Five dodgiest IPCC claims

Following the publication of the IPCC’s latest doom-laden report on man-made climate change, we take a look at five of their dodgiest and most discredited claims.

5) They’re all Nobel Prize winners

While the IPCC as a whole was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, this is a prize they hold as an organisation, not as individuals. This little detail didn’t stop IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri from declaring in an en-masse letter to the 9,000-odd IPCC-associated bods that they were all Nobel laureates. Nor did it stop Pachauri and a number of his cronies from using the title in their bylines and speaker biogs. That is, until the Nobel Foundation stepped in and scrunched up their tin-foil medals. Clearly, Pachauri’s compulsive bollocks-talking is tricky to switch off.

4) The Himalayan glacier will melt by 2035

One of the IPCC’s most headline-grabbing predictions from their 2007 assessment was that the Himalayan glacier could melt by 2035. The claim, the IPCC said, was based on detailed research. Three years later, IPCC vice-chairman Jean-Pascal van Ypersele was forced to admit this was a ‘mistake’. What he didn’t admit was that the ‘detailed research’ this claim was based on was an interview that appeared in a magazine with one lone scientist, who himself has since admitted it was sheer speculation.

3) They are ‘the experts’

Whenever the media run with another wacky IPCC claim, we’re encouraged to take leave of our critical faculties for a moment because, we’re told, the IPCC are ‘the experts’. Forget those cranky, pseudo-scientific ‘deniers’, these guys are the real deal. The thing is, this just isn’t true. Many of the authors of chapters of IPCC reports, far from being ‘world-leading experts’, don’t even have PhDs in their subjects, while others have expertise in a completely different field to the areas they are authoring IPCC-report chapters about. The only thing this lot are all experts in is fooling governments and the media into thinking the IPCC’s reports are objective assessments, untouched by political agendas.

2) Climate change will cause extreme weather

From Typhoon Haiyan, that ravaged the Philippines last year, to the UK’s recent flooding, we’re constantly being told by politicians that climate change is at the root of a new spate of extreme, destructive weather events. This is yet another line that politicians have cribbed from the IPCC’s 2007 assessment, which claimed all manner of natural disasters, from tropical cyclones to droughts (note, not floods), would become more frequent and more destructive over the coming years. The thing is, even as Labour leader Ed Miliband continued to furrow his brow, waist-deep in Somerset floodwaters a few weeks ago, the link between climate and extreme weather has been discredited. In 2010, it was exposed that the IPCC had based the claim largely on an unpublished report, the authors of which later withdrew their assertion due to lack of evidence. Unfortunately, Miliband didn’t get the memo, but hey, he had a lot on his plate at the time – being energy and climate minister and all.

1) The globe is warming rapidly

Global warming has remained the rallying cry of the environmental movement for over 20 years. Even as the green lobby rebranded the issue as ‘climate change’ towards the end of the 1990s, in order to fudge the fact that there might not be so much warming after all, it has remained one of the movement’s most salient and much-spouted claims. The IPCC reiterated this in its fourth assessment, stating that global temperatures would rise by up to 6.4 degrees Celsius over the course of the twenty-first century. The problem is that the so-called global warming pause has continued since 2007, and, while competing theories abound for why this might be, no one really knows. The world, at least for the moment, isn’t getting warmer. Surely it’s time we turned up the heat on the IPCC?

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