What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 28, 2013

Scaife, The Trib, And The NIPCC

I don't think the editorial board fully understands the unintended irony of the opening of today's op-ed:
A new Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) report shows just how weak the case is for “man-made” global warming. Unlike United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, the NIPCC's 1,200-page report has no governmental sponsorship, freeing it from conclusions predetermined by politics. It comes from a consortium of The Heartland Institute, the Science & Environmental Policy Project and the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.
So the funding of a report determines its outcome?  Maybe it's not that harsh.  Perhaps what they're saying is that the source sponsorship of a report can undermine the validity of that report.

The Guardian has some background info on the groups supporting the NIPCC:
The report is the latest in the Heartland Institute's "Climate Change Reconsidered" series and the cornerstone of its campaign against the IPCC's fifth assessment. Heartland is aggressively pushing the report in op-eds, blogs and in articles in conservative newspapers and news stations. Among others, it has received coverage in the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph, The Washington Times and the UK's Daily Mail, in an article that had to be "significantly" changed due to errors.

Other groups participating in the report include the Science & Environmental Policy Project, a research and advocacy group founded by climate skeptic Fred Singer—who is also the director of Heartland's Science and Environmental Policy Project—and the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, an Arizona-based climate skeptic group partly funded by ExxonMobil.
Ok, so who sponsored the NIPCC report?  More specifically, who supports The Heartland Institute, The Science & Environmental Policy Project and the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change?

You already know the answer but let's take a look anyway.  The NIPCC was set up by Fred Singer and

Let's start with The Heartland Institute.  Over the years it's received (among many others):
  • $555,000 from Exxon
  • $350,000 from the Sarah Scaife and Carthage Foundations
By the way, Fred Singer's also involved with the Science & Environmental Policy Project.
And how about the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change? It's received:
  • $75,000   from Exxon
  • $100,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation 
That's a million dollars right there.  So IF the sponsorship of a report can predetermine it's outcome, then why can't we assume the exact same thing about the NIPCC? Funny but Scaife's braintrust never says.

But let's look at some of the specific things in the op-ed:
Taking into account research ignored by or contrary to the IPCC's blame-mankind assumptions — and its latest report, unveiled on Friday, was no exception — the NIPCC report says “climate sensitivity to CO2 is much lower than (the IPCC's incomplete climate) models assume.”
And an explanation from skepticalscience:
The NIPCC report exclusively examines the literature published by climate "skeptics," whereas the IPCC report examines the work of both "skeptics" and mainstream climate scientists. For example, the 2011 NIPCC report has a section about climate sensitivity - how much the planet will warm in response to increasing CO2 emissions. Climate sensitivity is one of the most important climate science issues, especially for climate "skeptics", whose arguments for climate inaction depend entirely on low climate sensitivity. It tells us how much we can expect the planet to warm, depending on how much CO2 we emit in the future.

However, the 2011 NIPCC report only devoted one sub-section (and one page) to the subject of climate sensitivity, and only referenced four scientific studies on the subject (one of which is the debunked Lindzen and Choi [2009]; a second was specific to high-latitude, not global sensitivity; a third was published in a journal of dubious quality over a decade ago; and the fourth does not support low sensitivity). The IPCC report on the other hand devotes several sections to the subject (i.e. here and here and here) and references dozens of peer-reviewed studies investigating the question of climate sensitivity. It's a clear difference between comprehensive and selective reviews.
And then there's this:
It cites the stability of global temperatures since 1997, “despite an 8 percent increase in atmospheric CO2.”
As we already know, there's been no "stability" since 1998.  It's still getting warmer:
The year 1998 was remarkably warm relative to the underlying trend line, in association with the El Nino" of the century. But the underlying global temperature has continued to rise, despite the fact that solar irradiance for the past few years has been stuck in the deepest solar minimum in the period of satellite data.
And so on.

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