Counterculture Con HQ

February 1, 2010

More Eco-hoaxism: IPCC based claims on student dissertation and magazine article

And the hits just keep on coming.   This isn’t being reported by the New York Times, so it’s not really happenning.  After all, President Obama still has an global energy tax to pass.

The United Nations’ expert panel on climate change based claims about ice disappearing from the world’s mountain tops on a student’s dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine. The revelation will cause fresh embarrassment for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which had to issue a humiliating apology earlier this month over inaccurate statements about global warming.

The IPCC’s remit is to provide an authoritative assessment of scientific evidence on climate change.  In its most recent report, it stated that observed reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and Africa was being caused by global warming, citing two papers as the source of the information.

However, it can be revealed that one of the sources quoted was a feature article published in a popular magazine for climbers which was based on anecdotal evidence from mountaineers about the changes they were witnessing on the mountainsides around them.  The other was a dissertation written by a geography student, studying for the equivalent of a master’s degree, at the University of Berne in Switzerland that quoted interviews with mountain guides in the Alps.

But some researchers have expressed exasperation at the IPCC’s use of unsubstantiated claims and sources outside of the scientific literature.  Professor Richard Tol, one of the report’s authors who is based at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland, said: “These are essentially a collection of anecdotes.

“Why did they do this? It is quite astounding. Although there have probably been no policy decisions made on the basis of this, it is illustrative of how sloppy Working Group Two (the panel of experts within the IPCC responsible for drawing up this section of the report) has been.  “There is no way current climbers and mountain guides can give anecdotal evidence back to the 1900s, so what they claim is complete nonsense.”

It states that reductions in mountain ice have been observed from the loss of ice climbs in the Andes, Alps and in Africa between 1900 and 2000.  The report also states that the section is intended to “assess studies that have been published since the TAR (Third Assessment Report) of observed changes and their effects”.

But neither the dissertation or the magazine article cited as sources for this information were ever subject to the rigorous scientific review process that research published in scientific journals must undergo. The magazine article, which was written by Mark Bowen, a climber and author of two books on climate change, appeared in Climbing magazine in 2002. It quoted anecdotal evidence from climbers of retreating glaciers and the loss of ice from climbs since the 1970s.

The IPCC has faced growing criticism over the sources it used in its last report after it emerged the panel had used unsubstantiated figures on glacial melting in the Himalayas that were contained within a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report.  It can be revealed that the IPCC report made use of 16 non-peer reviewed WWF reports.

The Met Office, which has seven researchers who contributed to the report including Professor Martin Parry who was co-chair of the working group responsible for the part of the report that contained the glacier errors, said: “The IPCC should continue to ensure that its review process is as robust and transparent as possible, that it draws only from the peer-reviewed literature, and that uncertainties in the science and projections are clearly expressed.”

Roger Sedjo, a senior research fellow at the US research organisation Resources for the Future who also contributed to the IPCC’s latest report, added: “The IPCC is, unfortunately, a highly political organisation with most of the secretariat bordering on climate advocacy.  “It needs to develop a more balanced and indeed scientifically sceptical behaviour pattern. The organisation tend to select the most negative studies ignoring more positive alternatives.”

The IPCC failed to respond to questions about the inclusion of unreliable sources in its report but it has insisted over the past week that despite minor errors, the findings of the report are still robust and consistent with the underlying science.

Nothing to see here, folks.  Move along.

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3 Comments »

  1. […] another avalanche of criticism from people who aren’t persuaded that man-made global warming […]

    Pingback by If the science on climate change is clear – why the spin? « BBC World Have Your Say — February 1, 2010 @ 05:24

  2. This spoof of climate science may be of interest:

    Comment by Mr. Xyz — February 1, 2010 @ 06:08

  3. […] is precisely BECAUSE his climate experts have NOT been citing peer-reviewed research, but rather college term papers, popular magazines, anecdotal evidence, and such.  This is the kind of evidence that has shifted hundreds of billions of dollars in […]

    Pingback by Memo: Call it Global “Weirding” Now « Counterculture Con HQ — February 18, 2010 @ 07:37


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