IPCC's abuse of science 1
By John Happs
Dr Happs is a former lecturer in the geosciences and author of numerous science texts and book chapters. This is his open letter of 20 December 2009 to Australia's then Chief Scientist Professor Penny Sackett. It surveys (with many quotes) the whistle blowing that uncovered abuse of science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- an abuse that promises to be the worst scandal in science's history. The letter has also been circulated to Australian senators. This website version has been slightly abridged and updated. The headings and graphs have been added. An update was added as a postcript in December 2010. Professor Sackett never replied, so Dr Happs has sent a second open letter to the new Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb. This second letter has mostly new content, and is on this website in two parts. Don't miss it! Now back to Professor Sackett:
Dear Professor Sackett,
In my email to you of 20 June 2009 I criticised politicians for so quickly embracing the unproven notion, put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of man-made global warming and catastrophic climate change. You did not respond to my email. Neither did you acknowledge receiving it.
In my email I reminded you of your position on global warming. ABC journalist Sabra Lane quotes you as saying "The evidence is clear the planet is warming due to human activity. ... It is also clear that the largest portion of that [warming] is due to human action. That is, through deforestation and emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere". Similarly, when Peter Mares interviewed you on Radio National (3 April 2009), you said "The primary task of a Chief Scientist is to advise the government in an independent manner on all things scientific". Furthermore, "The government respects that the advice must be independent and the Chief Scientist respects that the government shouldn't be surprised by any advice. That is to say that we consult carefully before giving it".
IPCC criticised by tens of thousands of informed scientists
I also provided you with numerous quotes from scientists who had been involved with the IPCC as reviewers and/or contributors. They were extremely critical of the IPCC process, and I would have expected you to take those statements seriously. For instance Dr Vincent Gray, climate consultant, long-standing member of the New Zealand Royal Society and expert reviewer for the IPCC, publicly described the IPCC's climate change statements as "An orchestrated litany of lies". To support the IPCC's statements seems to embrace political correctness and ideology, certainly not science.
IPCC charter seems biased
Many IPCC members are not scientists
Dr William Schlesinger, biogeochemist and president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, notes that 80% of the IPCC's member had absolutely no dealing with climate as part of their academic studies.
Professor Paul Reiter, from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, gave written evidence to the Select Committee on Economic Affairs about the IPCC Second Assessment Report, Working Group 11, Chapter 18 on Human Population Health. He said "The amateurish text of the chapter reflected the limited knowledge of the 22 authors".
Interestingly, politicians and the media have never noticed that the IPCC's president Rajendra Pachauri has no scientific qualifications, yet is able to speak with "certainty" about climate science. Additionally it appears that Pachauri has established a worldwide portfolio of business interests, where large amounts of money are being invested in organisations that could benefit from the IPCC's policy recommendations. Which leads to my next point.
Who stands to gain from emissions trading?
There are countless other vested interests besides those of Pachauri and Gore. Around the world huge amounts of government money have been made available for research on climate change. Inserting the words "climate change" into a grant proposal, and exaggerating the impact of global warming, puts you ahead of the crowd. From individual researchers to whole institutes, it appears to be a matter of toeing the IPCC party line in exchange for cash bonanzas.
Two examples of distortion
Dr Willem de Lange, an expert in Oceanography, coastal processes and climatic hazards, was listed by the IPCC as one of approximately 3000 scientists who agreed that there was a discernable human influence on climate. But he did not agree with the IPCC projections of sea level rise and threats to Pacific Islands. Instead he had indicated how research clearly shows that coral atolls and associated islands are likely to increase (not decrease) in elevation as sea level rises. So the IPCC's assumptions were invalid, and he was convinced that the IPCC's projections were unrealistic. The IPCC ignored his comments.
Where are the IPCC's "thousands of scientists"?
On the other hand, statistician Dr John McLean has many years experience investigating and analysing climate data and other climate-related issues. He makes the comment "How many times have you heard or read words to the effect that 4000 scientists from the IPCC support the claims about a significant human influence on climate? It's utterly wrong". In fact "Fifty-three authors and five reviewers are all that can be said to explicitly support the claim of a significant human influence on climate. The figure of 4000 is a myth". Indeed, against these few authors and reviewers are the tens of thousands of informed contrary views mentioned earlier. In other words, contrary to what Kevin Rudd implies, the consensus of informed scientists is against the IPCC.
An unjustified U-turn
Reliable data is being ignored
The world has been warming since the Little Ice Age of the 1700s, long before the rise in man-made carbon dioxide. But since 2001, satellite data show the world has been cooling despite the continuing rise in carbon dioxide. This does not mean that global warming is over, only that something other than carbon dioxide is the main driver of temperature change. ppm = parts per million. 100 ppm = 0.01%. This graph was not included in the original letter and is redrawn from http://joannenova.com.au. For the latest update visit http://www.junkscience.com
Whistleblowers uncover a likely scandal
At the end of 2009 about 1000 emails and 3000 documents located on the Climatic Research Unit server at the University of East Anglia were hacked and leaked by whistleblowers. Collectively the leaked material reveals serious abuse of the scientific process. Climate scientist Professor Tim Ball was explicit about the emails and documents: "The argument that global warming is due to humans, known as the anthropogenic [man-made] global warming theory, is a deliberate fraud. I can now make that statement without fear of contradiction because of a remarkable hacking of files that provided not just a smoking gun, but an entire battery of smoking guns. ... Carbon dioxide was never a problem and all the machinations and deceptions exposed by these files prove that it is the greatest deception in history, but nobody is laughing. It is a very sad day for science".
The rest of my letter gives examples from the leaked emails that document the IPCC's abuse of the scientific process. The abuses appear to include suppression of inconvenient evidence, manipulation of data, conspiracy to withhold data, dishonesty, and pressuring critical journal editors. It could hardly get any worse.
Clique of authors
In effect a small clique of scientists controlled the IPCC, the IPCC's crucial report chapters, and the IPCC's Summary for Policy Makers which went out to politicians and the media. Remember their names because they appear again and again in the cases that follow.
Pressure on editors
In other emails Grant Foster appeared to be looking for comments about a paper that was critical of the notion of man-made global warming. Jones gave Foster a list of people, telling him that "These reviewers would know what to say about the paper [i.e. bad things] without any prompting". Similarly, when Ken Briffa discusses a skeptical article with Ed Cook, he says in confidence that he needs to put together a case to reject that article. And when discussing the IPCC's draft Fourth Assessment Report, Mann acknowledges that the paleoclimate chapter would be contentious, but they have the right people to deal with it.
Professor Wegman went on to warn "It is immediately clear that Mann, Rutherford, Jones, Osborn, Briffa, Bradley and Hughes form a clique, each interacting with all of the others. A clique is a fully connected subgraph, meaning everyone in the clique interacts with everyone else in the clique".
Manipulation of data
For instance, Tom Wigley admitted to Michael Mann that a figure used to refute Christopher Monckton's criticism (see later) was deceptive. He also said there had been a number of dishonest presentations of model output by authors and the IPCC, as when sea surface temperatures were manipulated to make the results look both warmer and plausible.
Worse, some scientists at the Climatic Research Unit appear to have been working in league with US scientists who compiled the climate data for the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The latter data appear to contain numerous biases which inflate the supposed natural warming of the 20th century. (In fact satellite data shows there has been no global warming since the late 1970s and cooling since 2001, see graph.) In the USA the Competitive Enterprise Institute has now filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against the Goddard Institute over their 3-year refusal to provide documents requested under the US Freedom of Information Act.
Mathematician Christopher Monckton, former scientific advisor to Margaret Thatcher, describes those implicated by the leaked emails as a "Close-knit clique of climate scientists who invented and now drive the "global warming" fraud -- for fraud is what we now know it to be -- and tampered with temperature data". He adds "I have reported them to the UK's Information Commissioner, with a request that he investigate their offences and, if thought fit, prosecute".
Australia's Professor Ian Plimer agrees with Monckton's position, saying "Here we have the Australian government underpinning the biggest economic decision this country has ever made and it's all based on fraud".
Conspiracy to withhold data
For instance, in one email Phil Jones says "The two MMs [McKitrick and McIntyre] have been after the Climatic Research Unit's data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send it to anyone". In other emails Tom Wigley discusses how they could deal with UK Freedom of Information laws, and Jones suggests using technical arguments to avoid complying, for example by saying the data was covered by agreements with outsiders, which agreements the Climate Research Unit would then be "hiding behind". Jones adds that they were co-ordinating themselves to resist Freedom of Information laws.
Another response was to simply brush off any request for the data. For instance, when Warwick Hughes asked for the data and method that Jones used to support his claim of a 0.6C temperature rise since the end of the 19th century, Jones responded "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"
Christopher Monckton makes the point: "Data destruction, as they [the clique at the Climatic Research Unit] are about to find out to their cost, is a criminal offence. They are not merely bad scientists -- they are crooks. And crooks who have perpetrated their crimes at the expense of British and US taxpayers". He was not joking -- in response to the scandal (which has been well aired in British newspapers but less so in Australian newspapers), Phil Jones was stood down while an "inquiry" (ie the inevitable whitewash) was carried out.
In another email, Ken Briffa confesses "I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the [temperature] data, but in reality the situation is not quite so simple -- I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago". This clearly undermines the IPCC's argument that current global warming is "unprecedented". In fact Michael Mann attempted to remove this earlier warm period using his infamous and now thoroughly discredited "hockey stick" graph. Similarly, one of the team (possibly Dr Jonathan Overpeck) had stated previously to Professor David Deming "We must get rid of the Medieval Warm Period".
Michael Mann's hockey stick graph (shown in red) appears to show that the Earth's temperature was stable from 1400 to 1900. There is then a dramatic rise (like the end of a hockey stick) that was claimed to be due to carbon dioxide emissions. This graph was heavily promoted by Al Gore and his supporters, and by the IPCC whose 2001 Summary for Policymakers claimed "that the 1990s has been the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year of the millennium".
It is now known that the data had been carefully fudged to remove an inconvenient truth, namely the Medieval Warm Period, when the world was warmer than today. The true variation (shown in blue) includes the tail end of the Medieval Warm Period centuries before carbon dioxide reached its present levels. It is easy to see the problems: (1) If the world in medieval times could be warm from natural causes that had nothing to do with carbon dioxide, the 20th century increase could be the same. (2) The present increase in temperature can hardly be considered hazardous when even larger increases happened in the past. (3) The Australian government says there is no credible evidence against man-made warming. But they provide no empirical evidence in favour of it.
Eventually the IPCC quietly dropped the hockey stick graph, claiming (contrary to the evidence) that the medieval warming was local and not global. The above graph was not in my original letter and has been redrawn from S McIntyre & R McKitrick (2003), Corrections to the Mann et al (1998) proxy data base and Northern Hemispheric average temperature series, Energy & Environment, 14(6), 751-771. See previous graph for changes showing global cooling since 2001.
Another incriminating email is by Dr Trenberth, a climatologist at the US Centre for Atmospheric Research and lead author for the 2001 and 2007 IPCC assessments. He says "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment [this lack was of course completely contrary to what the IPCC was claiming], and it is a travesty that we can't". Similarly, exchanges between Wigley and Mann suggest that they not only knew the planet was not warming but they knew little about the energy sinks involved: "What you said was 'we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment'. Now you say 'we are nowhere close to knowing where the energy [which should be causing warming] is going. In my eyes these are two different things -- the second relates to our level of understanding, and I agree that this is still lacking".
Pressurising critical journal editors
In another email, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. For instance, Tom Wigley complained that Professor Hans von Storch, from the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg, was partly to blame for papers critical of man-made global warming being published in the journal Climate Research. Wigley suggested they tell its publishers that the journal was being used for misinformation. He also said that whether this was true or not didn't matter -- they needed to stop skeptical articles, if necessary by getting the editorial board to resign.
And in some cases they succeeded. For instance, when McIntyre (one of the two Ms previously referred to) published a skeptical paper in Geophysical Research Letters in 2005, Michael Mann challenged the editor James Saiers over the publication. Tom Wigley said that if the editor was skeptical about man-made global warming they should get him ousted. And in fact the editor did move on.
Future of the IPCC
Professor Mike Hulme from the University of East Anglia (the same university that houses the Climate Research Unit) suggests that "The IPCC has run its course. The tribalism that some of the leaked emails display ... is not attractive when we find it at work inside science". But it is worse than that. The IPCC Reports are the foundation for Australia's Garnaut Report and for the Kyoto and the Copenhagen Accord. It seems likely that all are based on questionable science and massaged data.
Changing position because of the evidence
More recently London's Science Museum has revised the contents of its new £4 million climate science gallery. Previously it had pushed the idea of man-made global warming. Now it is neutral, accepting that there are legitimate doubts about man-made effects. Even the gallery's name has been changed from Climate Change Gallery to Climate Science Gallery to avoid being seen as taking sides. These changes by the 100-year-old museum shows how deeply scientific instituitions have been shaken by public reactions to the damaging emails.
The same is shown by Germany's Leibnitz Association, an umbrella group that includes among its members several climate research institutions. It has called for the resignation of the IPCC's president Rajendra Pachauri.
Where does this leave the Australian government?
The present level of carbon dioxide is 0.039%, of which only about one thirtieth is man-made, whereas the level of water vapour is around 1%. So even large changes in carbon dioxide are not going to have much effect. It is difficult to see how Australia's Chief Scientist could believe that, by tweaking the low levels of man-made carbon dioxide, we can "keep the overall level of global warming at 2 degrees average".
I can understand how some scientifically illiterate politicians might want us to believe we have found a "magic" planetary thermostat, but this is not the thinking I would expect of Australia's Chief Scientist. Let me come back to the point you made to Peter Mares about advice that the Chief Scientist should be giving to the government, namely "The government shouldn't be surprised by any advice. That is to say that we consult carefully before giving it".
I hope you will now look closely at the growing international scandal about the IPCC's abuse of science, and at those who stand to make a great deal of money from emissions trading. I also hope you will inform the government of the 900+ peer-reviewed published papers which challenge the notion of man-made global warming but which were ignored by the IPCC. For example, Tedesco and Monaghan have recently published an article in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, showing that the ice melt during the Antarctic summer of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in satellite data history. Let me know if you would like the full list. Anything less would not match your claim of "consulting carefully".
To your credit, I note how you have recently stated that challenges to the notion of man-made global warming deserve more attention.
[No reply or acknowledgement had been received from Professor Sackett]
Later, in May 2010, the Society made a U-turn, saying "Any public perception that the science [of global warming] is somehow fully settled is wholly incorrect -- there is always room for new observations, theories, measurements." This statement contradicted a comment by the Society's previous president, Lord May, who claimed "The debate on climate change is now over." It also contradicted the Royal Society's 2005 publication A guide to facts and fictions about climate change, which denounced twelve "misleading arguments" that now seem far from misleading.
Sir Alan Rudge, a Fellow of the Society and former member of the UK Government's Scientific Advisory Committee, said the Society had adopted
an "unnecessarily alarmist position" on climate change. He added "One of the reasons [retired] people like myself are willing to put our heads above the parapet is that our careers are not at risk ... [just] because we say the science is not settled. The bullying of people into silence has unfortunately been effective."
The Society duly appointed a panel to rewrite its official position on global warming, and in September 2010 the panel published a new guide Climate change: a summary of the science that (it says) "lays out clearly" the areas that are certain, moderately certain, or uncertain. But follow the money. The Society is partially funded by the British Government, so it is not going to let science stand in the way of funding. And indeed, its new guide fails to deliver.
Instead of clearly saying things like "there is agreement (or disagreement) on X", which is surely not an impossible task, it waffles on about "observations are scarce" or "current understanding indicates...", or it obfuscates by referring to improved data such as satellite data without saying what the data show, or to "evidence from ice cores indicates an active role for CO2" without mentioning that historical CO2 levels rise and fall hundreds of years after temperature changes, which of course is the wrong way round, all of which leaves you to do all the work. Dissenting views are never described. There are just two references, one of which is the IPCC, and the other quotes the IPCC.
It gets worse. The guide was written by a 13-person working group, most of them FRS's. It received input or reviews from 18 others, most of them FRS's, none of whom were asked to endorse the conclusions. They might not have endorsed even if asked, because the conclusions support the IPCC's claim that the present global warming is man-made. More specifically, the guide takes the observed climate, subtracts what the far-from-certain models predict without man-made inputs, and confidently declares that the difference must be man-made. It never points out that this is precisely what the dispute is all about, nor why we should believe the Royal Society rather than equally well qualified dissenters, or why just four months earlier it had stated that seeing the matter as "somehow fully settled is wholly incorrect". Two U-turns in a row?
Recently Scientific American (a strong IPCC supporter) polled its readers via its website. Of over 7000 respondents, 83.8% think the IPCC is "a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda", 69.4% think we should do nothing about climate change since "we are powerless to stop it", and 68.0% think governments should keep science out of the political process. When asked "How much would you be willing to pay to forestall the risk of catastrophic climate change?", 79.6% said "nothing". Scientific American subsequently claimed the poll was hijacked by referrals from http://wattsupwiththat.com, the most visited (over 2 million hits per month) and arguably the most informative climate website, albeit a dissenting one, in which case why did Scientific American publish the results in the first place?
Even more recently the total of dissenting international scientists exceeded 1000, among them 46 climate specialists who once worked for the IPCC but have now resigned or become dissenters. Here are six examples of their views:Dr Vincent Gray: "The [IPCC] climate change statement is an orchestrated litany of lies." Dr Mike Hulme: "Claims such as '2,500 of the world's leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate' are disingenuous ... The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was only a few dozen." Dr Chris Landsea: "I cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound." Dr Richard Lindzen: "The IPCC process is driven by politics rather than science. It uses summaries to misrepresent what scientists say and exploits public ignorance." Dr Fred Singer: "Isn't it remarkable that the Policymakers Summary of the IPCC report avoids mentioning the satellite data altogether, or even the existence of satellites -- probably because the data show a (slight) cooling over the last 18 years, in direct contradiction to the calculations from climate models?" Dr David Wojick: "The public is not well served by this constant drumbeat of alarms fed by computer models manipulated by advocates."
Remember these are not crackpot deniers but climate specialists who once worked for the IPCC. Nor are they the only group of informed scientists who are criticising the IPCC's findings -- there are at least a dozen others such as The Heidelberg Appeal with 4000 signatures including 62 Nobel prizewinners, and The Oregon Petition with 31,000 accredited scientists. All 1000+ views, and all of the original material mentioned above, can be reached by Googling "Royal Society climate change", "Scientific American climate poll", "climate change Watts up with that", and "climate change 1000 scientists dissent". Or visit Wikipedia, which should be trustworthy now that the previous climate administrator William Connolley, a Green Party activist in Britain, has been sacked for deliberately altering or suppressing thousands of submissions to make them more favourable to man-made global warming.An article by Lawrence Solomon in Canada's Financial Post for 20 December 2009 entitled How Wikipedia's green doctor rewrote 5428 climate articles spelt out the details, which included: "When Connolley didn't like the subject of a certain article, he removed it -- more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred -- over 2000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writings conformed to Connolley's global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia's blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement." Google "William Connelley" for more.
In the UK skepticism is now the prevailing public sentiment. The European and global financial crisis has focussed attention on the insanity of squandering $45 trillion ($45,000,000,000,000) on a possibly imaginary threat, whose only sure outcome is to make carbon traders billionaires. In March 2010 London's famous Science Museum, aware of discontent about one-sided views in its Climate Change Gallery, changed its name to the Climate Science Gallery in which skeptic views are welcome.
For an update, return to home page and click on IPCC's abuse of science 2.