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Why the IPCC Report Neglects the Benefits of Global Warming

Rupert Darwall — National Review — April 1, 2014

With the clock ticking toward December 2015 and the last chance to conclude a global treaty at the Paris climate conference, the job of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is to ratchet up the alarm. This it did in its report, released at the beginning of the week, on the impacts of climate change. It scored a bull’s-eye in the Financial Times: “Climate change harms food crops, says IPCC,” the headline ran. “Climate Signals, Growing Louder,” the New York Times opined, though the reality is that the volume is being turned up by the IPCC, not the climate itself. For the IPCC, this is mission accomplished — at considerable cost to the body’s residual credibility and integrity.

The IPCC’s Working Group II, tasked with assessing the risks and impacts of climate change, could have chosen to make amends for its previous effort in 2007, which was widely panned for bias and numerous errors. Such was the outcry over the 2007 report that the Dutch parliament ordered the country’s Environmental Assessment Agency to carry out an audit. It found that the working group was dismissive of the potential benefits of climate change, and it criticized the group’s process for being insufficiently transparent.

Similarly, a report by the InterAcademy Council, chaired by Princeton’s Harold Shapiro, noted that the group’s Summary for Policymakers had been criticized “for various errors and for emphasizing the negative impacts of climate change.” The summary contained many statements that “are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or not expressed clearly,” the Council said.
The summary, as the object of intensive political editing by government officials, is a document designed to generate talking points for sympathetic politicians and pundits to re-spin. Scientific coherence is not its goal. Instead of raising the bar in pursuit of objectivity, the current working group doubled down on its 2007 summary: It unfurls a series of distortions designed to magnify the threats, ignore the benefits, and downplay the possibility of adapting to climate change. Continue reading, here….DSC09072

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