Source: Vancouver Sun
Clearing snow in New York City last month. Although North America and Europe have been slammed by the worst winter in decades, the global-warming storm has hit a lull, and the alarms that have been raised by 'warmists' are based on scare stories from environmental activists, Christopher Booker writes.
The news from sunny Bali that there is to be an international investigation into the conduct of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri would have made front-page headlines a few weeks back. But while Scotland and North America are still swept by blizzards, in their worst winter for decades, there has been something of a lull in the global warming storm -- after three months when the IPCC and Dr. Pachauri were themselves battered by almost daily blizzards of new scandals and revelations. And one reason for this lull is that the real message of all the scandals has been lost.
The chief defence offered by the warmists to all those revelations centred on the IPCC's last 2007 report is that there were only a few marginal mistakes scattered through a vast, 3,000-page document. Okay, they say, it might have been wrong to predict that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035, that global warming was about to destroy 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest and cut African crop yields by 50 per cent, that sea levels were rising dangerously and that hurricanes, droughts and other "extreme weather events" were getting worse. These were a handful of isolated errors in a massive report; behind them the mighty edifice of global warming orthodoxy remains unscathed. The "science is settled," the "consensus" is intact.
But this completely misses the point. Put the errors together and it can be seen that one after another they tick off all the central, iconic issues of the entire global warming saga. Apart from those non-vanishing polar bears, no fears of climate change have been played on more insistently than these: the destruction of Himalayan glaciers and Amazonian rainforest; famine in Africa; fast-rising sea levels; the threat of hurricanes, droughts, floods and heat waves all becoming more frequent.
What's not happening
All these alarms were given special prominence in the IPCC's 2007 report and each of them has now been shown to be based, not on hard evidence, but on scare stories, derived not from proper scientists but from environmental activists. Those glaciers are not vanishing; the damage to the rainforest is not from climate change but logging and agriculture; African crop yields are more likely to increase than diminish; the modest rise in sea levels is slowing not accelerating; hurricane activity is lower than it was 60 years ago; droughts were more frequent in the past; there has been no increase in floods or heat waves.
Furthermore, it has also emerged in almost every case that the decision to include these scare stories rather than hard scientific evidence was deliberate. As several IPCC scientists have pointed out about the scare over Himalayan glaciers, for instance, those responsible for including it were well aware that proper science said something quite different. But it was inserted nevertheless -- because that was the story wanted by those in charge.
In addition, we can now read in shocking detail the truth of the outrageous efforts made to ensure that the same 2007 report was able to keep on board IPCC's most shameless stunt of all -- the notorious "hockey stick" graph purporting to show that in the late 20th century, temperatures had been hurtling up to unprecedented levels. This was deemed necessary because, after the graph was made the centrepiece of the IPCC's 2001 report, it had been exposed as no more than a statistical illusion. (For a full account, see Andrew Montford's The Hockey Stick Illusion, and also my book, The Real Global Warming Disaster.)
In other words, in crucial respects the IPCC's 2007 report was no more than reckless propaganda, designed to panic the world's politicians into agreeing at Copenhagen in 2009 that we should all pay by far the largest single bill ever presented to the human race, amounting to tens of trillions of dollars. And as we know, faced with the prospect of this financial and economic abyss, December's Copenhagen conference ended in shambles, with virtually nothing agreed.
What is staggering is the speed and the scale of the unravelling -- assisted of course, just before Copenhagen, by the scandal in which e-mails and computer codes leaked from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.
Their significance was the light they shone on the activities of a small group of British and U.S. scientists at the heart of the IPCC, as they discussed ways of manipulating data to show the world warming faster than the evidence justified; fighting off legitimate requests for data from outside experts to hide their manipulations; and conspiring to silence critics by excluding their work from scientific journals and the IPCC's 2007 report itself. (Again, an analysis of this story has just been published by Stephen Mosher and Tom Fuller in Climategate: The CRUtape Letters).
Almost as revealing as the leaked documents themselves, however, was the recent interview given to the BBC by the CRU's suspended director, Dr. Phil Jones, who has played a central role in the global warming scare for 20 years, not least as custodian of the most prestigious of the four global temperature records relied on by the IPCC.
In his interview, Jones seemed to be chucking overboard one key prop of warmist faith after another, as he admitted that the world might have been hotter during the medieval warm period 1,000 years ago than it is today, that, before any rise in CO2 levels, temperatures rose faster between 1860 and 1880 than they have done in the past 30 years, and that in the past decade their trend has been falling rather than rising.
The implications of all this for the warming scare, as it has been presented to us over the past two decades, can scarcely be overestimated.