The primary author of the report is one of the world’s leading climatologists, Martin Parry. How could he have missed the Himalayan error? And, for that matter, how did he miss that IPCC used a non-refereed environmentalist publication to claim that yields from rain-fed agriculture in Africa could decline 50 percent in the next decade? His own research in the field shows otherwise.
The IPCC also claimed that over half of the Netherlands is below sea level. It’s actually 26 percent, but that one may be excusable: The non-refereed citation in that instance is the Dutch government.
Not excusable is using the World Wildlife Fund as the source for a statement that “up to 40 percent of the Amazon rainforest could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation.” The Amazon just went through one of its biggest droughts in history, with little effect evident from satellite data.
Finally, the IPCC has denied up and down that there has been any significant change in Southern Hemisphere sea-ice cover. In fact, satellite data readily show a highly significant increase since measurements began in 1979.
That’s five exaggerations in one report. No one has yet found any instance in which the IPCC understated some effect of global warming. It’s like flipping a coin five times and getting all heads. It happens — with a probability of .03. Scientists like to use the .05 probability as the threshold for a significant relationship. In the case of the IPCC, the relationship is called “bias.”
Yes, it has been quite a year. Climategate. The failure in Copenhagen. The EPA issuing an endangerment finding in which the core scientific fact turns out to have been cooked. The IPCC blow-up. And yet Lindsey Graham and President Obama are dead-set on cramming a new global-warming tax down our throats. How they figure to sell this policy in light of what has happened since November is anyone’s guess. Damn the data; full speed ahead!
– Patrick J. Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, is the author of Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know.