On 8 august 2019, the IPCC published its report “ Climate Change and Land”. It is one of three special reports that the IPCC is preparing during the current Sixth Assessment Report cycle. The IPCC announced that the report was prepared under scientific scrutiny.
This report explains that “the production and use of biomass for bioenergy [biofuels] can have co-benefits, adverse side effects, and risks for land degradation, food insecurity, GHG emissions and other environmental and sustainable development goals”. The idea is: biofuel production can increase climate change. The report also states that “most mitigation pathways include substantial deployment of bioenergy technologies”. This underlines that the IPCC is worried by the deployment of bioenergy (biofuels). We have already explained in European Scientist that biofuels are a long-standing illusion. And the latest IPCC report confirms that.
This report also states that women are more impacted by climate change. In Point C4.4. one can read that “empowering women can bring synergies and co-benefits to household food security and sustainable land management. Due to women’s disproportionate vulnerability to climate change impacts, their inclusion in land management and tenure is constrained. Policies that can address land rights and barriers to women’s participation in sustainable land management include financial transfers to women under the auspices of anti- poverty programmes, spending on health, education, training and capacity building for women, subsidised credit and program dissemination through existing women’s community-based organisations”. Isn’t this a political statement? Is it so important to state feminism position to defend climate ?
Similarly, the report promotes policies protecting indigenous populations. In Point 4.3, it states that “Agricultural practices that include indigenous and local knowledge can contribute to overcoming the combined challenges of climate change, food security, biodiversity conservation, and combating desertification and land degradation (high confidence). Coordinated action across a range of actors including businesses, producers, consumers, land managers and policymakers in partnership with indigenous peoples and local communities enable conditions for the adoption of response options”. Isn’t this another political statement? Surely, this “scientific” statement will be used by Pope Francis in October when he will defend the religion of Amazonians.
Therefore, it is not surprising to read in the IPCC report on land that “”developing, enabling and promoting access to cleaner energy sources [i.e. wind and solar] and technologies can contribute to adaptation and mitigating climate change and combating desertification and forest degradation through decreasing the use of traditional biomass for energy while increasing the diversity of energy supply. This can have socioeconomic and health benefits, especially for women and children. The efficiency of wind and solar energy infrastructures is recognized.” Recognized by the IPCC, that is, and this should not be further questioned…
The IPCC nowadays is like a revered authority, a new bible. What it says is accepted as the only truth. It can make any political statement; it will be perceived as a scientific one. It has been able to reach the media, therefore politicians and ultimately citizen. The on-going majority credo in EU is that humans are influencing global warming – now called climate change. As a result, climate change is qualified as “anthropogenic”. In using fossil energy humans are emitting so-called “greenhouse gases” that will ultimately destroy the earth and humans. Faced with this possibility – and in the application of the precautionary principle foreseen in article 191.2 of the Lisbon Treaty – the EU is taking preventive actions.
To address this question the UN created the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (IPCC) in 1988. This UN body is supposed to adress the scientific issues related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to adaptation and mitigation strategies. However, the mandate of the IPCC is not to study the causes generating a climate change, rather to specifically study the impact of humans on climate change. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Panel investigates strongly the role of energy in this complex issue.
It is indeed a very complex scientific issue and the IPCC’s task is, consequently, also extremely complicated. The IPCC collects, compiles and appraises scientific findings of the human influence on climate. Three Working Groups of selected scientists were set up to handle this very complex matter:
- Make a synthesis of the scientific literature on anthropogenic climate change.
- Evaluate the negative impacts of anthropogenic climate change on humans.
- Assess policy and measures for mitigating the negative effects.
Since more than 25 years, thanks to large human resources, the IPCC has become the only audible voice in the climate science community. Although the IPCC Working Groups are composed of about 2 500 scientists, they always have been very close to officials of environmental ministries or government administrations. Indeed, the I of IPCC means Intergovernmental, clearly demonstrating that it is a political body.
Figure 322 illustrates the IPCC operational mode. It collects and reviews scientific papers and makes a synthesis, that are the Annexes of the final report. The later, used by media and policymakers, is co-drafted by IPCC and Government officials. Therefore, ultimately, the report becomes a political report instead of a pure scientific report. Consequently, the IPCC is not a “scientific body” even being definitively composed of honest scientists. This is clearly stated in Article 11 of the Principles Governing the IPCC Work (1) “Conclusions drawn by IPCC Working Groups and any Task Forces are not official IPCC views until they have been accepted by the Panel in a plenary meeting“. Therefore, the conclusions drawn by the IPCC Working Groups become unique the official position of the IPCC after being accepted by the plenary assembly – which is mainly composed of government officials or their representatives. The IPCC final decisions are consequently, and logically more political than scientific. This process, being the antithesis of science, is a reality imposed by the principles of IPCC and widely demonstrated by its modus operandi.
Figure 322 The reporting process of IPCC
Indeed, the very nature of the IPCC is the key question. Whilst the Media and policymakers generally present it as a “scientific body”, it is definitively not. The vast majority of the people in the plenary assembly are not scientists, but civil servants and national representatives, NGOs, etc. most of the time without any or poor scientific credentials. Furthermore, “the role of the IPCC is 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”. At least two of these objectives require value judgments, which are political, not scientific. The third part of the Fifth Assessment Report (“AR5”), WG III published in 2014 and 2015, urges Western countries to opt for “de-growth”, i.e. negative growth. This is not a scientific statement but a political one. It is, therefore, impossible to claim that the IPCC is solely scientific. Furthermore, the IPCC has moral issues. Policy should not be confused with morale and accordingly, the IPCC role should strictly be limited to science and reporting facts avoiding influencing society’s choice neither by policy nor for moral reasons. The IPCC states that its role is strictly to report to the UN on climate change science, but this is not the case. This also explains why the IPCC received the Nobel Prize for Peace and not the Nobel Prize for Physics or Chemistry. The Belgian Philosopher Drieu Godefridi claims that it is a fraud to present the IPCC, an essentially political body, as scientific, and that this fraud is the greatest in modern science due to its blinding and planetary impact (2). Nobody explains this better than John Broome, a member of IPCC: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognizes that climate change is a moral problem or, to use its cautious language, it raises ethical issues. The authors of the IPCC’s recent Fifth Assessment Report, therefore, included two moral philosophers. I am one of them.” (3)
Scientists should be independent thinkers, reaching their conclusions independently of politics. After all, as Karl Popper explained, a theory in science can never be proven but it can be falsified and if the outcome of an experiment contradicts the theory – which is the case with models of the IPCC – scientists should not be searching for justification of the theory. Popper stated exactly the opposite of Al Gore and environmental NGO’S; the former said “I know that I do not know” and the Al Gore claims “the debate is closed, we need to act”. For Karl Popper science is not there to claim, “this is the truth”, but rather to denounce errors (4). Accordingly, climate change “deniers” have a scientific approach, while those calling them “deniers” do not. This is especially so when trying to marginalise and denigrate anyone disagreeing and even prevent “deniers” to publish in scientific papers as the 2009 Climate Gate scandal demonstrated (5).
As a demonstration of Popper’s position, science is full of errors. Since 1961 cholesterol was an obsession in dietary labels in the U.S. because there was a consensus that eating food containing cholesterol provoked heart diseases. Two generations were discouraged to eat eggs and bacon at breakfast based on scientific consent. However, in 2015, this consensus collapsed (6). Similarly, climate change “deniers” should be respected provided they have a scientific approach and environmental NGO’s should stop their absolute opposition to their theories. The progress of Science needs continuous critical review of its conclusions; so that they remain continuously challenged and confronted with evidence from observations obtained by experiments (7).
From a scientific viewpoint exaggeration in this sector is very shocking. There are on-going claims that extreme weather — hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, etc.—may be caused by climate change. However, there are no data showing an increase in the number or intensity of such events. Even the IPCC acknowledges (8) the lack of any clear link between extreme weather and climate change. Hereafter one example illustrating the orthodoxy repeated without any discernment. The media widely repeated, particularly on the blogosphere, that 2014 was the hottest year (9). Climate change sceptics questioned the statements and discovered that there was a 38% probability that it was indeed the hottest year meaning that with a 62% probability it was not. Furthermore, the possible increase was 0.02 °C; taking into account a normal measurement error of 0.1 °C (10) it’s easy to see the scam. In any scientific field, this information would be discarded as statistically not valid and because of the error margin anyhow insignificant.
In June 2019 on the occasion of the heatwave in France, Jean Jouzel, a French member of the IPCC, declared that “If we let the warming go towards 4 to 5°C at the end of the century, the heat peaks could be 8 to 100°C higher than they are now. We’d move on to another world. At European level, we could reach 150 000 victims every year, mainly because of these heat waves” (11) . It is undeserving to use such examples of heating of 4-5°C since the IPCC projections for such an increase are very unlikely – a probability of 0-1%80. According to the Panel he belongs to, “with high confidence the transient climate response (TCR) is positive, likely in the range 1°C to 2.5°C and extremely unlikely greater than 3°C, based on observed climate change and climate models” (12). The report says that a warming of 3°C is extremely unlikely, not to talk about 4°C.
Figure 323 Probability of the increase of temperature
Source: IPCC AR5, 2013 TFE.6, Figure 2 (13)
(1) IPCC, Principles, https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles.pdf
(2) Godefridi Drieu, The IPCC: A scientific body? 2012, Texquis
(3) BROOME John, A Philosopher at the IPCC, 20 May 2014, International Society for Environmental Ethics, https://enviroethics.org/2014/05/20/a-philosopher-at-the-ipcc/
(4) Honest people exist in all social groups, all professions, all political parties, etc. Reversely, dishonest ones are also found in the same groups. Consequently, it is not surprising that some researchers are dishonest. It’s just the sad reality of life.
(5) MONTFORD A.W., The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science, Stacey International, 2010
(6) USDA, Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, February 2015, https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/PDFs/Scientific-Report-of-the-2015-Dietary-Guidelines-Advisory-Committee.pdf
(7) In February 2015 a symptomatic case exploded with an article published in the New York Times (NYT) about Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, who for over 25 years, argued for a primary role of solar variability on climate. NYT argued that he was paid by fossil fuels industry triggering a scandalous political witch-hunt. Details are on Internet.
(8) IPCC, http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/
(10) Daily Mail, interview of Gavin Schmidt, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2915061/Nasa-climate-scientists-said-2014-warmest-year-record-38-sure-right.html
(11) Jouzel Jean, France Info, 22 June 2019, https://www.francetvinfo.fr/meteo/climat/fortes-chaleurs-ces-periodes-caniculaires-sont-vraiment-liees-au-rechauffement-climatique-assure-le-climatologue-jean-jouzel_3501341.html
(12) IPCC AR5, 2016, Technical Summary, TS.5.3, page 81, https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/WG1AR5_TS_FINAL.pdf
(13) IPCC AR5, 2013 TFE.6, Figure 2, https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/FigTS_TFE.6-2-687×1024.jpg