Groucho Marx and the IPCC

On his TV show the late Groucho Marx asked a contestant, “Are you going to believe me, or what you see with your own eyes?” The new chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—Hoesung Lee– must have found great wisdom in Groucho’s quote because he essentially used it recently when he told Reuters, There is “no hiatus” in global warming. This statement is beyond belief, especially coming from someone in his position.

The deliberate omission of satellite data, which are the most accurate and only true global measurement, in discussing global warming is another indication that the IPCC leadership has made it a vehicle for climate orthodoxy, further transforming environmentalism into a religion where beliefs are immune to facts and science.

Since September 1994, the University of Alabama, Huntsville’s record of satellite temperature data has shown no statistically significant global warming trend. Since there’s been no warming trend apparent in the satellite records, it is fair to ask, how can the head of the IPCC so cavalierly disregard well established facts?

The record is clear and it is also clear that the surface record, which Mr. Lee is relying on has been corrupted by more frequent adjustments which coincidentally make it agree with the climate narrative and eliminate the satellite record shown in the above chart. Last year, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration published a study that made the pause over the past 20 years disappear. NOAA was subsequently on the receiving end of a great deal of criticism. So much so, that more scientists are turning to the data compiled by the UK’s Met Office.

Over the past two decades, the work of the IPCC , especially its Summary for Policy Makers, has come under increasing criticism for the way in which it has dealt with science and uncertainty. Some scientists have resigned from it and others refuse to participate because it is pursuing an agenda.

Comments like those from the new chairman further diminish the IPCC’s credibility and whatever value might come from continuing the scientific assessment process.

Climate change is an important topic and it needs to be treated seriously and objectively. Continuing to demonize CO2 and fossil fuel use diverts attention and resources from using our knowledge and technology to address problems that we can solve. Sea level is rising and has been for 20,000 years. Oceanographers tell us it will continue until the next glaciation. Coastal communities need to deal with that reality in their zoning decisions and related actions to protect coastal areas. Over 1 billion people do not have access to commercial electricity. Attempts to make fossil fuel use more scarce will condemn to the devastating poverty that results in high mortality rates and living conditions that should be unacceptable. Droughts happen. They always have and always will. Advances in agriculture allow us to develop drought resistant crops and crops that can deal with excessive rain.

Knowledge creation is the means for dealing with climate change, not political exploitation and an anti-scientific orthodoxy. Chairman Lee, open your eyes and take an objective look at the evidence, especially the IPCC’s continued reduction in climate sensitivity. In spite of these reductions, the models you rely on to bolster your evangelistic faith still run hot.