Sunday, February 14, 2010

Former IPCC Chairman: ‘Every error exaggerated the impact of change’

Professor Watson, a former IPCC Chairman, is calling for an investigation of what happened with the IPCC report. Professor Watson points out that that the errors are just too one sided to be easily excused as simple mistakes.

See UN must investigate warming ‘bias’, says former climate chief
‘Every error exaggerated the impact of change’

Professor Watson, currently chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that if the errors had just been innocent mistakes, as has been claimed by the current chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, some would probably have understated the impact of climate change.

The errors have emerged in the past month after simple checking of the sources cited by the 2,500 scientists who produced the report.

The report falsely claimed that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 when evidence suggests that they will survive for another 300 years. It also claimed that global warming could cut rain-fed North African crop production by up to 50 per cent by 2020. A senior IPCC contributor has since admitted that there is no evidence to support this claim.

The Dutch Government has asked the IPCC to correct its claim that more than half the Netherlands is below sea level. The environment ministry said that only 26 per cent of the country was below sea level.

Professor Watson, who served as chairman of the IPCC from 1997-2002, said: “The mistakes all appear to have gone in the direction of making it seem like climate change is more serious by overstating the impact. That is worrying. The IPCC needs to look at this trend in the errors and ask why it happened.”

[Emphasis is mine - Syrah]

The "why" of it all is multifaceted. From the highly political nature of how Academia receives funding for research projects to the narcissistic desire of many in the environmental movement to save the world. The temptation of the dark side became too great for many of the well intentioned people in the environmental and climate sciences to resist.

They meant well. It is very important to understand that. They really did and really do want what is best. The did not wake one day and decide to be villains or monsters. Many fell into it unwittingly and with the best of intentions and the noblest of goals. They became caught up in something bigger than themselves, with their social and their financial lives caught up in a maelstrom of compounding errors and narcissistic conceits that became ever more impossible and dangerous to escape.

Much of their data was good and they could and did take refuge in that. Unfortunately, much of their data was just dead wrong, plain missing or even totally faked. Unsurprisingly, their conclusions suffered miserably from their impossible reality.

I recall being lectured as a young student of science about the sins of Trofim Denisovich Lysenko. He was a man who began with the best of intentions, the noblest of goals, and he was also terribly wrong. His error led to the deaths and imprisonments of those that challenged his ideas. His ideas had become the "settled science" of the party and were enforced by the guns and the bludgeons of the state.

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko's ideas became the scientific "consensus" of his nation. That consensus did not make his ideas any less wrong. That consensus did not prevent people from starving or from being shot or from being imprisoned because they were wrong.

The horror of Trofim Denisovich Lysenko's sins are truly monumental.

Every scientist and probably every politician should bow their heads in prayer every day, earnestly beseeching whatever God they pray to, that they do not become so full of themselves that they end up committing the same sins as Trofim Denisovich Lysenko.


(Carthago delenda est!)

The peer review process needs to be reformed.

No more secret data.

No more secret software.

Everything must be be out in the open and available for all to see.

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