I have known for many years now that the Reports produced by the IPCC are inaccurate and plagued with problems. In effect, the world has been told that the IPCC produces some of the best assessments on climate change in the world of science. This simply is not true.
Some of the problems with the IPCC have also been documented elsewhere:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the premier international body collating the scientific assessment of climate change, and proposals for mitigation. A joint creation of the United Nations agencies the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it brings together scientists from myriad disciplines to assess and summarize the current research on climate change, collating knowledge that is then used to inform governments and politicians. The scientists work on a volunteer basis.
The IPCC relies upon its member governments and “Observers Organizations” to nominate its volunteer authors. This means that, subject to their willingness to volunteer, the most prestigious individuals specialising in climate change in each discipline become the authors of the relevant IPCC chapter for their discipline. They then undertake a review of the peer-reviewed literature in their field (and some non-peer-reviewed work, such as government reports) to distill the current state of knowledge about climate change in their discipline. A laborious review process is also followed, so the draft reports of the volunteer experts is reviewed by other experts in each field, to ensure conformity of the report with the discipline’s current perception of climate change. The emphasis upon producing reports which reflect the consensus within a discipline has resulted in numerous charges that the IPCC’s warnings are inherently too conservative (Herrando-Pérez et al., 2019, Brysse et al., 2013).
This is the process by which the IPCC develops their Report:
But the main weaknesses with the IPCC’s methodology are firstly that, in economics, it exclusively selects Neoclassical economists, and secondly, because there is no built-in review of one discipline’s findings by another, the conclusions of these Neoclassical economists about the dangers of climate change are reviewed only by other Neoclassical economists. The economic sections of IPCC reports are therefore unchallenged by other disciplines who also contribute to the IPCC’s reports.
Given the extent to which economists dominate the formation of most government policies in almost all fields, and not just strictly economic policy (Fourcade et al., 2015, Hirschman and Berman, 2014, Christensen, 2018, Lazear, 2000), the otherwise acceptable process by which the IPCC collates human knowledge on climate change has critically weakened, rather than strengthened, human society’s response to climate change. This is because, commencing with “Nobel Laureate” (Mirowski, 2020) William Nordhaus, the economists who specialize on climate change have falsely trivialized the dangers that climate change poses to human civilization.
This is partly why the predictions and expectations within the Reports are always wrong. The process is quite slow and cumbersome, resulting in “dated” estimates that inadequately describe real world events.
The tendency to “trivialize” the impacts of climate change has led the world into grossly underestimating and poorly respond to real world effects now happening throughout the world. The over-reliance upon “economic outcomes” polluted the actual science to such a huge degree that it is now actually quite laughable:
In his 2018 Nobel Prize lecture, William Nordhaus described a trajectory that would lead to global temperatures peaking at 4°C above pre-industrial levels in 2145 as “optimal” (Nordhaus, 2018a, Slide 6) because, according to his calculations, the damages from climate change over time, plus the abatement costs over time, are minimised on this trajectory. He estimated the discounted cost of the economic damages from unabated climate change — which would see temperatures approach 6°C above pre-industrial levels by 2150 — at $24 trillion, whereas the 4°C trajectory had damages of about $15 trillion and abatement costs of about $3 trillion. Trajectories with lower peak temperatures had higher abatement costs that overwhelmed the benefits (Nordhaus, 2018a, Slide 7). In a subsequent paper, Nordhaus claimed that even a 6°C increase would only reduce global income by only 7.9%, compared to what it would be in the complete absence of global warming.
This sanguine assessment of the costs of climate change contrasts starkly with the non-economic sections of IPCC reports. The recent Global Warming of 1.5°C Report, for example, predicted that 70% of insects and 40–60% of mammals would lose 50% or more of their range at 4.5°C (Warren et al., 2018, p. 792). Yet the economic components of IPCC reports concur with Nordhaus that damages from climate change will be slight: the Executive Summary of Chapter 10 of the 2014 Fifth Assessment, “Key Economic Sectors and Services”, opens with the declaration that:
For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers (medium evidence, high agreement). Changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is large relative to the impact of climate change. (Arent et al., 2014a, p. 662)
Human civilization as we know it today cannot even exist at 4°C above pre-industrial levels. This was known by some scientists when Nordhaus gave his lecture. Economists are not knowledgeable about real world effects of deadly temperature increases, such as wet-bulb respiration rates. Most plant life will largely be extinguished at such higher temperatures, impacting global food production on a massive scale. The resulting effects will cause the starvation of billions of people and the collapse of civilization (taking nothing else into account, such as forest fires and inadequate fresh water supplies).
This is of course, a “colossal mistake” of enormous proportions by a Nobel Laureate, a demonstration which reveals that the smartest people in the room isn’t always the person standing at the lectern.
How can such relatively small estimates of economic damages be reconciled with the large impacts that scientists expect on critical components of the biosphere? The answer is that they can’t, because the economic studies are not based on the scientific assessments of damage from climate change. Instead, the numerical estimates of the impact of climate change on GDP have been made up by economists themselves. I use the expression “made up” advisedly, because there is no more accurate way to characterise how Neoclassical economists have approached climate change. Before I explain how these spurious estimates were manufactured, it is useful to contrast them with some of the more easily understood dangerous consequences of a higher global average temperature.
Wet-bulb temperatures may be easily overlooked by economists, but not by human beings living in the real world:
A critical feature of human physiology is our ability to dissipate internal heat by perspiration. To do so, the external air needs to be colder than our ideal body temperature of about 37°C, and dry enough to absorb our perspiration as well. This becomes impossible when the combination of heat and humidity, known as the “wet bulb temperature”, exceeds 35°C. Above this level, we are unable to dissipate the heat generated by our bodies, and the accumulated heat will kill a healthy individual within three hours. Scientists have estimated that a 3.8°C increase in the global average temperature would make Jakarta’s temperature and humidity combination permanently fatal for humans, while a 5.5°C increase would mean that even New York would experience 55 days per year when the combination of temperature and humidity would be deadly (Mora et al., 2017, Figure 4, p. 504).
I’ve covered wet-bulb temperatures many times before in my own critical commentary about deadly climate change. This means extinction which economists are too busy with their calculators to realize.
Temperature also affects the viable range for all biological organisms on the planet. Scientists have estimated that a 4.5°C increase in global temperatures would reduce the area of the planet in which life could exist by 40% or more, with the decline in the liveable area of the planet ranging from a minimum of 30% for mammals to a maximum of 80% for insects (Warren et al., 2018, Figure 1, p. 792).
This is a rather low estimate in my opinion since the “average global temperature” means that the entire globe is suffering from the high temperature increases. Insects have already declined by an estimate 75% in 2021, so this “80% maximum” figure is way off already when temperatures are presently just under 1.5°C in 2021. There won’t even be any mammals left on Earth (including humans) at a average 4.5°C either.
This is part of the problem with science reporting – they often do not report current information, and why every year this has to be updated (always for the worse). They also seem to be unaware of other developments in other fields that will have a direct impact upon human survival and the survival of the biosphere. I’m not limited by any institutions or editors or boards that will seek to downplay the reality of what is presently unfolding. That’s why my own estimates are almost always more right then the scientists themselves. I can use their data and combine it with other known information and publish the whole truth as I understand it to be without fear or favor. Nobody will fire me or remove me from my position. It’s a thankless job nonetheless.
Allegedly, the Sixth Report is a Code Red warning to the world, but is it really? Or is this just more journalistic hyperbole? I believe the latter is the truth because the scientists themselves that authored the Report are still miserably failing to understand the significance of their own data contained within their own publication.
Earth is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade will probably blow past a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent, according to a report released Monday that the United Nations called a “code red for humanity.”
“It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,” said report co-author Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”
Sounds bad, right? Well, as you might have expected if you read this blog, here comes the hopium from the same article:
But scientists also eased back a bit on the likelihood of the absolute worst climate catastrophes.
The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which calls climate change clearly human-caused and “unequivocal” and “an established fact,” makes more precise and warmer forecasts for the 21st century than it did last time it was issued in 2013.
They may be “more precises” but they’re still spewing more garbage like all the other Reports before. It did not take me much reading to spot the errors. To begin with, they failed to use the correct pre-industrial temperature, which is a critical failure that set up the rest of the Report to replicate this failure countless times. Nor did they even get the current levels of C02 correct, which then extends throughout the Report as another introduced error.
But what really bothers me is how several of the scientists that authored the Sixth Report spew utter garbage about how we’re going to solve all of this. I donated to The Narwhale so I got an early email notifying me that they had this article out. After reading it, all I could do was shake my head. Where in the hell do they come up with this shit? I do not know, but I know this – it’s more garbage that is leading the world to disaster by the very people who should be screaming from the rooftops that an extinction level event is now unfolding.
I wrote to the Narwhale to express my disappointment of their article (read the article first to understand these comments):
Not a “decade” ahead, nearly 80 years ahead of previous estimates. We’re almost at 1.5C right now (you need to use the correct pre-industrial 1750 date found on NASA’s website and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the Sixth Report miserably failed in several critical areas, including the 1750 date, thus their incorrect assessments (again) and predictions (again). Present levels of warming are actually 1.37C now. NOAA just reported July 2021 as the hottest month EVER:
NOAA said combined land and ocean-surface temperature was 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit (0.93 degrees Celsius) above the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the hottest July since record-keeping began 142 years ago. Hottest Month Ever Recorded on Earth? We Just Lived Through It, Says US Agency
If there is one thing I know – it’s how science is messing up on climate change, big time, been documenting this for nearly 20 years. https://survivalacres.com/blog/
The world will reach 1.5°C with three years (most likely, high confidence). Then we will blow right past 2°C (unstoppable now). Cascading “tipping points”, many which have already “tripped” will worsen drastically. Warming will easily exceed 3°C by 2100, I’d be surprised if it’s not already 4°C+ by then. That’s when civilization collapses, wet-bulb temperatures will have wiped out the global food supply, triggering massive waves of immigration and starvation. Most mammals will go extinct (including humans). Oceans will become increasingly acidic and the world will have already long lost all coral reefs, most shell fish and huge oxygen depleted dead zones will do the rest.
Virtually ALL of the predictions of “limiting warming” are based upon non-existent technology and expectations. In the software world they call this “vaporware” (doesn’t exist). Climate scientist are extremely guilty of putting endless hopium into play (false expectations) at many different levels, including funding, political will, public support and technology. Nothing to scale has ever been developed that can actually “limit” warming. Minuscule changes to-date have not amounted to much. Don’t expect that to change either. By the time the world finally wakes up to the true state of the climate emergency, it will literally be decades too late.
I have a saying – “We cannot replace the missing ice”. This is extinction level event unfolding right now. Ice plays a major role in regulating global temperatures and weather. We have virtually no possibility of restoring any of the lost ice, thus the planet will exceed human habitability, extinguishing most life on Earth. This is inevitable now, the hopium that expresses “solutions” are based upon gross misunderstandings and false expectations of what is actually doable.
The Arctic will be summer ice free by 2030 – long before ALL predictions and expectations. Methane will then contribute an enormous heat trapping pulse to the warming atmosphere. Methane is already at record high levels now.
The Sixth Report is actually another failure to adequately warn the world. They still failed to declare a global climate emergency, which is overdue by about fifteen years now.
I didn’t receive a reply, but then again, I never do (from anyone). The world goes on ignoring reality.
It is my opinion that the Sixth Report is replicating the errors and mistakes of all the other Reports while “updating” their estimates. But the interjection of false hopium and imagined “solutions” that have never been developed is unforgivable. These climate scientists are deliberately misleading the world and the reality of our situation.
John Fyfe as quoted in the article link above, and as a contributor to the Sixth Report is making the same mistakes as his predecessors. He’s incorrect about sea level rise and so much more, and using his own words, “this is a big deal”. Misleading policy makers is a HUGE mistake that will cost humanity our civilization. The over-reliance upon “modeling” that still remains inadequate and inaccurate isn’t the same thing as real world measurements and events happening outside in real time. If these climate scientist really hoped to provide the “best possible information” they could at least use current data. But the shocking reality and uncaring attitude is revealed here:
But it’s once it’s out of our hands, it’s in theirs and there’s nothing more I can do about it and I don’t particularly fret over it.
What we’re looking at for the most part are slow, inexorable changes. We’re not going to fall off a cliff if we reach 1.5 C. But it’s just another step towards higher and higher temperature levels and greater and greater impacts.
I’m a blogger and I’m deeply concerned about the future for my grandchildren. Today’s temperature increases are already catastrophic and having real world effects upon human civilization. We may not “fall of a cliff” at 1.5°C but we will definitely be “over the edge” with unstoppable deadly warming that will lead to more warming. How many mega-fires can the world endure? Where will drought stricken regions even get their drinking water from? 88% of the western US is in “severe to extreme” drought. Next to the gigantic Pacific Ocean, you can’t even use the toilet in your hotel room.
It is this kind of “science disconnect” from the unfolding reality that I find so maddening. Their models are wrong about how fast, and how severe things will get. They’re constantly trying to tweak the software to better model real world events, but what they don’t seem to be able to do is to plug in “reality” into their software. As a former systems analyst, I understand how hard that would be, but what I don’t understand and do not forgive is how they can still be so wrong and still be spewing stupid levels of hopium about getting out of this predicament. They’re lying, either through ignorance, denial or sheer stupidity.
This is why these words will never be read nor taken seriously, I don’t pull punches here. Climate scientists are miserably failing to adequately warn the world to the severity of the problem, and even worse, they are spouting complete nonsense about how we’re going to fix this. Go look at their track record if you do not believe me. What’s been fixed? What’s been solved? What’s even being worked on? Meanwhile, the planet just keeps getting hotter and hotter, and their own estimates keep getting worse and worse in a desperate attempt to catch up to reality.
The Sixth Report is garbage, make no mistake about it. Yes, things are much worse now, their estimates are slowly coming to grips with that, but they’re dead wrong again about how we’re going to “solve” this. I wish I was wrong, but I know that I’m not. Far from being the “gold-standard” promoted by Fyfe, the IPCC Reports are a collection of miserable under-reported and under-estimated predictions that still fail to tell it like it is in the real world we all live in.
When we blow right 1.5°C some of you will realize this. For me, this is a foregone conclusion, irrevocably going to happen. And it will happen again at 2°C even though the “cliff” can’t be seen, but it sure as hell can be felt as our homes burn to the ground, our cities collapse and millions are left without shelter, food or water. Nobody knows at what temperature that will all occur, we only know that it will most certainly happen as the world continues to warm. It’s a foregone conclusion and no amount of hopium and false promises and inaccurate estimates and scientific Reports will change these facts whatsoever.