First, we should be clear - Joe Bast is a political operative. Everything he does, he does from a position of defending his policy agenda which is all about protecting the big business status quo. This is not slander nor misleading and I'm not even opining on whether it is right or wrong. It is what it is.
Joe Bast's words are in courier font and unaltered.
A Free-Wheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement
(New York: Perseus Books Group, 2007).
Some biographic info:
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This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is releasing its latest report, the “Working Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report.” Like its past reports, this one predicts apocalyptic consequences if mankind fails to give the UN the power to tax and regulate fossil fuels and subsidize and mandate the use of alternative fuels.~ ~ ~
Notice for his opening shot Joe Bast blows his political dog whistle.
B) Pretending that catastrophic impacts aren't already happening and promising to get worse.
C) Dragging in the UN as though all this were some abstract notion forced on us by them.
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But happily, an international group of scientists I have been privileged to work with has conducted an independent review of IPCC’s past and new reports, along with the climate science they deliberately exclude or misrepresent.~ ~ ~
Our group, called the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), was founded in 2003 by a distinguished atmospheric physicist, S. Fred Singer, and has produced five hefty reports to date, the latest being released today (March 31).
So how do the IPCC and NIPCC reports differ?
One big difference is that the NIPCC is an example of advocacy driven Science In A Vacuum, whereas the IPCC is an example of Evidence Based Science.
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The final draft of the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers identifies eight “reasons for concern” which media reports say will remain the focus of the final report. The NIPCC reports address each point too, also summarizing their authors’ positions in Summaries for Policymakers. This provides a convenient way to compare and contrast the reports’ findings.Here’s what the reports say:~ ~ ~
About that NIPCC, here's the tip of the iceberg
(yea I know, this is where they'll claim all of these sources are part of thee conspiracy):
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IPCC: “Risk of death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states, due to sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and storm surges.”
NIPCC: “Flood frequency and severity in many areas of the world were higher historically during the Little Ice Age and other cool eras than during the twentieth century. Climate change ranks well below other contributors, such as dikes and levee construction, to increased flooding.”~ ~ ~
A good example of cherry-picking.
I challenge Bast to show us any five year period that comes close to equaling the destructive floods we've witnessed these past five years.
IPCC: “Risk of food insecurity linked to warming, drought, and precipitation variability, particularly for poorer populations.”
NIPCC: “There is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Farmers and others who depend on rural livelihoods for income are benefitting from rising agricultural productivity throughout the world, including in parts of Asia and Africa where the need for increased food supplies is most critical. Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels play a key role in the realization of such benefits.~ ~ ~
Joe forgets to mention that invasive vines are some of the biggest winners of CO2 increases.
A look at the GoogleScholar search results for "higher CO2 and invasive weeds" reveals domesticated agricultural crops are going to be the losers in the CO2 Utilization Race.
Beyond that, the evidence indicates that our brave new world will be extremely challenging for farmers, given that weather patterns and the intensity of seasons are leaving traditional bounds and becoming increasingly difficult to forecast.
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IPCC: “Risk of severe harm for large urban populations due to inland flooding.”
NIPCC: “No changes in precipitation patterns, snow, monsoons, or river flows that might be considered harmful to human well-being or plants or wildlife have been observed that could be attributed to rising CO2 levels. What changes have been observed tend to be beneficial.”~ ~ ~
The nicest that can be said is that Joe is "disconnected" from the geophysical reality happening upon our one and only home planet.
How an intelligent adult can justify ignoring such easily accessible information is beyond me.
By: Alison N. P. Stevens © 2012 Nature Education
Citation: Stevens, A. N.P. (2012) Factors Affecting Global Climate.
Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):18
IPCC: “Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.”
NIPCC: “Higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations benefit plant growth-promoting microorganisms that help land plants overcome drought conditions, a potentially negative aspect of future climate change. Continued atmospheric CO2 enrichment should prove to be a huge benefit to plants by directly enhancing their growth rates and water use efficiencies.”~ ~ ~
Notice Joe again side steps the IPCC claim.
Check out this USA data animation that goes from January 2010 through 2012: U.S. Drought Monitor Map
IPCC: “Systemic risks due to extreme [weather] events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services.”
NIPCC: “There is no support for the model-based projection that precipitation in a warming world becomes more variable and intense. In fact, some observational data suggest just the opposite, and provide support for the proposition that precipitation responds more to cyclical variations in solar activity.”~ ~ ~
Once again Joe avoids the actual IPCC claim. Instead he's back to his 'alternative precipitation conjecture' and tossing in some vague claim made in some vague study somewhere.
An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society
(Adopted by AMS Council 20 August 2012)
"Other changes, globally and in the U.S., are also occurring at the same time. The amount of rain falling in very heavy precipitation events (the heaviest 1% of all precipitation events) has increased over the last 50 years throughout the U.S. Freezing levels are rising in elevation, with rain occurring more frequently instead of snow at mid-elevations of western mountains. ..."
"Observations indicate an increase in globally averaged water vapor in the atmosphere in recent decades, at a rate consistent with the response produced by climate models that simulate human-induced increases in greenhouse gases. This increase in water vapor also strengthens the greenhouse effect, amplifying the impact of human-induced increases in other greenhouse gases. ..."
"A valuable demonstration of the validity of current climate models is that when they include all known natural and human-induced factors that influence the global atmosphere on a large scale, the models reproduce many important aspects of observed changes of the 20th-century climate, including (1) global, continental, and subcontinental mean and extreme temperatures, (2) Arctic sea ice extent, (3) the latitudinal distribution of precipitation, and (4) extreme precipitation frequency. ..."
"Atmospheric water content will increase globally, consistent with warmer temperatures, and consequently the global hydrological cycle will continue to accelerate. For many areas, model simulations suggest there will be a tendency towards more intense rain and snow events separated by longer periods without precipitation. However, changes in precipitation patterns are expected to differ considerably by region and by season. ..."---
As for the IPCC statement, why is it so difficult to accept the obvious truth in this evidence?
IPCC: “Risk of loss of marine ecosystems and the services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic.”
NIPCC: “Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels do not pose a significant threat to aquatic life. Many aquatic species have shown considerable tolerance to temperatures and CO2 values predicted for the next few centuries, and many have demonstrated a likelihood of positive responses in empirical studies. Any projected adverse impacts of rising temperatures or declining seawater and freshwater pH levels (“acidification”) will be largely mitigated through phenotypic adaptation or evolution during the many decades to centuries it is expected to take for pH levels to fall.”~ ~ ~
Bast states bluntly that "rising temperatures and CO2 do not pose a significant threat..."
But, what does Joe know? Why trust a salesman with profits on his mind when it comes to assessing the health of our planet?
Of course, with our oceans there's more at work here than global warming and acidification, take a look at what we are transforming our oceans into:
IPCC: “Risk of loss of terrestrial ecosystems and the services they provide for terrestrial livelihoods.”
NIPCC: “Terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Empirical data pertaining to numerous animal species, including amphibians, birds, butterflies, other insects, reptiles, and mammals, indicate global warming and its myriad ecological effects tend to foster the expansion and proliferation of animal habitats, ranges, and populations, or otherwise have no observable impacts one way or the other. Multiple lines of evidence indicate animal species are adapting, and in some cases evolving, to cope with climate change of the modern era.”~ ~ ~
This statement shows a disregard for the vast expanses of time that elapse while habitats readjust to radical environmental changes.
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IPCC: “Risk of mortality, morbidity, and other harms during periods of extreme heat, particularly for vulnerable urban populations.”
NIPCC: “A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events. More lives are saved by global warming via the amelioration of cold-related deaths than those lost under excessive heat. Global warming will have a negligible influence on human morbidity and the spread of infectious diseases, a phenomenon observed in virtually all parts of the world.”~ ~ ~
This claim is not true and another exercise of Science In A Vacuum. Here look at what the reality side of this mirror has to say:
The three 2008 studies for the U.S. show the ratio of cold deaths to heat deaths ranges from 2:1 to 1:3, which is very different from the 7:1 and 9:1 figures quoted by Will and Lomborg for Europe, India, and China. I don't trust any of these numbers, since heat and cold mortality statistics are highly uncertain and easy to cherry pick to show a desired result. It is rather unproductive to argue about how many people die due to heat and cold in the current climate or in a future climate.
Excess heat deaths due to climate change should not get as much attention as the potential for death due to reduction in crop yields due to increased heat and drought, regional collapses of the oceanic food chain from the steady acidification of the oceans, and the wars these conditions might trigger.
"But is it true that so many die from cold? Only if you make a trick by including the normal seasonal variation in death rate. It has always been so, and will remain so, that more people die during the winter months than during the summer months. ..."
How could two teams of scientists come to such obviously contradictory conclusions on seemingly every point that matters in the debate over global warming? There are many reasons why scientists disagree, the subject, by the way, of an excellent book a couple years ago titled Wrong by David H. Freedman. A big reason is IPCC is producing what academics call “post-normal science” while NIPCC is producing old-fashioned “real science.”~ ~ ~
It's not about two teams - IPCC is a collection of hundreds of teams and their individual studies.
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What is a non-scientist to make of these dueling reports? Indeed, what is a scientist to make of this? Very few scientists are familiar with biology, geology, physics, oceanography, engineering, medicine, economics, and scores of other more specialized disciplines that were the basis for the claims summarized above.~ ~ ~
For starters a non-scientist would do good to consider the sources.
The IPCC's appointed task is to be a collecting house for climate related science studies and reports from thousands of scientists throughout the globe, in a process involving hundreds of contributing authors.
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It is frequently said of the global warming debate that it comes down to who you believe rather than what you know. Many climate scientists say they “believe in man-made global warming” even though their own research contradicts key points in the arguments advanced in support of that hypothesis. They say this because they believe the IPCC is telling the truth about findings outside their areas of expertise. Ditto influential science journals such as Nature and Science, which claim to speak on behalf of “climate science.”~ ~ ~
Remember IPCC is a collecting house of studies and information that can be found independently. The NIPCC is the product of a small cliche'.
The consensus is not created by scientists, the consensus is driven by the evidence!
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The NIPCC reports were conceived and written to offer a way out of this conundrum. They are written in a style that laymen without special training can understand, provide explanations of how research was conducted and summarizing the actual findings, often quoting at length from original scholarly sources. Chapters often present research chronologically, in the order in which the studies were published, so readers can understand how the debate has changed over time.~ ~ ~
NO they are not. The NIPCC report is written to provide a sales pitch.
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The NIPCC reports are hefty – the first volume in the Climate Change Reconsidered series was 850 pages long, and the latest volume is more than 1,000 pages – but executive summaries and “key findings” at the beginning of each chapter make them easy to navigate and fascinating to browse. They are all available for free online at www.climatechangereconsidered.org.~ ~ ~
The entire NIPCC has three lead authors with extremely biased outlooks and shaky scientific reputations as their histories reveal.
Craig D. Idso and here and here
Robert M. Carter and here and here
The IPCC working group 1 had 831 experts from 85 countries contributing to the IPCC's working group one, Assessment Report 5 - they represent a diverse range of fields, including oceanography, economics, physics, meteorology and social sciences.
How credible are the NIPCC reports? Endorsements by prominent scientists, reviews, and citations in peer-reviewed journals appear at the Web site mentioned above. NIPCC reports are produced by scores of scientists from around the world (some 20 countries so far), cite thousands of peer-reviewed studies, and are themselves peer-reviewed. In June 2013, a division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences published a Chinese translation and condensed edition of the 2009 and 2011 volumes.~ ~ ~
Unlike the IPCC, the NIPCC examines literature published exclusively by climate contrarians who are paid to contribute their findings to NIPCC reports, according to leaked internal documents of the Heartland Institute. The 2009 NIPCC report Climate Change Reconsidered had two lead authors, Fred Singer and Craig Idso, and 35 contributors.
Similarly, the 2011 Interim NIPCC report had three lead authors, Fred Singer, Craig Idso, and Robert Carter, and only eight contributors. The NIPCC does not employ the same rigorous standards and approval process used by the IPCC to ensure its assessment reports are accurate and inclusive.---
Interesting that Bast brings up the Chinese Academy of Sciences, here's what he won't tell you:
We know the authors of the IPCC’s reports have financial conflicts of interest, since the government bureaucracies that select them and the UN that oversees and edits the final reports stand to profit from public alarm over the possibility that global warming will be harmful. The authors of the NIPCC series have no such conflicts.~ ~ ~
See the under current at work here? The Grand Conspiracy Theory, anyone endorsing the accepted science is automatically distrusted.
"The Heartland Institute maintains a stable of 13 scientists on retainer for the express purpose of attacking the work of the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to budget information released last week in the Heartland document dump.
The scientists, ranging from one of the world's least credible deniers-for-hire (Dr. S. Fred Singer) to a sessional lecturer on the evolution and history of the domestic dog (Susan Crockford), include no top climate scientists currently publishing in the peer-reviewed literature.
The best paid “expert” on the Heartland list is Craig Idso, a former Director of Environmental Science at Peabody Energy (the largest coal company in the world). Heartland pays Idso $11,600 a month through his Center for the Study of CO2 & Global Change,
Coming in at $5,000 a month is Idso's principal partner in the regular IPCC attack, Fred Singer, who for the last 20 years has denied pretty much any health threat with a corporate sponsor: the health impacts of second-hand smoke; coal's role in creating acid rain; the danger of asbestos; or DDT; the role of CFCs in creating the ozone hole; and, of course, the human cause and potential consequences of climate change. (See Naomi Oreskes excellent book, Merchants of Doubt for the full, devastating story ot Singer's lucrative denial business.) ..."
The series is funded by three private family foundations without any financial interest in the outcome of the global warming debate.~ ~ ~
About that funding, check out some of the details:
The publisher, The Heartland Institute, neither solicits nor receives any government or corporation funding for the Climate Change Reconsidered series. (It does receive some corporate funding for its other research and educational programs.)
Heartland’s funding over the past decade has included thousands of dollars directly from ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute, but a large portion of their funding ($25.6 million) comes from the shadowy Donor’s Capital Fund, created expressly to conceal the identity of large donors to free-market causes. The Koch brothers appear to be funneling money into Donor’s Capital via their Knowledge and Progress Fund.
http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2013/09/09/heartland-institute-nipcc-fail-the-credibility-test/---I find it sad that Joe Bast and friends can't conceive that scientists actually are in it for pursuing a better understanding of how our planet functions...
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So is man-made global warming a crisis? Don’t just wonder about it, understand it yourself.~ ~ ~
I myself believe that the first step towards that goal of "understanding it for yourself" is to become familiar with the global climate system, it's vast and complex and involves many different components. For a nice introduction to our planet's global heat distribution engine, enjoy this most informative video:
Read one or a few chapters of one of the NIPCC reports, and ask if what you read is logical, factual, and relevant to the debate. See if the UN or its many apologists take into account the science and evidence NIPCC summarizes, and then decide whether its predictions of “of death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods” is science or fiction.
Joseph L. Bast is president of The Heartland Institute, publisher of the Climate Change Reconsidered series for NIPCC, and editor of some of the volumes in the series.~ ~ ~
This is wonderful rhetoric -
but Mr. Bast, the real challenge isn't to wrap yourself in your own bubble of information.
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