Is the IPCC Biased?

For those new to this blog the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change is the world’s leader in promoting the theory that mankind is dangerously warming the globe aka AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming. It wouldn’t be too much to say it even has a monopoly on it.

It is ultimately from them that international governments are being badgered to adopt emission control targets via means of the UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty.

But the accusation of bias by the IPCC regarding AGW has been raised many times by climate sceptics.  This example provides more insight into how the IPCC is operating:
Bias and the IPCC Report – Accentuate the Negative

It’s hard to say the IPCC is not biased.  There is a suite of prima facie evidence that it is, and I will cover this point in some future post for readers to judge for themselves. However I am sure there must be people with good moral ethics in there. But I also think it’s highly likely there are people that should perhaps be scrutinized a bit more closely. I’ll just leave it at that for now.

The IPCC Mandate

Aside from the people who actually work inside the IPCC, I do believe that as an organisation it has no other choice than to be biased on the issue of AGW because of the mandate that was given to them at the time of their inception:

to focus only on man-made contributions to dangerous global warming – AGW.

This quote comes from the IPCC’s own website here:

…to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

and again:

…The WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the IPCC in 1988 with the assigned role of assessing the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for understanding the risk of human-induced climate change.

IPCC Approach to Climate Change

This is where the whole approach of the IPCC has been flawed:

  1. They focused only on mankind contributions instead of “in the round”, and also only since the beginnings of the industrial age – an insignificant amount of climate time.  It seems illogical that any kind of solution to a problem can be solved by looking at just a part of it.
  2. They were entirely wrong in accepting an unproven theory in the first place and then set about validating it to the world, instead of the other way around.

This back-to-front approach came about because a group of scientists agreed beforehand that AGW was the problem. It’s understood this took place at a UN sponsored conference in Austria in 1985.  They believed that even a small change such as additional CO2 being added to the natural greenhouse gas processes could trigger runaway greenhouse global warming.

Consensus or Arrogance?

It’s a valid theory and certainly worthy of further investigation, but unfortunately they didn’t set about to prove it in a proper accepted scientific method,  which includes getting their theory validated by their world peers.  If they had, it would never have got off the ground because it still hasn’t been proved  almost 30 years later.

They believed the evidence was so convincing even though not proven, that it could be accepted by consensus as an established fact. That was the single biggest mistake in this whole saga of climate change debates in assuming that consensus and science can co-exist. It was to send the world into an expensive and fruitless tail-spin for decades and which still continues.

In any event, in the eyes of those original scientists their own research was sufficient to accept the premise of AGW.  It was decided right there to set up an organisation (now the IPCC) to validate and promote the theory to the world. They wanted to get everyone on board to rein in mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions and in particular CO2 as being the major one. And they did an exceedingly good job of it so that today the IPCC has the first and final say to all things related to climate science – as opposed to an opinion as seen by many other non-IPCC aligned scientific peers.

How AGW Was Sold

The marketing effort by the IPCC was exemplary. Their big ticket items in selling the idea of AGW to the masses were “scientific consensus” and versions of the infamous “hockey stick”. Both of these have since been proven wrong.

To get the idea to governments and other scientists, the IPCC releases progressive  Assessment Reports (ARs), that progressively labelled mankind more and more as being responsible. They didn’t appear to make any real attempt at consideration of any other cause. Usually any counter-argument in the ARs if any, apparently gets drowned out in the Summaries of their reports. And some believe there is an over-emphasis on the negative items.

The heart of the real problem with the IPCC is that they are political by nature – not scientific. It was deliberately formed as such. Among other duties they were tasked to take submissions from scientists across their various fields, then rewrite them so that they could be more easily read by the masses.  This is where other less-noble aspects of human behaviour can potentially come into play and because of that, should be studied carefully.  It doesn’t appear that’s what has been happening.

For example the text of the 2nd AR was allegedly altered to give more support to AGW, the perpetrators probably being motivated by “noble cause”.  Questions began to be raised about the effectiveness of the “peer review” processes used by the IPCC.

With all this in mind one wonders why so many international governments and scientific organizations have also come on board in the AGW blame game?

It’s probably not so hard to understand why Governments have come on board. There continues to be considerable interest in the well being of the planet since about the 1960s. The outpourings of the IPCC received tremendous publicity as would be expected from a headline hungry media.

And it doesn’t appear to be particularly hard to sway a politicians viewpoint if there is sufficient noise coming from their electorates in support of an issue. It’s disgusting when the strength of politicians is measured by how much he/she sways in the breeze. Yes … it is a cynical view but I’ve watched successive governments at least in Australia, change their approach to the issue depending on whether they’re either in power or in opposition.

As regarding actual scientific organisations that have come on board with the IPCC, if I were the head of a scientific organisation of a country that becomes a member of a certain institution,  I would be thinking deeply about the ramifications of bucking my own government with counter or controversial viewpoints. This would be especially so if the available science coming out from that institution seemed logical and conclusive enough. It’s just human psychology at work.

Source: Climate: The Counter Consensus, 2010 Professor Robert M. Carter