After a series of embarrassing predictions and wild factual errors damaged global-warming alarmists’ credibility — possibly beyond repair — the United Nations is again warning of impending doom: localized floods and droughts caused by climate change theoretically linked to human activity. But skeptics are still not buying.
The new report unveiled over the weekend by the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims extreme weather is set to increase dramatically in the decades ahead. But following spectacular failures in its last major report that turned the climate body into a global laughing stock, the UN used far more caution in attributing its predictions to anthropogenic (human-caused) factors.
According to a draft of the report cited by the BBC, it was only considered “likely” that human activities could be linked to changes in cold and warm days. Meanwhile, there was just “medium confidence” that man is responsible for extreme rainfall changes and “low confidence” that variations in tropical cyclones could be attributed to humanity’s relatively insignificant carbon emissions.
“Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability,” the draft report admitted. Some climate experts picked up the new cautious tone.
"This shows the depth of our ignorance of this subject," noted Dr. David Whitehouse, science editor for the Global Warming Policy Foundation. "Whilst it is always important to think about the future in the light of changes we observe to the Earth’s climate, in trying to draw conclusions so far ahead based on what we know, the IPCC scientists are speculating far beyond any reasonable scientific justification."
While the global body acknowledged the lack of certainty over whether man’s carbon emissions were to blame, however, much of the press and most bureaucrats dependent on taxpayer climate largesse generally charged ahead with the story anyway. News articles and “experts” often failed to even mention the uncertainty admitted in the report.
“The new IPCC report is a stark reminder of the extent to which rising greenhouse gas concentrations and the ensuing rise in global average temperatures are already leading to increased incidences of floods and heat waves, and that such incidences will become more frequent and severe if the global rise in greenhouse gas emissions is left unchecked," claimed UN climate boss Christiana Figueres. She also insisted that governments meeting in Durban later this year agree to accept UN demands immediately.
Climate bureaucrats celebrated the report because it focused on phenomena that regular people can relate to — flooding, droughts, and other weather extremes. Apparently warnings of slightly warmer winters that didn’t materialize failed to inspire sufficient fear to create public demand for reduced living standards and global taxes. The fact that sea levels have been decreasing despite hysterical UN scaremongering about rising seas may also be responsible for the new focus on local weather instead of global warming.
“These disappearing horrors, once their favorites, have turned into shock and awe over the warmist camp. It’s panic time for them,” noted climate blogger Pierre Gosselin. “How on Earth are they now supposed to spread fear and panic when all their old horror scenarios are dissolving before their very eyes? The answer of course is to trot out new ones, this time they’re using horrors where the statistics are incomplete, thus making it difficult to disprove alleged increasing trends.”
Even with the admission of major uncertainty, however, countless critics assailed the new UN report from all angles, using a mixture of serious discrediting and comical ridicule. According to “climate realists,” as skeptics often refer to themselves, the global body is solidifying its position as an international joke.
“We don’t understand what drives weather well enough to make even semi-accurate forecasts more than 72 hours in advance, but the IPCC claims that they know what the weather will be like in future decades,” explained climate commentator Steven Goddard in an article for Real-Science.com. “Once again, the IPCC is engaging in blatant scientific fraud. These people have no clue what the weather will be like in future decades and have done grossly inadequate research of what the weather was like in past decades.”
But a few individuals whose taxpayer-funded jobs are largely dependent on climate alarmism were widely cited in the establishment media. European Union climate boss Connie Hedegaard, for example, was quoted in the Washington Post falsely claiming that “the science is not getting more uncertain — it’s actually getting more and more certain. It’s getting in line with what people intuitively feel.”
One of the lead IPCC authors, Michael Oppenheimer, claimed more coercive action was needed immediately. “Governments are behind the eight ball on this,” he was quoted as saying in the Post piece. “They’re just not doing what they should be doing to protect people.”
The IPCC report demands, among other things, that governments take actions that will be good for society even if climate change fails to produce the disasters the UN claims it might. Some of the measures regularly proposed include raising electricity costs, reducing the population, instituting global taxes, redistributing wealth, banning light bulbs, ensuring that developing nations never properly develop, and giving global bureaucrats more control.
But the UN and its “experts” have a terrible track record so far. Earlier this year, for instance, UN Environment Program (UNEP) tried to cover up evidence of an embarrassing prediction it made in 2005: That man-made global warming would lead to some 50 million “climate” refugees by 2010. In fact, the areas that were supposed to see climate refugees actually grew more than most places in the world.
There have been real climate refugees, however. The new IPCC report was released, ironically, in Uganda — one of the few places in the world to witness true population displacement tied to UN global warming hysteria. But the climate refugees were actually brutalized and evicted from their land by European Union and World Bank “carbon credit” schemes — not any climate-related incidents.
Even more atrocious human-rights abuses linked to similar carbon-credit programs have also been documented in Honduras. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe is calling for an investigation of the murders and brutality being perpetrated in the name of carbon credits.
The UN’s last major IPCC report was so thoroughly discredited, as numerous scandals over even basic facts embarrassed the panel, that many experts tried to distance themselves from it. Using environmentalist-group press releases and other shoddy “sources," the report claimed, for example, that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 or sooner. The UN was eventually forced to recant the false assertion. But the “Glaciergate” scandal — just one of many — still plagues the IPCC today.
Even if climate change were to cause weather disruptions — which is, of course, extraordinarily uncertain — a study by the Reason Foundation released in September found that deaths attributed to extreme weather have in fact declined at an unimaginable rate. “Aggregate mortality attributed to all extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90% since the 1920s, in spite of a four-fold rise in population and much more complete reporting of such events,” the report noted.
In a guest commentary, the main author of the Reason study highlighted other glaring problems with the new UN report, too. One sidenote points out that in the very few places where weather fatalities are mentioned (out of context and largely without useful figures) in the IPCC study, “geophysical events” — earthquakes and such — are included in the climate-death tally.
As The New American has reported, global-warming alarmism is dying a slow death. But there are many vested interests dependent on the hysteria — Al Gore’s “Climate Exchange” went under last year, but some insurance-industry insiders are now using fear generated by recent weather incidents and the UN report to raise rates on their customers. So the implosion of the multi-billion dollar alarmist train will be an agonizing process to witness.
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