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« Intergovernmental AR5 patch up - Josh 240 | Main | Science Media Centre hits new lows »
Friday
Sep272013

Thoughts on the SPM

Ducking, diving, bobbing and weaving are the general themes of the Summary for Policymakers, just released this morning.

You would imagine that the document would review what was said last time round and how things have changed since that time, but you'd be wrong. This is, after all, the bureaucracy at work: difficulties have to be brushed under carpets and stones left unturned.

It would, for example, have been interesting for AR5 to discuss the increase in hurricane intensity that the AR4 SPM said was "likely" on the basis of the climate models. Instead, we get a veil drawn over the subject, with not a word on the hurricane drought in recent years.

Similarly, the divergence between model and observational estimates of long-term warming (effective climate sensitivity) is alluded to in opaque fashion in a footnote ("lack of agreement on values across lines of evidence") rather than being tackled head on in a way that would make clear the difficulties scientists are having with the climate jigsaw.

The general theme of obscurantism runs across the document. Whereas in previous years the temperature records have been shown unadulterated, now we have presentation of a single figure for each decade; surely an attempt to mislead rather than inform. And the pause is only addressed with handwaving arguments and vague allusions to ocean heat.

From the questions asked by journalists at the press conference, few cared about the science and the contradictions in what they were being told. The press corps are, almost to a man (and woman) environmentalists and only interesting in decarbonisation. The exceptions were David Rose and the guy from the Economist. So it is very uncertain that the problems in the WGI report will make the mainstream of public discourse.

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Reader Comments (25)

"The general theme of obscurantism runs across the document."

Translation: put off facing reality and keep the cash flowing in...

Sep 27, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJabba the Cat

"So it is very uncertain that the problems in the WGI report will make the mainstream of public discourse."

But when they finally do, boy are people going to be annoyed!

You think they were angry about Bankers, Politicians's expenses and the phone-hacking Journalists? When they're finally told that almost every bit of tax or extra fee they paid for green initiatives, every threat of doom and gloom, every rising flood water and drying river was a lie, what then?

Sep 27, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

What a farcical process. 7 years for an out of date document that doesn't review the last set of predictions or address any of the current major issues.

Do we have a figure for how much this has cost the Britsh taxpayer? Who can call them to account?

Honestly, 5 BH regulars in a room for a month could have done a better and more honest job of summarising the state of play.

Sep 27, 2013 at 12:52 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

All that "missing" heat hasn't gone into the deep oceans; it's gone straight to hell to stop it freezing over!

Sep 27, 2013 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJace_F

The IPCC is merely doing its job. From their "Principles" document...

2. The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the
scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of
risk of human-induced climate change...

It's right there in plain sight.

They do NOT exist to objectively compare reality with computer models.

They do NOT exist to improve climate science.

They DO exist purely to find anthropogenic causes to Global Warming Climate Change, using information THEY feel is RELEVANT in order to reach that goal.

You are wasting your time trying to argue the science or pointing out reality. Everyone knows the reality - it's there when you go outside and you're not boiling to death. It's there when you look out your windows. Even the IPCC shills know the reality - but they're being paid to find that humans are to blame, and they're performing that task "admirably".

The best strategy to counteract the IPCC is to continuously point out the fact they exist purely to find humans to blame, as set out in their own "Principles". Pointing out the reality of what's Actually Happening To Climate/Weather should merely be an added bonus.

Sep 27, 2013 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Cave

Catch Radio 4's WATO, where they gave almost as much time to ?Bob Carter? on the NIPCC as to a Met Office guy from the IPCC, who was - ahem - unconvincing, even though he was scarcely probed in depth. Ed Davey did his science is settled line, as you'd expect.

Sep 27, 2013 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

Judith Curry has a good post questioning the 95% claim.

I've had a go too.

Sep 27, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

John Page - I caught the bit where Ed Davey called us flat earthers, Bob Carter of NIPPC was given a long slot and allowed to develop his argument (I was surprised at the length of time allowed to him), and then Peter Stott (I think that was the name) from the Met Office ranted on and on about unequivocal increases in extreme weather, rising sea levels, melting sea ice, rising sea temperatures, rising air/land temperatures etc. along the we're all going to fry meme. The poor darling said he had had no sleep for 48 hours while thrashing out the SPM line by line. Puffed up with his own self-importance at the pivotal role he has been playing at the global centre of things.

Sep 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

So hot air sinks to ground-level, water runs uphill... Pachauri's latest embroidered waistcoat drapes a grisly skeleton. No sentient adult --AGW Catastrophists excluded-- will grant this impossibly malfeasant exercise the slightest credibility. As for ye auld BBC, public-sector Luddite sociopaths have elevated cackling static to high-art.

Sep 27, 2013 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Blake

"what was said last time round and how things have changed"

Just like the evening weather forecast, then. Never any mention of the previous (often wrong) predictions, but boundless optimism for the accuracy of the current one.

Sep 27, 2013 at 3:37 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"what was said last time round and how things have changed"

Just like the evening weather forecast, then. Never any mention of the previous (often wrong) predictions, but boundless optimism for the accuracy of the current one.

Sep 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"what was said last time round and how things have changed"

Just like the evening weather forecast, then. Never any mention of the previous (often wrong) predictions, but boundless optimism for the accuracy of the current one.

Sep 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"what was said last time round and how things have changed"

Just like the evening weather forecast, then. Never any mention of the previous (often wrong) predictions, but boundless optimism for the accuracy of the current one.

Sep 27, 2013 at 4:20 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Sorry for repeats - posts appeared to fail...
(no superfast BB here!)

Sep 27, 2013 at 4:21 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I think we’re getting somewhere. The period of warming from 1977 to 1998 (21 years) was long enough to define a trend. The period of no warming from 1998 to the present (15 years) is too short to define a trend. Therefore, the length of time that is sufficient to define a trend, according to the IPCC rules (which they wrote themselves), is between 16 and 21 years.

So now we know. Ain’t science wonderful?

Sep 27, 2013 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

First of all, let us keep our minds clear and focused. The IPCC's 95% figure stands for a lot of things but first and foremost it is a public relations ploy. If the IPCC can frame the debate as being about that figure then they have distracted attention from the many truly astonishing failures throughout their report.

Sep 27, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

So, the IPCC is going for broke. Double or quits. Last Chance Saloon. Toughing it out.

When air temperatures are rising, they are the awful warning we must heed. The hockey-stick on the wall behind Houghton at an IPCC press conference provided an illustration of that. (A hockey-stick produced, by the way, by third-rate analysis - see HSI for details!). When those temperatures stopped rising, then they are deemed not to matter much because the heat is suddenly decreed to be going elsewhere – deep into the oceans, by some magic yet to be unravelled. When the hurricanes don’t get worse, they don’t matter. When Antarctica keeps on growing, it doesn’t matter. If the Arctic sea ice keeps increasing, it too won’t matter. When snowy winters hit the UK recently, they turned from being something children would not know about, and into what we should expect from the warming that has now tunnelled into the oceans. Whatever happens, warmer or cooler, wetter or drier, stormier or calmer, less ice or more, higher seas or lower, none of it will matter if it disagrees with the last dominant position adopted on climate alarm. By chance alone, some of it will agree some of the time. Then those parts will matter.

Ultimately, science itself won’t matter. We are on the edge of darkness here. On the verge of abandoning or at least severely degrading the scientific method – the pursuit of knowledge by observation and experiment rather than by the diktat of powerful groups. The remarks by EU commissioner Connie Hedegaard earlier this month are the really awful warning we must heed:

"Let's say that science, some decades from now, said 'we were wrong, it was not about climate', would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?."

Another Dane, Bjorn Lomborg, spoke out against her madness (see article in previous link):

"To the extent the EU climate policies have affected the world, it has made energy more costly, reduced growth and consigned more people to poverty."

The ruthless bravado displayed by the AR5 SPM is liable to facilitate such destructive trends continuing.

Fortunately, there seems to be an increasing depth and spread of opposition to the overweening assurance epitomised by the IPCC and by Hedegaard this month. There is still a chance that they will be relegated to the political sidelines, and that proper scientific humility and political good sense will yet prevail. There have been many encouraging signs, e.g. the trenchant criticisms being raised and reported on here on Bishop Hill about the UK Met Office and other matters; the growing visitor numbers at other leading sites such as WUWT in the States, NoTricksZone in Germany, and JoNova in Australia; the quality of the 50 to 1 videos; the ongoing stream of hard-hitting books such as 'Into the Dustbin' and 'Climate Models Fail' and 'The Neglected Sun'; the voting out of the Rudd/Gillard government in Australia; the NIPCC report 'Climate Change Reconsidered II'; and perhaps even the BBC starting to allow the occasional dissenting voice to be heard respectfully is a hint of something turning.

Sep 27, 2013 at 5:35 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Heat into ocean...it will be interesting to read the full report so as to identify the peer reviewed paper in which the mechanism for this transfer is identified and its effects measured.

Sep 27, 2013 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterjay currie

Jay Currie....... Exactly what I was thinking :-)

Sep 27, 2013 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered Commentersunderlandsteve

Stuck-Record

You think they were angry about Bankers, Politicians's expenses and the phone-hacking Journalists? When they're finally told that almost every bit of tax or extra fee they paid for green initiatives, every threat of doom and gloom, every rising flood water and drying river was a lie, what then?
Nothing, to judge by what’s happened to the bankers, politicians, and most of the journalists.

Sep 27, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

jay currie, sunderlandsteve
A point I try to make as often as possible is: if the heat can disappear into the ocean at any moment undetected, of what use are the surface temperature records? Damian Carrington in the Guardian has already opined tha only a cretin would take them seriously. Apparently theIPCC has been taking us all for cretins for the past twenty years.

Sep 27, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Damian is of course only trashing the global surface temperature metric because its been tortured enough and won't play ball with his agenda any more. But in fact, it is a useless metric for understanding the climate dynamic processes.

Sep 27, 2013 at 10:04 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Pharos

and yet we spend billions on models that try to emulate that same useless metric.

You honestly coud not make it up

Sep 28, 2013 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

This latest effort seems a cross between 'blind man's bluff' and 'pin the tail on the donkey'.
Worse, they don't even know the rules for that.

Sep 28, 2013 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterCalvin Oaten

Politics, plain and simple. Neither "call me" Dave nor Cleggie will do much other than see out the remains of their term with the status quo ante intact. Then we'll get Ed (Climate Change Act) Milliband's last chance saloon policy to crush energy investment. It's not until the lights go out and our hyper-computerised society seizes up that we'll see the final death of this nonsense. No-one will take the blame or suffer for their credulousness except the old and poor. Corporate green "activists" will discover that mercury vapour lightbulbs, lithium ion batteries, rare earth extraction, carbon intensive biofuel pillage and clear logging to provide "sustainable" woodchips for otherwise efficient power generation are bad things(TM) and forget that they made them happen through their strident (oil)well-funded campaigning. Politicians and bureaucrats will blame the last lot and move on to ever more lucrative positions. City carbon offset trader spivs will "rotate" to the next thing after the inevitable judicial reviews have decided that it's injudicious to punish them financially. And we'll all be a little older, greyer, and worse off -- except for the afore-mentioned. All the poverty, deaths, and environmental destruction will be forgotten. Call me cynical, but I'd bet hard cash on it.

Sep 29, 2013 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterBraqueish

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