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US school infiltration attempt by Heartland’s IPCC Parody

Posted on 30 October 2013 by gpwayne

"Despite criticizing climate scientists for being overconfident about their data, models and theories, the Heartland Institute proclaims a conspicuous confidence in single studies and grand interpretations...it makes many bold assertions that are often questionable or misleading and do not highlight the uncertainties... Many climate sceptics seem to review scientific data and studies not as scientists but as attorneys, magnifying doubts and treating incomplete explanations as falsehoods rather than signs of progress towards the truth. ... The Heartland Institute and its ilk are not trying to build a theory of anything. They have set the bar much lower, and are happy muddying the waters."

"Heart of the Matter", Nature 475 editorial (28 July 2011)

Many US teachers have been sent a memo by The Heartland Institute, an organisation whose mission is to “promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems”. The topic of the memo was a report on climate change by the NIPCC, an acronym for “Not the International Panel on Climate Change”.

In essence, educators are being asked by Heartland to review climate change science at a remove. By distributing the NIPCC report “Climate Change Reconsidered II – Physical Science” (CCR2) to teachers, Heartland hopes that the view they sponsor via the NIPCC – one that entirely contradicts the official findings of the IPCC – will prevail in the classroom, or at least feature in the curriculum.

Such initiatives present educators with a problem. Both the official IPCC AR5 report and that of the NIPCC run to thousands of pages. Even Summaries for Policy-Makers (SPMs) make demands that busy schedules may not easily accommodate.

Armed with only a modest knowledge of climate change science, it is all too clear that the NIPCC report is not scientific, does not accurately reflect current climate science, and deliberately and systematically seeks to misinform and mislead.

By presenting logical arguments, credible observations and rational comparisons, it is hoped these notes will help readers decide for themselves what our children should be taught, free from pernicious influence, disinformation and meretricious propaganda.

The Credibility of Sources

The IPCC is an organisation created and operated under the auspices of the United Nations. It is a democratic institution; over 150 countries participate, review its work and approve its reports. Those reports are created by hundreds of scientists elected from a candidate list comprising several thousand names. The chosen scientists  (lead authors) review and report on the work of thousands of others, and anyone – including members of the public – can involve themselves as reviewers. The process is open, transparent and strives to be egalitarian. More than 60% of contributors to the latest report (AR5) have not previously contributed, adding fresh insights and views. No contributors to IPCC reports are paid for their work.

Conversely, the NIPCC was created by the Heartland Institute, a privately run organisation with significant connections to the fossil fuel industry, from whom it receives funding. Heartland was previously associated with campaigns funded by the tobacco industry to discredit science attesting to the damage caused by smoking tobacco.  Its several reports have contributions from a number of the same lead authors. The 2009 report had 35 contributors; the 2011 report had 8 contributors. NIPCC contributors are paid for their contributions.

This latest report (CCR2) claims to be written by “a team of some 50 scientists”.  In fact, there are 52 listed contributors, of which 5 are duplicate entries. Of the 47 people who authored CCR2, and despite claims to the contrary, only 35 appear to have professional scientific backgrounds. Of that 35, 16 of the listed contributors are retired e.g. emeritus positions. And while the IPCC purposefully seeks representation from developing nations (30% of contributors), the NIPCC authors are drawn from only 14 developed countries – no developing countries had any input. 53% of contributors were from the US or Australia. (See this XLS spreadsheet for an annotated list of contributors).

The Quality of the Report

Both the IPCC and its parody are ‘synthesis reports’. They purport to summarise the science of climate change. You might expect that both reports would draw on all the recent climate science available to them. This is true of the IPCC, but in the case of the NIPCC, it has been noted that their work is highly selective. The report claims to be ‘independent’, yet its authors constantly cite their own work, that of other contributors, and frequently quote each other. Numerous papers widely discredited within climate science are still cited by the NIPCC.

Perhaps more importantly, the latest NIPCC report repeats many of the myths about climate change that it published in previous work. While the IPCC catalogues recent scientific developments, the NIPCC appears to find very little has changed since its last ‘rebuttal’, a position seemingly at odds with the increasing amount of climate change research around the world. The following arguments were published in previous NIPCC reports, and are reiterated in this one: Temperature record is unreliable, Models are unreliable, It's a natural cycle, It's the sun, Sea level rise predictions are exaggerated, It's not bad

The CCR2 report also exhibits a flaw so basic it would not be condoned in the submission of a 1st year science student. In all scientific documents where scientific papers are cited, it is standard practice to append a numbered list of the papers referred to, and to add corresponding superscript numbers to any statement that depends on a citation for validity. This is the only way it is possible to check that what the authors claim is supported by the science they claim it for.

The full NIPCC report fails to provide any numbered citations. Although the authors list many scientific papers, at no point can a reader determine to which scientific paper any statements in the report refer to. In other words, it simply isn’t feasible to check anything contained in the report, to see if any claims in it are accurate reflections of what the science says, or to determine whether the scientific papers cited relate specifically, or at all, to anything said in the report. This kind of obfuscation is either very sloppy, or patently devious.

Conclusions

It would be helpful to direct readers to a comprehensive rebuttal of the NIPCC’s report. A Google search for such a document is therefore revealing on two counts.

First, nobody seems to have bothered to debunk the copious inaccuracies, the bad science, the repeated but unsubstantiated claims, the sophistry and what could be seen uncharitably as outright deceit. Considering how tissue-thin is the substance even of the “summary of NIPCC findings”, the damning record of the NIPCC’s previous work, the dubious reputation of its sponsor the Heartland Institute, and the all too clear relationship between Heartland’s agenda and the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry that sponsors such work, it is not surprising that so many qualified people have ignored the report.

The second notable result of a Google search is that virtually all the listings are contrarian; blogs, news outlets and others, many of whom could be described as ‘the usual suspects’. Credible media and the broader scientific community have comprehensively ignored the report.

The NIPCC report is akin to a confidence trick. It is pseudo-science, badly presented, made difficult to assess or check, and depends on ‘blinding the reader with science’ that may look credible until you actually try to verify those claims against the peer-reviewed published literature.

Heartland and the NIPCC know how busy educators are. They know perfectly well that teachers have neither the time, inclination or, in many cases, the necessary background, to determine the validity of the many and various claims contained in a 1000-page report.  They seek to appeal to the credulous, and those who trust Heartland or the NIPCC will have that trust betrayed.

Like others driven by an agenda, Heartland and the NIPCC are now attempting to influence the education of young people, at the behest of the vested interests who pay for Heartland’s services. It is hoped that these notes will help teachers and administrators determine for themselves the quality and purpose of the NIPCC report, and the manipulative agenda of those behind it.

Graham Wayne

Further Reading

The Science:

IPCC AR5: The Physical Sciences – summary for policy makers (PDF)

On Heartland and its activities:

Nature Journal: The Heartland Institute's climate conference reveals the motives of global-warming sceptics

Greenpeace: Dealing in Doubt Part 2: Denier Tricks and tactics

Sourcewatch: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Heartland_Institute

USA Today: Climate deniers meet Joe Camel

On the NIPCC

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/not-the-ipcc-nipcc-report/

DenialGate Highlights Heartland's Selective NIPCC Science

Heartland Institute and its NIPCC report fail the credibility test

On Climate Change Denial and its funding

IPCC report: sceptic groups launch global anti-science campaign

Merchants of Doubt

The 5 characteristics of climate change denial

Magical climate contrarian thinking debunked by real science

Why Climate Change Deniers Owe Us a (scientific) explanation

 

Footnote: This article is an edited repost of a more detailed text on the author’s blog, which contains a point by point rebuttal of the principle 'scientific' claims tabled by the NIPCC in their SPM. The full version is available here, or downloadable as a PDF.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 41:

  1. A nice infographic that compares and contrasts the two reports might make for a quick sanity check for those who aren't aware of the background of Heartland and the so called NIPCC.

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  2. “promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems”  What's the use of having a free market without its most important attribute?  (freedom from reality)

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  3. "...Of that 35, 16 of the listed contributors are retired e.g. emeritus positions..."

    The Ad-hominem attack on retired professors is not fair.  That is agism and should not disualify a retired professor from making a scientific point.

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    Moderator Response:

    [PW] When any do make scientific points, they'll be listened to. As far as I have read--and that is reading a lot of work--none have, and none have published in a relevant or accepted climate journal. Perhaps you can point us to sources of data that do show any/some of their contrarian points to be valid?

  4. I found the NIPCC Executive Summary a most entertaining document. They try so hard, they have managed to shot dead the villain who they have also 'proved' wasn't ever there to be shot. So which is my favourite NIPCC finding? I think it would be:-

    The IPCC has concluded “the net radiative feedback due to all cloud types is likely positive” (p. 9 of the Summary for Policy Makers, Second Order Draft of AR5, dated October 5, 2012). Contrary to that assessment, several studies indicate the net global effect of cloud feedbacks is a cooling, the magnitude of which may equal or exceed the warming projected from increasing greenhouse gases.

    Our GHGs, it seems, create negative cloud feedbacks and so if they have any effect at all, they are cooling the planet down! That's a stroke of luck coz we're pumping out those GHGs like there's no tomorrow. Hey! The recent rises in global temperatures could well have been catastrophic without their cooling effects. ☺☻

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  5. joeygoze an ad-hominem is an attack on the source of an argument made in place of an attack on its substance.  In this case, the comment is made in a section entitled "The Credibility of Sources", and is followed by a section entitled "The Quality of the Report", so it is (i) clearly labeled as a comment on the relative credibility of the sources and (ii) is not make in place of an attack on the content of the argument, merely preceding it.

    In a discussion of competence to speak on some particular issue, then there is a distinction to be made between working scientists and those in emeritus positions, namely the former have a need to continually keep up with research in their field, the latter do not.

    Now science is not determined by credibility of the source, but by the internal consistency and evidence for the argument.  The general public on the other hand are generally not in a position to accurately judge all aspects of the science, which means that we do have to take into account the credibility of the source, which is greatest for proffessional institutions (such as the Royal Society), has individual scientists somewhere in the middle, and political lobby groups rather further down the list. 

    In the case of the NIPCC report, the quality of the report is easy to determine, for example they have a chapter that cites Prof. Essenhigh's paper on the residence time of CO2, but fails to mention that the argument it contains has been thoroughly refuted, and doesn't reference the paper I wrote for the same journal explaining the errors (basic scholarship would suggest using e.g. Google scholar to look up papers that have cited key references to make sure that the referenced material is sound).  That the NIPCC report contains arguments so easily demonstrated to be wrong should give anyone cause for skepticism, regardless of who the authors may be.

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  6. Unfortunately all to many scientists have "gone emeritus" to use the popular phrase. Ie trying to speak with authority outside their area of expertise, and all to often abandoning the scientific discipline in favour of strong self-belief. Worse when linked to dogmatic political beliefs as well. I think very successful (or lucky) scientists are more prone (eg Pauling) because thanks to their gifts, they lack experience in being wrong. The essence of science is allowing data to change your mind. Too many really good practitioners have little experience of this.

    So you shouldnt reject an argument because someone is old, but you shouldnt regard statements as authoritive unless they come from someone actively conducting research and publishing in the field. You should be especially suspicious of emeritus professors making statements outside their field.

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  7. Because taught in an environmental studies program at a university for several years before I retired, the Heartland Institut sent me a free copy of "The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism" by Steve Goreham. This paperback book of 240 pages has very good production values and is quite impressive. It is pure denialism with all of the standard misinformation, misdirection, illogic, cherrypicking, etc. If one didn't know much, it would be very convincing. Heartland's sponsors are spending a great deal of money in a highly professional propaganda campaign.

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  8. There is a certain grim irony in a bunch of lawyers demonstrating such a lack of familiarity with the idea of "credible witnesses."

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  9. "Contrary to that assessment, several studies indicate the net global effect of cloud feedbacks is a cooling, the magnitude of which may equal or exceed the warming projected from increasing greenhouse gases."

    The logical conclusion if this were true would be that there is a 'special state' for the climate, which we just happen to be in now, where a negative feedback cuts in that doesn't occur at cooler temperatures. Thus setting an upper limit to the temperature for the Earth.

    So we could check for this by looking to the paleoclimate record to confirm that temps haven't been significantly warmer in the past, providing support for the idea.

    So the fact that 1/2 or more of the last 500 million years have been significantly warmer than today - 4-8 degrees warmer - indicates that such a upper limiting mechanism doesn't exist, at least not at our current climate level

    Gee, I wonder why those eminent scientists behind the NIPCC didn't think of checking this?

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  10. Glenn @9, it is worse than that.  Feedbacks are responses to change in temperature, not to changes in forcing.  As a result, other than slight differences due to differences in the geographical region, or altitude warmed, the feedback response to a change in greenhouse gas concentration will be the same as the feedback response to, for example, internal modes of ocean variability.  That means with net negative feedbacks, such internal modes of variability cannot shift temperatures from the equilibrium levels.  Any initial warming shift will result immediately in a negative feedback that cancels it out.  Should that feeback be stronger than the initial warming, it will induce a negative feedback on the cooling, thereby returning temperatures quickly to the original value.

    Thus, if net feedbacks are indeed negative, the only way we could have got the recent warming (or the MWP) is with a strongly cooling net forcing over the twentieth century.  In like manner, the only way we could have got the LIA is with a strongly warming net forcing over the 17th-19th centuries.  Indeed, if net feedbacks were negative, El Nino's should cool the Earth, and La Ninas warm it.

    The whole notion simply collapses under a weight of contradictory evidence, none of which the authors of the NIPCC examine, or even notice.

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  11. NIPCC - does it stand for Non Intelegent panel on Climate Change ?

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  12. Re climate feedbacks @9 & 10.

    The NIPCC analysis of cloud feedbacks would indeed be laughable if they actually were talking of feedbacks. Actually it is far worse than that.

    The finding I quoted @4 is based within their Chapter 2 Forcings & Feedbacks , a 98 page treatment by Craig Idso & Tim Ball with contributions from Tom Segalstad. These gentlemen then must be the NIPCC experts on forcings & feedbacks. The quote @4 appears in Section 2.4 Clouds but it is very obvious from reading section 2.4.1 that these "experts" do not know the difference between "forcing" and "feedback" which is a trifle embarrasing, even for Numpy Idiots Professing Climatological Credentials.

    I think I will enjoy reading the rest of Chapter 2. I will learn why, for instance, these numpties source their paleoclimate reconstruction from an archaeologist and not from the original climatologist (Alley 2004) or perhaps a more recent piece of work.

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  13. "Many climate sceptics seem to review scientific data and studies not as scientists but as attorneys . . . ."  

    It seems to me that quite a few of them are not scientists but attorneys - see James Taylor, J.D. e.g....  Being a lawyer myself and knowing many of them, I think I can say confidently that practicing law, more than most other professions, could make one susceptible to the allure of (and adept at constructing) grand self-delusions.  Laws are designed (and constantly modified) by people to create social outcomes, not explain or predict physical outcomes like scientific theories do.  Legal disputes between parties very frequently are limited to two opposing sides, who on the surface are arguing about the truth of what the existing law is, what the relevant facts are, and/or how the law should be applied to those facts, while they care not about the analysis but only about their side prevailing - the analysis is a means to an end rather than the end in itself.  I don't think these aspects of the modern legal system are necessarily bad things, but when you are constantly living and working in this framework, it is easy to fall into the trap of viewing everything, even science, through the lens of partisan advocacy.  

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  14. This thread seems ripe for a "What is the 'real name' of the NIPCC?" contest. So far we have two entries:

    1. Non Intelegent Panel on Climate Change by #11 MP3CE
    2. Numpy Idiots Professing Climatological Credentials by #12 MA Rodger

    The winner of this context will be required to donate $100 to the Climate News Mosaic (CNM). 

    As is always the case, the decisions of the SkS judges will be final. 

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  15. John Hartz I noticed that too, and I had to Google "numpty," apparently British slang for someone who openly and unwittingly reveals their ignorance of a subject that they are rambling on about.  I like it, and I don't there is a counterpart in American English.  

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  16. I would like to see a concise retort to the Heartland pamphlet distributed to teachers on the same scale, authored or endorsed by one or more actively researching climate scientists.  

    Nature editorial from 2011 is on point and the editors of Nature have credible expertise, but the writing comes across as sort of polemical, as does this kind of post from RealClimate 2008: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/not-the-ipcc-nipcc-report/.  I think they are fine for their intended readership, and I myself enjoyed reading them, but I could see grade/middle/high school teachers being turned off by their tone.  

    Graham Wayne, I like your post much more as a message for teachers.  It rightly criticizes the NIPCC, but doesn't poke fun.  I will certainly pass it along to teachers in my personal circle.  However, it unfortunately doesn't bear the signature or stamp of approval of a climate scientist or climate scientific body or journal (although you obviously are more than climate-literate enough to grasp the substantive flaws of the NIPCC that you point out), which would lend more weight to it for mass distribution.  I wonder if you could get one or more climate scientists to endorse your letter to teachers for that purpose?  Or is somebody already taking on a similar project, like maybe Union of Concerned Scientists or the National Center for Science Education?  

           

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  17. jdixon1980: I second your idea of creating a "Let's set the record" straight document for distribution throughout the U.S.

    The National Acadamey of Sciences would be my first choice as author of the document. My second choice would be the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    Having said that, I'm not sure that either would have the financial resoures to print and distribute the millions of reports that would be needed.

    We should explore these and other possibilities further. 

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  18. Even the structure of the NIPCC report exposes its true intention, which is to mislead rather than to educate. Instead of examining the physical basis of climate change first (e.g., temperature measurements, CO2 measurements, species movements, ocean temperatures and levels, etc.), or basic physics, the first chapter of the "Physical Science" section begins by bashing the reliability of models.

    I'm also partial to this sentence in the Summary for Policymakers: "Global climate models produce meaningful results only if we assume we already know perfectly how the global climate works, and most climate scientists say we do not" (emphasis added).

    A central premise of the NIPCC report, therefore, is that unless we know everything about everything, we cannot make meaningful projections about anything. Fantastic.

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  19. I find the NIPCC entertaining, but its propaganda is very dangerous because most people don't know enough about the science to see through the cherry-picking and the lies. An example of a blatant misrepresentation is figure 3.1 in chapter 3 (solar forcing), page 245. One of the graphs presented there seems to show solar irradiance (TSI) increasing rapidly , and suggests that the global temperature trend has followed the changes in solar irradiance very closely in the last 40 years. This is nonsense (I understand that total solar irradiance seems to have peaked around the mid-20th century and certainly hasn't risen in the last 30 years of satellite observations).

    But how would anyone know that unless they were familiar with the evidence?

    NIPCC perfectly demonstrates the usefulness of this skeptical science website - just in the executive summary of the latest NIPCC report I think I found the following commonly used false arguments: #6, #12, #49, #67, #2, #21, #116, #138, #154, #7, #26, #52, #47, #49, #1, #13 and the bonus ball #113. (see "view all arguments" near the top left of this page, http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php )

    Also, there are loads of other misleading arguments in the executive summary which don't quite fit into any of the numbered myths on your website. The arguments which are used by proponents of climate change denial often evolve subtly over time, in much the same way that a virus may evolve so that a host's immune system finds it more difficult to deal with, and there are an infinite number of possible subtle variations on the same theme - this makes the job of challenging the denial industry a very difficult one.

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  20. I was a little over-optimistic with what I said @12. The NIPCC Chapter 2 becomes rather quickly dull reading being mainly straw-man-lynchings, misrepresentations and denialist nonsense. How boring is that?
    I do wonder if a useful approach to debunking this NIPCC nonsense would be to compare the level of mistakes it manages to present with the level of mistakes within IPCC AR4. Then a short analysis of part of NIPCC would show that these numpties, the denialist 3%, are so error-prone that they create 30,000%* the level of error (* Actual value to be determined). How many mistakes in AR4 WG1? How many pages?

    Having read section 2.1 of NIPCC, it is truly riven with error. And almost all the citations are rather ancient. One passage is a simple cut-&-paste from Idso's website, a bizarre move as this insertion is new for 2013 in the NIPCC (that is, not in the 2011 version) but the insertion was written in 2000. So it's smack up to date, then.

    Well, it is smack up to date compared with some of their "case" that CO2 does not cause warming (apparently). That graph they use from the Journal of Archaeological Science gives part of the Alley 2005 data that is known to provide data only up to 1855. Yet the numpties assume it provides data up to 2000 (which is quite evidently wrong if anyone actually examines the graph) This erroneous assumption of 2000 data results in them concluding that temperature has not been affected much by the 100ppm rise of CO2 over the last 200 years. This is a whopping CO2 rise give the previous 275-285ppm CO2 range during a 4,800 year period which shows large temperature fluctuations (although I'm not sure the Romans ever reached Greenland, or did the Late Bronze Age for that matter). Of course, by 1855 CO2 had yet to rise above 290ppm which sort of pulls the rug from under their "case" that 'CO2 doesn't cause warming'.

    So to go through a whole chapter of this level of drivel is perhaps asking too much. I think I'll stick with a section or two. Error is ubiqitous although due process even on a single section will probably require more work than the numpties ever invested.

    Then, may be it takes a lot of effort to pack in so much error. For instance, the numpties say of Pagani et al 1999:-

    "They (Pagani et al 1999) stated their finding “appears in conflict with greenhouse theories of climate change.” In addition, they noted the air’s CO2 concentration seemed to rise after the expansion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, also in conflict with greenhouse theories of climate change."

    I think that counts as two errors in just the one sentence as "conflict" is neither stated nor implied by Pagani et al 1999.

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  21. Nice to read about this here, because the exploitation of the general public's inability to seperate pseudoscience from decent science is a serious problem. 

    I recently did some reading of my own on the NIPCC and it was a frustrating experience. It has its origins with the SEPP, which is vague about its funding. However, there is nothing vague about what is said about the 'History of the NIPCC'. Essentially they say:

    Step 1: realize the IPCC can't be trusted because of where their money comes from.

    Step 2: Team up with the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, which clearly states on its own website:

    ""Where do you get your funding?" This is a common inquiry we frequently receive. Our typical response is that we never discuss our funding. Why? Because we believe that ideas about the way the world of nature operates should stand or fall on their own merits, irrespective of the source of support for the person or organization that produces them."

    This results in a severe loss of credibility in my view...

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  22. There are contradictions on the science as well.  Fred Singer is a lead author of the NIPCC report, but he also wrote an article for American Thinker, titled "Climate Deniers Are Giving Us Skeptics a Bad Name".  The article basically argues that there are some skeptic arguments that should be dropped as they are easily and conclusively refuted, and hence makes the skeptic side of the debate lose credibility whenever they are trotted out.  Two examples given in the article are:

    "Another subgroup accepts that CO2 levels are increasing in the 20th century but claims that the source is release of dissolved CO2 from the warming ocean"

    and

    "Another subgroup says that natural annual additions to atmospheric CO2 are many times greater than any human source; they ignore the natural sinks that have kept CO2 reasonably constant before humans started burning fossil fuels. Finally, there are the claims that major volcanic eruptions produce the equivalent of many years of human emission from fossil-fuel burning. To which I reply: OK, but show me a step increase in measured atmospheric CO2 related to a volcanic eruption."

    Now lets look at the NIPCC report, on page 164 we find

    "The short residence time suggests that anthropogenic emissions contribute only a fraction of the observed atmospheric rise and other sources, such as ocean and volcanic degassing of CO2 need to be sought" [epmhasis mine]

    Clearly the lead author/editor didn't read the report very carefully!

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  23. Re: DM @22, interested readers can find the "short residence time" argument that humans aren't the major cause of rising CO2 thoroughly debunked here - take note especially of the discussion in the comments about the distinction between adjustment time and residence time: 

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-residence-time.htm

    SkS admin: how about adding automatic mouseover definitions for the terms "residence time," "adjustment time," and "lifetime," with cross-references and disambiguations?    

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  24. Oh lol, I post that and then I see the links appear for adjustment time and lifetime, with cross-referencing.  I guess they don't appear retroactively, as they are not there in the residence time thread comments.  

    That said, "residence time" still needs a mouseover definition.  

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  25. John Hartz @ 17 - "I'm not sure that either would have the financial resoures to print and distribute the millions of reports that would be needed."  

    I wonder if it would be feasible to crowd-fund it somehow.  

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  26. It is worth noting that the EPA provides some climate science curriculum materials here: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/resources/lesson-plans.html

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  27. Dikran Marsupial (#22), thanks for pointing to S Fred Singer's article. This is funnier even than the NIPCC report. Fred Singer seems to be claiming that he is the voice of scientific reason in between the "warmistas" (including the IPCC) and climate deniers. He seems to believe this sincerely.

    The article includes laughable errors, e.g. the suggestions that the ocean(s) didn't warm between 1978 and 2000, and that satellite observations of the atmosphere didn't show any warming in the same period.

    There's also the interesting categorization of the IPCC's methods as "a curve-fitting exercise". This is deliciously ironic; it comes from a lead author of the NIPCC report which mentions the name 'Scafetta' 20 times in total in Chapter 1 (Models).

    To quote the NIPCC: "Scafetta’s work demonstrates there is increasing evidence our solar system plays a significant role in decadal and multidecadal climate variations. The climate projections produced by Scafetta’s empirical harmonic model may be far more realistic and are certainly more optimistic [than the IPCC's projections of global temperature]." (Chapter 1, page 39). The reference for this assertion is Loehle and Scafetta, 2011 (see http://www.skepticalscience.com/loehle-scafetta-60-year-cycle.htm for some background).

    You could not make this stuff up.

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  28. jdixon1980 The NIPCC report relies heavily on the paper by Prof. Essenhigh that appeared in Energy and Fuels, but fails to mention the paper (written my my alter ego), which explains the errors in Essenhigh's paper and shows that a short residence time is completely consistent with the rise in CO2 being 100% anthropogenic (see here for details).  According to Google scholar, Prof. Essenhigh's paper has only been cited eleven times (i.e. it has generated more or less zero interest outside the blogsphere) one of those was my rebuttal and two relate to the rebuttal by the EPA.  That the authors rely so heavily on a paper that has been cited so little, and fail to mention (nevermind address) the refutations, is not suggestive of good scholarship.

    The most cited paper that references Prof. Essenhigh's paper is the one written by Humlum et al, which was cited 10 times, and two of those are refutations (there was a third that Google Scholar doesn't seem to have found yet, for details, see here).  Sadly, those who can't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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  29. Rob Nicholls to be fair to Singer, he makes a very good point in calling for real canards to be dropped, they do the skeptics no favours as at all, and the public and scientific debates would both be more productive if we could stick to issues where there actually was some substantial uncertainty.  All "skeptics" should read Singer's article, ... aparently including Singer himself.

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  30. Dikran MArsupial #29, I suppose it might be better if the most blatantly flawed arguments were dropped by the people who don't believe that AGW is real and dangerous, as this would allow more of a focus on the more subtly flawed arguments, but at the same time it would make it harder for non-experts to see that these people really are talking nonsense. Unless it changes radically and actually engages with the totality of available evidence, I don't think the NIPCC's work could really be part of a serious debate about the science, even if the NIPCC acknowledges some of the basics, e.g. that humans have caused the recent rise in CO2 levels and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas etc. The danger of people like Singer is that they know enough to be able to make their arguments look scientifically valid to non-experts, even when they're contrary to what the evidence says. This is encouraging further delays in taking action to reduce CO2 emissions, and possibly / probably causing more suffering for future generations.

    I would really like to see a line-by-line expert analysis of an NIPCC report, as I think this would be a great educational tool, but I don't expect any expert has time to produce such a thing.

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  31. Dikram Marsupial, #29, maybe I misinterpreted what you meant by "real canards" when I posted my last comment. I apologise if this is the case. (I thought you meant that just dropping the most blatant falsehoods would improve the debate, but maybe you meant something more than this). Also, my sentence that said "This is encouraging further delays in taking action to reduce CO2 emissions, and possibly / probably causing more suffering for future generations" should have read "This is encouraging further delays in taking action to reduce CO2 emissions, and further delays could lead to more suffering for future generations."

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  32. Rob Nicholls @30.

    It would be quite a chore to produce "a line-by-line expert analysis of an NIPCC report." The 2013 version (which surely superceded previous versions) is over 900 pages long. That makes it about the same length as AR4 WG1 which contained one error of no great substance within its 950-odd pages. My reading of the NIPCC 2013 Chapter 2 shows many mistakes per page, often of fundamental importance. The 30,000% more errors figure I used @20 will prove to be far too low.

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  33. MA Rodgers,

    When I went to your reference it shows one error in the WG2 report.  This was related to a typographical error in one of the grey literature references in the WG2 report.  There were no reported errors in the WG1 report.  Does anyone know of any "errors" alleged in the WG1 report?

    The problem is that the "Skeptics" are allowed any number of mistakes while scientists are required to have a 1,000 page report without any errors at all.

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  34. Michael @33,

    At the bottom of the first column of page 624 in chapter 8 of the IPCC AR4 WG1 report, the phrase “too to the west” appears, which is grammatically incorrect!

    Also, the online figures 2.3-2.6 used to be broken, but when I emailed the IPCC they promptly fixed the links.

    Other than that? Well, their sea level rise and Arctic sea ice extent projections are starting to look like errors. I'm sure that'll be the top story on WUWT any day now...

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  35. michael sweet @33.

    My apologies. It (the outrageous Himalayan-glacier-gate scandal) is WG2. and not as I mistakenly believed WG1.

    Dumb Scientist @34.

    There were more than grammatical mistakes in WG1 but typos etc are hardily the same as misrepresenting the science. I have so far got through the first two paragraphs of NIPCC 2013 2.1 and there are at least four errors. I say 'at least as there are more if you account them differently because they all sort of fuzz into each other.

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  36. MA Rodger @32 and @35; I agree a line-by-line analysis of an NIPCC report would be a very big task, and I'm sure it's not a realistic prospect. I think a good approach is to focus on one chapter or section, as you did in @20; the comparison with the error-rate in IPCC AR4 is illuminating. I wonder whether someone who is completely new to climate science would be able to spot the difference in quality between IPCC and NIPCC. I'm hoping they would, but perhaps this is a forlorn hope. The fossil fuel barons that invest in the NIPCC via the Heartland Institute must be getting something for their money.

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  37. Rob Nicholls @36.

    It wouldn't be so bad if it were solely those "who is completely new to climate science."  But it's not.

    The BBC recently gave Bob Carter free reign on Radio 4's World At One programme. Complaints were made. One said that this is like "the equivalent of giving a stork the right to reply on every appearance by Prof Robert Winston." The BBC's Head of Programmes' reply was "I believe this completely misrerpresents our approach wich is to give airtime on occasion to sceptics." (Their stress.) The BBC is saying that because not one denier appeared earlier in the day on Radio 4, the likes of Bob Carter is allowed to run riot on the mid-day news.

    The BBC said the interviewer "challenged him (Carter) about his credibility comparing the NIPCC's work" with the IPCC's work. Challenged? Here is the transcript (less the shorter following interview with Peter Stott who was asked by the interviewer to explain the IPCC's credibility and then challenged over the 'pause' and on Himilayan glaciers). And Peter Stott was unable to reply to Carter's nonsense because he wasn't allowed to know what Cater had said. (Due to "technical reasons", apparently.)

    So demonstrating the complete lack of veracity of the NIPCC reports, perhaps by debunking some exemplar section, does look like a useful peoject. That is, unless you actually do believe storks leave babies under goosberry bushes.

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  38. As an object lesson perhaps it would be good to begin demanding that the BBC occasionally air viewpoints from HAARP enthusiasts during weather forecasts, or Erik von Daniken fans during segments on archaeology?  

    If one crank gets to speak, why not all of 'em? Why can't we hear about the "Electric Universe" when cosmology is discussed? 

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  39. "If one crank gets to speak, why not all of 'em? Why can't we hear about the "Electric Universe" when cosmology is discussed?"

    Let's not leave out the phlogiston, and Jeans' ether of space. Fair is fair....:D

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  40. What was it I said @12?

    "...these "experts" (Idso & Ball) do not know the difference between "forcing" and "feedback"..." It seems I am not the first to come to such a conclusion.  Thirty-one years ago, somebody wrote - "Idso's interpretation of empirical radiation measurements confuses primary forcing and the amplifying feedbacks engendered by that forcing." p20. Carbon Dioxide - A second Assessment 1982. Report of the C02/Climate Review Panel to the Climate Research Committee of the Climate Board/Committee on Atmospheric Sciences and the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee of the Climate Board.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Suggest that you draft an article on this matter. 

  41. MA Rodger @37. Thanks for the link. I do love the BBC's idea of balance. Perhaps I'm naive but I think a lot of the poor coverage and the false balance is because of utter cluelessness rather than a sinister agenda. (I've noticed a lurch to the right at the BBC under the current government, but I'm not sure whether the climate change coverage is any worse than before. The reporting of "climategate", before the change of government, was abysmal.) It saddens me because the IPCC pretty much hands any reporter a very solid primer in the science on a plate, and yet it appears that few journalists who feel qualified to report on climate change even bother to read the IPPC's reports.

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