The Major Change in the Global Warming Groupthink Between 1990 and 1995
Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
Somebody said economists try to predict the tide by measuring one wave. This puts them in the same league as climate scientists trying to predict the climate by measuring one variable, CO2. It is no surprise that an amalgam of the two, climate and economics, produces even worse results, but that is what happened early in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) deception.
The 1990 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report was, under the circumstances, a reasonable document within the bounds of what it set out to achieve. Yes, it was limited to only human causes of climate change by the definition given to it by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Yes, it was bureaucratically controlled by its creation through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Yes, it was built on a system that seemed to predetermine the outcome. Still, the overall Report provides a reasonable attempt to create an historical context for the hypothesis that human CO2 was causing global warming.
It was more in the vein and context of Margaret Thatcher’s earlier use of climatology for a political agenda. Thatcher wanted to replace coal with nuclear power. Identifying CO2 as a problem because it was causing global warming was central to that plan. Thatcher also had the added incentive that the great bane in her political life and goals for economic development were blocked by the dominance and disruption of the coal miners union led by its leader Arthur Scargill. The Union held the country to ransom and almost brought it to its economic knees. A measure of this intransigence was Scargill’s election as Union President for life.
The best measure of the relatively benign nature of the 1990 Report was the action it triggered in the 1995 Report. Sir John Houghton was the primary connection between Thatcher’s goals and the 1990 IPCC Report. He was Director-General of the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO) from 1983 to 1991. Thatcher was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Houghton was disposed to support anything that was in line with his belief that was a blend of religion and science. As one blog headline asked, “Sir John Houghton: Objective scientist or driven ideologue.” He was appointed Co-Chair of the IPCC in 1988 and was listed as a lead editor of the 1990 First Assessment Report (FAR).
The Report was unique because it included a reasonable representation of the last approximately 1000 years of temperature for the Northern Hemisphere. H. H. Lamb’s research that identified the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA) was shown in the now infamous Figure 7 c (Figure 1). The Report also included temperature forecasts. This is important because those forecasts were wrong, thus raising some questions about the validity of their work.
They were not grievous enough alone to trigger the dramatic change that occurred between the 1990 and 1995 Reports, but a series of other events did.
Figure 1. Figure 7c in the 1990 IPCC Report.
The original basis for the formation of the IPCC was the claim by the Club of Rome (COR) that the world was overpopulated and outgrowing the resources. They made three major assumptions.
· The demand for resources would increase every year because the population is increasing every year.
· Developed nations increase the demand by each individual using resources at a much greater rate than those in developing nations.
· More nations are changing from developing to developed and accelerating demand.
From this, they determined that, as Maurice Strong speculated in Elaine Dewar’s book The Cloak of Green, that the industrialized nations were the problem for the planet. They determined that these nations achieved their dangerous status by building economies using fossil fuels to drive their industries. Of course, there was the added benefit that if you punished these nations for their sin, as Houghton saw it, then you could transfer wealth on a global scale. That was an idea that appealed to their socialist bent, especially people like Maurice Strong, who said,
“I am a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology.”
This parallels China that practices State Capitalism. No wonder he fled there to die when sought by the US government for his role in the “food for oil” scandal. The IPCC and organizers determined to isolate the byproduct of burning fossil fuels, CO2, scientifically. Strong orchestrated all of that through the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) that he created. The IPCC was formed under that umbrella and produced the first Report in 1990. Notice the apparent Maurice Strong influence because it was printed in Canada.
I recall, because of graduate seminars on the topic and participation in a Canadian inter-disciplinary group organized by the National Museum of Canada, about the growing mistrust in the science. This group, formed by the late paleontologist Dr. C. R. Harington, of which I was proud to be a participant, met annually under the auspices of the National Museum of Natural Sciences on a Project on Climatic Change in Canada During the Past 20,000 Years. We met every year and presented papers on a different topic at a symposium. An example of the concerns was a personal conversation I had with glaciologist the late Dr. Fritz Koerner. He was one of the few people to drill ice cores in Antarctica and on Baffin and Ellesmere Islands in the Arctic. He told me in the late 1980s that his preliminary Arctic results showed temperature changing before CO2.
I was elected Chair of the Project in 1993 and in my acceptance remarks suggested we should not rush to judgment on the AGW issue. My reference was the extensive work we produced showing how much the climate changed naturally in the 20,000 years. I chaired one more meeting then Environment Canada who was the major funder of the project withdrew their money, and the Museum could not sustain it alone. I understand the person behind this move was Professor Gordon McBean who chaired the founding meeting of the IPCC in 1985 and then became Assistant Deputy Minister at Environment Canada.
These questions of the validity of the work on global warming created concern among the proponents of overpopulation but also the IPCC. They were amplified and accelerated by challenges to the ‘scientific’ support for the other claim of the COR, set out in their 1972 seminal work Limits to Growth by Meadows et al. This was another pseudo-scientific study that sets the pattern for the simplistic use of computer models. They listed many resources. They took the estimate of the reserve of each resource and the estimated annual rate of consumption of the resource. This is laughable in itself. The first project my students were assigned in my Political Geography course was to determine the amount of oil in the world and in Canada. They discovered many things, including that Saudi Arabia has never disclosed the amount of its reserve. They learn that oil companies and countries determine the amount of reserve based on market price. If the price goes up, they have more reserve. This is because the cost of recovery determines what is available. The limits to growth approach then applied a simple linear trend to determine when the resource would be exhausted. This is where the term “peak oil” originated.
In 1990, the Limits to Growth was dealt a crushing blow by economist Julian Simon.
He argued that,
“…humans are not only mouths to feed, but also hands to work and brains to think up new solutions. Prior to the emergence of humanity, Simon and others had long pointed out, the Earth was replete with fertile soils and hydrocarbon and mineral deposits, but there were no resources. It was human action that turned otherwise useless physical stuff into valuable things, a process that could go on forever as it was ultimately powered by the always renewable and expanding human intellect.”
He challenged Ehrlich to a bet that he believed,
“…Ehrlich couldn’t refuse by offering to bet $10,000 over a period of at least one year that the cost of non-government-controlled raw materials would not rise in the long run. Ehrlich and his regular collaborators John P. Holdren and John Harte quickly agreed to [theoretically] buy $2,000 each of chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten on September 29, 1980 and to pay Simon the price difference (adjusted for inflation) on September 29, 1990 if the prices had gone down. Simon, on the other hand, would cover the difference if the prices had gone up.”
Simon won the bet. Notice the involvement of John Holdren, whom Ehrlich assigned to pick the resources and name the period of time. Holdren was very involved with the COR and later became the Science Advisor in Obama’s White House.
Other problems for the IPCC were that credible scientists, like Dixy Lee Ray, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Governor of the state of Washington and a legitimate winner of the United Nations Peace Prize, was challenging the wider context of environmentalism. Her 1993 book, “Environmental Overkill: Whatever Happened to Common Sense?” offset some of the emotionalism of environmentalism and provided others the courage to ask questions.
It was clear by 1992 that the attempt to deceive the world with the AGW hypothesis was in trouble. The claim that global temperatures were the warmest ever was challenged by Figure 7c. The climate forecast failures were problematic because most people knew weather forecasts were often wrong and of little value beyond 72 hours. John Daly published a monograph titled The Greenhouse Trap, that was the prelude to the most successful climate website in the early days, Still Waiting for Greenhouse that appeared in 1995. Global warming skepticism was alive and growing more visible.
The 1995 IPCC Report structure was dictated by the format adopted for the 1990 Report. The Reports are cumulative, which is why any meaningful change requires scrapping everything and starting over. They chose to change the 1995 Report in ways that deflected the criticisms, removed any precision, and gave them greater control over the important variables, like, temperature data, and CO2 levels. Most important, they stopped making forecasts.
The greatest obfuscation was the introduction of economics into the forecasting portion. Forecasts were replaced by projections that presented three scenarios, Low, Medium, and High. These were calculated in the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. It allowed the IPCC to guarantee a constant increase in the temperature, almost independent of all other variables. This was exposed later.
“About two years ago Ian Castles became interested in the statistical techniques which had been used by the IPCC to predict the course of CO2 emissions for the next century and he was later joined by David Henderson who was curious to find out why the IPCC’s procedures had imparted an upward bias to the projections of output and emissions of developing countries.”
“These two economists have shown that the calculations carried out by the IPCC concerning per capita income, economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions in different regions are fundamentally flawed, and substantially overstate the likely growth in developing countries. The results are therefore unsuitable as a starting point for the next IPCC assessment report, which is due to be published in 2007. Unfortunately, this is precisely how the IPCC now intends to use its emissions projections.”
As Henderson explained,
“At the beginning, projections of global warming are largely based on projected atmospheric concentrations of CO2, which in turn are based on the projections of CO2 emissions which emerge from the SRES; and the emissions figures themselves are linked to SRES projections of world output, world energy use, and the carbon-intensity of different energy sources. In these latter projections economic factors are central.”
The IPCC paid little attention to these warnings other than publishing a weak 15 – author rebuttal. They produced the 1995 and 2001 Reports using these economic techniques. Castles and Henderson wrote a 2003 article titled “Economics, Emissions Scenarios and the work of the IPCC. ,
We show how the mistaken use of MER-based comparisons, together with questionable assumptions about ‘closing the gap’ between rich countries and poor, have imparted an upward bias to projections of economic growth in developing countries, and hence to projections of total world emissions.
Eventually, the IPCC gave up defending SRES, but they could not give up the economic component without exposing the failure of the atmospheric component. They brought in a replacement called Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) well explained by Judith Curry. It didn’t change anything because it guaranteed what they wanted, namely that human CO2 production would increase because of economic factors. In 2016 David Middleton examined the issue in an article titled, “Part Deux: “The stuff nightmares are made from.” As Nick Breeze explained in his article,
“These RCP’s are used by policymakers to decide what actions are required to sustain a safe climate for our own and future generations. The information they are using, presented by the IPCC, is nothing more than science fiction.”
The IPCC was set up to produce a desired result. This required that they control as much of the input information as possible. It began with the definition of climate change, through the computer models, to the structure of preparing the Reports. After just one Report in 1990, the limitations of the weather and climate data to achieve that result became apparent. They controlled most of the information about the human production of CO2, as they explained in their Inventory Guidelines Q and A.
How does the IPCC produce its inventory Guidelines?
Utilising IPCC procedures, nominated experts from around the world draft the reports that are then extensively reviewed twice before approval by the IPCC. This process ensures that the widest possible range of views are incorporated into the documents.
No, it doesn’t. This is another example of the circular arguments that are endemic throughout the deception. They choose the people, set the procedures, determine the data used, verify the results before you use them, then claim it is independent work. However, despite all this, they could not guarantee a continuously increasing CO2 figure. They decided to incorporate an economic measure that indirectly incorporated the assumptions the COR made for its overpopulation claims (above); more people, using or producing more every year, guarantees a constant growth trend.
Between 1990 and 1995 the IPCC saw its premeditated deception of AGW failing and challenged. Instead of acknowledging the limitations of its work, it doubled down by adding failed economic practices to the failed climatology practices. It anticipated their reaction to the problem after 1998 when global temperatures stopped rising while atmospheric CO2 continued to rise, in complete contradiction to their hypothesis and assumptions. They moved the goalposts; global warming became climate change.
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