Reader post: Thoughts on IPCC report

Thanks to regular reader Simon Roberts for his offering below, which he was inspired to write on the leaked draft IPCC report.

Leave your comments and thoughts below!

 

 

So, it seems that the IPCC are about to admit what many of us have known all along – that the warming of the environment at the end of the 20th Century was due to solar activity (See James’ Blog). I say 20th Century as the climate has been cooling for the last fifteen years.

This would appear to be the beginning of the end for the Warmists. When challenged on the science, their cheerleaders – primarily the BBC and the Guardian – refer to IPCC reports which, because the UN represents all hope for the future for such people, are beyond reproach.

There will still be battles to be fought and it will be some time before the establishment comes to terms with the new position as the Warmist philosophy is so deeply entrenched (they can even count the Prime Minister among their number), but we all need to understand how close a call this has been.

We have come very close to losing control of our economic lives, both as individuals and as nations. Make no mistake, if unelected international organisations had been awarded virtually limitless powers to control the use of global energy in the name of “saving the planet”, we would have entered a new dark age for mankind.

Future generations will scratch their heads in bemusement and wonder how we came so close to such a situation. The answer will of course be simple – “cui bono”. The main beneficiaries of the warmest philosophy have been politicians, bureaucrats and multinational corporations. The main losers have been the poor, in both the West and the Third World (i.e. those without power).

People in future will also no doubt ask how so many of us could have been taken in by this. The answer is rather less simple but it does highlight another problem of our age – the power of the media. The science behind warmism can be summarised in one phrase – “hide the decline” – yet a self-censoring media has followed the Warmist line with very little dissent allowed.

We should now start looking ahead. There are practical issues to be resolved – for example, what will happen to the wind turbines when the subsidies stop? They will become uneconomical to run and will fall into disuse. With no maintenance, they will become dangerous and will have to be removed. Who will foot the bill?

But the main lesson that we should all learn from this is that when the powers-that-be collude against the people to bypass democratic accountability for their own ends, there are no virtually limits to the deceit that will be practised. When the next attempt at taking power from the people and giving it to elites surfaces (my bet would be on the need for Global Government in response to financial crisis) will we have learned our lesson?

  • dr

    I read the James Delingpole article on his blog this morning, and that was the first I had heard of the leak of the draft of IPCC AR5 and the selection of the “game changing” paragraph from Chapter 7 of that report.
    To get straight to my point, I don’t see what the fuss is about. I’ll try to explain how I see it, but please note, I’m not trying to force my opinion on anyone else.
    To summarise, the “game changing” paragraph from Chapter 7 of draft AR5 is stated on Mr Delingpole’s blog as follows:
    Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al., 2009; Ram and Stolz, 1999). The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link. We focus here on observed relationships between GCR and aerosol and cloud properties.
    The highlighted emphasis in this paragraph has been added by the leaker (Mr Alec Rawls) of the draft report.
    The leaker then states why this paragraph is important (again this is copied from Mr Delingpole’s blog):
    The admission of strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing changes everything. The climate alarmists can’t continue to claim that warming was almost entirely due to human activity over a period when solar warming effects, now acknowledged to be important, were at a maximum. The final draft of AR5 WG1 is not scheduled to be released for another year but the public needs to know now how the main premises and conclusions of the IPCC story line have been undercut by the IPCC itself.
    What I want to consider is the first sentence written by the leaker in his statement of importance. He states “The admission of strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing…” presumably, he believes that the first paragraph that he copied from Chapter 7 supports this sentence, which it doesn’t.
    The selected paragraph states that “empirical relationships have been reported between GCR… and some aspects of the climate system”, in this case those aspects are aerosols and clouds, because this is the aerosols and clouds chapter of the draft AR5 report. It then states that “The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism…”, that being an amplifying mechanism amplifying the effect of the forcing due to changes in total solar irradiance on clouds and aerosols.
    There is a causal link here and it runs from a radiative forcing from changes in total solar irradiance, via an amplifying mechanism, to clouds and aerosols. But it is important to recognise that the amplifying mechanism may or may not be amplifying forcing, but is definitely amplifying the effect on clouds and aerosols. There may or may not be an effect on the forcing from whatever change occurs to the clouds and aerosols (a positive or negative feedback), but that is not mentioned in this paragraph. Hence I don’t agree with Mr Rawls, when he claims an admission of “evidence for enhanced solar forcing” on the basis of this single paragraph from Chapter 7.
    I think it is worth noting, that Anthony Watts of Wattsupwiththat, has now written an article titled “The real IPCC AR5 draft bombshell – plus a poll” available at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/14/the-real-ipcc-ar5-draft-bombshell-plus-a-poll/ and so I feel that at least one other person agrees to some extent with my sentiments about the importance of this particular story. I also think that the contents of this more recent WUWT article justify the comments in the above essay by Mr Simon Roberts.
    In summary, I am pleased that the AR5 report is available for public review since I think that it will allow individuals to show the counter arguments to the main findings of the report, thereby enhancing the debate. I think that Mr Rawls has done the sceptic community and arguably the world at large, a service by leaking the report, I just disagree with his interpretation of the meaning of a particular paragraph from Chapter 7.

  • http://www.smith-epping.com ukiplocal

    As I understand it the subsidies for windmills are assured for decades to come. Unless the rate of inflation has been excluded from the subsidy calculation AND HMG decline to uprate the subsidies, the only way of reducing the real cost will be the coming high inflation.

    In these circumstances who will pay to decommission them, especially at sea? The cost of removing the enormous foundations and the then redundant power lines will be huge.

    I do feel the sentence “We have come very close to losing control of our economic lives, both as individuals and as nations.” is a little too optimistic; we really do seem to have lost it, if only because the ability of HMG to borrow enough to finance outgoings depends so much on foreign buyers of gilts remaining prepared to do so.

  • Simon Roberts

    My point about the cost of maintenance of wind turbines seems to have become more topical:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/9841848/Sabotage-suspected-at-toppled-wind-turbine-as-second-is-brought-down.html

    If it is the case that sabotage has occurred (as the Telegraph speculates) then this raises interesting questions.

    1. Who will bear the cost of repairs?
    Will it the landowner? If so, it would suggest that any program of sabotage would discourage further erection of wind turbines.

    A quick scan of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme suggests that compensation extends to injury rather than vandalism. I’m no expert but this would seem to indicate that, unless the Government has some special provision, the cost of repair would fall to the land owner.

    http://www.windustry.org says that the cost of a new commercial-scale wind turbine is £2-2.5 million. I think we can assume that the cost of repairing a collapsed turbine wouldn’t be as much but certainly wouldn’t be cheap. Not a cost that most people would want to incur.

    2. Could sabotage be prevented?
    The very nature of wind turbines places most of them in remote areas and vulnerable to unwanted interference.

    Guarding wind turbines would be prohibitively expensive. The police certainly don’t have the resources to do it and any increase in government spending to guard turbines would makes them even less economically viable than they already are (and assuming that the taxpayer would stand for it). Needless to say, if the cost of guarding turbines was to fall to land owners, it would render the turbines immediately non-viable. CCTV would presumably be less expensive, but also useless in an isolated, dark location.

    All in all, it would seem if the Telegraph’s speculation about sabotage is correct, privately-owned and sited wind turbines could become a financial liability rather than a boon to owners. Given that the the reason for privately-owned commercial turbines is purely financial, this would suggest that any wide-scale repeat of the Telegraph’s suggested activity would hinder the future spread of privately-owned wind turbines.

    Does anyone have any insights to share on this matter?