The IPCC’s Magic Touch


Like a magician who uses misdirection to focus attention on what he appears to be doing and not on what he is actually doing, the just released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (AR5) tries to shift attention from significant uncertainties by issuing a statement that it is extremely likely that warming since 1950 has been mainly caused by human activities.  Indeed, it increases its probability estimate from 90% to 95%.

This conclusion and the associated probability estimate is the subjective judgment of people, i.e., the select authors of the reports, who are individuals that have long held the view of human culpability.  Long-held beliefs are not easily changed.

Dr. Roy Spencer, a Marshall Institute director and Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, called the new report “a dogged attempt to salvage the IPCC’s credibility amidst mounting evidence that it has gone overboard in its attempts to scare the global public over the last quarter century.”

Marshall Institute Chairman Dr. William Happer, Professor of Physics at Princeton University, said: “IPCC was courageous enough to make predictions about the most important issue, the rate of warming of the planet. Those predictions have been spectacularly wrong, and increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of the discrepancies.  CO2 almost certainly causes some warming, as IPCC always claimed.  What IPCC got badly wrong was the amount of warming. The message from nature is that various poorly-understood drivers of natural climate variability are considerably more important than CO2.”

The new IPCC report significantly acknowledges that there has been a 15-year pause in warming and that the cause of this pause remains unidentified.  It also acknowledges that climate sensitivity is less than it had previously assumed and as a result lowers its long-term estimate of temperature increase.  However, since temperatures are running at the low end or below previous estimates, it is likely that the IPCC is still over-estimating climate sensitivity.  The IPCC acknowledges that the models on which it relies for predictions of dread do not adequately represent the workings of the climate system and are not reconciled with real world observations.  That acknowledgement along with increased certitude is a vivid example of cognitive dissonance.  Finally, the IPCC continues to downplay that natural forces could explain observed changes in the climate.

Spencer notes that “To believe that Mother Nature is incapable of causing such small imbalances, as the IPCC implicitly believes, is not based upon observations but upon assumptions.”

“The IPCC entrenchment confirms University of Michigan research that ‘misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with facts–and often become more attached to their beliefs.’  The March of Folly chronicled by Barbara Tuchman long ago confirmed that reality,” observed Institute CEO William O’Keefe.


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