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Peter Glover: Occupying Durban: The Greatest Sham On Earth

If you have a phobia about high concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) then you should avoid Durban, South Africa between November 28 and December 9. That’s where the world’s political and celebrity elites and assorted planet-savers are flying into this week – mostly in private jets – to prognosticate and pontificate over how the rest of us ought to stop running up … er…high concentrations of carbon dioxide.

To what end? Well actually to parade their collective ignorance on a subject no one much understands, based on an agenda determined by assorted reports not written by the world’s leading scientists and sponsored by a highly politicised organisation with a significant credibility problem.

All in all, Occupying Durban should prove entertaining.

The plot so far

If you recall, the Copenhagen summit at 2009 was billed as the last chance saloon to impact global climate. In advance of the Copenhagen shindig, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon summed up: “We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet.” Given the summit failed to secure anything except a single vacuous joint aspiration: keep the global rise in temperature below 2 degrees C, our fate must have been sealed. Surprisingly, the ‘aspiration’ alone met with stunning success. Since the 2009 summit (well actually since 1995) Mother Nature saw to it that the average global temperature did not rise at all! Strike one for vacuous aspirations. Best of all, it was achieved at nil cost to us all. Now just imagine if the summit had come up with an agreed, multi-billion dollar price-tagged, plan? Phew. We dodged a bullet there.

But like failed prophecies in every age, the IPCC prognosticators believe it was just the timing they got wrong. So the usual suspects, Bono, Sir Richard Branson, DiCaprio, Jolie and co, all reportedly jetting into Durban, can rest easy over cocktails this evening. A simple ‘end is nigh’ adjustment is all that is required. And that is what the latest IPCC’spublished summary provides. The summary of the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disaster due in February, is forced to admit apocalypse has been deferred – by at least a couple of decades or more.

In fact, so lacking in alarmist rhetoric is the forthcoming IPCC report, the summary of its findings failed to make any of the usual sensationalist headlines. Such is the background to Durban 2011.

IPCC latest

Clearly, the battering the IPCC has taken recently after its litany of ‘mishaps’ from Glacier-gate to Climate-gate to the latest release of 5,000 emails, Climate-gate 2.0, resulting in calls for it to be scrapped or reformed, has clearly taken its toll. The new report appears to deliver a more restrained tone in its substance, if not in its headline assertions.

One key statement stands out: “Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two or three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability.” The report admits there is unlikely to be any earth-warming for the next 20 or 30 years “because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability.” In short, extreme weather events are not giving any indication of further global warming as natural climate variations have a greater influence. The UN IPCC is throwing in the towel. It is clueless as to whether the climate will warm or cool over coming decades.

Climate case closed you might think. But that would be to underestimate the special interest lobbies all with a vested interest in the vast sums of public money, not to mention the reputations – scientific, political and journalistic – at stake.

Durban may be the focus of the latest three-ringed climate circus, but the UN IPCC remains the ringmaster. Its reputation has been taking a very long skydive into a very dry and small barrel for some time. But with the publication of a devastating new and well-researched expose of its inner workings, the UN IPCC’s reputation clearly finally hit bottom.

IPCC busted

Inept. Secretive. Politicized. Incoherent. Corrupt. The negative epithets offer themselves thick and fast as one read’s Donna Laframboise’s The Delinquent Teenager who was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert with increasingly incredulity. Some of us had suspected as much. But Laframboise deftly exposes IPCC operations as never before. Now let’s be clear. This book does not deal with the climate science. It deals squarely with something that should matter deeply to us all: the competence and integrity of an agency that purports to be the definitive scientific voice on climate issues.

In summary, Laframboise debunks core IPCC claims about itself and reveals an operation so shambolic and dysfunctional that it beggars belief anyone should accord it any worthy status at all. Critically, we learn that some IPCC authors admit to being “completely out of our depth” when it comes to assessing complex climate data. Given that some are actually not ‘world-renowned’ scientists at all but are climate activists connected to Greenpeace, the WWF etc. that should not surprise us. Lafromboise shows how the IPCC regularly ignores its own rules on selection of lead and contributing authors. Unlike other major organisations, the IPCC, we learn, has no Conflict of Interest rules; which explains why so many UN IPCC report authors have major conflicts of interest, including the head of the IPCC himself.

But particularly devastating is the revelation “that many IPCC authors aren’t chosen for their scientific prowess. They’re graduate students, affirmative action selections, activists, and virtual reality climate modelers. That ladies and gentleman, is how the IPCC arrives at its ‘gold standard’ science.” Equally critical, is Laframboise’s detailed rubbishing debunking of the much-repeated IPCC claim that only peer-reviewed science articles are referenced in its reports.

Yet, “The Climate Bible [IPCC reports] is cited by governments around the world. It is the reason carbon taxes are being introduced, heating bills are rising, and costly new regulations are being enacted. It is why everyone thinks carbon dioxide emissions are dangerous.”

Laframboise concludes, “The notion that leaders of wealthy and important nations are proposing to spend trillions of dollars on climate change measures on the say-so of this kind of report makes me think we’ve all lost our minds.”

As the latest UN IPCC climate narrative is staged in Durban, an adapted Macbeth soliloquy offers its own summary: “A tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”