“No climate crisis” is, of course, not the spin the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is putting on its new 3,676-page report released last month. “The choices we make in the next decade will determine our future,” the IPCC says. “Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.”
It could hardly be plainer. The report is political advocacy barely masquerading as science.
The IPCC Working Group II report is not meant to be about policy; that’s the job of Working Group III, which has yet to produce its contribution to the sixth assessment report. “The focus of our new report is on solutions,” the IPCC says of the Working Group II report. “It highlights the importance of fundamental changes in society.” The solution to climate change, the IPCC claims, is renewable energy, circular economies, healthy diets, universal health coverage and social protection. The only surprise is that the IPCC didn’t include abolishing the Second Amendment in its climate catechism.
“Scientific evidence shows that addressing the risks and impacts of climate change successfully involves a more a diverse set of actors than previously thought” and involves partnerships with “traditionally marginalized groups, including women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and ethnic minorities (high confidence).” How on earth did the IPCC exclude the LBGTQ+ community? “Different interests, values and worldviews can be reconciled if everyone works together,” the IPCC says. This isn’t science. It’s climate kumbaya.
Small islands were the poster child of net zero as they claimed they risked sinking beneath the waves thanks to rising sea levels. They successfully lobbied for the adoption of the target in the Paris climate agreement to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The IPCC therefore includes them in a list of global hotspots of high human vulnerability, asserting that their vulnerability will increase in the context of sea level rise. Yet only four years ago, the IPCC in its 1.5 degree Celsius special report stated that “observations, models and other evidence” indicate that unconstrained Pacific atolls have kept pace with sea level rises and that there had been “little reduction in size or net gain in land.”
In a blog post, Roger Pielke Jr. of the department of environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder notes that the IPCC lifts projections of future climate damages from studies that eliminate the choice of adapting to climate change, a practice Pielke calls “misleading at best.” Yet buried in the report is a study showing that adequate flood protection, i.e. adaptation, could avoid 95 percent of projected flood damages.
Pielke is even more critical of the report’s extensive use of the RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) 8.5 ultra-high emissions climate scenario to project future damages. The report mentions RCP 8.5 more times than all the other scenarios put together. The proportion of RCP 8.5 mentions is sharply up on the Working Group II’s 2014 report, even though its implausibility as a description of the future is greater now than it was eight years ago. In Pielke’s words, the RCP 8.5 scenario is infused throughout the report, fundamentally damaging its credibility.
If there were a genuine climate crisis, the IPCC wouldn’t feel impelled to surreptitiously turn the dial to claim that there is one. The data wouldn’t need the IPCC’s helping hand by making nonsensical assumptions such as ignoring the possibility of future adaptation to climate change or using the widely discredited RCP 8.5 climate scenario, which even the Grantham Institute’s Bob Ward calls “extreme.” The fact that it does so constitutes strong evidence for the non-existence of a climate crisis.
In this regard, the IPCC’s behavior is similar to that of Covid modelers back in December, who hugely over-forecast hospitalizations and mortality from the Omicron variant, forecasts that in Britain came within a hair’s breadth of pushing the country into a third lockdown. The government’s modeling effort was led by Graham Medley, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Challenged on Twitter by The Spectator’s editor Fraser Nelson as to why the Sage modeling group hadn’t included a less alarming and quite plausible scenario, Medley responded that decision-makers are only interested in situations where decisions have to be made. “We model the scenarios that are useful to decisions,” Medley said. Similarly, the IPCC, with its latest climate report, is in the business of basing their findings on scenarios that advance the policies it wants, namely drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
In 1953, the British epidemiologist Richard Doll, one of the first researchers to establish the link between smoking and lung cancer, attempted to forecast the number of lung cancer deaths there would be in Britain in 1973, estimating that the number might be as great as 25,000. The actual number was 26,000. It was a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the strength of the evidence on the dangers of smoking.
Doll was a true scientist who never let his hostility to smoking or his political beliefs — he was a lifelong communist — contaminate his scientific work. Doll’s fidelity to the principles of scientific objectivity shames today’s climate scientists, who juice up climate science to fabricate a narrative in support of their favored policies.
The sole value of the new report is that it shows just how deeply the IPCC has sunk into the anti-scientific business of advocacy and green ideology. With its declaration that net zero creates the opportunity for societal transformation, the IPCC’s 1.5-degree special report was bad. This new one is even worse.
Rupert Darwall is a senior fellow of the RealClear Foundation, author of Green Tyranny, and recently released a new briefing, “The Biden Administration’s ERISA Work-Around.”