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UN body: IPCC talking out of hat

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has made an announcement on extreme weather this morning, which is sure to attract a lot of attention:

Drought, floods and other extremes of weather have become more frequent and severe in the past 30 years and pose a rising threat to food security in developing countries, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday...It said they were occurring almost twice as often as in the 1980s, hampering efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty.

This is a pretty major leap for the FAO, because it directly contradicts the IPCC, which says there is low confidence in there being any global change in droughts and hurricanes and makes only the mildest statements about extreme rainfall (it is silent on floods). The alleged doubling in extreme weather events is nowhere to be found in the IPCC report.

It's rather remarkable to see one arm of the United Nations effectively saying that another one is talking out of its collective hat, particularly just before the Paris Summit begins.

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Reader Comments (29)

FAO off......

Nov 27, 2015 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

The line that commenters below the line at the Guardian is taking is that IPCC AR5 is already out of date.

They seem to have abandoned the settled science meme.

I guess the FAO also has contempt for the IPCC.

Nov 27, 2015 at 9:50 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

"Drought, floods and other extremes of weather have become more frequent and severe in the past 30 years ..."

My understanding is that this is simply not true. No matter how much the alarmists would love it to be the case, cases of extreme weather are not on the increase at all. As for food security, crop yields have been steadily increasing for decades. As far as I am aware, the biggest threat to food supplies is green idiots wanting to turn grain into motor fuel.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

They have given up on global warming, since warming is neither global (but regional, with some regions showing cooling or no or little change in temperature), and the globe has not warmed for approximately 18 years. So now the spot light has focused on climate change and the media is highlighting every extreme weather event that occurs anywhere in the world. If the public see more and more extreme weather events, simply because of changes in reporting, the public will consider that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent.

Of course, there has to be shrills that extreme weather events are becoming ore common, whether or not there is sound empirical observational data supporting the claim. These guys have given up on the science long ago. It is a publicity drive and one that has to be made if Climate Change is to be kept high on the agenda.

Naturally, in the run up to Paris, we can expect to see lots of over hyped releases which are not supported by the underlying facts or science. MSM does not look behind the curtain; it is not interested in whether the world is being sold a pup, and appears to be in with these guys.

The problem will be when Northern Climes start experiencing colder winters and high energy costs. When the full costs of all of this hit the consumer in their pocket, as these costs must within the course of next 10 years, it will be difficult to keep this show on the road. It may come sooner if there are brownouts and if the excess winter deaths significantly rise, or if Arctic ice (the only remaining poster child) starts recovering back towards 1979 levels.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

..It said they were occurring almost twice as often as in the 1980s,....

If I were the Civil Servant tasked with supporting this line, I would be claiming that I was talking, not about 'statistical anomalies', but 'real-life disaster situations'.

Since there are more people in the world this is trivially true.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

This scaremongering is actually extremely counterproductive and potentially dangerous to some individuals and settlements. Take flooding for instance. Some flooding has been caused by removal of tree cover on higher ground, resulting in much greater run-off in valleys below, with devastating results to human life.

If flooding is now being blamed falsely on climate change instead, then no action will be taken locally to solve what is a relatively easy problem to solve. These alarmists at the FAO should be held personally responsible for corporate negligence. RICO anyone?

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Actually both bodies are consistently following their separate objectives. The IPCC, on a global review, finds no evidence whatsoever of increasing weather extremes and, being pragmatic, make no attempt to suggest otherwise.
The UNFAO feel no need for actual evidence of increase but simply cherry pick from the regularly occurring extremes.
But even their (local) examples are not convincing.
Kenya: Drought is endemic to East Africa - but there are better ways to adapt than building windmills.

The floods in Pakistan were a very temporary problem;

The NDICs of both nations identify that increases of CO2 emissions are needed and both are looking to coal fired electricity as the most practical and effective adaption to extreme events. Can't fault their assessment.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenese2

Beggin 'yer worship's pardon but the anatomical source of FAO squawking is somewhat lower down than a hat.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:45 AM | Registered Commentertomo

The definition of extreme weather offered by the FAO is well within the definition of climate change offered by the IPCC. The only ones not seeing this are the ones not looking.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila

Dodgy Geezer, Good Call,

If I were the Civil Servant tasked with supporting this line, I would be claiming that I was talking, not about 'statistical anomalies', but 'real-life disaster situations'. Since there are more people in the world this is trivially true.

Your prediction has already come true.

The Guardian has reported on that:

Weather-related disasters such as floods and heatwaves have occurred almost daily in the past decade, almost twice as often as two decades ago, with Asia being the hardest hit region, a UN report said on Monday.

And yes, it was just a function of population growth.
The report drew on a database of weather events that defines an event as a disaster if 10 or more people are killed, 100 or more are affected, a state of emergency is declared, or if there is a call for international assistance.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:55 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

richard verney
They threatened us with "global warming".
The need to reduce CO2 was because it would cause catastrophic "global warming".
'Climate change' was invented when Trenberth discovered that global warming had stopped and it was "travesty" that they couldn't explain why.
'Climate change' is irrelevant. DO NOT let them get away with it. If there is no "global warming" then their house of cards collapses.
Rather like haggling with a Moroccan carpet seller. Once the deal is done (or falls through) you can't just say "I'll have another at the same price"; you start again from scratch.
So: I've seen the "evidence" (alleged) for linking CO2 to global warming. Now you've moved the goal posts I need to see the "evidence" (alleged) for linking CO2 to an increase in extreme weather events. Finessing and segueing is not permitted.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:58 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Richard verney is spot on.

This BS has been going on for ages ever since the pause became too much of a threat to ignore, hence they switched from basing their BS on outright temperatures - which is obviously too easy to discredit, to an entire suite of problems all encompassing 'climate change'.

'Extreme' weather, 'ocean acidification', 'total energy imbalance', '400 ppm', 'rising' sea levels, 'irreversible ice shelf collapse' yada yada. Grains of truth in all of them but now massively pumped up on climate steroids to be pure propaganda. We live in a meedja & PR world hence that's where they're really fighting their battles. The message is all, yet their message is provably false.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

Reports of drought, floods and other extremes of weather have become more frequent and severe in the past 30 years ... especially in the Guardian and on the BBC ... allegedly.

Nov 27, 2015 at 11:07 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Quite whing* people & just tell them to enjoy the Interglacial whilst it lasts! HAGWE everyone!

{* quit whining? Ed.]

Nov 27, 2015 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

There is not enough dodgy money floating around the UN to get one part to say the right thing in accordance with the requirements of another?

How can the UN be respected if it can't get it's lies straight?

Nov 27, 2015 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GW theory predicts most warming at the poles and a lesser temperature gradient from there to the tropics. The lesser gradient would yield fewer extreme weather events.

It follows that if we are experiencing more extreme weather events then the poles are not warming but probably cooling.

For those concerned about CO2 emissions, more extreme events are good news.

Nov 27, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

What about plagues of locusts..?

Come on, FAO - you can do better than this....

Nov 27, 2015 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Actually they can both be true because it depends on the period used. For the US and UK 30 years shows an upward trend but 60 years shows no trend and 100 years shows a downward trend. Cherry-picking is and has always been the unique prerogative of climate science as opposed to real science.

Nov 27, 2015 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG


my vote goes for frogs ... it's more amenable to preservation and locust is too crunchy.

Nov 27, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Registered Commentertomo

That recent UK upward trend btw is widely believed to be due to the 60-year cycle AMO.

Nov 27, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

@ M Courtney..

...Dodgy Geezer, Good Call,

If I were the Civil Servant tasked with supporting this line, I would be claiming that I was talking, not about 'statistical anomalies', but 'real-life disaster situations'. Since there are more people in the world this is trivially true.

Your prediction has already come true. The Guardian has reported on that:

'Weather-related disasters such as floods and heatwaves have occurred almost daily in the past decade, almost twice as often as two decades ago, with Asia being the hardest hit region, a UN report said on Monday.'

And yes, it was just a function of population growth....

So my years as a Whitehall civil servant were not completely wasted, then...

Nov 27, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

'the United Nations food agency'

Billions will die.

Nov 27, 2015 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

I was prompted to look at historical floods on the River Severn by something I caught on TV before I read this item.The earliest record I could find went back to

1258 4th June: “a terrible storm of wind accompanied by torrents of rain fell on and raised all the waters of the Severn from Shrewsbury to Bristol to a degree that has not been seen in our times."

in the same document there are two 14th century, two 15th century, fourteen 16th century including 4 in 1588, nine 17th century, fourteen 18th century, twenty three 19th century, twelve 20th century. So as far as the River Severn is concerned the twentieth century ranks pretty low on the flood rnkings, despite lots of recent developments on flood plains.

Nov 27, 2015 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

There is an upward trend in the US for calls for assistance or declarations of state of emergency after tornadoes or floods because by doing so the Federal or state government is compelled to send aid. I would bet this is likewise true elsewhere as communications have improved and remote places can actually ask for help and it is accepted that someone should help. This is like the reporting bias for hurricanes and tornadoes: as instruments (particularly satellites) have improved, more can be found.
As population increases (35 yrs since 1980 after all) and more buildings get built, absolute loss of life and property damage go up. If you look at population and infrastructure adjusted rates, no trend.

Nov 27, 2015 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

Paris COP just around the corner by any chance ?
Well given the epic scale of 'climate doom' BS fairy stories , and this rubbish does not deserve to be called research, I would say it is.

Nov 27, 2015 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

I am confused as to which arm of the UN should be first against the wall when the revolution comes. I suppose the answer ius to just build a bigger wall. It is a pity they took that one in Germany down. It would have done just fine.

Nov 27, 2015 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

It also contradicts the facts. Extreme weather index is low, crop harvests are high

Nov 27, 2015 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Your grace, one small correction. The IPCC says no trends in global floods, either.

The IPCC cannot see any trends in climate extremes like hail, tornadoes, drought, floods, hurricanes and cyclones..

""There is limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century”

“Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin”

“In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale”

“In summary, there is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale severe weather phenomena such as hail and thunderstorms because of historical data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systems”

“In summary, the current assessment concludes that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century due to lack of direct observations, geographical inconsistencies in the trends, and dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice. Based on updated studies, AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated. However, it is likely that the frequency and intensity of drought has increased in the Mediterranean and West Africa and decreased in central North America and north-west Australia since 1950”

""There is low confidence that any reported long-term (centennial) changes in tropical cyclone characteristics are robust, after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities. {2.6.3}""

“In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low”

Nov 28, 2015 at 4:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

I submitted a post at WUWT to address this (I assume it won't make it though) I will make this short.

The UN Report on which the article is based makes no such conclusions, however it does include the money quotes in the Foreword and the Executive Summary. The UN report itself is based on a dataset that is not well developed, so the basis of the money quotes is on comparing complete content from the last few decades to poor content from earlier. (the dataset is online and can be queried) This is why the UN report can't make any comments regarding climate change. They know the dataset is crap.

The UN report is quite mundane and would never have been made under normal conditions. Clearly the real purpose of the report was to hand over the money quotes to Reuters and The Guardian for them to spin without truly lying.

IMO this exposes the truth about how journalists have abandoned their profession to serve as mouthpieces for their political ideologies.

I encourage everybody to follow the links. This is about as obvious as it gets. It took me 20 minutes to fill in the blanks.

Nov 28, 2015 at 4:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterReasonable Skeptic

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