Out of Control Policy Blog

Climate Change Roundup

To satisfy the daily fix of those closely following the climate change issue, here are a few recent pieces of note.

First, Iain Murray calls for the resignation of IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri in this Tech Central Station article:

    "The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is supposed to act as the world's honest broker on global warming issues, is now hopelessly compromised. One prominent scientist resigned in protest at one of its lead authors associating himself with scientifically unsupported assertions. One of the world's most prominent economists judiciously terms the panel's handling of economic data as "at fault" and questions how representative of current economic thought the panel is. Most recently, IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri publicly endorsed a particular policy agenda that contradicts the IPCC's role as "policy relevant but not policy prescriptive." Dr. Pachauri shows no sign of even considering this institutional conflict of interest. The IPCC clearly needs a new leader who is willing to tackle these problems, or what credibility it retains will disappear into the ether."

Next, as a follow up to last week's post on new research that undermines the legendary "hockey stick" graph of climate change over the past 1,000 years, the Financial Post continues its detailed look at the controversial research:

    "McIntyre and McKitrick draw far reaching conclusions from their research: 'When the IPCC decides to base their policy on such studies, triggering the spending of billions of dollars, there should be more thorough checks. At some point, some one should have done an elementary check on the principal component calculations. This never happened and there is no excuse for this.'

    Rob van Dorland of the Royal Netherlands Meteorlogical Institute has read the article that will appear in Geophysical Research Letters and is convinced it will seriously damage the image of the IPCC. 'For now, I will consider it an isolated incident, but it is strange that the climate reconstruction of Mann has passed both peer review rounds of the IPCC without anyone ever really having checked it. I think this issue will be on the agenda of the next IPCC meeting in Peking this May.'

    This brings climate research back to square one. McIntyre: 'Our research does not say that the earth's atmosphere is not getting warmer. But the evidence from this famous study does not allow us to draw any conclusions about its extent, relative to the past 1000 years, which remains as much a mystery now as it was before Mann's article in 1998.'"

I really look forward to seeing how (or even if) the IPCC handles McIntyre and McKitrick's research. It presents them an opportunity to step back and prove to the world that they are indeed science-driven and policy neutral. Frankly, I'm not expecting much, but I'd love to be pleasantly surprised.

And finally, Ross Clark offered a needed dose of perspective on global warming in Saturday's Daily Telegraph:

    "The reality is that measures to cut carbon emissions, widely blamed for global warming, have an enormous cost in terms of global development. You can either make a priority of combating global warming or you can make a priority of international development, but not both. As the economist Bjorn Lomborg has pointed out in these pages before, the effect of enacting the Kyoto treaty – which demands that the world reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels and keep them there – would be to limit global economic growth to the tune of $150 billion a year: twice the sum that would be required to provide the developing world with the education, healthcare and clean water that they so desperately need. Yet restrictions on carbon emissions will have a disproportionate impact on the developing world, whose less sophisticated industries rely more heavily on burning fossil fuels – limiting their ability to provide themselves with education, healthcare and clean water."

Right on. Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip: JunkScience.com)

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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