold proclamation came despite the widespread failure of Alarmist Science’s computer modeling that foretold a rise in global temperatures in conjunction with increases in carbon dioxide emissions.
“This report confirms with even more certainty than in the past,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, “that it is extremely likely that the changes in our climate system for the past half a century are due to human influence.” WMO co-sponsored the IPCC.
The models were wrong, and now the IPCC scientists are lying about them in what is known as Part 1 of their 5th Assessment Report. The first four reports, issued every few years since the first one in 1990, served as foundations for environmental extremists and governmental authorities to implement economically destructive policies that have included limitations on fossil fuel use, dampening of oil and gas exploration and drilling, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, automobile fuel efficiency mandates, renewable energy mandates for electric utilities, subsidization of inefficient energy sources such as wind and solar, so-called “smart growth” that incentivizes or coerces people to live closer together, and many other nanny-state laws and rules. The result has been diminished freedom, unnecessarily high energy costs and economic malaise for years now.
As Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted last week, carbon dioxide levels have increased 12 percent over the last 16 years while the global mean temperature has remained flat. But more often than not, when policies that ostensibly are intended to reduce carbon dioxide are debated, global warming is hardly mentioned any more. The falsehood that CO2 – the gas that is so essential for planetary life – is a pollutant has been so drummed into the American conscience that politicians, environmentalists and the media don’t feel the need to tie it to the climate.
Worse, global warming alarm has served as the foundation for billions of dollars in waste of taxpayer money on clean energy initiatives pushed by both the executive and legislative branches of government. NLPC has documented for years the frivolity of “investments” in electric vehicles (and batteries and chargers), solar, wind, biofuels, carbon dioxide capture and sequestration, and other unproven “green” technology schemes. Funding has gone into the pockets of the alt-energy sector (many who are crony capitalists that reaped their payback with Obama’s election) with nary a word mentioned about global warming.
So rather than forget, it’s necessary to revisit – again and again – the deeply flawed science upon which this monstrosity of government regulation and spending has been constructed. Much like the spending programs and regulation, the IPCC and its science has also been heavily politicized. For example, last week investigative writer Donna LaFramboise documented anonymous answers from a questionnaire completed by members of the InterAcademy Council, an affiliation of the world’s science academies. Many of the responses, which addressed the process under which the Summary for Policymakers is composed, revealed an anti-scientific, thoroughly political procedure.
“…every sentence had to be wordsmithed on a screen in front of representatives of more than 100 governments, falling farther and farther beyond a realistic schedule by the hour,” said one participant. “…In my experience the summary for policy makers tends to be more of a political process than one of scientific précis….This is a pure political process….”
“Often we see in the discussion that scientific merit gives way to political priorities,” said another member. “This is an awful procedure and should be changed. It has far too much politics and the final version has little relation to the one suggested by the scientists….”
Unfortunately the Summary for Policymakers is all that most of the media pays attention to from the IPCC, and then the illogical leap is made that this represents scientific “consensus” about global warming. But the very makeup of the decisive IPCC panel is untrustworthy. Answers from the same questionnaire revealed there are “far too many politically correct appointments” that included individuals with “insufficient scientific competence to do anything useful.”
Further evidence is shown in the activist ties held by many of the scientists involved with IPCC. LaFramboise’s analysis of the 2007 report revealed that 2/3 of the 44 chapters included at least one member with ties to environmental pressure groups – a phenomenon that was repeated with the report release yesterday. Among those involved are a Union of Concerned Scientists author who has written alarmist reports for a decade, and others who led the compilation of chapters had ties to Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund. One IPCC review editor was a former WWF vice president and another was its climate change spokesperson, according to LaFramboise.
So when the IPCC declared in its Summary for Policymakers that the committee has “extreme confidence” that human activity (i.e., the burning of fossil fuels) is predominantly driving climate change, the personal agendas of the politicized reviewers are missed by the mainstream media and the public. But there are hints that the truth is slipping out that even journalists can’t hide. The Associated Press reported on Friday that the lack of warming the past 15 years caused heartburn among members who had input into the Summary.
“Many governments had objections over how the issue was treated in earlier drafts and some had called for it to be deleted altogether,” AP reported. “In the end, the IPCC made only a brief mention of the issue in the Summary for Policymakers, stressing that short-term records are sensitive to natural variability and don’t in general reflect long-term trends.”
This followed a story published a week earlier by the same AP reporter, who explained how the climate evidence confounded the IPCC.
“Scientists working on a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling over how to address a wrinkle in the meteorological data that has given ammunition to global-warming skeptics: The heating of Earth’s surface appears to have slowed in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.”
In contrast another panel, the Nongovernmental (and non-alarmist) International Panel on Climate Change, has also released a report this week. Unlike IPCC and its deep-pocketed environmental activist supporters, this group struggles to raise its funds and is pays more attention to actual climatic activities and events rather than computer models distorted by the agenda-adjusted data they are fed. Predictably, NIPCC’s findings that climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide is extremely limited and buried within the variance of natural activity is spot-on compared to IPCC’s report.
“We are now at the point in the age of global warming hysteria where the IPCC global warming theory has crashed into the hard reality of observations,” said atmospheric scientist Dr. Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. “…With over 20 years of forecasts from the early days of climate modeling, and the chickens are finally coming home to roost.”
The foundation on which so much government regulation and wasteful spending is based is crumbling. But good luck getting politicians to relinquish control of the wholly artificial market of green energy that they have created.
[Originally published by the National Legal and Policy Center]