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HARPER: U.N.’s latest climate report buries inconvenient facts

- - Wednesday, October 2, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Some inconvenient truths have emerged recently for those who argue man is to blame for excessive global warming, but most of the media tended to shrug at these and other facts.

For example, temperatures throughout the world have remained relatively constant over the past 15 years. Also, the population of polar bears — the poster animals of climate disaster — has reportedly been growing in the Arctic.

Nevertheless, much of the media lined up in lockstep with the doomsayers as the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its first report in six years, its fifth since 1988.

"Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped. This represents a substantial multicentury climate change commitment created by past, present and future emissions of CO2," states the report, which was released Friday.

Andrew Revkin of The New York Times has been on the global warming bus since he started reporting about the environment in 1988. If you want an insight into his politics, he sometimes backs up leftist folk singer Pete Seeger in between columns.

"The finest product of the 25-year effort is not any particular report, but the trajectory of understanding of greenhouse-driven warming charted in the panel's conclusions," he writes.

I don't know why The Wall Street Journal lists self-proclaimed environmentalist and actress Daryl Hannah as one of its "experts." Is the newspaper serious or simply poking fun at her?

Here's her view: "Water-intensive, mono-crop, petrochemical industrial agriculture has decimated our topsoil and created dead zones in the oceans. Some of the methods used to accelerate nature's intelligent soil-development process include compost, biochar, brown coal, Mycorrhizal fungi, vermiculture and managed livestock." Got that?

Fortunately, some actual knowledgeable people questioned the methods and the conclusions of the new report.

For example, Nigel Lawson, a former British energy minister and a conservative member of the House of Lords, writes about the "mumbo-jumbo" of the methods and conclusions of the U.N. report.

"Presenting itself as the voice of science in this important issue, it is a politically motivated pressure group that brings the good name of science into disrepute," he writes in the London Telegraph.

Mr. Lawson, along with others, notes the way the U.N. reports that mean temperatures have not increased significantly in recent years, an inconvenient fact for global warming activists. "This is brushed aside as a temporary blip," he says.

Furthermore, the scientific method means experiments can be replicated, with similar results to confirm the accuracy of the hypotheses. With the extensive use of computer modeling to predict future temperature shifts, however, it would appear almost impossible to subject the results to repetition and analysis by scientists outside of the U.N. group.

As Canadian energy economist Ross McKitrick notes in the Financial Post: "What is commonly called the 'mainstream' view of climate science is contained in the spread of results from computer models. What is commonly dismissed as the 'skeptical' or 'denier' view coincides with the real-world observations."

Paul Driessen, a senior policy adviser for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, writes in The Washington Times that policies based on the U.N. reports have the European Union putting aside $250 billion a year on relatively wacky projects, with the United States starting down this costly path. Here in Pennsylvania, for example, huge wind towers loom over major highways, providing negligible reductions in the state's energy costs.

As the current upheaval in some oil-producing countries demonstrates, the United States must be more concerned about energy independence than the musings of actors and computer programmers. Fortunately, some journalists and scientists think so, too.

Christopher Harper is a professor at Temple University. He worked for more than 20 years at the Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and "20/20." He can be contacted at charper@washingtontimes.com. Twitter: @charper51