The IPCC is still wrong on climate change. Scientists prove it.
Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases a special report on the alleged impacts of "global warming of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty."
To coincide with that publication's release, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released on October 5 a draft Summary for Policymakers of the fifth volume in its "Climate Change Reconsidered" series. That report is available online here.
The two reports tell dramatically different stories about the causes and consequences of climate change. The IPCC report, referred to as SP15, is expected to claim that human greenhouse gas emissions are causing an unprecedented warming of the planet's atmosphere, that it is too late to prevent a warming of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels, and that nothing less than a dramatic reduction of the use of fossil fuels, possibly even an outright ban enforced by the United Nations, is needed to prevent a global catastrophe.
The NIPCC report finds that while climate change is occurring and a human impact on climate is likely, there is no consensus on the size of that impact relative to natural variability, the net benefits or costs of the impacts of climate change, or whether future climate trends can be predicted with sufficient confidence to guide public policies today. Consequently, there is no scientific basis for the recommendation that the use of fossil fuels should be restricted.
According to its Summary for Policymakers, the new NIPCC publication shows:
- Fossil fuels deliver affordable, plentiful, and reliable energy critical to human welfare. Wind and solar are not practical and reliable substitutes.
- Fossil fuels create a better environment for the ecosystem because they require less surface area than renewable energy sources.
- Sixteen of 25 identified impacts of fossil fuels are net positive, eight uncertain. Only one is net negative. Areas of impact measured include agriculture, air quality, extreme weather events, and human health.
- Forcing a transition from fossil fuels to wind and solar power would inflict tremendous economic hardship, reducing world GDP by some 96 percent and plunging the world back to economic conditions last seen in the 1820s and 1830s.
How could two international teams of scientists, economists, and other experts arrive at opposite conclusions? Therein lies a story.
The IPCC is a political organization, not a scientific body. It was formed by the United Nations in 1988 for the purpose of establishing the need for a global solution to the alleged problem of anthropogenic climate change. Note that the mission of the IPCC was never to study the causes of climate change; were that the case, it might have devoted some of its billions of dollars in revenues over the years to examining solar cycles, changes in ocean currents, the sensitivity of climate to greenhouse gases, or the planet's carbon cycle. The IPCC has spent trivial sums on these issues, and the authors of and contributors to its voluminous reports have few or no credentials in these fields.
Now consider the NIPCC. It is a scientific body composed of scholars from more than two dozen countries, first convened in 2003 by the great physicist S. Fred Singer and later chaired by another great physicist, Frederick Seitz. The NIPCC's only purpose is to fact-check the work of the IPCC. It receives no corporate or government funding and so has no hidden agenda or axes to grind. Most of its participants volunteer their time; a few receive token compensation for many hours of effort.
The NIPCC views the claim that human greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change to be a hypothesis to be tested, not a preordained conclusion. It asks whether the null hypothesis – that changes in climate are natural variability caused by a multitude of forcings and feedbacks – has been disproven. Its research reveals thousands of studies published in peer-reviewed science journals supporting the null hypothesis, meaning that the IPCC's mountains of data and expressions of "confidence" are irrelevant, meaningless, and ultimately wrong.
Given their provenances, which report do you think is more likely to be truthful?
NIPCC scientists and experts will be in Katowice, Poland the week of December 4 to release the full volume of "Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels" at a counter-conference coinciding with the United Nations’ 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24).
John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. is an emergency physician and inactive attorney and a policy adviser to The Heartland Institute. Joseph Bast is a director and senior fellow of The Heartland Institute. Both are contributors to "Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels."