How the UN IPCC became so alarmist

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the world leader when it comes to spreading the gospel of climate alarmism. This is largely because it puts itself out as a science organization, which is how its pronouncements are reported by a willing press.

In reality the IPCC operates like a law firm arguing a court case. It spends millions of dollars, every five years producing detailed one-sided interpretations of the science, that argue for the alarmist case. The fact that the scientific case against alarmism is much stronger is artfully ignored. As a pseudoscientific advocate for climate alarmism the IPCC is unparalleled.

There is a new history book out that explains how things came to be this way. It is “SEARCHING FOR THE CATASTROPHE SIGNAL: The Origins of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” by Bernie Lewin. Some lengthy excerpts can be read over at Judith Curry’s science blog Climate, Etc. It is fascinating stuff.

It turns out that when it was first formed in 1988, the IPCC actually tried to be scientific. At least it did in its first major report, when it reported that human influence on climate was still debatable. That fact is still true today, but the IPCC abandoned all objective assessment of the science and went the way of alarmism.

By the second big report the pressure was on to be alarmist. The major world governments had all signed on to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is the Treaty that spawned the Kyoto Protocol and the recent Paris Agreement. The 1992 UNFCCC pledged to prevent dangerous human caused climate change, so of course that alarmist threat must be seen as real.

The IPCC had to put up or shut up, so it reported that humans were indeed causing climate change. Many of the scientists involved in this report were horrified and some publicly denounced the outcome, but the IPCC was off and running. As the saying goes, the policy horse was ahead of the scientific cart.

Here is how Lewin puts it: “In 1995, the IPCC was stuck between its science and its politics. The only way it could save itself from the real danger of political oblivion would be if its scientific diagnosis could shift in a positive direction and bring it into alignment with policy action.

Not surprisingly, successive IPPC reports have become progressively more alarmist. As skeptical analysts like Pat Michaels have pointed out, the IPCC mantra is always “It’s worse than we thought.”

The Paris Agreement includes transferring trillions of dollars from the developed to the developing countries, not as aid but all in the name of climate change compensation. The IPCC’s job is to come up with science-sounding arguments that support this outrageous goal, and they do this consistently and well. If they were a law firm they would be rich, but as it stands they are world leaders when it comes to arguing for alarmism.

In that context we await their next special report, which will be even worse than they thought. The IPCC has been tasked by the UNFCCC to tell us how to avoid 1.5 degrees C of warming. This report is due out this year. It is virtually certain that the answer will be that we all have to change the way we live — a lot.

This is after all pure climate alarmism, so no science need apply. The conclusion is known before the study is done. That the IPCC is now devoutly alarmist is certain. It is after all an “Intergovernmental” organization and most of these governments are waiting for their money.


About the Author: David Wojick, Ph.D.

David Wojick is a journalist and policy analyst. He holds a doctorate in epistemology, specializing in the field of Mathematical Logic and Conceptual Analysis.

  • Immortal600

    The AGW crowd has nothing but doom and gloom to support their failed theory.

  • RealOldOne2

    Excellent article and links to Curry and Lewin’s book.

    Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has also documented the failings and fraud of the IPCC:

    She has many excellent articles on the IPCC, including her “Citizen Audit” of the IPCC’s 2007 AR4 report, which IPCC Chairman claimed used 100% peer reviewed references, but Donna’s audit found that 30% of the references in the report were not from peer reviewed science, but from grey literature such as advocacy organizations such as the World Wildlife Foundation.

    Sadly, the EPA endangerment finding was based largely on the IPCC pseudoscience reports.