Matthew Arnold Meets the IPCC

The rumors and leaks ahead of the IPCC’s next whopper climate science report due out in two weeks put me in the frame of mind of Matthew Arnold’s famous lines from “Dover Beach” about the “melancholy, long withdrawing roar” of climate alarmism.  The entire last two stanzas can be easily adapted to the “sea of faith” that is today’s desperate climate campaign:

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Matt Ridley reported yesterday in the Wall Street Journal (“Dialing Back the Alarm on Climate Change”) that “The big news is that, for the first time since these reports started coming out in 1990, the new one dials back the alarm. It states that the temperature rise we can expect as a result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide is lower than the IPPC thought in 2007.”

Specifically, the draft report says that “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS)—eventual warming induced by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which takes hundreds of years to occur—is “extremely likely” to be above 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), “likely” to be above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and “very likely” to be below 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 Fahrenheit). In 2007, the IPPC said it was “likely” to be above 2 degrees Celsius and “very likely” to be above 1.5 degrees, with no upper limit. Since “extremely” and “very” have specific and different statistical meanings here, comparison is difficult.

Still, the downward movement since 2007 is clear, especially at the bottom of the “likely” range. The most probable value (3 degrees Celsius last time) is for some reason not stated this time.

And the Daily Mail offers a similar report:

A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.

The Mail on Sunday has obtained the final draft of a report to be published later this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the ultimate watchdog whose massive, six-yearly ‘assessments’ are accepted by environmentalists, politicians and experts as the gospel of climate science.

They are cited worldwide to justify swingeing fossil fuel taxes and subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy.

Yet the leaked report makes the extraordinary concession that the world has been warming at only just over half the rate claimed by the IPCC in its last assessment,  published in 2007.

Back then, it said that the planet was warming at a rate of 0.2C every decade – a figure it claimed was in line with the forecasts made by computer climate models.

But the new report says the true figure since 1951 has been only 0.12C per decade – a rate far below even the lowest computer prediction.

The 31-page ‘summary for policymakers’ is based on a more technical 2,000-page analysis which will be issued at the same time. It also surprisingly reveals: IPCC scientists accept their forecast computers may have exaggerated the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures  – and not taken enough notice of natural variability.

Anybody remember acid rain?  Me neither.  Make room on your bookshelf for the next IPCC report next to the voluminous acid rain studies from the 1980s, which found the phenomenon, while real, to have been vastly overestimated.

Stay tuned also for an update on why the mainstream media coverage in two weeks will be the opposite of this; in other words, more of the same “we’re still doomed.”  The full 2,000-page science report will be the real document to read carefully, which precisely no one in the media will do.

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