Feeds

Next IPCC climate assessment due 2014 now everywhere online

No particular surprises - have a read yourself

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A draft of the United Nations organisation's fifth climate report (IPCC AR5), due to be completed 2014, has been leaked onto the internet.

The International Panel of Climate Change is a time-consuming voluntary process comprising three working groups, that produce the three blockbuster reports (on physics, impacts, and mitigation strategies respectively) every seven years. Although the process produces no new science, it is intended to faithfully reflect the state of play.

Although anyone could sign up to "review" the draft, anyone who did was forbidden from disclosing the contents. Skeptical climate blogger Alec Rawls signed up and waited until the after the second review round closed on November 30th, then posted the draft to his blog - which promptly buckled under the weight.

Rawls' decision has won some support from surprising quarters. The New York Times Malthusian-in-residence Andy Revkin described the IPCC demands for secrecy as archaic.

What does it say, then? We shall refrain from cherry-picking all but the cherry-picked "Summary for Policy Makers". There's little change in the conclusion since AR4. Although only a small fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere is produced by human activity, and only half of that isn't absorbed, this remaining component is the dominant factor in determining the climate, say IPCC authors.

"Globally, CO2 is the strongest driver of climate change compared to other changes in the atmospheric composition, and changes in surface conditions. Its relative contribution has further increased since the 1980s and by far outweighs the contributions from natural drivers."

Computer models predict a 3°C rise over a hundred years, and they're more sure than ever "that many changes, that are observed consistently across components of the climate system, are significant, unusual or unprecedented on time scales of decades to many hundreds of thousands of years."

Dire predictions of an increase in violent weather aren't justified however, according to the IPCC.

Rawls says he was motivated to leak the draft because of the IPCC's refusal to accept any other solar factors other than irradiance, or 'brightness'. The refusal is a fact, but results largely from the failure of the scientific community to explore such factors. The Svensmark hypothesis on cloud nucleation is at least acknowledged, for the first time.

It is rarely noted that the IPCC process is voluntary, and the more distinguished skeptical scientists - those who accept the CO2 hypothesis but attribute lower postive feedbacks for CO2 in the climate model, such as Professors Christy and Lindzen, dropped out after AR3 was published in 2001. What's left is scientists with the time to participate and Governments (or more accurately, state apparatus: the bureuacracies) with the inclination and funding to take part.

If Revkin described the confidentiality demands as archaic, much could be said of the entire process, which is designed to chivvy policy-makers into adopting carbon mitigation policies (aka into reducing CO2 emissions), as a sister process to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks. Yet it is now evident, after the failure of successive conferences, that most countries favour adaptation rather than mitigation. China has surpassed the USA in CO2 emissions and now adds an entire "USA's worth" of CO2 to the atmosphere on top of that. This leaves a rump of Anglophone countries (the UK, Australia and New Zealand) still pushing for mitigation - allied to a cluster of small states looking for as much compensation as they can extract from the process. Thus the IPCC appears to be designed for a bygone age.

You can find links to the leaks to the AR5 WG1 draft all over the place, including via the Watts Up With That Blog here. ®

Bootnote

The Interacademy Panel made several recommendations to improve public confidence in the IPCC (pdf), after much criticism.

The WG3 part of the IPCC process was criticised for its heavy reliance on "grey literature" and the role of environmental activists in the editing process). It is left as an exercise for the reader to decide how much was incorporated into AR5.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.