The failure of UN and New Zealand and other government officials to acknowledge the backdown from earlier scaremongering claims about future global climate behaviour has been criticised by Hon Barry Brill, chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.
“Even worse, has been the misleading emphasis on scaremongering by certain elements of the news media, whose apparent penchant for unjustified sensationalism has overcome their responsibility for truthful interpretation. This was exemplified by TV One news on Saturday night implying chimney emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) that could only have been steam, since CO2 is both a colourless and odourless trace gas.”
He was referring to reports of the summary for policymakers (SPM) of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the basic science Working Group (WG1) for the Fifth Assessment Report (5AR), negotiated in Stockholm last week and released on Friday night.
“IPCC produces periodic reports on the science and policy relevant to dangerous anthropogenic global warming (DAGW). These are intended to guide all UN members and the annual conferences of the parties (COPs) which endlessly attempt to negotiate global binding treaties to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“These technical reports run to thousands of pages and are barely comprehensible. The SPM, about 50 pages long, is constructed for the world’s media and politicians. The line-by-line wording of this document is negotiated ‘by consensus’ by bureaucrats representing the Environment Ministries of about a hundred member countries, said Mr Brill.
He said news media have failed to direct public attention to IPCC backdowns, such as:
· There is no longer any IPCC consensus on the best estimate of climate sensitivity. This is the single most important figure in climate science and has been fixed at 3°C for over 30 years. However, all recent scientific papers have found that it should be approximately halved. The government representatives in Stockholm failed to reach any agreement.
· The range of values for climate sensitivity is lowered. The SPM has reduced the lower end from 2°C (in the 2007 report) to 1.5°C.
· The 16-year temperature standstill or “pause” is officially recognised (if reluctantly). The Stockholm meeting removed a statement from the scientists that the IPCC models had failed to pick up the lower warming of the past 15 years. However, The Economist points out that the SPM figures are only 25% of those in the 2007 report.
· The anthropogenic share of past warming is reduced from “most” to “more than half”. Many in the science community had interpreted “most” as meaning 90%+. The new wording clarifies that natural causes have been under-estimated.
· Warming for the next 100 years will likely be similar to the last 100 years. Most scenarios point to 1.5°C between 1900 and 2100. Half of that occurred in the 20th century.
· Temperatures through to 2100 are expected to remain below the 2°C threshold. Economic models show that net benefits accrue from warming until the 2°C threshold is reached.
· Sea level rise this century is predicted to be non-threatening. Until 2100, the global average is expected to be between 1mm and 2mm per year. There has been no acceleration in recent centuries.
· No AGW connection to droughts or tropical cyclones. The IPCC has previously debunked suggestions by activists that the frequency or intensity of cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, etc, are connected to human-caused warming. That view is repeated in the SPM, although increased warm spells and possible heavier rainfall is predicted.
“Overall, the SPM indicates a more cautious approach than was seen in 2007. That was probably inevitable, given the absence of any explanations for the temperature ‘pause’ which has persisted since 1996,” Mr Brill concluded.