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Hansen's colleague eviscerates AR4 Chapter 9

While perusing some of the review comments to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, I came across the contributions of Andrew Lacis, a colleague of James Hansen's at GISS. Lacis's is not a name I've come across before but some of what he has to say about Chapter 9 of the IPCC's report is simply breathtaking.

Chapter 9 is possibly the most important one in the whole IPCC report - it's the one where they decide that global warming is manmade. This is the one where the headlines are made.

Remember, this guy is mainstream, not a sceptic, and you may need to remind yourself of that fact several times as you read through his comment on the executive summary of the chapter:

There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary. The presentation sounds like something put together by Greenpeace activists and their legal department. The points being made are made arbitrarily with legal sounding caveats without having established any foundation or basis in fact. The Executive Summary seems to be a political statement that is only designed to annoy greenhouse skeptics. Wasn't the IPCC Assessment Report intended to be a scientific document that would merit solid backing from the climate science community - instead of forcing many climate scientists into having to agree with greenhouse skeptic criticisms that this is indeed a report with a clear and obvious political agenda. Attribution can not happen until understanding has been clearly demonstrated. Once the facts of climate change have been established and understood, attribution will become self-evident to all. The Executive Summary as it stands is beyond redemption and should simply be deleted.

I'm speechless. The chapter authors, however weren't. This was their reply (all of it):

Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature.

Simply astonishing. This is a consensus?


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  • Response
    Are you bored with Climategate? And bored with me writing about it, again and again? Yesterday, fellow Samizdatista Michael Jennings told me he is. I understand the feeling, and would be interested to hear if any of our commentariat shares it, but as for me, I can't leave this thing alone. ...

Reader Comments (53)


"Actually the headline is spot on. Lacis says "The scientific merit of the IPCC Assessment report would be substantially improved by simply deleting this chapter.""

Which he said in reference to an early draft, and because he thinks attribution is so self-evident from the facts that the chapter isn't even required.

Not exactly a smackdown of the main conclusion of the final version of WG9, which is that the warming is man made, is it?

"And as to the substance of what Lacis says, with regard to AGW, I have taken it apart on the previous page. "

No you have merely changed the subject and commenced a gish gallop away from your previous assertions which have been shown false. The topic is what he said, not whether it was right. You should concede your previous errors before making more.

He is very likely right, of course. If it were really true that his argument could be refuted so simply, that would imply that he was an idiot. And you've told us that "only brainless, half-witted imbeciles" resort to calling intelligent people idiots. I'm not sure why you've addressed that to me either, because I haven't done that.

As for your argument (which is still irrelevant to the topic of this thread) you're also asking us to believe that you know something about the climate's history that he and pretty much every other scientist working on the topic have somehow not spotted. Is that remotely plausible? And he already mentioned that all the other known forcings and physics had to be included, and have been. Furthermore it is not even true that it is necessary for 'all other things to be equal' for GHGs to cause warming.

By analogy a car will go faster when the accelerator is pressed, other things being equal. But it will also in many instances where other things are not equal - for example it will do so going up a hill, or going down a hill. It will even do so if the handbrake is on.

What 'sceptics' ask us to believe is there is some unknown feedback that completely or mostly cancels out the effect of increased GHGs (even though that didn't happen before) as well as some other unknown factor that causes the warming we see - because we do see warming and nothing else we know about accounts for it. It's bit like asking us to believe the engine isn't the thing that makes the car go faster, because something else is stopping it and something else is pushing it, while by some strange coincidence both these factors correlate with the engine speed.

Feb 10, 2010 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer

Are you bored with Climategate? And bored with me writing about it, again and again? Yesterday, fellow Samizdatista Michael Jennings told me he is. I understand the feeling, and would be interested to hear if any of our commentariat shares it, but as for me, I can't leave this thing alone. ...

In answer, I can't get enough of this stuff. The more written about the AGW scam the more the truth will rise to the top! Thank you for this great article! I hope to see more from you in the future.

Keep up the good work

Feb 12, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterZamboniDragRace

Mark Sawusch points out Andy Revkin's blog on Lacis - but Revkin continues in NASA Scientist Adds to Views on Climate Panel" .
To quote some excerpts:
"the basic thrust of my criticism of the I.P.C.C. draft was really to register a clear complaint that I.P.C.C. was being too wishy-washy and was not presenting its case for anthropogenic impact being the principal driver of global warming as clearly and forcefully as they could, and should. "
"To me, the Executive Summary discussion seemed to be an unnecessary “dumbing down” of the science, as if operating on the theory that the ability of policymakers to understand technical issues can never be underestimated. "

Mar 11, 2010 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan Love

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