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Discussion > UNFCCC and IPCC biased from the start?

This is one of what I hope will be a series of comments discussing how the UNFCCC and then IPCC got started in the late '80s. Of course this may seem dated, and Alarmists would scream that "the science has moved on" many times etc.

BUT, if the UNFCCC and IPCC were created with activist assumptions and biases at their core, then certainly that kind of influence **might** be transmitted down through the years, in self-selecting and group-think processes.

Some fascinating and important material I am finding on early activist propaganda, even before Hansen's notorious 1988 debacle at the US Senate committee hearing.... cross posted with Judith's place if I may:

This is about how biased general climate assessments have been from the start, long before the NCAs (but providing a template for 27 years of climate science activism posing as neutral science). This is info on the 1987 workshops and summary document which spurred the whole process leading into UNFCCC, IPCC, and now entities like the NCAs.

See linked document below -- they were projecting global temp. increases of 0.3C to 0.8C per DECADE right at the start (unless drastic corrective action were taken)

Speaking of scientific ACTIVISTS: Biased at birth??

This crucial 1987 process which led toward the UNFCCC and the IPCC had as its three core sponsors three groups which have included the following activist scientists:

(1) Michael Oppenheimer - EDF
(2) John Holdren, WHRC
(3) Paul Ehrlich and Jane Lubchenko, Beijer Inst. (current affiliations, don't know yet who might have been involved in 1987)

Far from any attempt at an objective, unbiased representation of scientists, this process was advocacy and activism at its core. Right from Day One!! No wonder they were providing a range of temp. increases estimated at 0.3C to 0.8C per DECADE without drastic action (in the document linked below).

(1) "Interesting" that the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) was one of the 3 core groups listed as initiating the whole process in 1987!

(2) Along with the "Woods Hole Research Center" (this is John Holdren's activist group and NOT the famed Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Holdren merely glommed onto the reputation of WHOI with his activist group's name.... resulting in lots of confusion through the years)

(3) The 3rd of the initiating groups may be more more scientifically respectable, perhaps, (the Beijer Institute affiliated with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences -- although still activist in orientation) -- it lists Paul Ehrlich and Jane Lubchenko among its "Fellows" who seem to have very long term affiliations with the Beijer.... although I don't see what the make-up was in the late '80s.

1987 document which launched the UNFCCC - IPCC revolution

May 20, 2014 at 10:28 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

arguably this paper is the prototype for all of the much longer IPCC and NCA, etc. reports which followed in its path

fortunately, WOW, we have not been seeing increases in global surface temps. between 0.3C and 0.8C per decade since then, aren't we lucky

May 20, 2014 at 10:36 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

The IPCC was always a political initiative as Edenhofer states below. If I remember correctly, he was deputy IPCC leader.

Ottmar Edenhofer - German economist and IPCC official
Ottmar Edenhofer's interview with the Sueddeutscher Zeitung from November 20, 2010

"First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole."

May 20, 2014 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

If I remember correctly, the IPCC was set up specifically to advise governments on the effect of anthropogenic carbon dioxide on the climate. It assumed that CO2 drives global warming. It was not interested in natural climate drivers or anything else to do with climate - it is important to realise that the focus is on CO2 only. It was all about creating alarmist papers on CAGW driven by CO2.

One can say that the scientists certainly delivered what was asked of them. Clearly the whole exercise was to put pressure on governments. The UN wanted to assume the role of world government for the purpose of dealing with this global threat. It wanted powers to tax the richer countries. I think the USA refused to run with it and the initiative failed.

That is my recollection. If any of this is important it would have to be checked out.

May 20, 2014 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Here is an account (h/t Pottereaton at Judith Curry's) in 2007 of the origins of UNFCCC and IPCC, by Michael Oppenheimer. I'm pasting all of it, if Andrew will allow, because it has some "inconvenient" revelations which M.O. might like to withdraw back into hiding at some point. He notes the extent to which his activist core group aimed at tricking the Reagan administration, although this was probably unnecessary because the key official for these purposes, Secretary of State George Shultz, had already been a strong supporter of the Montreal Protocol on ozone and was also an increasingly strong supporter of some kind of action (as an "insurance policy") on greenhouse gases. In recent years Shultz has allied himself with James Hansen et al. on the board of the Citizens Climate Lobby, so Shultz is hardly any stereotypical Republican. The main thing he probably did not anticipate in 1987-88 is the extent to which the hard activist core of Oppenheimer et al. would succeed in dominating the UNFCCC-IPCC process.

[emphasis added]

How the IPCC Got Started, by Michael Oppenheimer

How the IPCC Got Started

NOVEMBER 1, 2007

This post is by Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D., the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. He also serves as science advisor to Environmental Defense.


The award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an important milestone in the journey toward a global warming solution, and it got me thinking about how the IPCC came to be. To some extent, it was thanks to a miscalculation by the Reagan Administration!

In the mid 1980s, I was head of the atmosphere program at what was then called the Environmental Defense Fund. I was deeply concerned about the climate issue, but wasn't sure how to stimulate government interest.

In October 1985, the UN sponsored an international meeting of scientists on climate change in Villach, Austria. Its conclusion: Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases could cause an historic rise in global temperature. This was the first international scientific consensus on climate change and an important turning point, but the key question was, "Could this scientific concern be directed toward leveraging government action worldwide"?

To address this question, the UN's Environment Program (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the International Committee of Scientific Unions created an international scientific panel called the Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG). Perhaps AGGG's main accomplishment was to provide official auspices for a more activist group of experts that included George Woodwell, now retired as director of the Woods Hole Research Center; Bill Clark, now at Harvard's Kennedy School; Gordon Goodman, now retired as director of the Stockholm Environmental Institute; Jill Jaeger, also then at the Institute; and me.

Our group hoped to engage governments and the public in a chain of events that would culminate in a "framework convention", a type of treaty suggested by the Villach participants. To this end, we organized or helped to plan a series of science and policy meetings between 1987 and 1990, including the highly visible World Conference on the Changing Atmosphere, sponsored by the Canadian government and held in Toronto in the summer of 1988.

Public concern in the US over climate change was rising at the time for many reasons, including the unusually hot summer in the US in 1988, a sustained drought in parts of the country, the Congressional testimony of NASA's James Hansen pointing to a human influence on climate, and a series of unrelated but salient environmental problems, including the ozone hole. Also, other groups besides ours, in the US and abroad, were pressing for action on the climate front.

Following on the Villach meeting, Dr. Moustafa Tolba, the head of UNEP, had written to then US Secretary of State George Schultz calling for international action to address climate change. This led to considerable discussion within the US government, WMO, and UNEP. The US government decided that, as a first step, it could support an intergovernmental scientific panel to assess climate change. Facilitated by US support, the IPCC was established at the end of 1988.

IPCC's first chairman was Swedish climatologist Bert Bolin, and its second was atmospheric scientist Bob Watson, who helped develop the assessment process for the ozone depletion problem on which the IPCC was partially modeled. In the rejoicing over the award of the Nobel Peace Prize, I hope that the contributions of Tolba, Bolin, and Watson are remembered.

US support was probably critical to IPCC's establishment. And why did the US government support it? Assistant Undersecretary of State Bill Nitze wrote to me a few years later saying that our group's activities played a significant role. Among other motivations, the US government saw the creation of the IPCC as a way to prevent the activism stimulated by my colleagues and me from controlling the policy agenda.

I suspect that the Reagan Administration believed that, in contrast to our group, most scientists were not activists, and would take years to reach any conclusion on the magnitude of the threat. Even if they did, they probably would fail to express it in plain English. The US government must have been quite surprised when IPCC issued its first assessment at the end of 1990, stating clearly that human activity was likely to produce an unprecedented warming.

The IPCC's first assessment laid the groundwork for negotiation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), signed at the Earth Summit in 1992. In a sense, the UNFCCC and its progeny, the Kyoto Protocol, were unintended consequences of the US support for establishment of IPCC – not what the Reagan Administration had in mind!

- See more at:

May 21, 2014 at 4:49 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

I'm not questioning their right to lobby and be activists as they see fit, I'm merely noting the extensive ties from pre-foundings of UNFCCC/IPCC to lobbying for activist priorities in Rio-to-Kyoto accords:

Barbra Streisand provided more than $750,000 to support Oppenheimer/Environmental Defense Fund work on Rio-to-Kyoto lobbying

November 25, 1997
(25 Nov., 1997 ? New York) The Streisand Foundation, headed by filmmaker/entertainer Barbra Streisand, has awarded a $26,200 grant to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) climate change program. The generous grant will be used to focus efforts on achieving a strong international treaty to control global warming at the Kyoto Climate Meeting to be held in Japan from Dec 1-10.

"Ms. Streisand's funding of our work in Japan this December is the latest in a series of gifts she has made to the Environmental Defense Fund," said EDF chief scientist and atmospheric physicist, Dr. Michael Oppenheimer. "Ms. Streisand's support of EDF work is a model of how a foundation can help further public policy in crucial fields."

The Streisand Foundation's initial grant to EDF of a quarter million dollars in 1989 established the Environmental Defense Fund's Barbra Striesand Global Atmospheric Change Chair. A subsequent donation of $500,000 raised in conjunction with Ms. Streisand's 1994 concerts underwrote much of the EDF research leading up to the Kyoto meetings. Her recent gift assures that EDF's policy and technical teams can be present at the Kyoto meetings.

"The Kyoto Summit will be historic," said Oppenheimer. "Until now, participating countries observed greenhouse gas emission guidelines only on a voluntary basis, and this is the chance to make these essential rules legally binding. The Earth's climate urgently needs a Kyoto treaty with strong controls on greenhouse gas pollutants."

"There is no doubt that global warming is the environmental problem of our generation," said Oppenheimer. "No environmental issue is more critical to the Earth or raises the possibility of so many tragic economic, ecological, and human consequences as global warming."

Margery Tabankin, Executive Director of The Streisand Foundation said, "It is very rare in philanthropy that a foundation is able to start with something from the beginning stages and get to see it accomplished. How rewarding to see this go from a scientific theory to a concern of every government in the world. The whole planet has a vital stake in the Environmental Defense Fund's accomplishing its objectives in Kyoto."

May 21, 2014 at 4:58 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

combining some of my comments on these matters, from Climate Etc.:

Speaking of Michael Oppenheimer formerly of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) for 20+ years, he was one of only TEN scientists on the 1987 Steering Committee that got the ball rolling toward the UNFCCC and the IPCC. They provided estimates of global temp. increases between <B>0.3C and 0.8 C per DECADE </B>through around 2050 (report says “middle of the next century”) for all but the lowest emissions scenario which would require immediate drastic actions at that time).

Oppenheimer et al., 1987

legitimate activist activity? As individuals expressing and acting upon views, sure. I think so, if not masked or deceptive in operations and purpose, but certainly “advocacy” and even “activism” on behalf of what he viewed/views as enormously important issues.


For example, what was the selection process for the 10 Steering Committee members and 50 participating scientists in 1987??

unless there was rigorous action to ensure a proper (proportional) representation of scientific views existing at that time, in the relevant fields, this may well have been the first in a long series of hijackings of scientific societies by scientist activists.

I don’t know what the breakdown of scientific views may have been in 1987-88, most likely it fell far short of the manufactured “consensus” of more recent times.

In fact, to the extent that an unrepresentative activist core may have shaped the process in 1987-88, they had the golden opportunity to skew all subsequent scientific and public discussions in their favor. Most scientists in any sub-field probably do not have time or inclination to step back and survey multiple related fields comprehensively. Most scientists, no matter how proficient in their own area, are likely to be unduly influenced by colleagues and scientific societies who/which claim to have studied an issue more closely. If the “studies” are infected with activist views from the start, then of course it is not a representative set of views which appear in the final products.

Did an extremely high percentage of scientists (in relevant fields) agree in 1987-88 with the projections of 0.3C to 0.8C per DECADE for global temp. increases?? If not, then the whole process was skewed from the inception.

That is not “conspiracy” mongering that is simple fact. (if my speculations about the less than unanimous scientific views in 1987-88 are roughly accurate)

Speaking of scientific ACTIVISTS: Biased at birth??

This crucial 1987 process which led toward the UNFCCC and the IPCC was sponsored by three groups which have included the following activist scientists:
(1) Michael Oppenheimer – EDF
(2) John Holdren, WHRC
(3) Paul Ehrlich and Jane Lubchenko, Beijer Inst. (current affiliations, don’t know yet who might have been involved in 1987)

Far from any attempt at an objective, unbiased representation of scientists, this process was advocacy and activism at its core. No wonder they were providing a range of temp. increases estimated at 0.3C to 0.8C per DECADE without drastic action.

(1) “Interesting” that the Environmental Defense Fund was one of the 3 core groups listed as initiating the whole process in 1987!

(2) Along with the “Woods Hole Research Center” (this is John Holdren’s activist group and NOT the famed Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Holdren merely glommed onto the reputation of WHOI with his activist group’s name…. resulting in lots of confusion through the years)

(3) The 3rd of the initiating groups may be more more scientifically respectable, perhaps, (the Beijer Institute affiliated with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences — although still activist in orientation) — it lists Paul Ehrlich and Jane Lubchenko among its “Fellows” who seem to have very long term affiliations with the Beijer…. although I don’t see what the make-up was in the late ’80s.

May 21, 2014 at 5:32 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

For instance, take a look at what was used to "sell" and guide the initial creation of the UNFCCC - IPCC:

(first figure is 3 ranges of projected global temps., lower figure is 3 ranges of projected sea level rise)

Oppenheimer et al. 1987, figures on pp. 4-5

[the salvation of the "low" scenario was only if govts agreed to take drastic actions promptly in late '80s/early '90s]

May 21, 2014 at 5:59 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

new juicy bit, btw, speaking of activist scientists, compare and contrast to Bengtsson's modest restraint......

Peter Gleick is listed as one of the 1987 workshop participants! Buddy with EDF's Oppenheimer and Holdren's Woods Hole Research Institute right from the start of his career. Lucky guy to be included in such a crucial international conference when he (Gleick) was such a young unknown....

(see Oppenheimer et al. 1987)
(Appendix I, p.44)

no wonder he goes nuts over this stuff, it really is his life's work and he takes all dissent or opposition quite .... personally .... and seriously.

May 21, 2014 at 8:08 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

It may seem surprising or misplaced that I want to examine the 1987 workshops and report (someone at JoNova referred to it as going back to "Genesis" although he seemed to approve of my efforts), but I do think they set the direction, tone, and methodology for what followed.

Subsequent meetings and bodies were shaped by key players in those initial groups (just as Oppenheimer boasts in his 2007 blog article).

Not a "conspiracy" in any secretive sense, for it is all right out there in the open for anyone who cares to look.

Oppenheimer seems quite proud of what he and his activists did.

Certainly they have achieved vast influence, at least in institutional terms, and for Rio, Kyoto, etc. They haven't succeeded with nearly all of the policies that they sought, but still it has been a remarkable effort, even if it is now running out of steam.


One thing I note about the 1987 workshops is that they seem to have had very little participation from "hard" sciences to set the tone and direction. Hard to determine all of the backgrounds of the "50 scientists" from Appendix I list of addresses, but there is a lot of geography, UN and govt. bureaucracy, activist NGOs, and social science. The whole thing is tainted and biased from the start.

May 21, 2014 at 3:42 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Great thread Skiphill!

To discover that the consensus was formed by 48 people (whose qualifications were not shown) is amazing?
These people decided that human produced greenhouse gases were the problem on the basis of absolutely nothing?
A really great bit of research!

May 21, 2014 at 4:08 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Thanks, Dung, I try!

Many of us here have wondered where and how decisions were made to shape the entire IPCC process around publicizing "global warming" and then "climate change" as assumed rather than demonstrated.

It is really tough to see more than a few possible "hard" scientists on that workshop list, although I haven't yet tried to track down all of the backgrounds there.... but the two scary graphs which I culled out of the 1987 report show how strong the Alarmist hype was at the beginning. We should be seeing close to that 0.8C per decade, according to the assumptions of that Alarmist group.

I think this material, although primitive compared to what came later, shows how the main thrust was entirely based in advocacy and radical enviro activism; rather than impartial, objective scientific searching wherever the data may lead.

No wonder they needed models all the way down -- then you don't have bother with pesky data to get your nice scary curves.

May 21, 2014 at 6:22 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

I agree with Dung, a great thread, and just about the most useful thing we can do while waiting for CAGW to fall apart. If it does fall apart and people start asking questions, we'll be the ones with the answers. If it doesn't fall apart, well, we still had the answers, and we can only hope someone will inscribe them on slabs of stone to be preserved for future generations.

I came across Ehrlich as one of the founding fathers of the movement when researching a sociological tool called the New Environmental Paradigm, which consists of a battery of statements like “We live on a fragile planet”. The authors of this project to turn the world Green via public opinion surveys trace their Grand Design back to just one original source, “Ark II”, a 1974 tract by Denis Pirages and Paul Ehrlich which puts some flesh on the Club of Rome's skeleton of despair. I criticised this attempt by green social scientists to use touchy-feely opinion survey data to dictate the politics of our democracies at
Then at
I had a look at what Pirages and Ehrlich had to say about climate. Back in 1974 they already knew that it was going to be a problem, quoting John Holdren (yes him) to the effect that we were facing a 7°C temperature rise due to the fact that “According to one recent estimate [...] the dissipation of heat caused by human activities will be equal to 50 percent of the sun’s energy arriving at the surface in that area in winter and 15 percent of solar energy in summer”.
In a second warning of climate mayhem, they say: “According to meteorologist Reid Bryson, the climatic conditions that existed between 1930 and  1960 were the most unusual of the last 1,000 years. He speculates that the planet may be returning to climatic conditions more typical of recent centuries-conditions quite different from those to which modern high-yield  agricultural systems are attuned.”
Bryson was talking about global cooling. Ehrlich great prophet that he is, had already anticipated the idea of Climate Chaos forty years ago, and all without once mentioning CO2 or the greenhouse effect. At
I quote some of the Pirages/Ehrlich proposals for how to run the world rationally. Their answer is basically to put people like themselves in charge.

This is the direction things are going. Power is in the hands of the (mostly) faceless bureaucrats (though there are always Figueres and Deben and Pachauri and a few other Aunt Sallies to aim at). They're less familiar and less sympathetic than many Green activists, but infinitely more powerful.
Most of our efforts have been expended on attacking journalist/activists and scientist/activists whom we may consider our intellectual equals, to be challenged on rational grounds. Your average green journalist or academic may be two degrees short of a tipping point, but it's not his IQ that's in question.
But how do we tackle people who are infinitely more stupid, and infinitely more powerful?

May 21, 2014 at 9:24 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Thanks for kind words. If anyone is ever tempted to make use of this info or write it up in an article, please be my guest!!

I would like to write up some more coherent posts and articles about climate stuff, but I never feel like I know enough and I'm always on the run in my off-line life. So I throw out fragments here and there, but never manage (thus far) to do much with it all. I am always amazed at Steve Mc, Andrew, Jean S, Geoff, Hilary, Anthony, JoNova, Bernie L (not to neglect professionals like Judith Curry, Nic Lewis, et al.) and many more who manage to process and understand enough to write up coherent essays. Seems like one must understand 5-6 fields of expertise (or more) just to avoid obvious howlers.

May 21, 2014 at 11:01 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

When the Great Delusion is regarded with puzzlement the way we regard the Tulip Mania today, notes like yours will be valuable material for those trying to understand the whole thing and to make sense of its history.

May 22, 2014 at 8:51 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

thanks Martin A, hope to be of some use -- the comparison with sorting through the frenzies of Tulip Mania is very appropriate.

One point of emphasis, in case it was buried in the stream of text above. Oppenheimer in his 2007 article seems rather boastful about how his "activist" group (HIS word!) was inserted into the heart of the organizational process early on. So wheras people looking on casually from the outside (even internationally renowned scientists) would assume that these impressive sounding scientific bodies were recruiting a wide range of the most expert participation, Oppenheimer himself gives the lie to such an optimistic expectation, Oppenheimer (2007):

[emphasis added

... called the Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG). Perhaps AGGG's main accomplishment was to provide official auspices for a more activist group of experts that included George Woodwell, now retired as director of the Woods Hole Research Center; Bill Clark, now at Harvard's Kennedy School; Gordon Goodman, now retired as director of the Stockholm Environmental Institute; Jill Jaeger, also then at the Institute; and me.

May 22, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Richard Betts made an appearance at Judith's place, discussing possible scientific overtures to GWPF. I had to note (related to this thread here) that the lack of sincere dialogue and respect (not by Richard I would say, though I know some here differ) goes right back to the founding days of the IPCC, and earlier.

Richard Lindzen (1992) reviewed how barriers and ostracism appeared immediately, how Al Gore, James Hansen, and friends acted immediately (by 1988 if not earlier) to exclude and dismiss independent views. If a scientist was not onboard with the developing bandwagon for action on CAGW, as early as 1988, then the political forces in the movement acted to marginalize, ridicule, and exclude him early on.

Richard Lindzen (1992) on early politicization of CAGW/IPCC movement


[from Climate, Etc., response to Richard Betts]

Perhaps a more succinct version of my point below: the fundamental problems of communication, ostracism, lack of dialogue, etc. are not created by GWPF and not created by Bengtsson. They were built deeply into the entire CAGW and UNFCCC-IPCC movement, right from the start.

me at Climate, Etc. (and see Richard Betts just above)

Skiphil | May 26, 2014 at 1:32 am |
This whole episode with GWPF and Bengtsson makes me think of the account Richard Lindzen wrote (1992!!) of his early attempts to give any scientific feedback to proponents of the IPCC process, Science magazine etc. Lindzen was relegated to writing up such an account to be published by the Cato Institute in the USA (sometimes compared to the GWPF although of much wider economic and political scope).

Anyway, the point I am getting to is that if one troubles to read the early history by Lindzen, it is clear that the process of marginalizing and even ostracizing scientists who had any independent views about the developing consensus was established right from the start. Someone relatively prominent in atmospheric sciences like Lindzen, tenured in a senior position at MIT, at that time) was instantly marginalized in what was esentially a political, not scientific, process.

If it was so difficult for Lindzen to receive any genuine or respectful hearing from the start, then one must suspect that all hopes for scientific “advice” to GWPF ala Paul Nurse are only intended to lecture and hector, not to engage in any sincere scientific discussions. These problems exist from the start of the IPCC process and a few years before, it. seems. Who in the “mainstream” of climate science truly has an interest in dialogue with the GWPF?

If a scientist like Lindzen could be declared persona non grata so early in the “consensus-building” process (1988-1991), then it is difficult to know which scientists cpan now achieve dialogue across the parapets, and how.

I urge all to read (or review) this Lindzen piece to consider how early on such formidable barriers were being erected:

Richard Lindzen (1992) on early politicization of CAGW/IPCC movement

May 26, 2014 at 8:03 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

VERY interesting comments from Lindzen (1992) linked above, in light of my previous discussion of Michael Oppenheimer's role (not clear from Lindzen's article whether or not he was fully aware of Oppenheimer's role in the 1987 workshops and position paper):

[emphasis added]

In the spring of 1989 I prepared a critique of
global warming, which I submitted to Science, a
magazine of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science. The paper was rejected
without review as being of no interest to the read-
ership. I then submitted the paper to the Bulletin
of the American Meteorological Society, where it
was accepted after review, rereviewed, and reac-
cepted an unusual procedure to say the least. In
the meantime, the paper was attacked in Science
before it had even been published. The paper cir-
culated for about six months as samizdat. It was
delivered at a Humboldt conference at M.I.T. and
reprinted in the Frankfurter Allgemeine.

In the meantime, the global warming circus was
in full swing. Meetings were going on nonstop.
One of the more striking of those meetings was
hosted in the summer of 1989 by Robert Redford
at his ranch in Sundance, Utah. Redford pro-
claimed that it was time to stop research and begin
acting. I suppose that that was a reasonable sug-
gestion for an actor to make, but it is also indica-
tive of the overall attitude toward science. Barbara
Streisand personally undertook to support the
research of Michael Oppenheimer at the Environ-
mental Defense Fund, although he is primarily an
advocate and not a climatologist. Meryl Streep
made an appeal on public television to stop warm-
ing. A bill was even prepared to guarantee Ameri-
cans a stable climate.

May 26, 2014 at 8:11 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

cross posting this with the Godwin thread, because it is also important here..... shows the kind of hysteria and Nazi peril analogies that were already being pushed in the late 1980s....

Here is a 1989 abuse of anti-Nazi terms and imagery by Al. Gore, this time Kristallnacht and inaction on global warming.... Gore doesn't quite get to the "denier" word yet, but in essence accuses those in disagreement of being Kristallnacht deniers. Not yet a Holocaust reference but certainly an accusation of ignorance or complacency in the face of massive catastrophe.

p.s. He does term it an "environmental holocaust" we are facing (including a laundry list of other enviro issues). Interesting that although he claimed the world faced massive global warming catastrophe if drastic steps were not taken IN THE 1990s to slash CO2 emissions, we now are in the 17 year pause.

1989: Al Gore on Kristallnacht and "dark forces deep within us"

In 1939, as clouds of war gathered over Europe, many refused to recognize what was about to happen. No one could imagine a Holocaust, even after shattered glass had filled the streets on Kristallnacht. World leaders waffled and waited, hoping that Hitler was not what he seemed, that world war could be avoided. Later, when aerial photographs revealed death camps, many pretended not to see. Even now, many fail to acknowledge that our victory was not only over Nazism but also over dark forces deep within us.

In 1989, clouds of a different sort signal an environmental holocaust without precedent. Once again, world leaders waffle, hoping the danger will dissipate. Yet today the evidence is as clear as the sounds of glass shattering in Berlin.


...We seize scientific uncertainties, however small, as excuses for inaction. Some, like Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in Munich, would rather adapt to the threat than confront it. This time, they are protected not by an umbrella but by floppy hats and sunglasses.

May 26, 2014 at 9:38 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

A question I've been pondering this year: did Gore and those advising him know, as they conceived the 1989 NYT piece, that resistance to 'climate consensus' among leading scientists included Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer? (I think so for Lindzen from 1988.) What a neat twist of the knife to use the Holocaust against them. Despicable in any case but, if that was part of the calculation, much more so.

May 26, 2014 at 10:04 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

yes, Richard, definitely so far as Al Gore looking at Lindzen is concerned (not sure about Singer at that point)

There is a passage in the 1992 Lindzen article linked above in which he describes Al Gore's calculated maneuvers to manipulate the record of his Senate committee hearings to try to make it appear that Lindzen had abandoned all of his skepticism about CAGW (merely because Lindzen recognized that one piece of data had developed in a certain way). So Gore already regarded Lindzen as a major obstacle in the late 1980s and tried to undermine Lindzen in the public record.

p.s. correction, the particular dust-up between Lindzen and Gore I referred to seems to have occurred in 1992-93, when first Gore manipulated the committee record to make it appear that Lindzen had changed his mind on the entire CAGW.... then a NY Times columnist was prompted somehow to write Gore's version into the "newspaper of record" (as they like to style themselves with great pretensions). Then, despite a vehement letter from Lindzen to the NY Times explaining why his views were being badly misrepresented, Gore continued with the fabrication in his book "Earth in the Balance" (1993).

May 26, 2014 at 10:25 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil