10.11.2010 1

Scientific Audit of U.N. Climate Panel Concludes Alarmist Claims Lack Evidence

By Kevin Mooney — Over the past few months, the scientific establishment has persistently worked to exonerate researchers caught up in the “climategate” scandal with the assistance of a compliant news media.

However, a new audit into the procedures and methodologies used within the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has added further weight to the concerns and criticisms of global warming skeptics.

The InterAcademy Council (IAC), a scientific body based in Amsterdam, was tasked by the U.N. itself to conduct the investigation.  The results published on Aug. 30 raise additional questions about the science of climate change. The IAC concludes that U.N. body was inclined toward conflicts of interest, made multiple assertions about climate change that lack scientific support and inappropriately interjected itself policy making process. Yet, these findings have received little coverage in the mainstream press.

By contrast, a six-month inquiry into “climategate” that relied almost entirely on the testimony of those implicated without input from critics and skeptics was invoked repeatedly as the subject of news reports in the New York Times and elsewhere that sought to reassert the validity of global warming alarmism.

At issue, are emails linked to the Internet from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Great Britain that suggests researchers were willing to manipulate and distort scientific data in an effort to bolster claims about the relationship between human activity and warming trends.

Myron Ebell, the director of energy and global warming policy at The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), has described the U.K. inquiry chaired by Sir Muir Russell as a “professional whitewash” that will not endure over time.

“The Muir Russell report on the ClimateGate scandal does a highly professional job of concealment,” he said in a statement.  “It gives every appearance of addressing all the allegations that have been made since the ClimateGate e-mails and computer files from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Institute were released last November.  However, the committee relied almost entirely on the testimony of those implicated in the scandal or those who have a vested interest in defending the establishment view of global warming.  The critics of the CRU with the most expertise were not interviewed.  It is easy to find for the accused if no prosecution witnesses are allowed to take the stand.”

The other reports that have attracted press attention come from Pennsylvania State University, which cleared Michael Mann, one of its own scientists, from charges associated with the controversy. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Investigations Committee, said the university did not conduct a serious and comprehensive inquiry into the charges.

Meanwhile, the credibility of the IPCC, which is often cited as the authoritative voice on global warming science, is now in question.

“We found in the summary for policymakers that there were two kinds of errors that came up – one is the kind where they place high confidence in something where there is very little evidence,” the IAC report noted. “The other is the kind where you make a statement with no substantive value, in our judgment.”

The IAC also criticized the IPCC for its “slow and inadequate response to revelations of errors  in the last assessment” and also said certain Working Groups attached a high level of confidence to findings for which there was little evidence.

“In future assessments, all Working Groups should qualify their understanding of a topic by describing the amount of evidence available and the degree of agreement among experts; this is known as the level of understanding scale,” the IAC recommended. “And all Working Groups should use a probability scale to quantify the likelihood of a particular event occurring, but only when there is sufficient evidence to do so.”


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