The British House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee has issued its report on the AR5 WG I. While the report strongly supports the IPCC (see below), there is opposition within the Commons and the Murdochsphere. An important issue is how does one know the opposition is blowing smoke. There are tells.
In commenting on climate change, Eli has always been of the opinion that the thin bench is the weakness of denialism. In this, it was interesting to note that the opponents of the IPCC on the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee invited Richard Lindzen and Nick Lewis accompanied by one Donna Laframboise to give oral testimony. Bunnies can go back and forth about Lindzen and Lewis. Lindzen has been wrong about a lot of things. Lewis has a hammer. Laframboise, well, it is difficult to say what she is, at least politely, and she was a challenge to the Committee. A bit of the oral testimony shows that they knew they were being insulted and oh yes, Richard Lindzen was maybe not held too seriously either.
Q75 John Robertson: I remember a movie that I think was called The Core, and the scientist who was a bit of a pain in the backside made a statement that “science is a best guess”. Nobody knows exactly what it is, but it is a best guess. We have to go on the best guess. You need to help us.One must thank the members of the committee in denial, Graham Stringer and Peter Lilley, for inviting Ms. Laframboise. It would be hard to think of a clearer marker that denial is not to be taken seriously. The fact that she was invited shows that there is no there there.
Professor Lindzen: Yes, but the question is, how do you decide on policy? In other words, it is kind of a point of amusement. Somebody says, “There is a problem”, and the politician says, “We have to do something”.
John Robertson: There lies your problem. Your problem is the science. Our problem is the policy. I do not get involved in the science and perhaps probably you should not get involved in the politics.
Donna Laframboise: If I might make a comment. I am a journalist with no scientific background whatsoever and I had left journalism for seven years. I got laid off at the National Post with 130 other people. I decided to do something else with my life. Then I started doing some independent research on climate change and decided I should write a book because I realised that there was a wide diversity of scientific opinion about climate change, but that diversity was not being reflected in the news reports that I was reading. I thought I was writing a book about 10 reasons to be calm, cool and collected about climate change because there are diverse points of view. Instead, I ended up writing an expose of the IPCC, quite unexpectedly, because the more I did some basic fact-checking about what we were told about how the IPCC works as an organisation, the more concerned I got.
I compare it to a criminal trial. If we find out that there was bias among the jurors, then we have to throw out the verdict and start again. What I see is there are so many questions and biases and potential problems with the IPCC process that I do not think it is trustworthy. I do not think any reasonable person can look at the IPCC in depth and say, “We can trust this decision”. It is unfortunate. I wish we could because it would be much clearer what we should do.
John Robertson: With the best will in the world, you are one person and a lot of other people would disagree with you and you have had your chance to sell your book.
The Committee report issued just now is quite strong:
80. The conclusions of this inquiry are very clear: the WGI contribution to AR5 is the best available summary of the prevailing scientific opinion on climate change currently available to policy-makers. Its conclusions are derived with a high confidence from areas of well understood science. Uncertainty remains in a small number of important areas but these are diminishing. It is important to consider all lines of evidence together when assessing climate change rather than focusing on particular aspects of the report. The overall thrust and conclusions of the report are widely supported in the scientific community and summaries are presented in a way that is persuasive to the lay reader.
81. The size and scale of the report reflects the huge effort by the international climate science community, who volunteer their time and expertise. We can now be more confident than ever that human activity is the dominant cause of the warming witnessed in the latter half of the 20th Century. The most significant human impact is through the release of carbon dioxide, which is predicted to continue to cause warming in the coming decades and centuries.On the issue of climate sensitivity the report states that
The WGI contribution to AR5 has considered the full range of both Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity and Transient Climate Response and given the best assessment possible within the constraints of the evidence available at the time. It does not appear that a consistent pattern for higher or lower sensitivities than that stated in the WGI contribution to AR5 has emerged since its publication. (Paragraph 48)and on the global temperature anomaly
Periods of hiatus are consistent with earlier IPCC assessments that non-linear warming of the climate is to be expected and that forced climate changes always take place against a background of natural variability. The current period of hiatus does not undermine the core conclusions of the WGI contribution to AR5 when put in the context of the overall, long-term global energy budget. Despite the hiatus, the first decade of the 2000s was the warmest in the instrumental record and overall warming is expected to continue in the coming decades. (Paragraph 53)and on models
The models used in the IPCC’s Assessment Reports have a successful history of simulating past climate and their future projection of substantial warming over the next century in all but the most aggressive mitigation scenarios is well founded and overwhelmingly clear. (Paragraph 64)