The latest IPCC report, published on Friday [and issued yesterday in NZ], is the most alarming yet: not for its claims of human-caused global warming, writes leading environmental scientist Bob Carter, but for its lack of scientific rigour.
Graph shows the satellite record for the 1979-2006 period, "the very period that human carbon dioxide emissions have been increasing rapidly. "
We do not read about natural climate change in the everyday news. Instead, newspapers, radio and television stations bludgeon us with a merciless stream of human-caused global-warming alarmism, egged on by a self-interested gaggle of journalists, environmental lobbyists, scientific and business groups, church leaders and politicians, all of whom preach that we must "stop climate change" by reducing human CO2 emissions.What can the evidence be? Carter runs his rule over the three main lines of argument in The Dangerous Climate, and finds them all wanting.
The body from which most of these groups get their information is the [UN's] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is also the organisation that advises national governments. The IPCC has issued three substantial statements, the First (1990), Second (1995) and Third (2001) Assessment Reports, each of which incorporates the research and opinions of many hundreds of qualified scientists. Its 20-chapter, 1,572-page Fourth Assessment Report was released on Friday. The full reports are detailed and compendious, and each is therefore accompanied by a short chapter termed a Summary for Policymakers (SPM) that is designed for political application.
Many distinguished scientists refuse to participate in the IPCC process, and others have resigned from it, because in the end the advice that the panel provides to governments is political and not scientific. Although at least -$50 billion has been spent on climate research, the science arguments for a dangerous human influence on global warming have, if anything, become weaker since the establishment of the IPCC in 1988.
Yet the rhetoric of IPCC alarm has been successively ramped up, from "the observed [20th-century temperature] increase could be largely due to\u2026 natural variability" (1990); to "the balance of the evidence suggests a discernible human influence on climate" (1995): to "there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities" (2001); to it is "90 per cent probable" that the recent warming is "due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations" (2007). What can the evidence be for these increasingly dramatic warnings?
UPDATE: You can hear Bob Carter "hosing down the doomsdayers" on John Laws' radio show last Friday. Audio here.
RELATED: Global Warming, World Politics