Trust in the IPCC


Many people trust the IPCC, that it tells governments around the world the truth about global warming. But their trust is being seriously challenged by accumulating lines of evidence that this is not a good characterisation of the IPCC’s process.

The IPCC is coming under ferocious attack by climate sceptics using documentary evidence of astonishing, widespread disregard of fidelity.

Never mind the incompetent science (which alone is enough for a catastrophic failure of the IPCC’s mission to prove mankind is wrecking the climate) – the deficiencies in procedure and breaches of minimum standards would make the most informal non-profit organisation blush. They are not a professional organisation.

Here’s one reason why the IPCC reports should not be automatically venerated, but instead subject to cool-headed independent scrutiny before publication — they are terribly written, the antithesis of plain speaking, such difficult writing that the frequent result is to obscure the truth.

Andy Scrase alerts us to this piece of impenetrable prose from Working Group 3 of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, 2007. He especially appreciates the thrilling expression “quasi-certain irreversibility”, as I do — it’s so excruciating that it’s delicious. I spent several minutes deciding on its meaning, holding my breath.

Supporters of the IPCC: please give your interpretation of this example of their breathtakingly disconnected ineptitude. Give us the scientific meaning of this scientific nonsense:

Human impacts on the climate system through greenhouse gas emissions may change the climate so much that it is impossible (or extremely difficult and costly) to return it to its original state – in this sense the changes are irreversible (Scheffer et al., 2001; Schneider, 2004). Some irreversibility will almost certainly occur. For example, there is a quasi-certain irreversibility of a millennia time scale in the presence, in the atmosphere, of 22% of the emitted CO2 (Solomon et al., 2007). However, the speed and nature of these changes, the tipping point at which change may accelerate and when environmentally, socially and economically significant effects become irreversible, and the cost and effectiveness of mitigation and adaptation responses are all uncertain, to a greater or lesser extent.

Views: 144

48 Thoughts on “Trust in the IPCC

  1. Peter Fraser on 31/10/2011 at 5:23 pm said:

    “Some irreversibility” takes a lot to get one’s head around too.

    • Isn’t it amazing?

      For the record, I make it “uncertain changes”. So they’re saying nothing useful. Even when you’ve decided what they’ve said. Which must itself be quasi-certain, certainly.

      Further interpretations very welcome!

  2. C E Kay on 31/10/2011 at 6:14 pm said:

    The best situation is where socially insignificant effects become irreversible to a lesser extent on a millennia time scale in the presence of money.

    They may then become economically significant in that the tipping point where the cost of adaptation responses becomes reversible to a greater extent, could then become quasi-certain. ie we’d all get rich!

    But who knows?

  3. Andy on 31/10/2011 at 6:53 pm said:

    I saw a similar phrase in this classic “social climate science” paper:

    The Social Simulation of The Public Perceptions of Weather Events and their Effect upon the Development of Belief in Anthropogenic Climate Change

    “This paper uses a dynamic simulation model to situate the role of variables representing environmental processes in the social construction of the issues of climate change and global warming. In effect, it presents a quantitative dynamic simulation model of the social construction of a quasi-reality.

    (my emphasis above)

    My guess is that all this quasi stuff is that which is based on computer models. Maybe then it’s all a load of post-modern Marxist BS.

    Either way, I can’t actually imagine writing this kind of rubbish and being able to sleep at night, especially if the public are paying me to do so.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2011 at 7:37 pm said:

    “Supporters of the IPCC: please give your interpretation of this example of their breathtakingly disconnected ineptitude. Give us the scientific meaning of this scientific nonsense:”

    Simple really, it’s just plain English (but not that I’m an IPCC supporter).

    Here goes:-

    May = 1. (used to express possibility): It may rain.

    Almost = very nearly; all but.

    Quasi = resembling; seeming; virtual.

    May (again) = see above

    All = 4. every: all kinds; all sorts.

    Greater = designating a city or country and its adjacent area: Greater New York; Greater Los Angeles.

    Lesser = 1. smaller, as in size or importance; inferior: a lesser evil.


    I hope this helps.

    • English it may be, but it’s neither plain nor simple. You must be an incurable optimist to believe it to be either. This sentence is not resolved by leaving its constituent words unconnected, nor does it become plain. Yes, all words, taken alone, have meaning, but they can be woven together to create what does not exist, or even to induce the insanity of meaninglessness, as here.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 9:17 am said:

      OK, I’ll give it another go with a loose paraphrase.

      A bland premise with a flimsy basis leads to wild speculation that bad things might happen and if the speculation is assumed to be internally correct – it is correct.

      More precise speculation restates that the bad things might happen in a million years

      But a wild guess at when it all starts and some more speculation shows that we are just making stuff up – more or less.


  5. Gary on 31/10/2011 at 7:53 pm said:

    quasi from Latin ‘as if, almost’

    Certain, Middle English: from Old French, based on Latin certus ‘settled, sure’

    irreversibility not able to be undone or altered.
    Its the sort of stuff that put most to sleep. .

    • Good info, Gary, thanks. It might induce sleep, but it’s not the product of sleep, and that’s why this passage and others like it are so dangerous. It’s designed to obscure the truth, which is unpalatable, which is that there’s no climatic problem of our doing. If we don’t sit for a moment and unpick it, who will? And then who believes the message it sends, and, believing, follows the speaker into who knows what dark and ignorant future? It’s simply unpicked, that doesn’t need much skill; it only requires the will and the capacity to judge this evil writing for what it is: designed to confuse. Once unpicked, it loses its venom, like a dead snake.

    • Gary on 02/11/2011 at 7:32 pm said:

      Great Picture of a truely evil man.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2011 at 9:00 pm said:

    In climate terms, squealing may be the portal to tipping points.

    We’ll need to pay attention

  7. Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2011 at 9:39 pm said:

    Quango is a favourite of mine from the quasi stable.

    As in bonfire of the quangos

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2011 at 9:57 pm said:

      And quark, mustn’t forget quarks.

      As in quarks gluons and leptons

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2011 at 10:07 pm said:

      Not to be confused with the charm antiquark

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 9:22 am said:

      Not strictly from the quasi stable but a great name nonetheless, I’m sure you will all agree.

      Quark Quark

    • Andy on 02/11/2011 at 10:27 am said:

      The Quark is named after a phrase in James Joyce’s book Finnegan’s Wake.

      Three quarks for Muster Mark!
      Sure he has not got much of a bark
      And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark.

      Finnegan’s Wake is a pretty impenetrable piece of prose too, it should be said, but unlike IPCC WG3, people do actually read it.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 11:05 am said:

      So that should have been:

      Quark Quark Quark

      Much more of this and I’ll go quackers

    • I think you’re just ducking the issue, Richard.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 11:44 am said:

      No, just applying the Duck test

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 11:26 am said:
    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 11:50 am said:

      Reserve bench must be the Quasi-Quakers

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 12:13 pm said:
    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 12:28 pm said:

      Are you experiencing these symptoms of anthropogenic global warming?

      “When the organs and blood are agitated by the trapped heat, trapped due to the layer of uncontained turbidity, then this leads to the following problems: feeling unusually hot inside, mentally restless and unable to effectively relax, irritability, high or unquenchable thirst, insomnia or other sleep issues, feeling clammy and damp, excessive uncontrolled sweating, and even queeziness or nausea from drinking too much fluid in an attempt to cool down. This occurs because too much fluid intake (more than one can digest completely) typically leads to queeziness and nausea.”

      Yes? Then here’s the cure:-

      # Consider visiting an herbalist of Oriental/Chinese medicine. Such practitioners have skills to help clear the imbalance leading to an improved quality of life. Imagine less irritability, no sleep problems, easy relaxing, and feeling less hot and agitated through the summer! I’d say that’s an improvement if you are having trouble in this heat.

      So don’t be agitated by the trapped heat, there’s help just around the corner at your local Chinese herbalist.

  8. Andy on 01/11/2011 at 9:40 am said:

    Oh well, I stand (partly) corrected. It seems that the expression “quasireversibility” (as opposed to “quasi-ireversibility” which is a different concept), has a meaning in queuing theory.

    However, the literal expression “quasi-certain irreversibility” has only 17 results if you Google it (with quotes around it).
    The first two are from the source IPCC document. The third result is this page. The other results are all quoting the source IPCC document.

    They really are breaking new grounds with the English language.

  9. Andy on 01/11/2011 at 12:59 pm said:

    We know that the WWF are “embedded” in the IPCC, but Coca Cola now seem to have become entangled with WWF too.

    If you ever needed a reason not to drink Coke, here it is:!

  10. David on 02/11/2011 at 11:22 am said:

    Hi Richard T,
    Good to see you keeping up the fight. We are certainly winning. I see that your blog gets wide exposure but I see on Kiwiblog there are always a number of supporters for our view. David Farrar seems to be sceptical and we have had several exchanges about qeustions he had. He does welcome guest posts. His readership is vast and includes many senior politicians. I was wondering if you might be interested in doing a post on his blog?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 3:37 pm said:

      Perhaps an opportunity to cross-post Richard T (or just point to the Matt Ridley lecture). Did some checking and the last Climate Change post was December 1st, 2010.

      Followed a link in comments under the CSC v NIWA Kiwiblog post to this at Baptist Churches of New Zealand:-

      Clearing the air

      Forum panelists: Barry Brill (good photo), Ian Wishart, James Renwick and Andy Reisinger among others.

      Stephen Tollestrup, executive director of Tear Fund stormed out after being rebuffed by Barry – no more donations from me.

      Richard Storey, Clearing the Air Organising Committee, was a bit grumpy afterward: “It is disappointing and rather frustrating to see yet another journalist fogging the issue with an article that mixes reporting with mis-reporting, and coloured with a very strong element of personal opinion (“Clearing the Air,” August NZ Baptist)”.

      Martin Roberts thought the ETS should be global

      A more recent forum (July 2011?) Church and Environment exposes the Green faction of Evangelical Christianity that seems to indicate that the object of their worship is as much Gaia as God. 4 out of the 5 Dr’s presented the man-made climate change proposition (the Christian Socialist version) and 2 that environmentalism restores the earth to the “order that ought to be”.

      The issue of man-made climate change could be the beginnings of a schism in the Baptist Church, either that or they just go all out Gaia.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/11/2011 at 2:15 pm said:

      Not Gaia but the “Evergreen God” apparently

      Hope For Creation is a Christian prayer movement that is mobilising people of faith all around Australia and the world, in a prayerful response to the issue of climate change. Join us on Sunday 6th November for a day of prayer in a changing climate

      Page 1, “The rich world gets richer burning fossil fuels while ‘downstream’, without resources to defend themselves, the poor suffer consequences.”

      Page 2, reflect on God, creation and climate change.

      Page 4, songs for creation care and climate change

      e.g. “May You Live in the Love of the Evergreen God

      Page 5, “shocked” about the fact that our world is still warming and clues as to the socialist/communitarian underpinnings of this movement e.g. “Barack Obama titled his first book The Audacity of Hope, which is a phrase he heard in a sermon by Reverend Jeremiah Wright”

      Also a link to “A theology of Climate Change”

      Page 6, Cathy Cook has a Masters in Theological Ethics focusing on ecology from Edinburgh University.

      Why Pray? As people of faith, we believe that prayer is vital in bringing about change in our world and ourselves. Prayer brings healing and witnesses to our hope in God’s restoration of all creation [Huh? This is an interesting new “Christian” doctrine that you wont find in the KJV]


      We confess that we have not cared for the earth
      with the self-sacrificing and nurturing love that you require of us.
      We mourn the broken relationships in creation.
      We repent for our part in causing the current environmental crisis that has led to climate change.

      God of all wisdom, give wisdom to the leaders of the world’s nations.
      Let them work together for a global agreement to tackle climate change.
      Give them the determination to find a just solution that protects the people who are most vulnerable in our world, and protects creation.

      Motivate us to take action,
      and grant wisdom and courage to the world’s leaders
      that they can negotiate a fair deal for the world’s poor.

      There’s also a bastardization of the bread and wine that I wont go into here. Suffice to say that this Green “Christian” doctrine is not unusual in modern Christianity especially in the USA and the Pope is big on it too.

      Take a look at Hope For Creation Partners. Includes World Vision that has recently picked up a $200m UN contract.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/11/2011 at 3:02 pm said:

      Theology of Climate Change

      1. Introduction
      Climate change is as much a social and moral issue as it is an environmental issue. Its far reaching effects will touch all of us in some way. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a group of over 2,500 leading scientists from around the world are now predicting a rise in globally‐averaged temperatures of between 2◦C and 6◦C by the end of this century1. With these changes in temperatures, scientists are predicting that we in Australia will experience more extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and heat waves, further water shortages and more intense bushfires.2 The most recent IPCC Fourth Assessment Report stated that it is now very likely that most of the observed increase in globally‐averaged temperatures in the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.3 The current climate change that the world is experiencing has historically been caused by those of us in wealthy countries as we have developed our economies. However, the people who stand to lose the most are people in impoverished countries, who have historically contributed least to the problem. Furthermore, they lack the financial resources to cope adequately with the problem. The deep injustice of wealthy countries’ actions and the disproportionate effect this will have on people in poorer
      countries, requires a moral and ethical response

      Climate change threatens to cut across the success of all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These eight goals were developed in response to the world’s main development challenges and include:
      Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
      Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
      Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
      Climate change is already beginning to undermine poverty reduction

      [MDG is a UN initiative ]

      3. A Christian response to economics The Greek word for house is oikos. This is also the source of the words economics, ecology and ecumenicity. Sallie McFague argues, “The three belong together: in order for the whole household of the planet to flourish, the earth’s resources must be distributed justly among all its inhabitants, human and earth others, on a sustainable basis.”

      4.1 Hope for the future
      To start moving towards a more just and sustainable world we have to first have hope that a different world is possible and imagine what that world will look like. In 1987 the Brundtland Report, also known as Our Common Future, alerted the world to the urgency of making progress toward economic development that could be sustained without depleting natural resources or harming the environment.

      4.2 Acknowledging Sin
      Christian Aid’s Paula Clifford defines sin:

      in the breakdown of human relationships, revealed in the unjust distribution of resources which creates a chasm between rich and poor. Sin also lies in the loss of connectedness between human beings and the environment, which has brought about the crisis of global warming. And in all this there is, too, the breakdown of the relationship between us and God.

      4.4 Eight principles for sustainable living these guiding principles inform an understanding of how our relationships might be re‐ordered so that our relationships better reflect a right relationship with God. These principles also acknowledge that the particulars of what is ‘sustainable’ is not going to be the same for every situation. For example, whilst switching to renewable energy rather than relying on coal fired electricity is an important step in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and becoming more sustainable, the type of renewable energy that is appropriate will change depending on the situation – some sites are very suited to solar, for others wind would be more appropriate. These principles are therefore only a first step on the path towards sustainability.

      5. We should favour regulated solutions that take account of natural, human and social capital.

      7. …….The World Council of Churches has also been promoting the concept of ecological debt ‐ the idea is that industrialized Northern countries ‐ their institutions and corporations – have a debt towards Southern countries because of the manner in which they have used these countries’

      5.4 Mission/Outreach
      Conduct one event to demonstrate the church’s commitment to being a “green” church.

      7. References

      Climate Institute, Common Belief: Australia’s faith communities on climate change, December 2006,

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/11/2011 at 3:18 pm said:

      Common Belief

      December 2006
      © Copyright Climate Institute (Australia) Ltd 2006
      The Climate Institute (Australia) Ltd

      “for most of us, the fate of the planet as a
      result of global warming is really a moral issue”

      BAPTISTS 14
      BUDDHISTS 16
      CATHOLICS 18
      HINDUS 24
      LUTHERANS 28
      MUSLIMS 30
      SIKHS 34

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/11/2011 at 9:48 pm said:

      Climate Institute of Australia
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Funding for the Institute is provided by the Poola Foundation’s Tom Kantor fund. The current cycle of funding is for five years at a rate of approximately A$2 million per annum.[1][2]

      The Poola Foundation’s approach

      Mark [Mark Wootton, Director of the Poola Foundation] began his presentation by explaining that the Poola Foundation is a charitable entity. He and his wife (the Director’s of the Poola Foundation) consider it to be the ‘divestment arm’ of their family company. The Foundation’s primary areas of focus are on the environment, social justice, and peace. In its activities, the foundation aims to inspire, to educate and to demonstrate solutions. The Foundation tends to provide larger grants but has made grants ranging from $2,000 to $10 million in size. By 30 June 2007, the Foundation expects to have distributed about $30 million in grants.

      The Climate Institute defends its coal alliance

      Has The Climate Institute damaged their brand by announcing a “historic alliance” with the World Wildlife Fund, The Coal Association and the CFMEU?

      [WWF actually now the World Wide Fund for Nature and still using the former name in the U.S. and Canada ]

      Analysis of “Common Belief” follows.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/11/2011 at 10:00 pm said:

      Being green is God’s work, says Costello

      ALL Bible-reading Christians should be ”greenies” because ”creation carries the imprint of the maker”, says the head of World Vision Australia, the Reverend Tim Costello.

      Speaking at the start of a national day of prayer on climate change yesterday, Mr Costello said it was incumbent on Christians to take the problem of global warming seriously, and to battle cynicism and despair.


      He was speaking as a new coalition, Hope for Creation, launched the national day of prayer, with thousands of Christians taking part nationally and joining those from 40 other countries.

      Read more:

      In the same vein as ‘Common Belief’ up-thread e.g. the Anglicans:-

      Climate Change: A Core Matter of Faith

      “Christian faith is certainly about personal salvation. But it is more than that:
      Christianity is, first and foremost, a concern for the whole of the created order — biodiversity and business; politics and pollution; rivers, religion and rainforests.”

      Which (for those biblically illiterate) tallies with a prophesy of a “falling away” or apostacy (2 Thess 2:3). This fundamentalist website puts it this way in their ‘Apostacy’ category:-

      The fact is that the World Council [of Churches] is made up of a bunch of theological weirdoes! It is the home of every sort of radical: environmentalists, communists, New Agers, One Worlders, feminists, syncretists.

      Greenie ‘Christians’ have varying takes on Genesis 1:28 – a point-of-difference between Fundamentalist and Greenie Christians:-

      …replenish the earth, and subdue it

      Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams:-

      Subdue the earth is not license to exploit it

      Echoed by the Salvation Army in ‘Common Belief’:-

      God’s instruction to “subdue” the earth and “rule” over every living thing (Gen. 1:28) cannot be interpreted to justify exploitation.

      But more read into it in this book:-

      Redeeming creation: the Biblical basis for environmental stewardship

      [Page 90] It also seems unlikely that God’s command to subdue the earth meant to mine and exploit its inorganic matter

      The words steward and stewardship present a problem too, they are used about two dozen times in the KJV but not once in the context of the earth but that doesn’t sway the Anglicans:-

      “…our first calling by God is to be stewards of the earth

      There are more problems with the notion of “Redeeming Creation” and that the earth is an “object of God’s redemptive purpose” (page 26). Evidently, God’s redemptive purpose for the earth is limited. Going by the book of Revelation (that Greenie ‘Christians’ avoid like the plague), the earth undergoes major climatic and geologic upheaval before ultimately in Revelation 21:1:-

      And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

      It shouldn’t be improbable to anyone that believes in an entity powerful enough to create the universe and the earth, that the same entity is equally powerful enough to take the whole thing down and put up a new one – but that’s not “being green” and doing “God’s work”, apparently.

  11. Andy on 02/11/2011 at 12:05 pm said:

    Bishop Hill has just posted an excellent piece by Matt Ridley on scientific heresy and pseudoscience

    Judging by the comments from Anthony Watts et al, I suspect this article is going to get a lot of exposure.

    It is certainly worth the read.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 12:41 pm said:

      There ya go,

      Lesson number 2: debunking is like water off a duck’s back to pseudoscience.

    • Andy on 02/11/2011 at 12:50 pm said:

      Oh Jeez not another thread about bloody ducks. We had one of those at Bishop Hill.
      Can’t we stick some, ehem, duck tape on you Rich? 😉

    • Hmm, perhaps we should. But we don’t want to get too stuck up about it.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 1:22 pm said:

      OK, duck tape in place

      On a serious note, I agree. This is a top-shelf gilt-edged lecture that should get the exposure it deserves.

      Although I think I recall it not being well received at Deltoid (seems to be the hangout for the “B” Hockey Team – C at SkS, D at HT)

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2011 at 7:08 pm said:

      Yes, here it is. Not quite the BH reception:-

      185 ………..The Australian is allowing everyone to view their dumbest articles on climate change, first Pell and now Matt Ridley.

      Posted by: Acacia | October 30, 2011 4:59 PM

    • Andy on 02/11/2011 at 8:34 pm said:

      Richard C .
      cheers for the Deltoid link.

      can’t imagine I’ll be spending much time there. do these guys just slag everyone off?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/11/2011 at 7:19 am said:

      An uncouth bunch, checking in does leave an unpleasant aftertaste but it provides an insight into the mindset of some whose influential work and writing we hear about from time to time – Lambert and Vermeer in that post and thread,

      I am curious about this:-

      5 When Delingpole writes that “professor Muller sets up his straw man”, I think that he actually means that Muller sets up a faithful image of Delingpole himself.

      Posted by: Andy S | October 22, 2011 1:44 PM

    • Andy on 03/11/2011 at 7:51 am said:

      It’s a different Andy S I can assure you. I have never left a comment at Deltoid.

  12. apologies if you’ve already seen this book “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert ” by Donna Laframboise… its about petulant child which is the IPCC… get at amazon here

    more at Donna’s site:


    • Andy on 03/11/2011 at 12:09 pm said:

      I have read the book, but no apologies needed Lisa.
      I highly recommend it to everyone.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 04/11/2011 at 6:35 pm said:

      Brooke LaFlamme (a graduate student) vicariously reviews Donna Laframboise’s Delinquent Teenager (via Fox News article) – and comes up with this gem:-

      “For example, the article on states, “Grad students often co-author scientific papers to help with the laborious task of writing. Such papers are rarely the cornerstone for trillions of dollars worth of government climate funding, however — nor do they win Nobel Peace prizes.” I will assume that the bit about “Nobel Peace prizes” was a mistake made by the Fox News writer, since as I’m sure you’re aware, scientific achievements do not lead to Peace prizes. Further, most science of any kind doesn’t lead to a Nobel Prize. They really don’t hand out that many of them.”

      Brooke is now older and wiser after La Flamme-out

      H/T Tom Nelson.

    • Andy on 04/11/2011 at 7:49 pm said:

      Funny, I started the “troll” influx on that one, possibly after noting the link on Hot Topic’s twitter feed and cross posting to Donna (No Frakking Consensus) Facebook link.

      (Yes I am the same “Andy” on Brooke’s page)
      The joy of social networking.

  13. Richard C (NZ) on 10/11/2011 at 12:16 pm said:

    Rely on the IPCC…

    Their assessments of the state of knowledge on the subject are the “gold standard of climate change information,” said Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the US government-funded National Centre for Atmospheric Research and chair of the National Academy of Science. He would rather refer to them.

    CLIMATE CHANGE: How to spot a dodgy study

    The IPCC’s Fake Review Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation