- - Monday, September 16, 2013

The U.N. panel has been corrupted by government lucre

On Sept. 27, the United Nations will issue its next major climate change report. Last month’s leak of a draft indicates that it will be full of warnings of catastrophe to come if we do not quickly change our ways. Here is a sample:

“Changes are projected to occur in all regions of the globe, and include changes in land and ocean, in the water cycle, in the cryosphere, in sea level, in some extreme events and in ocean acidification. Many of these changes would persist for centuries. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions of [carbon-dioxide] emissions.”

The report, titled “Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis,” is the first volume of a series of documents that will be issued by the U.N. over the next year as part of the Fifth Assessment Report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

When the panel published previous assessment reports in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007, most in media, government and the public regarded their conclusions as irrefutable, the most authoritative, up-to-date word from thousands of scientists in the field. However, things may be very different this time around. Since the last report, the current period of no global warming has extended to 17 years. This has occurred despite the continuing rise in carbon-dioxide levels, something none of the organization’s climate models predicted.

Other alarming forecasts — increasing tropical cyclones and tornadoes, rapid sea-level rise and sudden ice melt — have not come about.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suffered damaging blows to its credibility as a result of the discovery of serious science mistakes in its documents, extreme bias in its operation, and that 30 percent of the references for the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report were derived from non-expert sources.

Nevertheless, the Fifth Assessment Report will include little that could shed doubt on the central thesis of all U.N. climate work: Emissions of greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide) from human activities, especially the combustion of coal, oil and natural gas, are causing dangerous global warming and other climate problems. The science is “settled,” they will tell us.

This is because all U.N. climate change activities are based on the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which declared in 1992 that we must achieve “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

The framework convention then created climate change “roadmaps” for the world to follow. They brokered international climate treaties. They will run the $100 billion Green Fund to funnel money to developing nations, and other U.N. agencies will monitor national emissions and orchestrate enforcement.

So the International Panel on Climate Change is hamstrung. In order to avoid sabotaging the work of thousands of U.N. employees who have devoted their careers to creating an international climate change bureaucracy, its report must conclude that the climate change alarmism is warranted, no matter what the science actually indicates.

The panel should be replaced with neutral entities outside of the U.N.’s control. Then we would have some reason to trust its scientific findings.

However, such a development is not going to happen any time soon. Besides taking the pronouncements of the forthcoming panel’s report with a large grain of salt, media, government and the public must balance the U.N.’s climate alarmism with alternative points of view from climate experts outside of the organization.

Until recently, countering the International Panel on Climate Change reports with the views of climate scientists who do not support the scare has been exceptionally difficult. This problem has now been solved with reports of the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). The organization’s next report, “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science,” will be released on Sept. 17. Co-authored and co-edited by climate experts Craig Idso, Robert Carter, and S. Fred Singer, the non-governmental panel reports use layman’s language to show that the U.N. organization has ignored or misinterpreted much of the research that challenges the need for carbon-dioxide controls. Pre-empting the U.N.’s report, it will demonstrate that the science underlying the worldwide effort to create multibillion-dollar climate and energy policies is almost certainly wrong.

Mr. Carter, a former head of the School of Earth Science at James Cook University in Australia, explains, “The IPCC’s reputation as a source of credible and impartial scientific advice is now shredded beyond retrieval, and many senior scientists believe that it should be closed down forthwith.”

“In contrast, the authors and contributors to the NIPCC publications represent independent and often senior scientists who are beholden to no one, and have no political agenda to pursue. NIPCC presents the science as it is, not as it can be spun,” Mr. Carter continues. “In particular, NIPCC volumes contain descriptions of hundreds of papers that argue against the occurrence of dangerous human-caused global warming and which have gone unreported or under-reported by the IPCC.”

The original mandate of the International Panel on Climate Change sounds balanced: “to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relating to climate change.” In reality, it has become one of the world’s strongest advocates of climate alarmism. Until it is replaced with less biased bodies outside of U.N. control, the NIPCC reports are essential reading for anyone who wants to promote policies that actually benefit society and the environment.

Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.