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Topic: The Continuing Climate Meltdown WSJ artical
Replies: 11   Last Post: Feb 26, 2010 7:10 PM

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Registered: 12/7/04
The Continuing Climate Meltdown WSJ artical
Posted: Feb 15, 2010 10:54 PM
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Wall Street Journal Feb 16, 2010

The Continuing Climate Meltdown

It has been a bad-make that dreadful-few weeks for what used to be called
the "settled science" of global warming, and especially for the U.N.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that is supposed to be its gold

First it turns out that the Himalayan glaciers are not going to melt anytime
soon, notwithstanding dire U.N. predictions. Next came news that an IPCC
claim that global warming could destroy 40% of the Amazon was based on a
report by an environmental pressure group. Other IPCC sources of scholarly
note have included a mountaineering magazine and a student paper.

Since the climategate email story broke in November, the standard defense is
that while the scandal may have revealed some all-too-human behavior by a
handful of leading climatologists, it made no difference to the underlying
science. We think the science is still disputable. But there's no doubt that
climategate has spurred at least some reporters to scrutinize the IPCC's
headline-grabbing claims in a way they had rarely done previously.

Take the rain forest claim. In its 2007 report, the IPCC wrote that "up to
40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight
reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation,
hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to
another steady state."

But as Jonathan Leake of London's Sunday Times reported last month, those
claims were based on a report from the World Wildlife Fund, which in turn
had fundamentally misrepresented a study in the journal Nature. The Nature
study, Mr. Leake writes, "did not assess rainfall but in fact looked at the
impact on the forest of human activity such as logging and burning."

The IPCC has relied on World Wildlife Fund studies regarding the
"transformation of natural coastal areas," the "destruction of more
mangroves," "glacial lake outbursts causing mudflows and avalanches,"
changes in the ecosystem of the "Mesoamerican reef," and so on. The Wildlife
Fund is a green lobby that believes in global warming, and its "research"
reflects its advocacy, not the scientific method.

The IPCC has also cited a study by British climatologist Nigel Arnell
claiming that global warming could deplete water resources for as many as
4.5 billion people by the year 2085. But as our Anne Jolis reported in our
European edition, the IPCC neglected to include Mr. Arnell's corollary
finding, which is that global warming could also increase water resources
for as many as six billion people.

The IPCC report made aggressive claims that "extreme weather-related events"
had led to "rapidly rising costs." Never mind that the link between global
warming and storms like Hurricane Katrina remains tenuous at best. More
astonishing (or, maybe, not so astonishing) is that the IPCC again based its
assertion on a single study that was not peer-reviewed. In fact, nobody can
reliably establish a quantifiable connection between global warming and
increased disaster-related costs. In Holland, there's even a minor uproar
over the report's claim that 55% of the country is below sea level. It's

Meanwhile, one of the scientists at the center of the climategate fiasco has
called into question other issues that the climate lobby has claimed are
indisputable. Phil Jones, who stepped down as head of the University of East
Anglia's Climatic Research Unit amid the climate email scandal, told the BBC
that the world may well have been warmer during medieval times than it is

This raises doubts about how much our current warming is man-made as opposed
to merely another of the natural climate shifts that have taken place over
the centuries. Mr. Jones also told the BBC there has been no "statistically
significant" warming over the past 15 years, though he considers this to be
All of this matters because the IPCC has been advertised as the last and
definitive word on climate science. Its reports are the basis on which Al
Gore, President Obama and others have claimed that climate ruin is
inevitable unless the world reorganizes its economies with huge new taxes on
carbon. Now we are discovering the U.N. reports are sloppy political
documents intended to drive the climate lobby's regulatory agenda.

The lesson of climategate and now the IPCC's shoddy sourcing is that the
claims of the global warming lobby need far more rigorous scrutiny.

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