The IPCC May Have Outlived its Usefulness?

So says La Curry. She is only two years behind the times. Or maybe a year and a half. To be fair, that is only the headline. But the rest of the content is what you'd expect from a shark-jumper. I cant really be bothered to analyse it, unless anyone out there is unable to see the flaws for themselves.

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Who are...

William Connolley
Josh Halpern
Dave Clarke
Tim Lambert
Grant Foster

...and why should anyone care what they think?

I'm just an interested Canadian citizen, and I think the IPCC is useful. Especially for the working group I reports (the science basis). Working group II (impacts), is sort of useful as a scientific exercise, but hasn't likely any useful impact on policy, which is always going to be finely tuned and local in the end.

The mitigation reports (WG III) are not useful. This is because there is always more than one way to accomplish a goal of reducing emissions, and what to path to take is a very complicated decision which affects aspects of broader economy, trade and society, and comes with huge political overtones. There's no point in having the IPCC give an imprimatur of respectability or consensus to certain policy solutions (particularly pet ones trumpeted by climate scientists). An example to make my point clear: you can find an IPCC report saying renewables could save Earth's bacon. And you can find both climate scientists and commentators weilding it like a weapon (or maybe an elixir) in policy debates. But you can't yet find many examples of large electricity grids powered mainly by distributed renewables. I think renewables may just be homeopathic remedy to climate mitigation (which puts me offside most of political soulmates, who are true believers: testimonial: "lots of countries are trying it, and they like it and swear it works! Read this IPCC report!").

The IPCC WGIII doesn't do random controlled trials. They don't test against existing standard treatments. They write reports summarising particular groups of doctors preferred hypothetical (and not yet tested) treatments. Not too useful and barely science. Ideally they should not have an outsized influence on policy development, yet, they will, just because the IPCC published them.

Let me make a guess - at some point she calls for people like herself, i.e. bloggers who want to be skeptical about things, to be taken more seriously.

"JC: The climate is always changing. Climate is currently changing because of a combination of natural and human induced effects."

The point that no one apart from me and Gell-Mann seems to get, is that the current hiatus in warming is a result of natural effects acting against the steadily rising AGW. All the warming that we have experienced since 1900 is a result of greenhouse gases. In fact it has provided 150% of the warming and been opposed by a cooling of 50% from natural sources.

By Alastair McDonald (not verified) on 28 Feb 2012 #permalink

An interview in ""? LOL.

I like some things about your proposal, but am not sure I agree with others. Personally, I would restructure AR6 (too late for AR5) as follows:

Start with simple summaries of the science that every real climate scientist agrees on. CO2 emissions are responsible for CO2 concentration increases. CO2 concentration increases are responsible for radiative forcing increases. Radiative forcing increases are responsible for temperature increases. Temperature increases are responsible both for positive feedbacks (water vapor, snow/ice albedo, clouds) and also impacts of various sorts. While some of these impacts might be positive for small temperature changes, at large temperature changes, the negative impacts will dominate.

Then, devote a couple pages to each of the above topics, with citations to previous IPCC literature and some selected papers. I guess Chapter 1 kind of does this, but no one cites Chapter 1... it needs to be a bit more definitive, so that we can point and say "see - THIS is the science that is settled. If you're still droning on about 5 year CO2 residence time, go play elsewhere."

Every other chapter should then start with a quick intro about what element of Chapter 1 the chapter addresses, and how it helps bound the range of said element. Then, it can summarize the recent science and how that science may have changed since the previous assessment report. Doing useful things like producing new GWP estimates, global radiative forcing estimates, SLR estimates, and so forth as it goes.


@Alastair the current hiatus in warming is a result of natural effects acting against the steadily rising AGW

Alternatively, the few decades of warming were mostly natural in origin and the hiatus is simply another phase in those cycles.

All the warming that we have experienced since 1900 is a result of greenhouse gases.

Is that a bit like "heads I win; tails you lose?"

The sunspot records show solar activity increasing until at least the 1940's to the 1950's - a recovery from the Little Ice Age. Consequently, most of the early warming can be better attributed to solar causes.

That leaves only the warming period from about 1978 to 2000 as decades you might be able to ascribe anthropogenic influence - and the PDO better fits that.

[You're making it up, but there is nothing I can do to help if you do -W]

By TheGoodLocust (not verified) on 28 Feb 2012 #permalink

"Alternatively, the few decades of warming were mostly natural in origin and the hiatus is simply another phase in those cycles."

Yes, "alternatively" meaning in this case, "not established in fact". Like Homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture and other similarly anti-science "alternatives".

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 28 Feb 2012 #permalink

I found a flaw:

"As the global warming debate increases in its intensity..." -- why read further?

Anyway, time to ignore Curry was yesterday...

[Yes, you're right. I am guilty - indeed I nearly apologised in the post -W]

The main flaw is that she argues for larger uncertainty--but only in her preferred direction.

If things are less certain, it doesn't follow that you can then discount the worst scenarios.

To crf in post 1: "But you can't yet find many examples of large electricity grids powered mainly by distributed renewables."

Why "distributed" renewables? Some grids seem to be getting along fine with relatively concentrated renewables? In any case the problem is not technical, it's deniers sapping political will to implement.

By Turboblocke (not verified) on 29 Feb 2012 #permalink

You made me break my New Year's resolution not to be diverted towards the train wreck at Curry's and the viscera therein.

I ended up reading her eulogy to Lindzen.

Now I feel dirty and *you* owe me.

Never again.

By VeryTallGuy (not verified) on 29 Feb 2012 #permalink

Turboclocke, I say distributed renewables, because things like large hydropower dams have limited room to increase their proportion of electricity produced. (Only so many rivers are left to tap.)

If renewables are to increase their share of electricity produced to a great degree, most of the sources are going to unstoreable and less predictable and reliable (unlike hydropower or coal or gas or nuclear), and so have to be distributed from various sources across a very wide grid.

OMG - when I read this, "unless anyone out there is unable to see the flaws for themselves." I thought you were talking about the IPCC! My first thought was how unwieldly it is. But then I started reading the comments and realized you meant Dr. Curry's interview - LMFAROTFP!!!

By DeNihilist (not verified) on 29 Feb 2012 #permalink

Curry seems to be under the impression that her blog is a 'good forum for getting a sense of these different perspectives', which points to her needing to up her meds.

I also notice that she got no payment for the interview, which is sort of sad, when you consider that Heartland had all that money set aside just for her to say things like...what she just said. A wasted opportunity.

After reading that, I need a drink, or possible more than one.

The IPCC remains useful as long an Tony Watts and WUWT are about

[Good heavens you damn it with faint praise! If that is all its good for, then get rid of it now -W]

Eli, all blogs are like panning for gold, you have to sift a lot of crap to find the nuggets. WUWT posts a lot of science articles. I mostly read the articles then scan the comments for names that I feel will help explain the science behind the abstract.

By DeNihilist (not verified) on 02 Mar 2012 #permalink

DeNihilist --- Eli is telling a joke. Black humor.

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 03 Mar 2012 #permalink

David, I get that. But as with all good jokes, there is a bit of truth contained there in. Say what you might about WUWT and Anthony, the site does post a lot of peer reviewed papers.

[I'm surprised to hear you say that. I'd guess that substantially less than 10% of posts discuss peer reviewed papers; and those few that do generally don't really take them seriously -W]

And as I said above, if you ignore 99% of the comments, and dig out the ones from those who are actually knowledgeable and truthful, it can actually be an educational sight. Not all of us DeNihilists' are zombies. Quite a few are digging for answers, from wherever we can find them.

And if people like Stoat, Shore, Gates, Svalgaard, Brown Meiers, etc. keep on posting there, then there a fair chance to learn.

By DeNihilist (not verified) on 04 Mar 2012 #permalink

Stoat, interesting comment. I will keep tabs of the posts over this week to get a feel. Maybe I see a higher %, like 20-25, because I ignore a lot that I know are just propaganda.


By DeNihilist (not verified) on 04 Mar 2012 #permalink

Who is Jeff Condon (Jeff Id) and why should anyone care what he thinks?

[I wasn't even wondering that... -W]

By The Bishop of … (not verified) on 05 Mar 2012 #permalink

I just thought that since you are interested in ice, you might want to educate him a little.

This thread may have outlived its usefulness.

[Most threads do. And if I don't post something soon, so will have this blog! -W]

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 08 Mar 2012 #permalink