Panel of Scientists Says UN Study Retreats, Misleads, and Misinforms

October 16, 2013

CHICAGO – A panel of 50 scientists from 15 countries says the newest report on climate change from the United Nations is filled with concessions that its past predictions were too extreme and contains “at least 13 misleading or untrue statements and 11 further statements that are phrased in such a way that they mislead readers or misrepresent important aspects of the science.”  

The Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or NIPCC, was created to act as an independent auditor of the work of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. NIPCC receives no government or corporate funding. Just weeks before the IPCC released its major report on September 27, NIPCC released its own 1,000-page report listing some 50 climate scientists as authors, contributors, or reviewers

While the IPCC reports growing confidence that climate change is man-made and likely to be harmful, NIPCC finds just the opposite: The human impact is likely to be very small, and a modest amount of warming would probably produce just as many benefits as costs.

In a new and smaller report issued today, four of the lead authors of the NIPCC report – Dr. Craig D. Idso, Dr. Robert M. Carter, Dr. S. Fred Singer, and Dr. Willie Soon – offer a withering critique of the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers, a 30-page summary of the much larger report that is still being revised. Among the “retreats” they identify in the IPCC’s latest report:

  • Global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago despite rising levels of carbon dioxide, the invisible gas the IPCC claims is responsible for causing global warming.
  • Temperatures were warmer in many parts of the world approximately 1,000 years ago, during the so-called Mediaeval Warm Period.
  • Antarctic sea ice extent is increasing rather than shrinking.
  • Climate computer models fail to reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the past 10–15 years.

Read the report here.

The scientists also fault the IPCC for claiming the warming of the late twentieth century was “unequivocal” when many temperature databases show no warming, and for saying changes since 1950 were “unprecedented” when the historical record contains many examples of changes more rapid or more extreme due to natural causes.

The scientists are especially critical of the IPCC’s claim that it is “95% confident” global warming is man-made and will be harmful. “This terminology is unscientific,” they write. “It has been used improperly to create a false impression of increasing statistical certainty through the most recent IPCC assessment reports. ... IPCC’s quasi-numeric confidence statements represent considered ‘expert opinion,’ reflecting a process not very different from a show of hands around a discussion table. The terminology confers an impression of scientific rectitude onto a process that is inescapably subjective and has been widely criticized as misleading.”

The complete 18-page critique is available online at Heartland.org or by contacting The Heartland Institute at 312/377-4000. More information about NIPCC and Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science can be found at ClimateChangeReconsidered.org.

The Heartland Institute is a 29-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.