Sunday, December 27th 2009, 12:52 AM EST
SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #41-2009 (Dec 26, 2009)
By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
[Note: This is the second of a series of mini-editorials on the “junk science” influencing the global warming issue. Other topics will include the IPCC’s Assessment Reports 3 and 4, the UN Environmental Program and some individuals heavily involved in these matters.]
Junk Science #2: IPCC’s Second Assessment Report (IPCC-AR-2, 1995, published in 1996)
IPCC assessment reports, and particularly their Summaries for Policymakers (SPM), are noted for their selective use of information and their bias to support the political goal of control of fossil fuels in order to fight an alleged anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
Perhaps the most blatant example is IPCC’s Second Assessment Report (SAR), completed in 1995 and published in 1996. Its SPM contains the memorable phrase “the balance of evidence suggests a discernable human influence on global climate.” You may recall that this 1996 IPCC report played a key role in the political deliberations that led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
This ambiguous phrase suggests a group of climate scientists, examining both human and natural influences on climate change, looking at published scientific research, and carefully weighing their decision. Nothing of the sort has ever happened. The IPCC has consistently ignored the major natural influences on climate change and has focused almost entirely on human causes, especially on GH gases and more especially on carbon dioxide, which is linked to industrial activities and therefore ‘bad’ almost by definition.
How then did the IPCC-SAR arrive at “balance of evidence”? It was the work of a then-relatively-junior scientist, Dr Benjamin D. Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), who has recently re-emerged as a major actor in ClimateGate. As a Convening Lead Author of a crucial IPCC chapter, Santer carefully removed any verbiage denying that human influences might be the major or almost exclusive cause of warming and substituted new language. There is no evidence that he ever consulted any of his fellow IPCC authors, nor do we know who instructed him to make these changes and later approved the text deletions and insertions that fundamentally transformed IPCC-SAR.
The event is described by Nature [381(1006):539] and in a 1996 WSJ article by the late Professor Frederick Seitz (See also my Science Editorial #2-09). Seitz compared the draft of IPCC Chapter 8 (Detection and Attribution) and the final printed text. He noted that, before printing, key phrases had been deleted from the draft that had earlier been approved by its several scientist-authors. For a full account of these text changes see my Hoover Essay in Public Policy No. 102  “Climate Policy: From Rio to Kyoto”
Download PDF file to read FULL report from SEPP.org