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Thursday, December 20 2012
 

16 years since the SAR where the ‘consensus’ of the ‘anointed one' was created. The same 16 years during which there has been no global warming.

In the context of the leaking of the draft Assessment Report Five (AR5) report and Lord Monckton’s Expert Reviewer comments, it is timely to note how the ‘consensus science report’ process was originally distorted during the final stages of the Second Assessment Report (SAR) in 1995. Have things changed? Will the Lead Authors follow Lord Monckton’s and others’ suggestions. As the World Climate Report noted just after the release of the 1995 SAR:

Never has a “consensus” opinion caused such consternation. Last issue, we documented substantive changes to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chapter 8 on human-induced climate change that were made after the alleged final version was approved (WCR, Vol. 1, No. 19, “Bait and Switch?”). The outrage continues.

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial, headlined “A Major Deception on ‘Global Warming’” is a no-holds-barred attack on the credibility of the IPCC. The piece was written by Professor Frederick Seitz, president emeritus of Rockefeller University and chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, whose comments are excerpted below.

In my more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community, including service as president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society, I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.

IPCC reports are often called the “consensus” view. If they lead to carbon taxes and restraints on economic growth, they will have a major and almost certainly destructive impact on the economies of the world. Whatever the intent was of those who made these significant changes, their effect is to deceive policy makers and the public into believing that the scientific evidence shows human activities are causing global warming.

If the IPCC is incapable of following its most basic procedures, it would be best to abandon the entire IPCC process, or at least that part that is concerned with the scientific evidence on climate change, and look for more reliable sources of advice to governments on this important question.

According to the New York Times, Sir John T. Houghton, co-editor of the 1995 report, said the criticisms were “just rubbish” and Chapter 8 lead author B.D. Santer said that “none of the changes were politically motivated.”

This issue is not likely to slink away quietly down some dank WMO corridor. Along with other IPCC improprieties, such as the forced consensus produced by the lack of proper scientific peer review (WCR, Vol. 1, No. 3, “Climate Policy Of The ‘Anointed’: The Avoidance Of Peer Review”), the 1995 IPCC report will be attacked if and when it is used as the basis for any new regulations or policies.

Sadly, this was not the case. See Professor Frederick Seitz’s article here. This article was sourced for education purposes from this site:

http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/WSJ_June12.pdf

Not only did the ‘Anointed’ as coined by Thomas Sowell, use the 1995 IPCC SAR report to became the springboard for the false notion that thousands of scientists had formed a consensus, they removed the agreed text which said the opposite. Ben Santer not only rewrote the ‘scientists’ consensus conclusions, he also made up conclusions which actually reversed the agreed 'consensus' of the scientists.  

The key words inserted after the agreed consensus, the words that that were to resound down through the last 16 years were, `the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate'. These words were quoted forevermore as being the ‘consensus’ opinion of the thousands of scientists contributing to the UN IPCC report, when they were no such thing.

But the story behind these words and how the ‘Anointed one man' Ben Santer 'consensus' caused them to be included in the Summary for Policy Makers and the subsequent alteration of the 'agreed by consensus' Science Report, is what caused many at the time to protest.

Christopher Booker in his excellent book The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is the Obsession with 'climate Change' Turning Out to be the Most Costly Scientific Blunder in History? (Kindle Locations 799-801). Kindle Edition goes on to describe what happened:

The source of this sentence was given as Chapter 8 of the scientific working group's report, the `lead author' of which was Ben Santer, a scientist working for the US government's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This included much the same wording: that `the body of statistical evidence' now `points to a discernible human influence on the global climate'. When the report containing these sentences was published, however, some of the scientific contributors who had signed off the working group's chapters the previous year were seriously dismayed. These words had not appeared in the draft they had formally approved. It seemed they had been added subsequently, by the `lead author' himself. Santer had also, it emerged, deleted a number of key statements from the agreed text, all of which reflected serious scientific doubt over the human contribution to global warming. They [the deleted passages] included these passages:

• None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.

• No study to date has positively attributed all or part (of the climate change observed) to (man-made) causes.

• Any claims of positive detection and attribution of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced.

• When will an anthropogenic effect on climate be identified? It is not surprising that the best answer to this question is "We do not know".

All these sentences had mysteriously vanished from the original agreed version.

This Orwellian and indeed Goebbels like propaganda activity carried out by what Sowell describes in his book in 1995 as activities of the ‘Anointed’ and has been used as a pretext by these same authoritarian minded policy makers and wealth diverters of this world to garner for themselves, power, wealth and kudos in many contexts. Remember this is back in 1995/96

World Climate Report at the time went on to say:

Climate Policy of the “Anointed:” The Avoidance of Peer Review

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 10, and over the following 16 days, the New York Times published five articles (two front-page) on an “unreleased” draft report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“Not for citation or reproduction”). The IPCC claims to represent the consensus of scientists on the global warming and climate change issue.

Thomas Sowell, in his recent book The Vision of the Anointed, outlines the process by which small cliques of self-appointed experts (the “Anointed”) set national policy without the inconvenience of having their ideas independently analyzed and critiqued. Sowell identifies of this process:

STAGE 1.    The “Crisis.” Some situation exists that bothers some people. (Global Warming will destroy our planet.)

STAGE 2.    The “Solution.” The Anointed promulgate policies to end the “Crisis.” (A carbon tax.)

STAGE 3.    The Results. These policies produce some unanticipated detrimental results. (Unemployment, economic decline, and the like.)

STAGE 4.    The Response. Those who criticize the “Solution” are dismissed by the Anointed for their oversimplification of the issue. The Anointed claim things would be even worse if not for the policies instituted in STAGE 2. The Anointed have no responsibility to justify their positions based upon empirical data.

Of course, nothing like this could happen in science, where detailed reviews by independent scholars determine the validity of hypotheses. Or could it? Unfortunately, the applicability of Sowell’s arguments to the global warming issue is striking. This is especially troubling since, in an ideal world, policies related to scientific issues should be driven entirely by good science.

The new U.N. report on climate change* is supposed to represent the “state of the science” on greenhouse gas–induced climate change—a compendium produced by the top climate scientists in the world summarizing their current understanding of the issues. It follows that the report is a hot political document, since it will be used by world governments for economic planning. It will serve as the “Climate Bible” for years to come (or at least until the next IPCC report is issued).

Here’s how the IPCC review process works. A handful of experts is assigned to write each chapter. These chapter editors solicit short summary reports (two pages) from “contributors” on their unique areas of expertise. The reports are compiled (i.e., included, revised, or ignored) by the editors into the 13 chapters of the report. Once written, the entire draft report is submitted to the contributors and to others for peer review.

Independent peer review is sacred in science: it is the process by which new ideas are advanced, altered, or discounted. Without proper peer review, scientific hypotheses can be proposed willy-nilly with no burden of proof. Thus, in the most respected technical journals, publication criteria are strict—full documentation of sources must be included. The sources cited must be from other peer-reviewed publications that have withstood the test of scientific scrutiny. Little or no value is given to publications in the “gray literature”—abstracts and proceedings papers from conferences or workshops, in-house technical reports, transcriptions of lectures, unpublished theses and dissertations, articles in newsletters (with the obvious exception of this one), and “personal communications.” In many journals, these citations cannot be used unless they represent the origination of an idea.

World Climate Report editors were among the hundreds of contributors and peer-reviewers of the IPCC report. During our reviews, we found numerous scientific statements in the text that hadn’t been published in the refereed literature. In fact, to our astonishment, some apparently hadn’t yet been written! So, in the interest of good science, we did the following investigation.

Every citation in the References section of each chapter was checked for suitability and tallied. Overall, a shocking 648 of the 1,969 references (or 33%) are improper—based on the standards used by top-ranking scientific journals.

 

Papers listed as “in press” were unavailable to the reviewers, so their validity or impact could not be scrutinized. Publications in the gray literature are not only difficult to find but have not been subjected to peer review. Each chapter included submitted papers and manuscripts “to be submitted” or “in preparation.”

 

We also included citations of previous IPCC reports in our counts since, based on this document, the track record is not the greatest. Some citations contained only the author’s name followed by a question mark. And some more humorous examples included “almost accepted,” “submitted?” (sic), and our personal favorite—“unpublished.”

Critics will argue that most of these citations are appropriate since climate research is progressing so rapidly—owing to the urgency of the issue—that important new findings are uncovered every day. This is classic STAGE 4 thinking—the results of climate’s Anointed don’t require peer review (Translation: “I know I’m right, so you’ll have to trust me”).

But there’s a name for ideas whose acceptance is based on trusting the messenger: religion. So, is the most important climate report of the century really based on science, or does it represent the beliefs of the Anointed experts with the imprimatur of the world’s leading climate researchers?

To be fair, only one-third of the report couldn’t properly be reviewed. Should we therefore question one-third of the conclusions, or are all of the conclusions off by a factor of one-third? On the other hand, it’s possible that the text would be unchanged with the exclusion of these improper references. If so, then why were they included?

Over the next year or two, the scientific literature will no doubt be replete with papers finally answering many of the key unresolved questions on climate change (since they are all in press, submitted for publication, or have recently been presented at conferences or workshops). Only a cynic would think that all of these results are not worthy of publication in the peer-reviewed literature.

To some this may seem like much ado about nothing. But when peer-reviewing a document as potentially influential as this, it is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Upon the report’s official release, the global press will wax poetic that a consensus of scientists from all across our threatened, dying planet has united in a statement about the dangers of current and future climate trends (STAGE 1). So what are we going to do about it (STAGE 2)? The IPCC proposes “The Solution.”

Report readers now know the rest of the story. Reviewers of the report (active climate researchers) were asked to complete their work without access to a sizeable portion of the information on which the report itself is based. Thus, climate’s Anointed have avoided proper peer review while giving the impression of thorough review and the production of a consensus document.

In the conclusion of his book, Thomas Sowell writes:

In order that this relatively small group of people can believe themselves wiser and nobler than the common herd, we have adopted policies which impose heavy costs on millions of other human beings, not only in taxes but also in lost jobs, social disintegration, and a loss of personal safety. Seldom have so few cost so much to so many.

Reference:

Sowell, Thomas (1995). The Vision of the Anointed: Self Congratulations as a Basis for Social Policy. Basic Books, New York, 305 pp.

This all occurred around 16 years ago and it is timely because these 16 years is the period in which it can now be said we’ve had no discernable global warming. Lord Monckton, in his Expert Reviewer comments, essentially presents the UN IPCC with a suggested process and specific observations whereby AR5 can be improved to the point where the mistakes in the SAR can be avoided and where the UN IPCC can perhaps regain some credibility, if followed.

Will they?

 

Posted by: Chris Dawson AT 06:45 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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