Read the two quotes below. The first from the Club of Rome says they came up with the idea of global warming. The second shows the IPCC would make the science fit the idea.
“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill …All these dangers are caused by human intervention and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome.
The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”
– Club of Rome,
The First Global Revolution,
consultants to the UN.
“…we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination…. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts…. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.“
– Stephen Schneider,
Stanford Professor of Climatology
lead Author of many IPCC reports
Now lets take a trip back in time!
By John Christy
Professor of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama
As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) puts the finishing touches to its final report of the year, two of its senior scientists look at what the panel is and how well it works. Here, a view from a leading researcher into temperature change.
Politicians wave goodbye to the IPCC’s objectivity, argues Dr Christy
The IPCC is a framework around which hundreds of scientists and other participants are organised to mine the panoply of climate change literature to produce a synthesis of the most important and relevant findings.
These findings are published every few years to help policymakers keep tabs on where the participants chosen for the IPCC believe the Earth’s climate has been, where it is going, and what might be done to adapt to and/or even adjust the predicted outcome.
While most participants are scientists and bring the aura of objectivity, there are two things to note:
- this is a political process to some extent (anytime governments are involved it ends up that way)
- scientists are mere mortals casting their gaze on a system so complex we cannot precisely predict its future state even five days ahead
The political process begins with the selection of the Lead Authors because they are nominated by their own governments.
Thus at the outset, the political apparatus of the member nations has a role in pre-selecting the main participants.
But, it may go further.
At an IPCC Lead Authors’ meeting in New Zealand, I well remember a conversation over lunch with three Europeans, unknown to me but who served as authors on other chapters. I sat at their table because it was convenient.
After introducing myself, I sat in silence as their discussion continued, which boiled down to this: “We must write this report so strongly that it will convince the US to sign the Kyoto Protocol.”
Politics, at least for a few of the Lead Authors, was very much part and parcel of the process.
And, while the 2001 report was being written, Dr Robert Watson, IPCC Chair at the time, testified to the US Senate in 2000 adamantly advocating on behalf of the Kyoto Protocol, which even the journal Nature now reports is a failure.
Follow the herd
As I said above – and this may come as a surprise – scientists are mere mortals.
The tendency to succumb to group-think and the herd-instinct (now formally called the “informational cascade”) is perhaps as tempting among scientists as any group because we, by definition, must be the “ones who know” (from the Latin sciere, to know).
The Alabama team produces data on atmospheric temperatures collected by weather balloons
You dare not be thought of as “one who does not know”; hence we may succumb to the pressure to be perceived as “one who knows”.
This leads, in my opinion, to an overstatement of confidence in the published findings and to a ready acceptance of the views of anointed authorities.
Scepticism, a hallmark of science, is frowned upon. (I suspect the IPCC bureaucracy cringes whenever I’m identified as an IPCC Lead Author.)