Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the IPCC may be promoting global warming alarmism

According to over 100 scientists active in climate research (follow the link at the end of this letter) the IPCC is promoting global warming alarmism.

The expensive, anti developmental path of severe CO2 restrictions will do far more harm than good by wasting resources that could be spent on more important problems (HIV/AIDS, malaria, malnutrition, trade imbalances, clean water etc)

All I noticed in our local media about the recent UN Bali Conference was some gloating about how our new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, had exerted his independence from the United States by signing Kyoto.

The following open letter by scientists is far more important news. Our institutions (the Media and the Nobel Prize committee which rewarded the IPCC and Al Gore) are failing in their duty to present objective information to the public.

Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

December 13, 2007

His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York, NY
United States of America

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction

It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC’s conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.

The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians and non-scientists and are the basis for most climate change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by government representatives. The great majority of IPCC contributors and reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The Summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts.

Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:

  • Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.
  • The average rate of warming of 0.1 - 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.
  • Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today’s computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.

In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is ‘settled’, significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed to consider work published only through May 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated.

The UN climate conference in Bali has been planned to take the world along a path of severe CO2 restrictions, ignoring the lessons apparent from the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the chaotic nature of the European CO2 trading market, and the ineffectiveness of other costly initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Balanced cost/benefit analyses provide no support for the introduction of global measures to cap and reduce energy consumption for the purpose of restricting CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it is irrational to apply the 'precautionary principle' because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future.

The current UN focus on "fighting climate change", as illustrated in the November 27th UN Development Programme's Human Development Report, is distracting governments from adapting to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever forms they may take. National and international planning for such changes is needed, with a focus on helping our most vulnerable citizens adapt to conditions that lie ahead. Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity’s real and pressing problems.

Yours faithfully,

Independent scientists, engineers and economists active in research of climate-related areas,

Other professional persons knowledgeable about climate change who expressed support for the open letter to the UN Secretary-General.

Copy to: Heads of State of countries of the signatory persons.


Anonymous said...

The UN doesn't care if it's true. They want their global carbon tax because it is a foot in the door for global government. It isn't about anything else.

Leigh Blackall said...

Hey Bill. Am taking an interest in your growing critique on sustainability.. would you take 10 mins to watch this vid and extend your critique to it?

Bill Kerr said...

hi leigh,

the video is alarmist and doesn't add anything of substance to the debate - while pretending in the first half to be logical and reasonable

if the alarmist speculations are not true and billions are spent in an effort to prevent global warming then that will cost millions of lives - as Lomborg has pointed out

"Kyoto would therefore save 140,000 people at 60 times the
cost, whereas a targeted malaria policy would save more than 85 million. Not initiating the targeted malaria policy first
means forgoing saving – or simply costing – 85 million lives."

my position is that we deserve far better media than we currently have - in order to take the scientists seriously (which we need to do) then we need more accurate and less headline grabbing media

Leigh Blackall said...

A colleague at work is about to lend me a copy of Heat by George Manbiot. He says that Manbiot argues against Lomborg's perspective in the book. I hope I have the right book. It was certainly called Heat. Let me know if you already know of it and have formed an opinion on it.

Bill Kerr said...

hi leigh,

I did some googling, it's the "right" book

Now why doesn't the ABC invite Monbiot and Lomborg to go head to head in a publicly televised debate?

Some people are suggesting that global warming deniers are similar to holocaust deniers link

Lomborg, who accepts CO2 caused global warming, refers directly to Monbiot in this 2004 article:

"I don’t believe that the scientific data supports anything other than that an increase in CO2 will cause an increase in temperatures. The important scientific discussion centres on how much the temperatures will rise. Writing in The Guardian recently, the commentator George Monbiot ridiculed global warming deniers under the headline “Fossil Fools”. Such criticism is well founded. However, I would challenge those such as Monbiot — supporters of a strong response to climate change — likewise to stop denying the economics of global warming.

I am the exasperating person who is standing still in the face of a looming threat, asking whether we should stop and consider the rationale and suitability of our planned response. I ask that we look at what can be achieved and what it will cost — and then see if our proposed solution measures up, or whether we would do better putting our efforts elsewhere. Humanity faces many other challenges: malnutrition, conflict and communicable disease are just three that we devote many resources to overcoming... "

He has since done further work (the Copenhagen Consensus, organised by the Danish Environmental Assessment Institute) which I referenced in an earlier pdf, see my blog, the end of the world is not coming soon

Lomborg has written a new book called "Cool It". In a hostile review by Tim Flannery he admits:
"While the chances of catastrophic climate change may still be small, they are increasing"

There is clearly a need for our media to promote more open debate on this issue, not one sided imperatives

Leigh Blackall said...

you and I are the big media now :) how about you make contact with Lomborg and Manbiot and offer to facilitate a debate between the 2 that will be recorded and podcast out under CC BY license. Then we'll pressure the ABC and others to broadcast the recording. ;)