Richard North, 27/09/2013  

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The Working Group I Summary for Policymakers to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is finally available.

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia", we are told. "The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased".

However, the summary report itself is such a dog's dinner that most journalists will undoubtedly have relied on the press release. And that delivers the approved message right up front with the heading: "Human influence on climate clear".

Thus we are told: "It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. The evidence for this has grown, thanks to more and better observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response and improved climate models".

Needless to say, in what was now become the typical media manipulation, the actual report is not available until Monday. This means that the message gets the full airing, before anyone has the opportunity to analyse the evidence, thus ensuring that the approved line gets a head start on the opposition - with the willing help of the BBC.

One has to note that, if the authors of the report were confident of their data, they might not need to indulge in such a high degree of media manipulation . But then, the IPPC reports have always been more media events than they have been the exposition of science.

Watts Up With That, however, suggests that the IPCC should have just copied and pasted the AR4 summary onto the AR5 letterhead, and save the world tens of billions of dollars.

In a way, that really sums it up. The document is actually a summary for believers. Those who believe will continue to believe. Those who do not will continue to disbelieve. The two sides are irreconcilable, and there is now no longer any debate. They talk past each other, while the uncommitted look at the contest with a mixture of tedium, indifference and dismay.

What should be noted though, is that the IPCC is, by definition, a propaganda operation. Its self-defined role is, "to assess … the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation".

The organisation, by its own account, takes as a given the existence of "human-induced climate change" and, therefore, it is entirely unsurprising that it finds: "human influence on climate clear". It could do nothing else.

On the other hand, no one with any sense, or understanding of the basics of science, could take their science from an overtly political organisation, with such an obviously distorted statement of principles. 

By its own definition, the IPCC is not a scientific body. It calls itself an intergovernmental body. Its documents, it says, should involve "both peer review by experts and review by governments". And, while the former does not attest to good science, the latter invalidates it. Governments do not and cannot produce science. The governmental process of the IPCC means we are getting politics, not science.

With that, one has to be quite firm. One cannot say, "apart from that, what did you think of the report?" The politicisation of science invalidates the scientific process. End of. The IPCC has not produced science. It has produced a series of political statements.

By the same measure, the evaluation of the IPCC output is not a scientific task – it is essentially political, exploring the reasons why politics is masquerading as science. But the moment the scientific credentials are accepted, the battle is lost – it is being fought on the ground dictated by the enemy.

The only thing, therefore, one needs to say of this AR5 is that it is a political statement by a politically motivated body, made for political reasons. And if you need to know the basis of the politics, start with Rio in 1992 and Agenda 21.

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