The United Nations issued yet one more climate report Monday. It’s best ignored. Of course the Democratic Party and its media department, always looking for a Reichstag fire, have weaponized it.
The hysterical responses to the Summary for Policymakers from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report were exactly what we expected.
“A Hotter Future Is Certain, Climate Panel Warns. But How Hot Is Up to Us,” says the New York Times’ screamer headline.
The BBC dutifully quotes U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, a member of Portugal’s Socialist Party, who said the report “is a code red for humanity.”
CNBC says “the world’s leading climate scientists on Monday delivered their starkest warning yet about the deepening climate emergency.”
Despite the alarms, and claims that some irreversible damage has been wrought, the IPCC says there is still a small chance to avoid devastation. If we act now. If we make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. If we enact policies that just happen to be identical to the pieces of the policy lineup the political left has been pressing for decades but hasn’t been able to pass by other means.
To better understand what the U.N. and its political and media allies are up to, let’s backtrack to a previous climate report.
Eight years ago, when the IPCC issued its Fifth Assessment Report, Chip Knappenberger, then the Cato Institute’s assistant director of the Center for the Study of Science, called it an “embarrassment of internal inconsistency,” and an “entirely self‐serving” document that was “beyond misleading.”
“That’s because the IPCC is more intent on maintaining the crumbling ‘consensus’ on global warming than on following climate science to its logical conclusion; a conclusion that increasingly suggests that human greenhouse gas emissions are less important in driving climate change than commonly held.”
That’s still the IPCC’s goal: To further the narrative that human activity is overheating Earth, so that left-wing politicians can gain further control of economies, and more effectively restrict the liberty of those who aren’t part of the global elite.
At roughly the same time as Knappenberger’s observation, a pair of scholars who contributed to the report were appalled by the methods used to produce what is in effect an executive summary.
Robert Stavins, a Harvard professor, said the process for generating the report’s Summary for Policymakers, which condenses thousands of pages of text and more than a dozen chapters from the full report into a document of a few dozen pages, created “an irreconcilable conflict of interest.”
“It has got to the point,” he wrote in an online letter in 2014, “where it would be reasonable to call the document a summary by policymakers, not a summary for them, and it certainly affects the credibility of the IPCC.”
Sussex University’s Professor Richard Tol, who had “been involved with the IPCC since 1994, fulfilling a variety of roles in all three working groups,” “stepped down” in September 2013 “from the team that prepared the draft of the Summary for Policymakers from the Fifth Assessment Report.” He called it a “debacle.”
His criticisms of the process included the eventual removal of references that don’t “support the political agenda for greenhouse gas emission reduction,” which appear in early SPM drafts, and the development of “later drafts” that “put more and more emphasis on the reasons for concern about climate change, a concept I had helped to develop.”
“The IPCC does not guard itself against selection bias and groupthink,” Tol concluded. “Academics who worry about climate change are more likely to publish about it, and more likely to get into the IPCC. Groups of like-minded people reinforce their beliefs. The environment agencies that comment on the draft IPCC report will not argue that their department is obsolete. The IPCC should therefore be taken out of the hands of the climate bureaucracy and transferred to the academic authorities.”
In short, the IPCC has a habit of doctoring the summaries in an effort to frighten and manipulate the public. And it’s been doing so for some time. According to Canadian academic and author Tim Ball, while the 2001 IPCC report “was the most influential in establishing global warming as a serious threat demanding political action,” it “also achieved another distinction, unknown to the media, public and politicians.” A “disconnect between the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and the Science Report Of Working Group 1,” he said, was particularly extreme.
“So much of the so-called science the IPCC created was to amplify the threat of human-produced CO2 to global warming,” Ball wrote. “The political mandate was the ultimate arbiter of what and how an issue was included.”
When Ball wrote that six years ago, he wondered “how long the IPCC can stay in business and continue to push” its “totally discredited” hypothesis that man is warming his planet. The 2021 report unfortunately indicates that the answer might be “forever.”
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board