IPCC clouds the issue


In researching the post about the list of sceptical scientists I was set on a new course and discovered a couple of interesting facts in the TAR. The narrative describing the list referred to three statements from the 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the IPCC. The first is:

The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th century, and 0.17 °C per decade in the last 30 years.

The rise of 0.6 °C was unexceptional, but I wondered at the 0.17 °C because it represents a rate of recent warming nearly three times higher than earlier.

Maybe I just missed it before or I forgot it, but let’s check it anyway. The reference was IPCC, 2001: Climate Change 2001: Working Group I: The Scientific Basis.

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) quickly confirmed the century-long warming of 0.6 °C on page 3:

Over both the last 140 years and 100 years, the best estimate is that the global average surface temperature has increased by 0.6 ± 0.2°C.

That left the more recent warming of 0.17 °C per decade, which I found in Chapter 2, Observed Climate Variability and Change, Table 2.2, p.115. However, the period is 1976–2000, 25 years, not the 30 years mentioned in the Wikipedia list. So it can be taken as a short-term movement, but does not qualify as establishing a trend. Still, that doesn’t stop the IPCC activists from thumping the table about accelerated warming.

I was somewhat intrigued to read in Chapter 1, The Climate System: an Overview, on page 96 (bold added):

Historically, human activities such as deforestation may have had a local or regional impact, but there is no reason to expect any large human influence on the global climate before the 20th century. Observations of the global climate system during the 20th century are therefore of particular importance. Chapter 2 presents evidence that there has been a mean global warming of 0.4 to 0.8°C of the atmosphere at the surface since the late 19th century. Figure 2.1 of Chapter 2 shows that this increase took place in two distinct phases, the first one between 1910 and 1945, and recently since 1976.

The first highlighted passage is a cute way of expressing a common sceptical viewpoint: that a human influence on the global climate has been undetectable so far—only it’s ironic the IPCC seemed to share that viewpoint back in 2001.

The second highlighted passage should be pressed long and strong throughout the land: the alleged unrelenting man-made global warming has not been continuous, as the increase in atmospheric CO2 has been continuous, but has happened twice. The first time was 100 years ago, from 1910 to 1945. The second time, from 1976 to 2000, didn’t even last the 30 years considered the minimum to declare a trend and ended between 17 and 20 years ago.

This man-made global warming lark is supposed to be caused by carbon dioxide, right? Let’s assume for a moment that it is, just for the sake of argument. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has been rising pretty steadily since 1958, when C. David Keeling started measuring it at Mauna Loa. The concentration varies predictably each year in time with the northern seasons but within that it rises almost constantly.

However, in marked contrast, the global temperature fluctuates wildly and does not resemble the monotonic rise of the CO2 level.

The curves are so different that it’s simply impossible to believe that CO2 governs temperature or, for that matter, that temperature governs the release of CO2. Am I wrong?

If more people knew that the global temperature has not been rising steadily and has leaped just twice in 100 years, they would be free of the pervasive influence of the CO2-demonising zealots.

Does anyone remember that the impulse for the ingratiating and oh-so-credible good-looking young man preaching nightly on the television the virtues of saving energy was the desire to reduce our emissions of CO2? These days he couches his advice in terms of saving your money. Hah! Why does the government spend tens of thousands of your taxes every night to persuade you to save your money? Anyone see the irony of that?

What the government is actually doing is paying the price of a coalition government. The Greens managed to leverage their support into a few feel-good ‘climate’ programmes and that’s one of them.

Settled science? The only thing that’s settled is the deception that science has something to do with it.

42 Thoughts on “IPCC clouds the issue

  1. Bob D on July 7, 2014 at 8:02 am said:

    “The curves are so different that it’s simply impossible to believe that CO2 governs temperature or, for that matter, that temperature governs the release of CO2. Am I wrong?”

    Well, the ocean temperature doesn’t fluctuate as much as the atmosphere, so it’s possible that CO2 release is less varied.

    And yes, I find it fascinating how the government does everything in its power to increase power prices in the name of saving the planet, then acts all indignant about high power prices when the election nears!

  2. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 8:19 am said:

    >”or, for that matter, that temperature governs the release of CO2. Am I wrong?”

    Not atmospheric temperature no. Solar driven ocean heat yes.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 8:40 am said:

    >”Over both the last 140 years and 100 years, the best estimate is that the global average surface temperature has increased by 0.6 ± 0.2°C.”

    208 yr +/- periodicity (deVries).

    >”this increase took place in two distinct phases, the first one between 1910 and 1945, and recently since 1976″

    65 yr +/- periodicity (PDO + AMO).

    Dr Jeff Glassman captured 65 yr and 208 yr periodicity, 16 yr planetary thermal lag, and 19th and 20th century temperature trend up to 2006 with a 134-year running TSI trend line:

    Glassman (2010), Figure 1:



    ‘The Cause Of Earth’s Climate Change Is The Sun’


    by Jeffrey A. Glassman, PhD April 2010


    For the conclusions reached in this paper, the energy in
    S134 is sufficient by itself. However, it is not sufficient as a
    radiative forcing were it to be received at the surface of
    Earth to have a measurable affect on climate. However, the
    accuracy of the model in matching Earth’s temperature
    record indicates that an amplifying process must operate
    on solar radiation.



  4. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 8:53 am said:

    New Zealand is 7th highest on the list of top twenty carbon sequestering nations …


    That is, NZ is not a net emitter according to The Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite “IBUKI” (GOSAT).

  5. Thanks, Bob. You mentioned ‘ocean temperature’ just as I was unconsciously and erroneously imagining that CO2 release was somehow dependent on air temperature. Yet how many times have I said there’s no mechanism that lets the air warm the ocean?

  6. Thanks, RC. I realised my mistake just two seconds before I saw your reply, which came in after Bob’s. I’m slow, but I get there in the end. Mostly.

  7. Wonderful, isn’t it? I look forward to scrapping the ETS very soon.

  8. Simon on July 7, 2014 at 10:34 am said:

    GOSAT is a snapshot. NZ is sequestering carbon due to the plantation forests planted in the mid-1990’s.This will be harvested soon and NZ will become a net emitter. The neutered ETS has perverse incentives that discourage replanting.
    Willis’s speculation about what is going on in Australia is ridiculous. Wet La Nina conditions caused massive green-up in Australia’s interior and a large increase in biomass. This is also temporary.

  9. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 11:38 am said:

    >”plantation forests planted in the mid-1990’s”

    NZ plantation forestry began in the mid-1990’s? I don’t think so:

    Plantation Forestry in New Zealand – History

    “Mass plantings in the 1920s and 1930s, and again in the 1960s, created a robust exotic plantation forestry industry that was soon able to supply all New Zealand’s domestic timber needs and secure the future of the remaining native forest.”


    >”Wet La Nina conditions caused massive green-up in Australia’s interior and a large increase in biomass. This is also temporary”

    Temporary until it happens again.

  10. RC,

    Temporary until it happens again.

    “Droughts and flooding rains” is no myth. They happen multitudinously *erk!*

  11. Simon,

    GOSAT is a snapshot.

    He’s looking at a calendar year, so the snapshot has a long exposure, old son.

    The neutered ETS has perverse incentives that discourage replanting.

    Oh. But the ETS requires giving back credits on harvest. Big disincentive to cut them down. What are you thinking?

  12. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm said:

    NZ Forestry from 1920, graphs:

    Total Planted Forest Area
    Roundwood Removals
    Annual Area of New Planting
    Actual and Potential Harvest


    New Zealand forestry – History


    Figure 1. History of land-use in New Zealand [800 A.D. – 1995]:

    Alpine, Native forest, Exotic forest, Native grasses, All grasses, Fruit, crop & urban.


    Exotic forest planting grew mostly from 1970 onwards but exotic forest is a mere fraction of native forest that more than halved from 800 A.D.. Even so, NZ is still a net sequesterer.

  13. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm said:

    >”This will be harvested soon and NZ will become a net emitter”

    Baloney. Exotic plantations have been harvested for decades and replanted. I moved to MtM (Port of Tauranga) around 1990 when I could count maybe 7 log ships at anchor, now maybe 3 because they’ve got much larger and carry more logs. There have been piles of logs at the port for yonks. Prior and since 1990 I worked, among other things, on hydro projects including in the Kaiangaroa forest south of Murupara and Taupo, I’ve seen the forest harvesting and replanting cycle. I’ve commuted from MtM to Te Puke and Katikati, Rotorua and Taupo, past the log trains and log trucks 24/5&6 (yes, the truckers do night shift, so do the trains).

    I’m sure there’s a similar story for each of the other log exporting ports and hinterland. To say “This [a blip in the planting] will be harvested soon and NZ will become a net emitter” defies all of the above harvesting and replanting activity.

  14. Andy on July 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm said:

    I think quite a few trees were chopped down before the ETS came into effect to minimise liability

  15. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm said:

    Also frantic forest-to-dairy conversion (“white gold”).

  16. Simon on July 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm said:

    A snapshot of one year is not a long time in the scheme of things.
    There was a planting boom in the mid-1990’s. The disincentive exists because the current NZU price is so low, and the future price is likely to be much higher. The current NZU price is because emitters can use cheap overseas credits plus they have a 2 for 1 subsidy.

  17. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 5:46 pm said:

    >”There was a planting boom in the mid-1990′s.”

    There was a planting boom early 70s to late 80s too but for harvest. How much of the mid 90s was for harvest and how much for carbon credits (facts – not hand waving)?

    Besides, the 90s planting was simply a progression of what started in the 70s:


    By the time the 90s planting started there was already 1.5m ha planted. The 90s only added another 0.5m ha which would have included non-carbon credit (i.e. for harvest) planting. Carbon credit planting has been a minor player in the native/exotic mix since 800 A.D. (see upthread).

  18. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 6:22 pm said:

    ‘The Epic Hypocrisy of Tom Steyer’

    Billionaire hedge fund operator and “green” energy magnate Tom Steyer has pledged $100 million in the 2014 election cycle to help Democratic candidates who oppose the Keystone pipeline and who favor “green” energy over fossil fuels. Steyer claims to be a man of principle who has no financial interest in the causes he supports, but acts only for the public good. That is a ridiculous claim: Steyer is the ultimate rent-seeker who depends on government connections to produce subsidies and mandates that make his “green” energy investments profitable. He also is, or was until recently, a major investor in Kinder Morgan, which is building a competitor to the Keystone pipeline. Go here, here, here, here, here and here for more information about how Steyer uses his political donations and consequent connections to enhance his already vast fortune.

    But Steyer’s hypocrisy goes still deeper. Today, he is a bitter opponent of fossil fuels, especially coal. That fits with his current economic interests: banning coal-fired power plants will boost the value of his solar projects. But it was not always thus. In fact, Steyer owes his fortune in large part to the fact that he has been one of the world’s largest financers of coal projects. Tom Steyer was for coal before he was against it.

    A reader with first-hand knowledge of the relevant Asian and Australian markets sent us this detailed report on how Steyer got rich on coal. He titled his report “Hypocrisy & Hedge Funds: Climate Change Warrior Tom Steyer’s Secret Life as Coal Investment Kingpin.” Here it is, in full:



  19. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 6:43 pm said:

    …….the coal mines that Mr. Steyer has funded through Farallon produce an amount of CO2 each year that which is equivalent to about 28% of the amount of CO2 produced in the US each year by coal burned for electricity generation

  20. Richard C (NZ) on July 7, 2014 at 7:03 pm said:

    John Hinderaker :

    “Hypocrisy is not in short supply in the political world, but Tom Steyer is in a class by himself. Now that he is enriching himself through “green” cronyism, coal is evil. Sure: like all hydrocarbons, it competes with the solar energy boondoggles on which he is making millions, with the aid of the Obama administration. But where was Steyer’s alleged social conscience when he was one of the world’s biggest investors in coal? And how substantial are his current holdings in coal projects? Is Steyer financing his anti-fossil fuel campaign on profits from past or, perhaps, ongoing investments in Asian and Australian coal? Inquiring minds want to know! Tom Steyer appears to have elevated political hypocrisy to an entirely new level.”

  21. HemiMck on July 8, 2014 at 10:57 am said:

    “GOSAT is a snapshot.”

    The rate of change in net sequestration is inevitably going to be very low so the snap shot has to be a great representation of where we are now and for a considerable time into the future.

    “Also frantic forest-to-dairy conversion (“white gold”).”

    The conversion to dairy from 1986 to 2008 is reported as 283,700 hectares taking dairy farming to 2,415,000 hectares in total – (environ min). Against this beef and dairy reduced by 500,000 hectares. The majority of dairy conversion is beef and lamb to dairy rather than forestry. Land cover in NZ is 50% native forest and bush, 9% exotic forest and not changing at any great rate.

    Every one of those logs going out over the port is a bundle of sequestered carbon. We need to be celebrating our efforts to save the world.

  22. Andy on July 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm said:

    Off topic, but Ginger-haired people could face extinction due to climate change, “according to experts”.


  23. Mike Jowsey on July 8, 2014 at 11:26 pm said:

    Hah! Add it to the list. I have a Belgian redhead staying with us and he laughingly pointed out the article this morning. He reckons he might be put in the zoo in 20 years, like a panda. Global warming – pffft!

    Of course, the flipside to this extremely speculative theory is that with global cooling we will all turn into blue-eyed redheads!

  24. Alexander K on July 9, 2014 at 2:18 am said:

    Simon is similar to many of the greenish tinge – he never lets a chance to say something foolish that is based in ignorance go by. His knowledge of land use trends in NZ appears to come from opinions floated by various green journalists rather than from authoritative sources, which are available in most public libraries and on various industry and government web sites.

  25. Andy on July 9, 2014 at 10:07 am said:

    The article suggests that “global warming” might cause the sun to come out in Scotland and make redheads go extinct

    The idea that the sun will come out in Scotland for more than 5 minutes is one of the more far-fetched ideas I have ever come across

  26. Simon on July 9, 2014 at 10:54 am said:

    Everything I said was absolutely correct despite some misinterpretation from others. My point was that Australia and NZ will become net emitters of carbon over the next decade.

  27. HemiMck on July 9, 2014 at 1:03 pm said:


    “My point was that Australia and NZ will become net emitters of carbon over the next decade.”

    Can you give some numbers, evidence, anything to support that statement.

  28. Andy on July 9, 2014 at 2:54 pm said:

    Presumably the graphs supplied by Simon for NZ project the forestry plantings until 2050, hence the sharp changes seen

    I’m not entirely convinced that we can project the economy 35 years out with any accuracy
    Furthermore, I don’t know how much of NZ’s native forests are taken into account in these calculations (if at all)

  29. Simon on July 9, 2014 at 3:27 pm said:

    Native forest is essentially in a steady state, maybe declining thanks to possum munching. Policy and economics can change things but there is a long lag. I suspect Willis cherry-picked 2010 as it showed the devloped world in a good light; Australia is probably a net emitter by now. There is good stuff going on in the US at the moment.

  30. HemiMck on July 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm said:


    The New Zealand position is what interests me and the MFE graph above is highly questionable. For one thing it does not measure net sequestration as a satellite would measure. It represents Kyoto Protocol fabrications based on false multiples for agricultural gases and ignoring large sections of the natural environment.

    I am reluctant to go further as I hate to assign any credibility to the numbers, but in trying to find the notes applying to your reference I did notice that the Kyoto numbers were very highly sensitive to the assumption around average rotation life of forests. Recognising that there are large volumes starting to come on stream in about 8 years time it is inevitable that the rotation cycle will lengthen. Infrastructure constraints alone will cause that to happen. Additionally the demand for and therefore the export of logs is not something that the parties responsible for these so-called projections can know anything about.

  31. Simon, in addition to what HemiMcK says, those position papers reflect IPCC assumptions (not measurements) on quantifying emissions and uptakes, the arbitrary declaration that a tree’s entire stock of carbon is instantly released to the atmosphere on harvest and the inclusion or exclusion of an undertaking’s activities in the reporting system according to arbitrary levels of commercial activity. In the meantime, we can now contrast that bureaucratic system with data from the Japanese GOSAT satellite, which monitors atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) from space. An analysis of its observations puts New Zealand seventh highest among nations for net sequestration during the 12 months from June 2009 to May 2010. That’s apparently based on physical observations, not a theoretical calculation of emissions and sinks.

  32. Andy on July 10, 2014 at 9:15 am said:

    There is an assumption somewhere that the world is in a steady state in the absence of fossil fuel burning. i.e there is no net sequestration or emission of CO2

    Is this a valid assumption?

  33. Andy,

    “Is this a valid assumption?”

    I believe so. And since we observe no distinct warming from the reintroduction of our ‘fossil’ CO2 (though we might expect a little warming) I deduce it’s a valid assumption still. The earth is dealing with it.

  34. Richard C (NZ) on July 10, 2014 at 11:59 am said:

    >”Look for yourself, it takes five minutes on the internet:”

    The MfE graph shows net NZ emissions at 2010.


    GOSAT returns net NZ sequestering at 2010 i.e. don’t believe everything you find on the internet – even at govt sites.

  35. Richard C (NZ) on July 10, 2014 at 12:15 pm said:

    >’Native forest is essentially in a steady state”

    Wasn’t always so though was it? And even by 1995 that was not the case (see graph below), and I know of bush clearing around the BOP for dairy farm establishment.

    From upthread, ‘History of land-use in New Zealand’ [800 A.D. – 1995]:

    Alpine, Native forest, Exotic forest, Native grasses, All grasses, Fruit, crop & urban.


    If New Zealand lost all that native bush to grassland mainly and is still a net sequesterer now (according to GOSAT), it will never be a net emitter from exotic changes (total between only 5 – 10% of land use 1995).

  36. Richard C (NZ) on July 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm said:

    >”Australia is probably a net emitter by now”

    The world should take your word for it? I don’t think so, wait for observation processing.

    >”I suspect Willis cherry-picked 2010″

    Or he accessed what has been released:

    ‘On the public release of carbon dioxide flux estimates based on the observational data by the Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite “IBUKI” (GOSAT)’
    December 5, 2012

    “The satellite has been in operation since its launch on January 23, 2009.
    The Three Parties will now publicly distribute the data of global CO2 fluxes on a monthly and regional basis for the one-year period between June 2009 and May 2010”


    How exactly did Willis “cherry-pick 2010” when that’s all that has been publicly released? What other option did he have?

  37. RC,

    “GOSAT returns net NZ sequestering at 2010 i.e. don’t believe everything you find on the internet – even at govt sites.”

    That’s good advice. As I intimate below, our Kyoto returns are put together in accordance with assumptions and rules set down by the UN. They have little connection with observations of the New Zealand atmosphere, climate or emissions.

  38. Richard C (NZ) on July 10, 2014 at 1:11 pm said:

    >”There is an assumption somewhere that the world is in a steady state in the absence of fossil fuel burning. i.e there is no net sequestration or emission of CO2. Is this a valid assumption?”

    I doubt that Andy. From atm CO2 ppm converted to GtG and anthro emissions data I calculated that from 2005 – 2012 atm carbon was growing around 17 times faster than anthro emissions growth. So if FF burning stopped abruptly now there would still be emission to the atmosphere. Ocean heat regulates that and the sun regulates ocean heat.

  39. Richard C (NZ) on July 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm said:

    >”They [Kyoto returns] have little connection with observations”

    Yes RT, like the GCM projections the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit considers to be “evidence”:

    ‘Lord Lawson: BBC has banned me because of my climate change scepticism’

    Former chancellor accuses ‘Stalinist’ BBC of silencing debate about climate change after it bowed to complaints over his comments on Radio 4’s Today programme
    The complaints, including one from Chit Chong, a low-energy expert, were upheld by the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit.

    Lord Lawson wrote that Fraser Steel, head of the unit, apologised to Mr Chong “for the fact I was allowed to appear on the programme and to make clear this will not happen again”.

    He said Mr Steel told Mr Chong the former minister’s views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling.

    Lord Lawson added: “However useful computer models may be, the one thing they cannot be is evidence. Computer climate models are simply conjectures.


  40. RC, in speculating on the likely behaviour of CO2 levels after the (highly improbable) cessation of mankind’s emissions, I see two arguments to be made.

    1. From proxy data before 1750, it’s possible that CO2 levels would be fairly stable over short terms (Figure 1) but perhaps more variable over the longer term (Figure 6).

    2. Over the last 60 years or so, about 50% of our atmospheric emissions of CO2 have been absorbed each year without increasing the atmospheric concentration. That is, as our (calculated) emissions have increased, so the earth has absorbed more without affecting the concentration. So if our emissions cease it’s possible that atmospheric levels would continue to decline.

    In reality, air temperature is not dependent on CO2 levels in the air—CO2 levels are dependent on ocean temperature. So I would expect little change in atmospheric concentrations other than a small drop upon the stop—a decrease upon the cease.

  41. Richard C (NZ) on July 11, 2014 at 9:22 am said:

    >”So I would expect little change in atmospheric concentrations other than a small drop upon the stop”

    That’s my expectation but we’ll never know. I put the drop in terms of incremental growth year-on-year because atm carbon is growing that much faster than anthro emissions (I calculate 17x 2005 – 2012). So in my terms, a drop in atm ppm growth rate but not necessarily a drop below the previous years ppm figure.

    I also expect that in a few decades when the last 400 years of ocean heat accumulation has dissipated, that CO2 ppm will be expressed as a rate of decline instead of a rate of growth. Peak atmospheric CO2 levels in the profile of a long inflexion starting maybe in about 20 yrs time (around 2034 – maybe sooner).

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