A consortium of national scientific academies has scolded the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for down-playing uncertainties about global warming, failing to point out when its claims of catastrophe were based on weak evidence and misrepresenting some findings as peer-reviewed by scientists, when they weren’t.
The findings of the InterAcademy Council investigation also criticized IPCC management, recommending the organization adopt a conflict-of-interest policy. IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri has advised energy and financial companies potentially affected by policies stemming from IPCC findings. He says proceeds go to an energy think tank he heads and to charity.
The criticisms outlined last week by Princeton University professor Harold Shapiro, who chaired the investigation, essentially told the IPCC to stop lobbying governments to combat global warming and restrict its role to explaining science.
We have voiced similar complaints for years with IPCC reports, the fifth of which is due in 2014. Each successive report ratcheted up catastrophic predictions even as temperatures stopped increasing, despite soaring greenhouse gas emissions that the IPCC claims over-heat the planet. The less evidence supports catastrophic claims, the more dire IPCC predictions became.
The investigation said an IPCC working group “contains many statements that were assigned high confidence but for which there is little evidence.” When errors were pointed out, the IPCC response was “slow and inadequate,” the investigation found.
Critics include John Christy, University of Alabama at Huntsville atmospheric scientist, who was a writer on two IPCC reports. He said “his doubts about evidence of manmade global warming were largely pushed aside both times,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
The IPCC, a governmental panel, not a scientific panel, claims dangerous global warming is “very likely” caused by humans and aggressively calls for governments to cap emissions, at great economic cost. An IPCC proposal to redistribute vast wealth from richer nations to poorer countries ostensibly to combat warming failed last year when 192 nations couldn’t agree in Copenhagen.
The whole process should be more open, more scientifically rigorous and far less political.