November 1, 2013

M.D. Harmon: Global warming report tries to cook the books

U.N. scientists don’t want to be confused by the facts.

The U.N. report on “climate change” released last month was different from previous iterations, even though it increased its level of confidence in its catastrophic conclusions to the “95 percent” level.

This version, the fifth the United Nations has offered since the 1990s, was met with well-researched criticism that, for a wonder, actually was reported in many major news outlets right along with the official claims.

Critics noted the new report included several alterations that had been made from previous versions, including the following:

Surface warming leveled off about 1998, though there’s been a 7 percent rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide since then.

The U.N. report on “climate change” released last month was different from previous iterations, even though it increased its level of confidence in its catastrophic conclusions to the “95 percent” level.

This version, the fifth the United Nations has offered since the 1990s, was met with well-researched criticism that, for a wonder, actually was reported in many major news outlets right along with the official claims.

Critics noted the new report included several alterations that had been made from previous versions, including the following:

Surface warming leveled off about 1998, though there’s been a 7 percent rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide since then.

Continents experienced a Medieval Warm Period and a Little Ice Age, contradicting “hockey-stick” accounts saying temperatures were level until the 20th century.

Antarctic sea ice expanded between 1979 and 2012, which is inconsistent with predictions.

Computer models utterly failed to forecast the observed plateau in warming.

There is now a major pushback against the assumption that the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are beyond dispute (often phrased as “the science is settled”). In truth, the existence of hundreds of credentialed skeptics who disagree with the IPCC’s conclusions actually is a high-level example of the essential quality-control element of science itself.

Of course, that doesn’t make any difference to some people. In a note to readers in October, Los Angeles Times editorial writer Jon Healey said there were two classes of letters his paper refused to publish.

The first included letters saying, “Congress is exempt from Obamacare.” Strictly speaking, that’s true – but Congress has voted itself and its staff subsidies paying 75 percent of the cost that are not available to individuals making middle-class incomes.

The second type of letters Healey would discard are ones “that say there’s no sign humans have caused climate change.”

If you interpret his comment one way, there is a consensus that CO2 emitted by human activity since the Industrial Revolution does have some sort of warming effect.

Still, there is substantial dispute over how much CO2 affects even the relatively mild (and so far beneficial) warming trend we have seen since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 1880s.

(Those who claim we have seen “record years” since that trend stopped in 1998 are measuring “bumps on a tabletop,” not any real upward trend, and ignore that it was warmer a thousand years ago than it is today.)

But there is another way to interpret Healey’s ukase, and it involves what the IPCC and those who support it really mean.

To them, climate change is defined as a collection of predicted disasters, not a current set of observations. So Healey almost certainly means that he won’t print letters that cast doubt on the whole panoply of catastrophic events that the theory predicts. That’s not “realism” – it’s censorship, pure and simple.

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