IPCC’s political exercise in consensus building

Climate politics

Climate politics

The IPCC has never been about science. It has always been about building a gargantuan “consensus” by which to fashion the alarmist narrative and steamroller any attempt at genuine debate.

The organisation is stacked with scientists who are already convinced that global warming is man-made and dangerous and that something must be done. It is riddled with environmental activists from Friends of the Earth, WWF and other extreme-green organisations who are on a crusade to save the planet. Despite claims that the IPCC only considers “peer-reviewed” literature, previous reports have relied heavily on grey literature which, oddly enough, always supports the consensus. Funny that.

So it is of very little consequence that the latest Summary for Policymakers for Working Group 1 (Physical Science Basis) of the 5th Assessment Report, continues in the same way, building on the alarmism created in reports 1 – 4. As we have learned, this document is pored over by scientists and policy wonks for days, with every paragraph, sentence and word subjected to tough negotiation in order to ensure the message remains focussed, and isn’t diluted by, oh, I don’t know, er… facts?

It helpfully advances the narrative created over the past thirty years, so that compliant journalists can continue to print the same old rubbish (more ABC: same old rubbish) they’ve been printing for years. At the press conference, virtually every journalist was a subscriber to the cause, with only David Rose of the UK Daily Mail daring to ask something “off script”.

You only have to look at environmental journalists in Australia to realise that they are almost invariably eco-warriors. Why would anyone who isn’t want to be an environmental journalist in the first place?

It’s bizarre, but since temperatures have actually fallen slightly since the last report in 2007, the IPCC is now more certain that humans have been the dominant cause of observed warming since the 1950s. The IPCC claims that climate models have improved since AR4, but cannot give a best estimate for climate sensitivity, the only number that really matters in the end, because of, quote:

“a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”

Feeling confident so far? The pause in warming is brushed aside as due to:

“reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the timing of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle.”

In other words, the dog ate it. Where’s my heat, dude? It’s in the ocean, where we can’t measure it.

Whether the IPCC’s dire warnings will be proved correct is yet to be seen. But as an exercise in political spin, it will no doubt succeed. All we can remember is the old adage, if it’s about consensus, it isn’t science.

Note: For the inside peek at the highly suspect IPCC process, head to Donna Laframboise’s excellent Delinquent Teenager.


  1. I read that report… full of words such as “likely” and “very likely” and not one, not a single one of the figures provided was backed up with scientific measurements and calculations… as if to say, we’ve calculated using our “secret methods”, trust us…

  2. Kevin Lohse says:

    The ecoloons aren’t having it all their own way. “The Neglected Sun” is now No1 on the Amazon UK best seller lists. ” And the Light shone in the Darkness, and the Darkness knew it not”

  3. thingadonta says:

    The temperature since the late 1990s and the IPCC’s certainty (now 95% certain that most warming has been caused by humans) have been going in opposite directions. This leads me to conclude there is an unaccounted for, positive bureaucratic feedback loop which is strengthening their certainty, and not the climate science itself.

  4. Instead of answering why the temperature hasn’t accelerated as much as the IPCC models expected, leading to over 15 years of stable temperatures, the IPCC have instead thrown in a neat trick by focusing on the likelihood of human induced global warming.
    As usual it’s more about to wording and ‘seeming’ rather than the facts.

  5. It beggars belief that the NZ MSM swallows this stuff without venturing into any counterpoint, or simply looking under some of the rocks out of a sense of mere curiosity, let alone any pretense of critical journalism. Their silence is well, dumbfounding.

    I listened (briefly) today to a Talk Show host berate a listener who was complaining bitterly about the ever rising cost of electricity in New Zealand. They were told in no uncertain terms that as the IPCC had told us the World is going to hell in a hand basket, the choices were stark. You want cheap power and CAGW or what?

    And the irony? NZ produces 60% of its power from renewables (hydro). Neither the Talk Show host or the hapless caller knew even this simple fact. The public debate is indeed a wallow in the mud, something that enables the following to play out with ease….

    “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
    ― Joseph Goebbels

    “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
    ― Joseph Goebbels

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