Courage, Change & Chance

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kill The IPCC

By Robert Carter

I am standing on the helicopter deck of the famous science-drilling ship JOIDES Resolution, the snow-capped mountains of South Island, New Zealand, glistening gently along the far western horizon. It is a privilege and a pleasure to be here. The group of 50 scientists and technicians on board are drawn from the best in the world, and from the many country members of the International Drilling Program (IODP).

For a research proposal to be allocated a drilling leg on JR - which lasts 2 months and costs about US $15 million to conduct - the science involved has to survive the most rigorous international peer-review.The drilling leg in which I am participating has been fostered by a group of scientists who are vitally interested in the topic of ancient sea-level and climate changes. Faintly, for it is far away, I remember that these issues are supposed to be the focus of international discussions in Copenhagen this week.I grimace at the thought, because the study of climate change, under the aegis of "dangerous global warming caused by human carbon dioxide emissions," has long since been captured by the small group of well connected, well networked and well funded atmospheric scientists and computer modellers who advise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and whose nearly every utterance confirms their ignorance of the true course of climate history and change on our planet - a topic that is the domain of geologists, not meteorologists and computer jockeys. However, the stately progress that the IPCC was making towards achieving international action at the COP15 climate conference against carbon dioxide, an environmentally beneficial trace gas, has been shattered by the Climategate affair.

"Climategate" refers to the recent leaking of a copious file of emails, technical papers and computer codes from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which is the research group that provides the IPCC with its iconic global temperature curve since 1860.The Climategate files have demonstrated the scientific malfeasance of an influential and internationally well networked segment of the climate research community. A small group of scientists and computer modellers - with the aid of an enormous supporting cast of environmental activists and organisations, self-interested business groups, and crusading journalists - have managed to turn the global warming issue (which in 1990 was an entirely sensible matter to have raised) into the scientific scam of the century, if not the biggest ever. Since the original leak in mid-November, which was not covered by the mainstream press, Climategate has surpassed 30 million hits on a Google searchThe IPCC is the official UN body that has presided over this fiasco. It is an organisation that was specifically set up to provide advice to national governments (including Australia's) for their use in setting climate policy.

The IPCC's incompetence is manifest in its failure to detect the corrupt science that has for so long permeated the activities of the international jetsetters of the climate science power group. The organisation should be closed down (without tears), and the Copenhagen COP-15 meeting would be a good place to start this process happening.That the global warming scare should turn out to be precisely the scam that climate rationalists have been banging on about for years is shocking enough; many future PhD theses and books will undoubtedly be written about it.

Yet it is but the tip of the iceberg so far as the public prostitution of science is concerned. Climategate being currently in full swing, the obvious question is when (not if) the parallel Reefgate, Murraygate and Fishgate scandals will erupt in Australia?All Australians should contemplate deeply the questions that are raised by the global warming scandal, including the systemic corruption of science and the dereliction of duty by media news organisations that it reveals. Key questions include the following.Why has our formerly excellent national science agency, the CSIRO, been allowed to become a consultancy arm for the government?

Why, amongst other shameless activities, has CSIRO been allowed to go around selling region-customized reports that are implied to provide climate predictions, but which in fact contain projections that are statistically no better than flipping a coin? (CSIRO's back is protected, of course, by the doubtless expensive lawyers who have insisted that the following disclaimer be inserted in all such reports: "This report relates to climate change scenarios based on computer modelling. Models involve simplifications of the real processes that are not fully understood.

Accordingly, no responsibility will be accepted by CSIRO or the QLD government for the accuracy of forecasts or predictions inferred from this report or for any person's interpretations, deductions, conclusions or actions in reliance on this report". Would you buy a used car from these people?). Why has the Australian Research Council been required to apply "national science priorities" as if any scientist, however distinguished, let alone a bureaucrat or politician, has the wisdom to discriminate between useful and "useless" research?

Behind the corrupted science of Climategate and the fall of the IPCC, then, lie two things. The first is the degradation, mainly by political interference, of research conditions and practices within modern government-funded research groups. The second is the power and financial clout of the modern, ecoevangelistic Green movement, egged on by crusading media reporters and editors. The world has probably never before seen a propaganda and political machine that is as well oiled, well funded and well organized as this modern army of apocalyptics and their media flag-wavers. But voters who respond to the siren song of the Greens imperil both our standard of living and, ironically, the state of our natural environment.

For every dollar that is spent on a false environmental issue such as dangerous human-caused global warming is a dollar that is not available to be spent on a real environmental or social problem.

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