The IPCC is confused and desperate.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released their 5th assessment (big report) on how human activity (using fossil fuels to make energy) is causing global warming (that’s not happening). Actually the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) has been “leaked” for months. The SPM is a watered down version of the big report so that even politicians can sort of understand what it says.
The new report states clearly that with 95% confidence, humans are the “dominant cause” of global warming. The only difference in the percent of confidence from the previous reports is that the 95% figure is higher than all the other reports. This higher level of confidence is rather odd since they state that the climate systems sensitivity to forcing from greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide is unknown! The report states that “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies”. Without a solid understanding of what the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide and other forcings is, the whole “dominant cause” statement has no meaning. It’s a statement designed to inspire confidence in what they admittedly don’t understand.
What they are saying is that they are 95% sure that humans are the dominant cause of global warming but that they are so unsure of how the climate system reacts to increases in carbon dioxide, they can’t give us an “estimate” of how much global warming it causes. Yea, that inspires confidence for sure. Based on that “high level of confidence” we should abandon what works (fossil fuels) and gamble our future and prosperity on so called “renewables” that can’t survive without massive government support.
To further inspire this 95% confidence level we have the musings of the IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. In October of 2008 he stated that “We’re at a stage where warming is taking place at a much faster rate”. A glance at the actual temperature data at that time shows that there was no such thing occurring. Even earlier in 2007 he said “If there is no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.” Gee, here it is 2013 and we’ve had no warming since 1998, no increase in the number or strength of hurricanes, the fewest number of tornadoes since reliable measurements began, and despite forecast of a “very active” hurricane season we’ve had only two category 1 hurricanes to date and sea-level rise has not accelerated. Oh, and those predictions of an ice free Arctic Ocean never happened either. Is this a defining moment?
Then to add to the confusion Dr. Pachauri finally saw the light in February 2013. He admitted that there has been a pause in global warming but it would have to last 30 to 40 years before we could say the upward trend in temperature was broken. By the way, we are four years away from being two thirds to 30 years. He also said that “The climate is changing because of natural factors and the impact of human actions (translation: using fossil fuels)” Excuse me? did he say “natural factors? I though the use of fossil fuels was the “dominant cause” of climate change. Don’t tell me there could be something other than carbon dioxide changing the climate. You’re shaking my 95% confidence.
I wonder what those natural factors could be. Could it possibly have something to do with the oceans that contain 1,000 times more heat than the atmosphere? In a recent paper titled “Recent global warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific cooling” (In other words the shift of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) to its cooler phase) the authors basically said just that. “Our results say the current hiatus (of global warming) is part of natural climate variability, tied specifically to a La Nina like decadal cooling.” Meaning that the PDO shift to its cooler phase stopped the warming of the late 1970s through the late 1990s. This is rather shocking. If this is true it punches a massive hole in the “humans are the dominate cause of global warming” argument. It seems the authors are saying that carbon dioxide has been dethroned!
This idea that the PDO shift to cooler is responsible for the end of global warming (at least for now) got me to thinking about the other side of the PDO, the warm phase. Now get ready for this radical thought. If the PDO shift to cooler stopped the warming, is it possible that perhaps much of the increase in temperature from the late 1970s to the late 1990s was from the warm phase of the PDO? Ouch, that’s not going to go over very big! And, not to pile it on, but is it also possible that the cooling of earth’s average temperature from the mid 1940s to the late 1970s was caused by the previous cool phase of the PDO? I’m looking out my window to see if “Big Brother” is targeting me with a drone.