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Thread: A Review of the International Panel on Climate Change Report

  1. #1 A Review of the International Panel on Climate Change Report 
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    I don't know about you, but I'm the type of guy who likes to be informed about what's going on in the world, and, what is gonna happen to the world.
    That's why I read the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Synthesis Report.

    Now according to the news media, this report is extremely important because it was allegedly put together by a couple of thousand scientists and there are no scientists who refute it. Gee, that's strange. When I Googled "scientists who oppose global warming" I got around 10 pages of hits.

    I also tried Googling "debunking the IPCC" and found several pages of debunking articles. One particular article that caught my eye was entitled ""Scientists Debunk 'Fairy Tale' of Global Warming"

    Wow! "Fairy tale" sounds like fighting words to me. Could the great news- media god be wrong? As I started to read the IPPC report I noticed that it had 51 authors and editors. The report does not provide any background information on these folks. Are they scientists? Journalists? Bureaucrats?

    Hmmmmmm....?

    The report does appear to be scientific. For example, it defines its probability terms. When they use the term "virtually certain," they mean there is a 99% probability. Extremely likely = 95%; very likely = 90%; likely = 66%; more likely than not = 50% and so on.

    So when they say some global catastrophe is likely to occur, what they are really saying is they are 66% certain it will occur. Of course that also implies that there is a 34% chance it won't occur.

    Kind of reminds you of a race track in Las Vegas, doesn't it?

    Now the illustrious IPCC report claims that "most of" the observed increase in global temperatures since the mid-20th century is "very likely" (90%) due to anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gases (GHGs).

    Now when you read something like that, you can a) lap it up like a dog laps up something you spilled on the floor, or b) you can think critically and ask the hard questions. The key phrase is "most of." What does that mean? Notice they don't define it the way they define the term "very likely."

    We know that "very likely" means 90% certainty. I guess we're allowed to pick any number we want for "most of." I am going to pick...say...51%. How about you?

    Thus we arrive at the core problem with the IPPC report. They leave it to us to pick our own numbers. Somehow that does not seem very scientific. Didn't Science Officer Spock who appeared on the T.V. series "Star Trek" say that scientists endeavor to be accurate?

    Of course he was a Vulcan scientist who embraces logic. Perhaps human scientists are different.

    The IPPC report tells us that a lot of scary stuff is going to happen if we don't get a handle on this global warming thing. There will "likely" "very likely" (66%-90%) be drought, flooding, insects and disease.

    Sounds like a story out of the Bible doesn't it?

    But here again they don't tell you how much of an increase we will have of these terrible things. Again we are free to pick a number. I am going to pick .0000001%. What's your pick?

    To their credit, however, they do get more specific about flooding and temperature changes. However, under section 3.2 they freely admit that they have a limited understanding of some important effects (they don't say what effects, so you are free to use your imagination) driving sea level rise. Sea levels could rise or fall.

    Wow! Now I wish I hadn't abandoned my beach property. Oh well.

    According to the table provided, by the year 2099, there is a "likely" (66%) chance that the average global temperature will rise 1.1 to 6.4 C. Thus there is also a 34% chance there will be no temperature increase. Place your bets!

    Also according to the table, by the year 2099, there is a "likely" (66%) chance that the sea levels will rise .18 meters to .59 meters.

    Oh my! My grandchildren are going to be in deep deep trouble! They might have to build their dream house a little further back from the beach! Of course I am making the assumption that the authors of the IPCC report are really 66% sure they know what they are talking about.

    To tell you the truth, I am skeptical. I have been watching the global warming issue for years and so far none of the gloom-and-doom predictions have come true. By the year 2000, a lot of terrible stuff was supposed to happen and never did. Florida should be underwater. The U.S. should have had major droughts and a famine killing millions.

    With a zero batting average thus far, I don't see how anyone can believe the cries of "wolf!" However, the news media keeps pumping up this issue. It's good for ratings I suppose. (The media recently hyped the so-called fact that global warming caused an increase in hurricanes/cyclones and tornadoes, yet even the IPCC report states under section 1.4 that there is insufficient data and no clear trends of increases in cyclones, tornadoes, and Antarctic ice depletion.)

    By contrast, naysayer's like Fred Singer are considered quacks when they are batting 1000. I remember back in 1990, during the Gulf War, Fred Singer and Carl Sagan both appeared on "Night Line."

    On that program, Carl Sagan, placing a great deal of faith in computer models, made the dire prediction that the Kuwait oil fires would cause a nuclear winter and kill lots of people.

    Cool-headed Fred predicted everything would be OK. (Yep, he's a quack, alright.) The final result? Singer--1; Sagan--0.

    Notwithstanding results such as the Singer/Sagan fiasco, proponents of doom-and-gloom embrace the climate-change issue with religious fervor! Any small change in the climate signals disaster! Why?

    When did the climate ever remain the same? In the past when change occurred, people simply adapted. No big deal.

    Perhaps the solution to the alleged global-warming crisis is to take a deep breath, exhale your carbon dioxide, and relax. Life is short.


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    You read the IPCC report (2007) and yet decided to debunk it by reading the Fairy Tale article written in 2002?

    Whatever the case, if you were really wanting to approach this scientifically and critically then you should try "debunking" the "debunking articles" too. You shouldn't accept things just because they happen to agree with what you have already decided is true beforehand.

    Details of the authors of the report a found in the Appendix.


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    [quote="Zwirko"]You read the IPCC report (2007) and yet decided to debunk it by reading the Fairy Tale article written in 2002?</a>

    Was it written in 2002? OK, what has significantly changed since then? The 2007 IPCC report did not contain anything new that was not being claimed as early as 1985. How many times does the same old drivil need to be debunked?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    Whatever the case, if you were really wanting to approach this scientifically and critically then you should try "debunking" the "debunking articles" too.
    I have and I couldn't find any holes in them. Sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    You shouldn't accept things just because they happen to agree with what you have already decided is true beforehand.
    Good advice for you to follow. My mind is an open book. If small changes in the climate lead to disasterous consequences, I'll be the first to yell that the sky is falling. However, I am the cool-headed type. I look at the evidence then form my opinion. If I had already formed my opinion ahead of time, I would not have read the report.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    Details of the authors of the report a found in the Appendix.
    Not the details I'm interested in. How many of those authors are scientists? How many are lobbyists? How many are bureaucrats? How do we really know the majority of scientists support the report? It is hard for me to believe that it was prepared by humans let alone scientists. How much will crop failures increase by 2099? The report does not say. Pick your own number. That isn't science that's bullshit!
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    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    I still don't understand how you think a 2002 news article of 500 words, is suitable material to debunk the IPPC 4th Assessment Report with. It contains nothing but a few select quotes.

    Here's even more details on the authors of the report. You tell me if they are lobbyists, politicians or scientists.
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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    How do we really know the majority of scientists support the report?
    Try this:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conten.../306/5702/1686


    Naomi Oreskes did a now quite famous study to see what peer-reviewed papers by actual scientists were saying about the consensus view, which is basically the IPCC TAR 4 conclusion.
    The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

    Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.
    I do hope this helps.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    it's a curious little trick of the human mind that belief/disbelief comes first
    any further information that matches that belief gets accepted without question, but anything that challenges the belief gets challenged vigorously

    however, in the end belief has very little to do with whether something is fact or fiction
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  8. #7 Re: A Review of the International Panel on Climate Change Re 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn

    Now according to the news media, this report is extremely important because it was allegedly put together by a couple of thousand scientists and there are no scientists who refute it. Gee, that's strange. When I Googled "scientists who oppose global warming" I got around 10 pages of hits.
    I googled "yeti exists" and I got 84,200 hits.

    Overwhelming evidence that Yeti exists then.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko

    Here's even more details on the authors of the report. You tell me if they are lobbyists, politicians or scientists.
    Thanks for the link but there isn't much there. I guess that is why someone has to tell you if the authors are lobbyists, politicians or scientists.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    How do we really know the majority of scientists support the report?
    Try this:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conten.../306/5702/1686


    Naomi Oreskes did a now quite famous study to see what peer-reviewed papers by actual scientists were saying about the consensus view, which is basically the IPCC TAR 4 conclusion.
    The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

    Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.
    I do hope this helps.
    Thanks for the link, but it looks like another spin article. It does not seem to define what the consensu view is. If the consensus view is humans influence the climate to some degree, you can add my name to the list, but if the consensus is that a .03%-.06% concentration of atmospheric CO2 will cause a global crisis, take my name off the list.
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  11. #10 Re: A Review of the International Panel on Climate Change Re 
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn

    Now according to the news media, this report is extremely important because it was allegedly put together by a couple of thousand scientists and there are no scientists who refute it. Gee, that's strange. When I Googled "scientists who oppose global warming" I got around 10 pages of hits.
    I googled "yeti exists" and I got 84,200 hits.

    Overwhelming evidence that Yeti exists then.
    Gee that's weird. When I googled "yeti exists" I did not do nearly as well. I do agree however that there are plenty of kooks who post so-called facts on the web. Al Gore and some others made the rediculous claim that "the debate is over.." refering to global warming. Since the projections made by the IPCC are uncertain at best, how can there not be debate?
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko

    Here's even more details on the authors of the report. You tell me if they are lobbyists, politicians or scientists.
    Thanks for the link but there isn't much there. I guess that is why someone has to tell you if the authors are lobbyists, politicians or scientists.

    Actually if you go back to the above link and scroll to your right the last two columns are "areas or research," and "affiliation". If someone has an area of research that usually implies that they are a scientist. If you have doubts then you can go to the affiliation's web page and find out for sure. Also if you look one of the columns is PhD year, usually another sign that someone is a scientist or at the least an academic.

    Also please understand that the IPCC report is a tool meant to summarize thousands of journal articles to advise policy makers in a language that they can easily understand. The use of the "virtually certain" to "more likely than not" scale is a result of this translation. And I agree as you have pointed out it is very ambiguous. The real question is do they use the same scale in their scientific journal articles, and if they did then that would be reason for major scepticism. I looked and they do not. The paper I looked at is referenced below. It is actually a paper that methodology studies one of the sources of uncertainty in climate models. Be warned Its a real page turner ...

    Also the biggest argument to believe the climate scientists is that their computer models, with all their uncertainties, do accurately reproduce the climate trends of the last few decades. And to the best of my knowledge no one has been able to create a sophisticated model that does this without including man made green house gases.

    (Uncertainties in global aerosol simulations: assessment using three meteorological data sets
    Xiaohong Liu; Penner, J.E.; Das, B.; Bergmann, D.; Rodriguez, J.M.; Strahan, S.; Minghuai Wang; Yan Feng Source: Journal of Geophysical Research-Part D-Atmospheres, v 112, no D11, p 1-41, 16 June 2007)
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