18 February 2010

Policy Impact of IPCC Misdirection

In Australia yesterday, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong gave a speech is which she discussed the claims that the IPCC had misrepresented the science of disaster costs and climate change. She stated:

Another claim is that the IPCC exaggerated economic losses from catastrophes attributed to climate change.

The IPCC has described these claims as “misleading and baseless". The scientist has gone on the record to say his peer-reviewed scientific paper was correctly represented in the IPCC report.

Presumably, the "scientist" that she refers to is Robert Muir-Wood. In the paper that Wong refers to, Muir-Wood and colleagues write:
We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses.
If Wong thinks that paper suggests a linkage between rising temperatures and catastrophes, then that is pretty good evidence that the IPCC did not in fact accurately represent the paper. It is interesting how the issue is now about how a paper was represented, and not the science of disasters and climate change.

Muir-Wood also confirms that the IPCC intentionally miscited another paper in order to include a graph that he says,
. . . could be misinterpreted and should not have been included in these materials.
Obviously, from Wong's remarks misinterpretation is more than just a possibility. The IPCC also made up stuff about my views and ignored its reviewers who explained that the graph was misleading and should be reviewed.

The bottom line is that there is no scientific evidence linking rising global temperatures to the increasing catastrophe losses around the world. Ironically enough, the scientific evidence includes the paper cited by Wong to suggest the opposite. Despite this fact, and the obvious IPCC misrepresentations on this subject, Australia's Penny Wong concludes:
There may well be dispute about the cost of catastrophes, but the science on the link between these catastrophes and climate change has not been credibly challenged.
Score that as one fully duped policy maker by the IPCC's spin and misdirection.

20 comments:

  1. Duped? I think you give her too much credit. Try ignorant, negligent, or blind at beast, lies, misrepresentation, or fraud at worse.

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  2. It would be funny if it was not so sad. Has anybody told SMH?

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  3. http://www.theage.com.au/national/emissions-vote-delayed-20100218-oius.html

    The vote on the proposed ETS legislation in Australia has been delayed (possibly indefinitely).

    It would seem the Penny has dropped for Ms Wong.

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  4. I know it is a lot of work but I would keep plugging away at this - eventually they will listen and the penny will drop.

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  5. Looking at her spread arms and hands it looks like she is saying, "I'm only telling a whopper this big."

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  6. There is no indication she is duped. She is very well educated, and very smart. At this time, the only conclusion is that she is deliberate.

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  7. Somewhat off-topic (but not in a general sense) --

    Glaciologist Jeff Kargel wrote an open letter about the current woes besetting IPCC after being quoted in Monday's WaPo on the subject.

    Michael Tobis has reprinted Kargel's letter at Only In It For The Gold.

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  8. Roger, if other governments are going to take the same position, that there are losses that can currently be attributed to climate change, do you think that at some point, since many in the US are claiming the recent blizzard in DC was "consistent with AGW", that any economic impact from that storm would become losses attributed to climate change?

    It seems that any severe weather event moving forward, or even lack of weather--for instance at some Olympic venues in Vancouver--can now be attributed to AGW under the "consistent with" tag, with a corresponding rise in losses.

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  9. The whole episode of the current Australian federal government is one of abject shame, in regards to just about any public policy issue you could name.
    Wong is the public face of political capture. She would have to be the most arrogant minister of the current government (and that's saying something). Her office no longer even acknowledges any communication, let alone engage in any meaningful dialogue. Instead we are treated to yet another non-fact-checked, misrepresentive, speculative and ill-advised verbal harangue. This woman thinks this is sufficient for policy formulation, and an adequate substitute for rational backing of the CPRS. Both she and PM Rudd, both proponents of such public vitriol regarding those who would question "the science" are hopefully to be judged as foolish by history, and more immediately as dishonest incompetents by the electorate.

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  10. Is there something more dangerous than a policy maker having the wrong information?

    Probably she is not even aware of the evidence in Australia concerning disaster losses and AGW:

    See: Crompton, R. P., and McAneney, K. J.: Normalised Australian insured losses from meteorological hazards: 1967-2006, Environ. Sci. Policy, 11, 371-378, 2008.
    http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2008.01.005

    "Once the weather-related insured losses are normalised, they exhibit no obvious trend over time that might be attributed to other factors, including human-induced climate change."

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  11. There is an interesting guest post by David Lappi, a geologist from Alaska , over at Jo Nova's blog

    I thought this from him was pertinent

    "I believe we will regret regulating CO2, since doing so will not produce any measurable climate control, and may actually cause great harm to world economies."

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/02/the-big-picture-65-million-years-of-temperature-swings/

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  12. As a social scientist you should appreciate the study of these single issue fanatics to whom truth, logic, humility, accountability and conciliation are all alien concepts.

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  13. Sheesh! Can someone point me to ONE spot in AR4 that demonstrates some AGW "problem" without using the words "may," "could be," "likely," "possibly," ......??? Folks, climate science has got to be the weakest type of "science" in all of history. Where in the hell is the beef?

    And to make things even crazier, it is looking like most of the "maybes" are coming from WWF and other such NGO non-scientific charlatans, who offer absolutely no substance. In fact, their input should be seen as negative, since it is comparable to cigarette lobbies trying to enlist smokers to support their efforts! Cool use of the "tobacco argument, no? :)

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  14. Lets face it folks, if the Third Reich stuck to the facts and correctly quantified their speculations, they never would have gained power. The 'truth' was never harsh enough to compel the people to action and sacrifice. Only the great lie would suffice.

    The same is true with climate change. Politicians are hardly upset that the IPCC exaggerates claims. They love it! It is precisely what they need to enhance their political power.

    I am not saying that the IPCC is the Third Reich, but that Nazi Germany is the most widely known example of promoting fear through lies to gain power and control.

    In science, we recognize patterns by examining the data and looking at correlations, but we often refuse to do this with human-political behavior. "Sure", we say, "that happened in Germany in the 1930s, but we are too wise and intelligent for that to happen now." We believe that we would never fall for the same manipulations that inflicted our ancestors, yet we refuse to acknowledge the obvious political patterns that are no different today than they were in the past.

    We would like scientists, politicians and policy makers to all be noble and altruistic, but in reality they are all human, and will tend to behave as humans always have. We must recognize that the best we can do is be constantly suspicious (skeptical) of our politicians and call them on it when they stray from the truth. Chances are that it is deliberate for the sake of their own power and not a matter of ignorance.

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  15. Climate science is not only the weakest but also the most overrated of all sciences. Where was climate science 20-25 years ago? What on Earth justifies the fact that it's funding exploded to 21 times where it was 20 years ago?

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

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  16. More good news - Am just watching a Val Kilmer film called "The Thaw". It's about global warming destroying the world.
    Any picture that Kilmer makes kills the topic. For example, I was a huge Door / Jim Morrison fan. Since he made the pic, I haven't heard a single Doors song.
    And he was in the last Lonesome Dove sequel - none since.
    Kiss of death.

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  17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8525879.stm

    Leading scientists say that the recent controversies surrounding climate research have damaged the image of science as a whole.

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  18. re: comment 7
    Thanks for sharing that. It's absolute music to my ears hearing one of the IPCC's glacier guys whine like a school girl stood up on prom night.

    Let me include just a taste.

    "How can the media better identify political witch hunts or political conspiratorial leanings and discern the difference from legitimate political criticisms of scientific errors and errant scientists? What responsibilities does the media have in exposing unsubstantiated political claims about global change (regardless of which side the errors fall on)?
    AND THE BIGGEST QUESTION OF ALL: IF UNCOVERING OF THESE ERRORS BY SCIENTISTS IS SIMPLY PORTRAYED AS ONE STEP IN UNCOVERING OF SOME BIG HOAX, AS SOME POLITICIANS WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE, AND IS NOT SIMPLY PART OF THE PROCESS OF SCIENTIFIC VALIDATION AND ERROR CORRECTION, AND IF THE 'HOAX' IDEA TAKES ROOT WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC, THUS TOTALLY UNDERMINING ANY EFFORT TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS, AND GREENHOUSE GAS/CLIMATE CHANGE SCENARIOS CONSEQUENTLY MOVE TO A LESS UNCERTAIN REALM (TOWARD THE MORE SEVERE SCENARIOS REPRESENTING UNABATED EMISSIONS), HOW WILL PEOPLE AND THE EARTH BE IMPACTED? SO WE SUDDENLY HAVE REDUCED SCIENTIFIC UNCERTAINTY AT LAST, WITH THE MILDER SCENARIOS ELIMINATED. HOW DOES THE PROCESS OF UNCERTAINTY REDUCTION PUSH THE EARTH INCREASINGLY TOWARD TIPPING POINTS THAT NEED NOT BE OUR FATED FUTURE?


    I am about as optimistic a spirit as a reporter will find anywhere. I have actually shunned the idea of discrete tipping points in favor of a some vague continuum of changes. But my optimism fades rapidly when I see the uncertainties resolving in this way.
    "

    He quit the USGS to go study Himallayan glaciers right around the time Gore's film came out. And his papers are just about as alarmist as this rant suggests (except no all caps riffing). I fear the pressure from Himalaya gate is getting to him.

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  19. Jim Clarke needn't go that far back in time
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2798679275960015727#

    It seems religious nutcases and US neo-cons are better at achieving their aims than eco-freaks. Imagine waiting for a mandate: Democracy, laws, pah!

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  20. Slightly off-topic: Seth Borenstien (AP) at it again about hurricane intensity. (Nature.com, Kerry Emmanuel, Chris Landsea)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100221/ap_on_sc/us_sci_warming_hurricanes

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