2005-07-07

House of Lords subverted by skeptics...

The House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs has produced a report on The Economics of Climate Change (pdf). Initial impressions of it are poor. It fails to understand the distinctions between the different IPCC working groups. Being economic folk, they keep saying things like We welcome this recognition of the central role of economics in big bold letters. And they say The Committee decided to restrict the scope of its investigation to certain aspects of the economics of climate change. But... they are lying. Because they decided to talk nonsense about the Great Hockey Stick debate. They manage to say: We sought evidence that refuted the claims of McIntyre and McKitrick, but have not come across any detailed rebuttal. But this is where they have degenerated into bald-faced lying. Because had they contacted Mann (clearly they didn't) he would have pointed them to such. For heavens sake, its on the web at RC: Dummies guide to the latest “Hockey Stick” controversy has some info and links. But they do seem to have noticed that One curious feature of the debate over Professor Mann’s time series is that the critics appear to ignore other studies which secure similar hockey stick pictures..

There is a weird bit (para 15), possibly somewhat garbled, that indicates that Lindzen is still pushing nonsense: In the view of Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT, current climate models would have predicted a substantially greater increase in the past temperature than has been observed in the past 150 years, perhaps +3oC compared to the +0.6oC we have witnessed.. Err... but (as the report then goes on to point out) GCMs actually replicate the T record since 1860 pretty well (SPM, fig 4). Presumably what Lindzen is trying to say is that if you omit important forcings, you get the wrong answer, but this is bleedin' obvious. And where he gets 3oC from is a mystery.

Later on they manage to say: apparent divergences between land-based temperature records and satellite-based measurements, the latter showing some cooling rather than warming in recent years...? Unless they want people to wipe their bottoms on their shiny new report, they're going to have to do better than this.

They are on firmer ground - or so one might have hoped - on emissions scenarios/SRES (para 52 and on). Unfortunately they strongly overweight the value of Castles and Henderson, and they manage to wurble stupidly about the probablility of the various scenarios. But really... if they're decent economists, why don't the stop p*ss*ng around and just generate their own more reasonable scenario? Why haven't C+H? And... after all their ranting about MER/PPP, it makes hardly any difference (table 3).

After this there is a long bit on impacts/economics, that I skipped.

Then they get onto the traditional bit about how the "Summary for Policymakers" sections are written. Personally, I think it would be excellent if the US and Saudi govt's weren't allow to b*gg*r about with those bits, but sadly its all written down in the IPCC constitution that the SPMs are agreed line by line by govts, and I rather doubt that it will change. All of that section looks to me like its slanted with anti-IPCC bias, BTW. Well, most of the report does. Not so much the facts, but the tone.

Despite my professed desire to learn more about impacts, I got bored at this point, because clearly this isn't the place to learn from. Hey ho.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Steve Bloom said...

Well, I see from a cruise around the Lords site that two other committees -- the Science & Technology Committee and the EU Environment & Agriculture Subcommittee -- are pushing the government hard toward more action on climate change. I couldn't discern any concern on their parts as to the differing views of the Economics Committee. Also, the time that the Economics Committee allowed between their Call for Evidence and the just-issued report was only six months, which from what I can tell makes it a bit of a hurry-up hatchet job. The typical time for such things seems to be more like a year. The Economics Committee's immediate prior report was allowed 9-1/2 months. Finally, I notice that the Science and Technology Committee will issue its report on energy efficiency later this month following a gestation period of a full year. Presumably they could have sped it up for the G8 summit, but apparently chose not to do so.

8:21 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem very quick to pull the trigger on a report with selective quotation. The most glaring example is your quote of the section that states "apparent divergences between land-based temperature records and satellite-based measurements, the latter showing some cooling rather than warming in recent years;" without noticing the start of that paragraph which states "...we heard doubts expressed about other features of the accepted science. These include:" and after the list which you lifted the snippet from they say: "We do not propose to evaluate these doubts, nor are we qualified to do so. We are also aware that climate scientists who adhere to the human-induced warming hypothesis have responses to most of these sources of doubt."

Is it that even reporting on doubts that have been expressed is not allowed and a sign of thoughtcrime? Perhaps you should read the report again and be clear where they are expressing their own views and where they are reporting on views expressed to them.

4:40 am  
Blogger Belette said...

The point you are missing is that satellite-based measurements, the latter showing some cooling is simply *wrong*. The records just don't show this. Its drivel. If you doubt that, then simply look at the records: e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_temperature_measurements has a nice pic, which I drew, comparing the sfc and MSU records. Can you see the divergence? Can you see the cooling trend?

10:53 am  
Anonymous Steve Bloom said...

It's hard to interpret their use of the word "hypothesis" as anything other than a calculated insult.

8:04 am  

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