From Watts Up With That?
Amsterdam, 9 May 2023
* IPCC hides good news about disaster losses and climate-related deaths
* IPCC wrongly claimed the estimate of climate sensitivity is above 2.5°C; it is more likely below 2°C
* IPCC misleads policy makers by focusing on an implausible worst-case emissions scenario
* Errors in the AR6 report are worse than those that led to the IAC Review in 2010
The IPCC ignored crucial peer-reviewed literature showing that normalised disaster losses have decreased since 1990 and that human mortality due to extreme weather has decreased by more than 95% since 1920. The IPCC, by cherry picking from the literature, drew the opposite conclusions, claiming increases in damage and mortality due to anthropogenic climate change. These are two important conclusions of the report The Frozen Climate Views of the IPCC, published by the Clintel Foundation.
The 180-page report is – as far as we know – the first serious international ‘assessment’ of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. In 13 chapters the Clintel report shows the IPCC rewrote climate history, emphasizes an implausible worst-case scenario, has a huge bias in favour of ‘bad news’ and against ‘good news’, and keeps the good news out of the Summary for Policy Makers.
The errors and biases that Clintel documents in the report are far worse than those that led to the investigation of the IPCC by the Interacademy Council (IAC Review) in 2010. Clintel believes that the IPCC should reform or be dismantled.
With the recently published Synthesis Report, the IPCC finished its sixth assessment cycle, consisting of seven reports in total. An international team of scientists from the Clintel network has analysed several claims from the Working Group 1 (The Physical Science Basis) and Working Group 2 (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) reports. This has now led to the report The Frozen Climate Views of the IPCC.
In every chapter the Clintel report documents biases and errors in the IPCC assessment. The errors are worse in the WG2 report than in the WG1 report. Given the political relevance of what is known as “Loss and Damage” (at the yearly COP meetings, countries currently negotiate donations to a Loss and Damage fund) one would expect a thorough review of the relevant literature. However, Clintel shows that the IPCC has totally failed in this respect. For example, a review article on the subject, published in 2020, showed that 52 out of 53 peer reviewed papers dealing with “normalised disaster losses” saw no increase in harms that could be attributed to climate change. The IPCC highlighted the single paper that claimed an increase in losses. That paper is – unsurprisingly – flawed, but its cherry picking by the IPCC suggests they found its conclusions irresistible.
“We are on a highway to climate hell”, said UN-boss Guterres recently. But an in-depth look at the mortality data shows that climate-related deaths are at an all-time low. Well-known economist Bjorn Lomborg published that important information in a 2020 peer-reviewed paper, but the IPCC, again, chose to ignore it.
The strategy of the IPCC seems to be to hide any good news about climate change and hype anything bad.
Erasing climate history
The Working Group 1 report is not free from bias and misleading conclusions either. The report documents problems in every chapter the Clintel team reviewed. The IPCC has tried to rewrite climate history by erasing the existence of the so-called Holocene Thermal Maximum (or Holocene Climate Optimum), a warm period between 10,000 and 6000 years ago. It has introduced a new hockey stick graph, which is the result of combining cherry-picked proxies. And it has ignored temperature reconstructions that show more variability in the past, such as the well-documented Little Ice Age.
The IPCC claims there is an acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise in recent decades. Clintel has shown this claim is flawed, because the IPCC ignores decadal variability in sea level. We also show that its sea-level tool – made available for the first time – shows a mysterious and improbable jump upward in 2020.
Canadian economist Ross McKitrick has pointed out that all global climate models used by the IPCC show too much warming in the troposphere, both globally and in the tropics (where models predict a ‘hotspot’). This probably indicates some fundamental problems in the way that these models simulate the climate system.
A ’spectacular’ result of the IPCC AR6 report was the rise of the lower bound for the climate sensitivity likely range from 1.5°C to 2.5°C, therefore claiming that low values for climate sensitivity are now unlikely. The Clintel report shows this rise is not justified. The Clintel report suggests that observed warming and other evidence indicates that the true figure is more likely to be below 2°C than above 2.5°C. This also means that the best estimate for climate sensitivity, which the IPCC says is 3°C, is not justified.
On top of that, the IPCC is ‘addicted’ to its highest emissions scenario, so-called RCP8.5 (or now SSP5-8.5). In recent years, several papers have demonstrated that this scenario is implausible and should not be used for policy purposes. Deep inside the WG1 report, the IPCC acknowledges that this scenario has a ‘low likelihood’ but this very important remark was not highlighted in the Summary for Policymakers, so these important audiences are unaware of the issue. RCP8.5 is the scenario most often referred to in the IPCC report.
Back in 2010, errors in the WG2 report of the Fourth Assessment led to the investigation of the IPCC by the U.N. Interacademy Council (IAC). This review recommended, amongst other things, that “[h]aving author teams with diverse viewpoints is the first step toward ensuring that a full range of thoughtful views are considered.” This important recommendation is still being ignored by the IPCC. Worse, we document that Roger Pielke Jr, a scientist with considerable expertise in these areas, is regarded as a kind of ‘Voldemort’ by the IPCC, and they deliberately avoid mentioning his work or even his name. This leads to biased conclusions.
We are sorry to conclude that the IPCC has done a poor job of assessing the scientific literature. All countries rely on the IPCC reports to support their climate policies and most of the media blindly trust its claims. The Clintel report The Frozen Climate Views of the IPCC shows that this trust is not justified.
In our view the IPCC should be reformed, and should include a broader range of views. Inviting scientists with different views, such as Roger Pielke Jr and Ross McKitrick, to participate more actively in the process is a necessary first step. If, for some reason, such inclusion of different views is unacceptable, the IPCC should be dismantled.
Our own conclusions about climate – based on the same underlying literature – are far less bleak. Due to increasing wealth and advancing technology, humanity is largely immune to climate change and can easily cope with it. Global warming is far less dangerous to humanity than the IPCC tells us.
The report can be downloaded here.
The press release (in English) can be downloaded here in pdf.
Dutch press release here.
Hungarian press release here.
The Climate Intelligence foundation (Clintel) was founded in 2019 by emeritus professor of geophysics Guus Berkhout and science journalist Marcel Crok. Clintel’s main objective is to generate knowledge and understanding of the causes and effects of climate change, as well as the effects of climate policy. Clintel published the World Climate Declaration, which has now been signed by more than 1500 scientists and experts. Its central message is “there is no climate emergency”.
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