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Peter Foster: The IPCC – A Thoroughly Political Body

‘The Delinquent Teenager’  shows IPCC far from objective science

Despite the collapse of the Kyoto process and the decline in public concern, professional environmental alarmists and eco-activists — who are now concentrating their venom on stopping the Keystone XL pipeline — continue to thunder that climate science is “settled.” Their authority for this claim is the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. Anybody wishing to gauge the reliability of such science, or the true nature of the IPCC, should read Donna Laframboise’s compelling, indeed at times jaw-dropping, The Delinquent Teenager Who was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert.






In a meticulously referenced and deservedly praised page-turner, Ms. Laframboise, an accomplished journalist who turned to the skeptical blogosphere, demonstrates how the IPCC is a thoroughly political organization. Far from objectively weighing the best available science, it cherry-picks egregiously to support its main objective: to serve its government masters. Its lead authors are not the world’s leading scientists but frequently wet-behind-the-ears graduates, and/or ardent activists. They are also selected on the basis of gender and country “diversity” rather than expertise. The organization, Ms. Laframboise demonstrates, has also been thoroughly infiltrated by environmental NGOs, in particular the World Wildlife Fund.

The book elucidates how the panel’s much-vaunted “peer review” amounts to a “circular, incestuous process. Scientists make decisions as journal editors about what qualifies as peer-reviewed literature. They then cite the same papers they themselves played midwife to while serving as IPCC authors.” IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri’s claim that all the “Climate Bible’s” science is peer reviewed is, in any case, bunk. With a body of volunteers, Ms. Laframboise went through the 2007 report and found that more than 5,000 references — over a third — were from less-than-reliable sources. The most egregious such “grey” reference led to the claim that the Himalayan glaciers were to disappear by 2035. This terrifying assertion was traced back to the top of a non-expert’s head.

After the embarrassment of “Glaciergate,” which came on top of the much more serious “Climategate,” the InterAcademy Council (IAC), which represents international academies of science, was tasked with examining the IPCC process. One of Ms. Laframboise’s greatest coups was to gain access to at least some of the responses to a questionnaire the IAC sent to ­IPCC authors. Far from “consensus,” those responses — which she cites in detail — indicate widespread concern, confusion and distrust.

She introduces us to numerous well-credentialled skeptics, including Jason Johnston, an expert in environmental law, who set out to verify whether the ­IPCC reports in fact “conformed with the peer-reviewed climate science literature.” His conclusion: “on virtually every major issue in climate change science,” IPCC reports “systematically conceal or minimize what appear to be fundamental scientific uncertainties.”

The Delinquent Teenager reveals how inconvenient science has been buried and sums up: “The IPCC ignores the consensus among hurricane experts that there is no discernable link to global warning. It ignores the consensus among those who study natural disasters that there is no relationship between human greenhouse gas emissions and the rising cost of these disasters. It ignores the consensus among bona fide malaria experts that global warming has not caused malaria to spread. In each case the IPCC substitutes its own version of reality. In each case that version of reality makes global warming appear more frightening than genuine experts believe the available evidence indicates.”

Meanwhile the authors of the “Climate Bible” can always find space for post-deadline alarmism. The U.K. government’s Stern Review was castigated by experts for its wild alarmism and ludicrous assumptions. However, Ms. Laframboise points out, “26 references to the Stern Review were added to 12 different IPCC chapters after the work of the expert reviewers had already been completed.” (The Stern Review, incidentally, wasn’t peer reviewed, although Sir Nicholas Stern was given a peerage for writing it.) Like Lord Stern, many of the IPCC’s leaders firmly believe it is their job to “steer” society away from carbon and consumerism, which, as Ms. Laframboise forcefully points out, is no part of science.

One of the many disturbing issues arising from the book is the sheer vitriol unleashed against Mr. Laframboise for daring to ask questions. “It is peculiar, indeed,” she writes, “that people who see things differently try to link my climate views to racists, Holocaust deniers, child murderers, mental illness and the tobacco industry.… It is bizarre that prime ministers and other officials think it remotely appropriate to publicly denounce climate skeptics as cowards, saboteurs and anti-science Flat-Earthers… Whatever happened to tolerance and mutual respect?”

Her conclusion is that the IPCC process is irretrievably compromised and should be scrapped. However, the IAC review is among those documents now buried as this corrupt organization continues under the same conflicted leadership. The Delinquent Teenager should be required reading for all those who, like something out of Animal Farm, bleat or oink that “the debate is over.” Ms. Laframboise leaves us in no doubt that a ­debate has never even taken place.