In the aftermath of AR5.

AR5 or the fifth Assessment Report on global warming was published last week, amid a fair amount of fanfare but nothing compared to what it would have been like in the glory years of climate alarmism. Everyone has had their say on it by now but I thought it worth adding my own thoughts.

What was actually published was a summary of the underlying science papers for policymakers. Those underlying papers are yet to be published but in the meantime we can still evaluate AR5 from a science viewpoint. It essentially glossed over or ignored a number of fundamental problems with the science driving the conclusions in the report. There’s a lot of very informed commentary out there in the skeptic community, which I’d encourage you to read, so I’ll just highlight the major areas of concern.

There’s been no significant increase in global temperature for nearly two decades, a fact conceded by the warmists, and yet the report fails to come up with a reason for this beyond vague unsubstantiated conjectures that the missing heat may be hiding under the seas somewhere. More tellingly, it glosses over the fact that carbon emissions, which are supposed to be driving temperatures, have actually increased in this period.

It then artfully dismisses the pause as too short a period to detract from some longer-term upward trend in temperature. Just give them another twenty years or so and they’ll be proved right.

This pause was not predicted by any of their computer models and so one would naturally expect some sort of explanation for this failure. None is given, none at all. Instead, it assures us the models are even better now. This deliberate omission borders on the childish. When the results predicted by any theory, whether programmed into a computer or not, diverge from real world observations, the theory is wrong, which is why they had to refuse to address the discrepancy.

And yet, after studiously ignoring these and many other imponderables, they’re somehow even more certain than ever that our carbon emissions are going to have a catastrophic effect on the world’s climate. Dr. Richard Lindzen’s thoughts on AR5 sum up the situation nicely. “I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence. They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.”

In short, when considered from a scientific viewpoint, I consider it not just a flawed document but a fundamentally dishonest one. It was just thinly disguised advocacy.

Given that assessment, it has to be asked if it was nevertheless effective in that role or restating that question, was it the appropriate type of document to produce to address the current political situation and the answer to that is quite simply no. The essential problem it should have been pointed at was rebuilding the IPCC’s damaged credibility with anything else being an aspirational bonus but instead of doing something along those lines, it actually worsened their plight by damaging it even further.

The general public is quite simply bored of environmental scares, so instead of dialling down the alarmism, they simply ramped it up even more, in the deluded hope that by doing so it would somehow regain the popular support of yesteryear. Realistically, that was never going to happen.

Like all essentially fanatical advocates, they simply cannot admit they were wrong but will insist, absolutely insist in the face of all contrary evidence, that they’re right. Because of that pathological compulsion, it was predictable that the report would be even more alarmist, and equally predictable that it would be ignored for that very reason.

Of course it was not aimed at the general public but the ruling political establishment. However, politicians are extremely sensitive to swings in public sentiment on any issue, so will always think twice about endorsing anything their electorates not only don’t care about any more but have now come to actively dislike. That sort of process is called democracy, which is why a number of climate activists would like it suspended in the name of saving the planet.

That same effect of finally having to listen to what Joe Public wants was evident in the skimpy news coverage given to its launch in the mainstream media by everyone but the traditionally climate-obsessed organs of it. It was essentially a damp squib or as I referred to it in a comment, a dead cat bounce. When a publication loses fundamental contact with its consumers, it ends up with the circulation disasters and falling viewer figures currently being suffered by the Guardian or BBC.

Glacial though it may be, the mainstream media is increasingly swinging over to the skeptic viewpoint, if only for slightly cynical circulation reasons and anyway, giving a bunch of holier than thou prats a good drubbing always goes down well with the average reader.

The reality is that any high hopes they entertained for it influencing increasingly disinterested governments were actually deluded from the very start. Given the current political landscape, the best that could be expected of it was some damage limitation.

We’ve just witnessed the embarrassing and public humiliation of climate science as a field of honest scientific endeavour. It has lost all claim to be taken seriously and is now tarred with the same pathological science brush that aberrations like Lysenkoism or Eugenics were. It’s now up to the non-activist scientists in the field, who’ve stayed silent for far too long, to save it from that fate by speaking out and reclaiming their field from fanatics posing as scientists. As Elvis said, it’s now or never.

In political terms, AR5 was actually the incoherent and rambling suicide note of the IPCC.


Related articles by Pointman:

Armageddon Report No. 5.

Climate Alarmism and The Prat Principle.

The decline of the environmental lobby’s political influence.

Click for a list of other articles.

18 Responses to “In the aftermath of AR5.”
  1. Petrossa says:

    In France the last few days daily with every hourly news broadcast a 10 minute section fully following the AR5 central message (it’s worse then we thought and it’s man’s fault). Reason: they are just about to introduce carbon tax which still needs to be voted on.
    Annoying to be taken for a moron by your government.


    • p gosselin says:

      What better way to legitimize and protect the nuclear power industry.


      • Pointman says:

        Welcome Pierre.



      • Petrossa says:

        Wish it were true. The Socialist government wants to shutdown reactors and replace with ‘green’ ‘renewable’ energy. Luckily by the time the current reactor under construction is finished they’ll be history


      • Manfred says:

        I’d really like to see them try and shut down ITER. They’re strangley quiet in this regard, although I believe I heard a theocratic-enviro-activist pontificating that mankind was far too stupid and immature to possess a bountiful supply of cheap energy.
        “The World,” they said, “was not ready for it.”


  2. Jeff Wood says:

    An excellent summing-up, well written.


  3. Edward. says:

    It seems these days that, I’ve got a semi permanent headache, so has Britain and the prognosis is to say the least, destructive.

    The other day, we had that communist throwback and A1 ***t, a politician who launched the CCA2008 and who wants to solve high consumer bills through imposing a price freeze on suppliers for goodness sake – yeah I know it’s pathetic and what is more worrying is that he has gotten an uptick in his political ratings according to the NOP’s.

    A bloke called Ed Miliband, who is also promising to ‘decarbonise’ UK energy production by 2030 – whatever the f**k that means. Verily, it sure sounds to me like and nothwithstanding the IPCC retreat from Moscow [or Vladivostok more like] the left wing nutters in Britain and by that I mean the political claque of; Labour/Liberal/Conservative – haven’t quite ‘got it’ yet.

    Witness shadow energy secretary [Caroline Flint] on Andrew Neil’s Sunday morning effort – promising all things to all men AND regulation of the energy suppliers while at the same time introducing the zero carbon energy plan…………..oh – she said “gas was OK” and that,
    “we’ll keep prices low with our new way!”……………………And so whoever you vote for: we’re still on the downhill trajectory to deindustrialisation and national economic suicide via the green death.

    That was is sooooooo funny, “Larf I nearly shat” as Clive said to Derek.

    Miliband, Nu Labour, Old Laboured, It all sounds so like a ‘five year plan’ – you know the ones they used to dig in Russia, ayuh or, digging for punishment in a Siberian salt mine – if you didn’t get the communist’s five year ‘design’.

    Moreover and though I fear that the left [here in the UK] would dearly love to resort to sending people off to the re-education centres, a euphemism for the gulag, it may [is] be too late. The Islamists, undoubtedly will have other plans for this Island. Either, or, it’s a race [ooh can I use that word?] and it is on – for a headlong plummet down to third world shit hole status whatever is the ‘vehicle’ of transport – agenda 21 is working well and the progressives [must be the greatest misnomer ever] have all but won.

    What is it about British politicians, why are they more stupid than all the rest or, why do they hate this island and its indigenous population so much?


    • John says:

      They don’t now, or ever will , live in the real world. Very few know what it is like to live on a budget, and all they care for is to get re-elected. They are true parasites, giving no benefit to the host, and actually doing more harm. I weep for the future of this once green and pleasant land.


    • Pointman says:

      Ed, I only wish I could vent as well as you do 🙂



  4. Jimbo says:

    I think this just might be the last full-blown IPCC report. It’s clear that the report has been overtaken by events, such as the recent flood of climate sensitivity reducing papers. They may adapt and come out with shorter, more regular reports.

    As for credibility in what other science would observations diverge with projections by so much and yet generate greater confidence. Maybe it’s just a political endevour.


    • cosmic says:

      “Maybe it’s just a political endevour.”

      I suggest there’s no maybe about it. See the IPCC as primarily an attempt to sell a political objective to be achieved by a scare, by dressing it in the clothing of science and lending it an air of objective authority, then it makes sense. Otherwise you are left scratching your head.

      What sort of political objective would this be? Obviously not one people would accept as an honest proposition.


  5. Manfred says:

    I too, think that this is likely the last grand climate fest orchestrated by the IPCC. The meme has changed: …from a 90% hand-waving certainty of 100% anthropogenic greenhouse gas attribution for the increase in global mean temperature (AR4 2007) to a 95% hand-waving certainty that >50% of the increase in global mean surface temperature is the result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas attribution and other anthropogenic forcings together (AR5 2013).

    So, >50% of ALL climate change is being attributed to human forcings. Whether it lies at 51% or 99% who knows? The hand-waving choice of 50% is just a little bit inconvenient isn’t it? This is pure coin tossing territory. And the billion $ models lamentably resist concordance with empirical observation. They’re had to up the strong aerosol negative forcing to account for the UNPREDICTED temperature flat line, and all in the face of inexorably rising CO2.

    The shift from ‘global mean temperature’ (AR4) to ‘gobal mean surface temperature’ (AR5) is important because it leaves the IPCC with the opportunity to ‘discover’ the lost heat in the Oceans and add it to the ‘global mean surface temperature’ to produce a new (awe, shock, horror) ‘global mean temperature’ – if they survive to AR6. If empirical observations continue to reveal the prophetic ‘Inconvenient Truth’ I suspect AR6 will be a quiet, ignored footnote.

    So, will the ‘lost heat’ will finally turn up in the Oceans…and distract us from the fact that it’s partner in crime, the atmospheric ‘hot-spot’ never did? And all this expensive pantomania in the face of the ever pressing inability to demonstrate that the variation in climate lies anywhere else other than within the norms of natural variation.


  6. John Leon says:

    Living in the S/W of France I despair at the idiocy of all the wind turbines going up some way north of me around Niort, I also understand it was France that vetoed an E.U. directive to study Thorium, I know that will come back and bite EDF hard, as to ITER, France fought hard to have it built here, I am sure they want it online first; Hollande is so unpopular his administration of left wing idiots will be pulverised soon enough, people around here in the desert of France are becoming extremely peeved at new and higher taxes demanded by Holland; recently a normal housewife came into my local bank complaining about the scam of CAGW, if les fammes are switched on you can believe no one else believes the bullshit!


  7. pkuster says:

    ” In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”

    -Yogi Berra-


  8. aussie_guy says:

    From Australia…Here’s an example of a news outlet that supports Climate Change. They use the IPCC report to promote alarmist tones.

    “Bondi under siege as swelling ocean seeps into suburbs”

    (1) As we know, the IPCC report offers 4 possible scenarios from their computer models…The authors of the linked article intentionally picked the worst one, and ran with it.

    (2) Using that worst case, they need to associate the “end of the world” theme closer to home (Australia in this case). So they picked a well-known place: Bondi beach.

    (3) To make a more dramatic impact, the linked article has a “how it might look in the year 2100” graphic. (This is where Photoshop comes in handy!)

    (4) Get a comment from a Greens member (because its related to the enviroment)…They’ll complain some and try to stir more fear to the reader. (Greens are the extreme loony Left in Australian politics. Everyone got a taste of them when they helped the previous Govt ram a Carbon Tax down our throats.)

    (5) Since its related to Bondi, portray the local council responsible for the beach as evil for not doing anything about Climate Change.

    (6) They intentionally put the word ‘hypothetical’ in quotes, to highlight how opposing view shouldn’t be taken seriously. To subtlely poke at skeptics.

    …Is this the last dying gasp of the Climate Change movement? I doubt it. They and their media backers are NOT giving up until they get their way.

    Just a day or so before the release of the IPCC report, David Suzuki came to preach his nonsense on our taxpayer funded channel; ABC. Interestingly enough, the channel allowed some skeptics in and to ask questions. Unfortunately for Suzuki, these were scientists who know their material! Suzuki was made the fool, as he openly admitted he didn’t know much about anything!

    The only relief we have in Australia is that we voted back in a Conservative govt that will tear down the Carbon Tax that was imposed on us. Our new Prime Minister has already torn down the “Climate Change Commission” and fired the useless staff who have been sticking their snouts in the taxpayer trough.

    Anyway, enjoy the site very much. Especially the “know your enemy” articles.

    Regards from Australia.


    • bushkid says:

      G’day Aussie Guy, another Aussie here, this one from up the “bush”. It never ceases to amaze me how successfully the catastrophists use imagery, however false, actually particularly false. I checked out that smh link, and those supposed “before and after” images are telling in their presentation. Before is a lovely full colour image on a lovely calm sunny day with lots of beach exposed (low tide perhaps?). After is a monochrome, post-armageddon-like presentation, complete with angry surf and destructive waves assaulting the innocent shore line. However infantile in their “beliefs” and “commitments”, the CAGW crowd have some able media and psy-ops people and on their side. Fortunately, common sense has some able people also on side as well, and a vast majority of ordinary, common-sense people with well-tuned bullish*t meters.

      G’day Pointman, I have enjoyed your site for some time, love your writing.


  9. limogerry says:

    If you don’t like being characterized as a recently beheaded barnyard bird, please sign my petition urging HRH the Prince of Wales to debate Lord Viscount Monckton who has challenged him to do so in an open letter on Here’s the link. Thanks.


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