The whistleblower at the University of East Anglia who leaked emails and other documents that reveal the fraud that is being perpetrated by the world’s leading global warming alarmists did us all a great service. But it is important to realize that the deception didn’t just begin: rather, the global warming hysteria movement has been shot through with fraud from the start.
The most important document in the history of the anthropogenic global warming movement was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Second Assessment Report, which was published under the auspices of the United Nations in 1996. This report was the principal basis for the Kyoto Accord which was signed in 1997, and for the nonsense that has been inflicted on the world’s elementary school students ever since.
But the Second Assessment Report was hijacked by an AGW activist who re-wrote key conclusions and injected a level of alarmism that had not been present in the consensus document. You can get the whole story here, along with a great deal more information about the global warming controversy. The Science and Environmental Project summarized what happened as follows:
IPCC assessment reports, and particularly their Summaries for Policymakers (SPM), are noted for their selective use of information and their bias to support the political goal of control of fossil fuels in order to fight an alleged anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
Perhaps the most blatant example is IPCC’s Second Assessment Report (SAR), completed in 1995 and published in 1996. Its SPM contains the memorable phrase “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” You may recall that this 1996 IPCC report played a key role in the political deliberations that led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
This ambiguous phrase suggests a group of climate scientists, examining both human and natural influences on climate change, looking at published scientific research, and carefully weighing their decision. Nothing of the sort has ever happened. The IPCC has consistently ignored the major natural influences on climate change and has focused almost entirely on human causes, especially on GH gases and more especially on carbon dioxide, which is linked to industrial activities and therefore ‘bad’ almost by definition.
How then did the IPCC-SAR arrive at “balance of evidence”? It was the work of a then-relatively-junior scientist, Dr Benjamin D. Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), who has recently re-emerged as a major actor in ClimateGate. As a Convening Lead Author of a crucial IPCC chapter, Santer carefully removed any verbiage denying that human influences might be the major or almost exclusive cause of warming and substituted new language. There is no evidence that he ever consulted any of his fellow IPCC authors, nor do we know who instructed him to make these changes and later approved the text deletions and insertions that fundamentally transformed IPCC-SAR.
The event is described by Nature [381(1006):539] and in a 1996 WSJ article by the late Professor Frederick Seitz (See also my Science Editorial #2-09). Seitz compared the draft of IPCC Chapter 8 (Detection and Attribution) and the final printed text. He noted that, before printing, key phrases had been deleted from the draft that had earlier been approved by its several scientist-authors.
This is from Professor Seitz’s 1996 Wall Street Journal article:
This IPCC report, like all others, is held in such high regard largely because it has been peer-reviewed. That is, it has been read, discussed, modified and approved by an international body of experts. These scientists have laid their reputations on the line. But this report is not what it appears to be–it is not the version that was approved by the contributing scientists listed on the title page. In my more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community, including service as president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society, I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.
A comparison between the report approved by the contributing scientists and the published version reveals that key changes were made after the scientists had met and accepted what they thought was the final peer-reviewed version. The scientists were assuming that the IPCC would obey the IPCC Rules–a body of regulations that is supposed to govern the panel’s actions. Nothing in the IPCC Rules permits anyone to change a scientific report after it has been accepted by the panel of scientific contributors and the full IPCC.
The participating scientists accepted “The Science of Climate Change” in Madrid last November; the full IPCC accepted it the following month in Rome. But more than 15 sections in Chapter 8 of the report–the key chapter setting out the scientific evidence for and against a human influence over climate–were changed or deleted after the scientists charged with examining this question had accepted the supposedly final text.
Few of these changes were merely cosmetic; nearly all worked to remove hints of the skepticism with which many scientists regard claims that human activities are having a major impact on climate in general and on global warming in particular.
The following passages are examples of those included in the approved report but deleted from the supposedly peer-reviewed published version:
“None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.” “No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [man-made] causes.” “Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced.”
The reviewing scientists used this original language to keep themselves and the IPCC honest. I am in no position to know who made the major changes in Chapter 8; but the report’s lead author, Benjamin D. Santer, must presumably take the major responsibility.
IPCC reports are often called the “consensus” view. If they lead to carbon taxes and restraints on economic growth, they will have a major and almost certainly destructive impact on the economies of the world. Whatever the intent was of those who made these significant changes, their effect is to deceive policy makers and the public into believing that the scientific evidence shows human activities are causing global warming.
Fred Singer, in the SEPP editorial quoted above, continues:
[I]n addition to these text changes there are also two key graphs that were doctored in order to convey the impression that anthropogenic influences are dominant. Again, my Hoover essay gives the details.
1. According to all climate models, [greenhouse] warming shows a characteristic ‘fingerprint’: a ‘hot spot’ in temperature trend values in the tropical upper troposphere. Michaels and Knappenberger [Nature 384 (1996):522-523] discovered that the IPCC’s claimed agreement with observations was spurious and obtained by selecting a convenient segment of the radiosonde temperature data and ignoring the rest.
2. Santer also claimed that the modeled and observed patterns of geographic surface temperatures were correlated, with the correlation coefficient increasing over time (suggesting to the reader that a growing human component gradually emerged from background noise). I found, however, that Santer had obtained this result by simply deleting from a published graph all the trend lines that disagreed with his desired outcome [Eos 80 (1999):372]. In fact, the original paper had Santer himself as lead author and did not appear in print until after the IPCC report was completed – in contravention of IPCC rules.
It is interesting that these several documented falsifications went largely unreported and had little impact on scientists and politicians, who went on to support the passage of the Kyoto Protocol — in spite of the absence of any scientific support.
So the Kyoto protocol was based on fictitious science, exaggerated or fabricated outright for political purposes. The same Professor Santer who hijacked the Second Assessment Report figures prominently in Climategate. Many of his emails were disclosed by the East Anglia whistleblower; among other things, they show Santer resisting all efforts by independent scientists to obtain information, through Freedom of Information Act requests, about the statistical manipulations that Santer applies to raw climate data to “prove” the existence of anthropogenic global warming.
Fraud: it is the one constant in the history of the global warming hysteria movement.