The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has announced the coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and review editors for its Fifth Assessment Report, scheduled for release in 2013. IPCC has been the subject of substantial criticism, from IPCC participants and outsiders alike, regarding its lack of scientific objectivity and its record of advocacy rather than dispassionate science. The newly announced leaders for IPCC’s 2013 report unfortunately promise more of the same.
Last month Environment & Climate News reported on how newly appointed Lead Author Philip Mote manipulated data to give the false impression the Cascade Mountain snowpack is suffering under global warming, and then fired his assistant for reporting the more accurate and relevant data. This month we note how newly appointed Coordinating Lead Author Donald Wuebbles uses misleading language and false temperature claims to support his ongoing advocacy for carbon dioxide restrictions.
Tarnished by Political Advocacy
Wuebbles, a professor at the University of Illinois-Champaign, blames humans for recent global warming in an article published by his school’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Wuebbles argues scientists must convince the public to take strong, immediate action to restrict carbon dioxide emissions.
Discussing his view of scientists’ role in the global warming debate, Wuebbles argues in the article, “The problem then becomes convincing them [the public] to care and to act when the largest effects are likely to occur in their children’s and grandchildren’s lifetimes, and perhaps not their own.”
When an IPCC coordinating lead author claims a primary goal of inducing the public to take political action, the prospects are bleak that he will produce an objective, dispassionate, scientifically sound report.
False Temperature Claims
This reality was painfully evident in the NCSA article. Wuebbles played fast and loose with the scientific facts—whether motivated by political advocacy or mere ignorance—when he asserted current temperatures are historically warm.
“The global temperatures of the last decade are larger than they have been in over 2,000 years,” claimed Wuebbles.
The IPCC itself, however, has previously reported global temperatures were warmer 1,000 years ago during the Medieval Warm Period and 2,000 years ago during the Roman Warm Period. The greater warmth of these two time periods has been confirmed by such diverse sources as ice core reconstructions, sedimentary records, tree ring records, and historical observations.
Only the most extreme alarmists claim current temperatures are warmer than either of those two time periods, and they usually include caveats to emphasize that they may be wrong.
Channeling Al Gore
Not content to misrepresent the Earth’s temperature history, Wuebbles in the very same paragraph resorts to the language of political propaganda to emphasize his dubious claim. “The Earth clearly has a fever,” Wuebbles claims, in language almost identical to that used by the widely discredited Al Gore.
When the UN appoints such a partisan and vocal advocate for carbon dioxide restrictions as coordinating lead author for its climate report, even the most naïve observer can see the fix is in regarding IPCC’s 2013 report.
James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.