Flat White

What do we really know about the IPCC?

19 July 2022

10:00 AM

19 July 2022

10:00 AM

Having concluded the latest Climate Change talk-fest – the United Nations COP26 in 2021 in Glasgow – the confected outburst of ‘unprecedented’ events has achieved little in the world of public opinion.

In the real world of Australia, the unusual January 2022 combination of bushfires in the West, cyclones in the North, flooding in the East, and snow in the South, failed to rekindle ‘unprecedented’ commentary from the media.

Yet again, tipping points have threatened and failed to materialise.

In 1972, the first UN Environment Program director gave the planet 10 years to avoid catastrophe. In 1982 the UN gave a date of 2000. By 1989, the UN had brought this forward to 1992.

Prince Charles has submitted various ‘end of the world’ scenarios. In 2010, he gave us 8 years. In 2018, we had only 18 months left to save the word.

The current outbreak of Australian glue-related environmental activism distracts us from real-world events and forces climate attention. A close look at the figurehead of the movement, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), is certainly warranted.

This is particularly true as there are moves are afoot to host a COP in Australia, the examination is even more critical.

The IPCC was founded in 1988 in large part due to the contribution of Maurice Strong. Strong was a paradox, existing as a socialist oil billionaire with an underlying agenda of wealth redistribution. He had previously been involved in the establishment of the UN Environment Program and served as its director. After getting tangled in the Iraqi ‘oil-for-food’ program in 2005, (of which he was cleared of any wrongdoing) Strong resigned from the UN in 2006. Strong died in 2015.

Maurice Strong was one of the original catastrophists, arguing in 1972 that we had just 10 years before irreversible Climate Change occurred. As various tipping points have passed, the organisation has become mainstream, increasing in size and influence.

As a branch of the United Nations, the IPCC was established to find ‘scientific, technical and socio-economic evidence of human activity affecting the climate’. The IPCC has expressed a believe that an increasing world population will lead to an escalation in the production of greenhouse gases which, directly and indirectly, will lead to global warming.

In the real world, most scientists insist that the dividing line between science and pseudoscience is whether advocates of a hypothesis deliberately search for evidence that could falsify it, and accept the hypothesis only if it survives…


 

CO2 levels (x-axis) and effect on temperature (y-axis)

CO2 levels have risen from the usual 220 parts per million in the pre-industrial era to now over 400, and it has been postulated for over a century that this might lead to global warming. Physics suggests the maximum heat-trapping effect of CO2 is at a level of less than 200 ppm and increases above this level do little. Sunspot activity is now heading towards a minimum, but IPCC considers this a minor factor, despite its documented connection with historical hot and cold climate periods. Other factors, such as cosmic rays and the Earth’s orbit are, despite their well-documented historical connections with temperature, are similarly side-lined.

The IPCC’s first report was released in 1990, by the time of the third report in 2001, it believed there was convincing evidence to support this theory of human activity-based warming and there was mention of a much-disputed scientific consensus. This was the year of the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph, with litigation about its significance ongoing in America to this day.

In 2007 the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its activities. Subsequently in 2010, the leaders in the field, Phil Jones from the UK and Michael Mann from America, were involved in a controversy known as Climategate (the Climate Research Unit email controversy), when hacked emails suggested restriction and manipulation of data and influence on scientific publications. There were inquiries by both the American and UK governments, which raised no issues apart from the significant comment on the lack of release of data on which the findings were based.

Over the years there has been a tendency for an increasing disconnect between the scientific work and the summaries used by policymakers, there has also been an increasing purging of information that does not fit the required agenda.

The most recent IPCC report, the sixth, was published in August 2021, yet again it described tipping points to irreversible Climate Change, tipping points which have regularly failed to materialise in the past; the latest of these is scheduled for 2030.

These reports, and the intervening gatherings, the Conference of Parties, have become massive events. The latest COP26 (Conference of the Parties) in Glasgow had an estimated 25,000 attendees from 195 countries, as with all these events hyperbole has undermined much of the science. Increasingly the meetings have become a media circus, with big business and celebrities inside, the usual save-the-planet protests outside, and little progress made.


The primary focus of these meetings has been on the level of atmospheric CO2. There is little dispute that the temperature has warmed over the last 250 years, but that warming began pre-industrialisation from the low point of the Little Ice Age, and only now are we back to the more typical temperatures of 1,000 years ago.

On the one side, there are the vested interests of fossil fuel companies; on the other, other we have vested interests fighting for more research funds and renewable energy subsidies that depend on an alarmist prediction. Exaggeration on both sides has confused the supposedly settled science, with computer modelling failing to predict the subsequent known outcomes and global warming exaggerated, in particular the temperature has failed to follow CO2 rise.

In 2014, a survey of The American Meteorological Society found that 52 per cent of members believed global warming was ‘mostly human in origin’ – not really confirming the settled science.

The current IPCC Chair is a Korean, Dr Lee, his predecessor Dr Pachauri, who was in charge from 2002 to 2015, left under a cloud with allegations of sexual misconduct. The organisation is based in Geneva and is funded by voluntary donations, with America being a major contributor until its funds were briefly interrupted by Donald Trump, with scientists contributing their work on a voluntary basis. All administration and operational costs are met by the World Meteorological Organisation, the United Nations Environment Program, and donations from individual countries. The 2020 reported budget was $10 million and totalled over $100 million since inception, but the total cost of the organisation remains opaque.

The price tag involved in compensating developing countries (which apparently include China) is also opaque. The UN originally called for a green, climate fund of US$100 billion annually; with Australia’s contribution assessed at 4.25 per cent; this would add up to a bill of US$60 billion over a decade. It is no wonder that so many representatives have appeared from developing countries to lobby to save the planet, some African countries with 300 or more delegates at the latest meeting.

With each gathering, the warnings of extreme heat, sea-level rise, floods and droughts, cyclones, and ice-melt are increasing, but even the IPCC now admits to overstatement as their computer models have failed to deliver the predicted outcomes. With the apocalyptic predictions recognised as unreliable, the need for more media sensationalism becomes is increasingly necessary to maintain the fervour.

There are two basic questions. Firstly, is the level of CO 2 important, and secondly, if so, what is to be done? With only America of the major emitters (at 14 per cent) attempting to reduce CO2; increasing output from China (doubled in the last 20 years to 30 per cent), India (currently 7 per cent) and Russia (currently 5 per cent), means the rest of the world’s attempts are meaningless. Australia’s small and slowly falling contribution (down 38 per cent from 2005, and 1.3 per cent of the world total) is meaningless.

The World bank put Australia’s per capita emissions in 2020 at 10th, with Canada 11, the US at 14, Russia 20 and China 28. Another argument is a ‘guesstimate’ of the cumulative CO2 production from industrialisation of different countries, as in the graph below.


The major thrust of the latest COP meeting was to close coal-fired power- generation, a tall order as numerous third-world countries are increasingly building them. As developed world countries, with a population of 1.3 billion people, reduce their CO2 output, developing countries, with a population of 6.5 billion increase their output; China has quadrupled its CO2 emissions in the last 30 years, and, like India, plans yet more coal-fired power generation. The anticipated 50 per cent increase in energy demand by 2050 will be met primarily by nuclear, gas, coal, and oil which will continue to provide around 80 per cent. The plans for CO2 reduction by developed countries will achieve no net CO2 reductions, but will ruin economies.

With little progress on CO2 generation, interest has now switched to another greenhouse gas, methane, and its sources. Ignoring the vast natural production from rotting vegetation, volcanoes, agriculture, and wild animals, attention has focussed on domesticated livestock, with greens and animal rights activism coming together to demand an end to meat farming. Figures quoted (of dubious authenticity) suggest Australia’s agriculture accounts for 11 per cent of its total greenhouse gas emissions, with 70 per cent coming from livestock. World-wide estimates for methane production include rice cultivation 10 per cent, wastewater 9 per cent, landfills 11 per cent, coal mining 5 per cent, manure 4 per cent, oil and gas 20 per cent, gut fermentation (sheep and cattle) 29 per cent, other sources 7 per cent.

Effect of a single volcanic eruption, Northern Hemisphere

The COP 26 meeting in Glasgow in 2021 proved another dismal failure; there was no further agreement on lowering emissions and the developing countries still didn’t get the cash they want; the hidden agenda of wealth redistribution, in The Great Reset, is no closer. From Australia’s perspective, the outcome of accelerated CO2 reduction would demand the country’s economic ruin, with further jobs exported, a decline in living standards, and no discernible effect on the world climate; this seems to be the trajectory our politicians have planned.

The IPCC’s solution is to have further talk-fests in 2022 at COP 27 in Egypt, and UAE in 2023. Australia is currently virtue signalling by offering to host another COP event; the UK gab-fest is estimated to have cost 100 million pounds (approximately $175 Australian) – to what purpose? This organisation has, like the UN, WHO, and many other world bodies, become an expensive, self-serving bureaucracy that has little to show to justify its 34 years of existence

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