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IPCC draft (redux)

Filed under: — gavin @ 14 December 2012

Amid the manufactured spin and excitement of the unofficial release of the IPCC WG1 Second Order Draft, it is worth remembering that this happened last time too:

IPCC draft: No comment

May 4, 2006

As everyone has now realised, the second-order draft of the new IPCC report has become very widely available and many of the contributors to this site, commenters and readers will have seen copies. Part of the strength of the IPCC process are the multiple stages of review – the report is already significantly improved (in clarity and scientific basis) from the first round of reviews, and one can anticipate further improvements from the ongoing round as well. Thus no statements from this draft report can be considered ‘official’. While most of the contents of the report will come as no surprise to frequent visitors here, we have decided that we are not going to discuss the report until it is finalised and released (sometime in February 2007). At that time, we’ll go chapter by chapter hopefully pulling out the interesting bits, but until then, we feel it’s more appropriate to respect the ‘Do not cite or quote’ injunctions that can be found on every page. We trust that our commenters will likewise respect the process. Patience, people, patience!

The only change is that AR5 will be released in September 2013.

60 Responses to “IPCC draft (redux)”

  1. 1
    Russell says:

    The inimitable Delingpole of the Daily Telegraph is waving the galactic cosmic ray banner on behalf of AR5 draft leaker Alec Rawls :

    Dellers declaims:

    “Over to you greentards. I look forward to reading your extravagant apologias as to why this is a story of no significance and that it’s business as usual for the great Climate Change Ponzi scheme.”

    I trust someone will explain why he’s the one peddling the postal reply coupons this time round.

  2. 2

    What a scurrilous little builder in straw he is!

  3. 3
    Ray Ladbury says:

    At some point, how does one avoid the conclusion that James Delingpole is simply stupid?

  4. 4
    Oale says:

    I’ll say the sequel is worse than the original. This flick should be directed to people 6 years younger than the original one since most teens have seen the original already. But on the other hand, people of 7 years of age might have difficulty with some words.

  5. 5
    Jeff Waller says:

    I don’t think stupid, but rather willfully deceptive. Does that guy have a personal agenda or opinion that he is justifying or simply being a shill or sock-puppet? Does it even matter? The end result is the same, there will be no changing his published opinion through appeal to logic. But, then, you’re probably even more familiar with this online personality than I. What do you do? Smile nicely while he rants and then punch him in the kidneys as he walks away or go full on folding chair to the head in the middle of the ring style (metaphorically)?

  6. 6
    Tom Dayton says:

    SkepticalScience has addressed the Rawls misinterpretation: “IPCC Draft Report Leaked, Shows Global Warming is NOT Due to the Sun.” Tom Curtis commented that Rawls’s justification for leaking the report was internally contradictory. And mikeH1 linked to and quoted John Cook’s interview with that chapter’s author, in which the author was amazed at Rawls’s misinterpretation.

  7. 7
    Brett says:

    Why was that idiot even part of the review process? He sounds like a conspiracy theory believer – “One mention of Cosmic Rays in the whole report? My God, It’s a Big Lie!”

    Oh, well. Transparency can’t hurt, I guess.

  8. 8
    John Russell says:

    It’s important that every time anyone in denial refers to this as ‘the leaked IPCC report’, or, ‘the leaked AR5’, they’re told very firmly that these are just drafts and that the real AR5 will not be available until September 2013. I completely agree that it’s best not to be cajoled into discussing the supposed content.

    Second: look out next September for those in denial looking for differences between these drafts and the published AR5, and trying to use them to show… well, anything really that diverts attention away from the fact that there’s even more evidence to indicate that the world is warming and it’s caused by humans.

  9. 9
    AJ says:

    What is the explanation for the Chapter 7 claim that enhanced solar forcing appears to exist?

  10. 10
    Hank Roberts says:

    For AJ:

    “They’re misunderstanding, either deliberately or otherwise, what that sentence is meant to say,” says solar expert Joanna Haigh of Imperial College London.

  11. 11
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Science progresses. Anti-science idiocy…not so mush.

  12. 12
    Russell says:

    9. What is the explanation for the Chapter 7 claim that enhanced solar forcing appears to exist?

    So does the dynamic Casimir Effect, which Watts & Delingpole are saving for the AR 6 leak in 2017

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Bernard J. says:

    At some point, how does one avoid the conclusion that James Delingpole is simply stupid?

    That train ran me over years ago.

    …willfully deceptive.

    That’s the caboose at the end of the train.

    It astonishes me that someone sees fit to pay Dellingpole good money for bad reporting, and for absolutely no scientific standards whatsoever.

    Still, history will remember him…

  15. 15
    lucien locke says:

    R.Ladbury at #3,

    I think we are well past that point now, better question is at what cost?

  16. 16
    Aaron Lewis says:

    Leaked? Who cares? It is all based on published literature.

    Take what is out there, trim it neatly to fit the confines of academic reticence, run a lawyers comb through it, and let a diplomat parse it for rude words, and you have the report.

  17. 17
    Edward Greisch says:

    The IPCC draft is on:
    Andrew Revkin appears to be closer to denialist than usual.

  18. 18

    The IPCC is way too noble to deal with a petulant journalist seeking equal “air time” even before AR5 report is suppose to be published. Distorted science is nothing new, seeking contrarian attention neither. I believe most scientists too humble to be part of a PR campaign, the reviewing process IPCC offers has no equivalent, it comes on schedules irregardless of current events, it doesn’t fill the interims exploited by false skeptics. However extreme weather and climate events do all the publicity, the full thrust of a mega event is more truthful and powerful than any person or publication. Yet most scientists have a bad sense of timing in explaining these extremes to a more attentive audience more often looking elsewhere. This said, I applaud Gavin not mentioning any names about this recent garbage anti-science, contrarian media relishes being talked about, especially by those they hate the most. But I I wont mind reading again, and receiving the latest findings on cosmic rays. Better informed we become less susceptible for being fooled. Since the topic is brought up again, wiser to explain and let the spotlight contrarians enjoy the limelight from equal minded crowd, while the larger one gets a good science lecture.

  19. 19
    Login says:

    Tory MP running Corby campaign ‘backed rival in anti-windfarm plot’
    • Covert footage reveals MP’s links to independent candidate
    • Energy minister denies collusion with anti-wind campaigner

    Chris Heaton-Harris, who is campaign manager for the Tories in Corby, was recorded saying he encouraged an anti-wind farm candidate to join the election race against the Tories, adding: “Please don’t tell anybody ever.”

    The footage, covertly recorded by the environmental group Greenpeace, captures the MP saying the independent anti-wind farm candidate, James Delingpole, had announced his candidacy as part of a “plan” to “cause some hassle” and drive the wind issue up the political agenda.

  20. 20
    Susan Anderson says:

    Wayne Davidson, well said. But this crowd appears to be resistant to evidence, and their dupes unwilling and unable to face the facts (they’re too busy getting through the day to understand the difference between science and PR).

  21. 21
    Christoffer Bugge Harder says:

    If anybody is unaqquainted about what kind a personality Alec Rawls is, I suggest they take a look at this blog highlighting his greatest thoughts. My personal favourite is his hypothesis that there is a great MSM-US government-Islamo-fascist conspiracy in play which has turned the Ground Zero memorial into a covert mosque to mock the victims:

    Redesigned Flight 93 memorial still an Islamo-fascist shrine

    I have no doubt that this gentleman honestly believes climate scientists (along with the feminazis and those who faked the moon landing, of course) to be part of this same grand conspiracy, too. Perhaps it´s time to restrict the access to being an “IPCC expert reviewer”, anyone?

  22. 22
    SecularAnimist says:

    One view on what’s wrong with the IPCC:

    Special Report: IPCC, assessing climate risks, consistently underestimates
    By Glenn Scherer
    The Daily Climate

    Checking 20 years of projections by the foremost global climate science panel against reality finds that the group has consistently underestimated the pace and impacts of climate change – with severe consequences for the public it is tasked to inform […]

    As the latest round of United Nations climate talks in Doha wrap up this week, climate experts warn that the IPCC’s failure to adequately project the threats that rising global carbon emissions represent has serious consequences: The IPCC’s overly conservative reading of the science, they say, means governments and the public could be blindsided by the rapid onset of the flooding, extreme storms, drought, and other impacts associated with catastrophic global warming.

    “We’re underestimating the fact that climate change is rearing its head,” said Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and a lead author of key sections of the 2001 and 2007 IPCC reports. “And we’re underestimating the role of humans, and this means we’re underestimating what it means for the future and what we should be planning for.”

  23. 23
    Russell says:

    The closer you get to giant wind turbines the farther away you want to be.

    Had William of Orange begun installing windmills with the zeal of Tony Blair, he might have ended up like Charles the First.

  24. 24
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    I saw the exchange between Paul Nurse and Dellingpole in the BBC special years ago called Science Under Attack. It was clear he lacked journalistic ethics and an understanding of the subject matter. He’s the type of person we are best just blinking at leaving out of the conversation.

  25. 25
    observer says:

    Hmm. This whole fuss bemuses me.

    But, it seems to me that the IPCC process is hampered by its lack of openness. Sharing drafts would be an inconvenience and such drafts would be subject to misinterpretation. On the other hand,refusing to share drafts or making a big deal of leaked drafts, adds to the credibility of those who assert that the process is flawed (including those who believe that the theory of AGW was concocted by a secret cabal of hundreds or thousands of highly-paid /sarc academics bent on imposing a one-world government complete with black helicopters.)

    A group that develops standards for wireless (3GPP) makes their drafts and comments public relatively soon after they are created (at least in most cases). See Billions are spent on systems built according to those standards—it is a high-stakes game. But, they have opted for openness. I think their predecessor organizations (GSM and ETSI) did not start out so open but they changed.

    Admittedly, wireless standardization is of interest to only a few. But, it seem to me that the bigger the audience and the more important the issue, the more that should be invested in enhancing credibility.

    I think the best response to general questions about the leak is “Meh. Whatever. It’s just a draft man.” For specific questions, the response should depend on the question.

  26. 26
    BillS says:

    Is this a U.K. thing? I never heard of James Delingpole. Why should I go overseas to read such drivel? Plenty of blog-blight right here in the U.S. of A. from his American cousins!

    But perhaps Squire Delingpole is just misunderstood? Two peoples separated by a common language, et cetera, et cetera.

    My blog will shortly reveal that global warming is due to the hot air emanating from Delingpole and his ilk. Data available to the IPCC WG1 upon request.

  27. 27
    Isotopious says:

    “Meh. Whatever. It’s just a draft man.”

    Inevitably, many aspects of the IPCC reports have the potential to be “out of date” by the time they are published.

    I think the danger lies with it not being officially published + “out of date” at the same time.

    This would give people “if they found an issue” grounds to dismiss the report as old, out of date, the science has already changed, therefore the process is flawed, etc..

    I don’t know anything which threatens the premise, but something could be out there…some type of draft-gate?

    Hey, maybe Obama will read the report and decide not to go ahead with keystone extra large? You never know, extremely unlikely miracles do happen…

  28. 28
    Fred Moolten says:

    Leaving aside the embarrassingly foolish Rawls rant, it seems to me that the quoted text in Chapter 7 was ambiguous enough to lend itself to the misinterpretation that GCRs might constitute a powerful mechanism for amplifying solar irradiance effects on global temperature. A glance at the cited references, however, shows this not to be the case. I was particularly intrigued by the Dengel et al paper, which reported a positive correlation between GCR flux and tree rings, the opposite of what might be expected if GCRs simply caused cooling. The authors speculated, tentatively, that the observation might reflect a light scattering effect of GCRs, perhaps related to cloudiness, that stimulated photosynthesis. Whether real or not, the phenomenon is clearly in the wrong direction from the Rawls/Delingpole point of view.

  29. 29
    Jim Cross says:

    Odd to post a no comment comment.

    I guess we can afford to wait another year or so. No hurry, right?

  30. 30

    #3 Ray Ladbury,

    “At some point, how does one avoid the conclusion that James Delingpole is simply stupid?”

    One doesn’t, it’s the most parsimonious explanation.

  31. 31

    20, Susan, ever more the reason to have another lecture on Solar Radiation. Denialists recruit new not so curious minds to their fold all the time. So the response to their PR action would be more science. Every time they bring up a subject all half baked and dumbed up, a response would be a readily available science lecture contradicting said misinformation all without vaunting the prowess of the fake skeptic. This leaves the desired goal of reaching a better informed public. It is simply astounding that solar cycle 24 having the least CME’s or sun spots , “NASA predicts that solar cycle 24 will peak in early or mid 2013 with about 59 sunspots. This would make it the least active cycle in the past one hundred years.[”

    That this cycle coincides with the strongest warming period in the same 100 years. The other way around would be that there should be over all more clouds world wide because cosmic rays are less deflected. This would undoubtably create a signal of much warmer winters and much colder and wetter summers. Last I looked a 50% score is not very convincing since we do have warmer winters, but in some places super hot and dry summers.

    Having an expert claim that the sun is having an effect or not is not enough. Must engage the public to think and therefore become wiser with greater details one can only get from a good science presentation.

  32. 32
    Jim Cross says:


    This period doesn’t correspond to the strongest warming period in the last 100 years. It corresponds with the end of that period and in a time a generally flattening temperature trend.

    Whether the flattening is a temporary hiatus in warming or a much longer flat trend we shall have to wait to see.

    [Response:For heaven’s sake, not this silliness again.
    Read here, and here and here for three different examples of clear explanations as to why the claim of a “no warming in the last xx years” is simply wrong.–eric]

  33. 33
    numerobis says:

    The report came up in a local paper here today (LaPresse), which mentioned that a denialist leaked it. Then the news article goes on to detail the actual science instead of Rawls’ nonsense.

    [Response:I do with the press would stop using the word “leaked”. Anyone that wanted to could have signed up as a reviewer and gotten it anyway. –eric]

  34. 34
    GeoffBeacon says:


    I suspect your comment to Jim Cross #32 should also be aimed at the BBC – I was told the presenter said just what Jim said on their Breakfast programme recently. I’m doing my best with TweetsToTheBeeb but I’m an amateur with no voice – except when I corner the important people in person.

    The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (now ex SoS) told me he read your blog. I’m sure other influential people do too. Why don’t you take on the BBC and shame them into telling the truth. You have the standing to do it. A blog posting on the BBC would have some influence.

    But I’m not sure I believe the IPPC either. See Can you believe the European Commission – or the IPCC?

    Don’t think I’m taking this lightly. It all rather scares and depresses me. I hope you’re made of stronger stuff.

  35. 35
    JamesA says:

    I find this all rather daft. The purpose of the IPCC report (particularly WG1) is to be a fair reflection of the current state of the science, not some big reveal. Given its political sensitivities, I understand the need to keep it under wraps during the draft stage, but there should be no surprises in there (if there were, now that would be news).

    The GCR theories have been around for a long time now, as any seasoned denialist should know, so there’s nothing sensational about its mention as a fringe theory that can be discounted. As with most high-profile climate papers nowadays, part of the drafting process will inevitably (and somewhat regrettably) include going through and making sure each and every sentence is as quote-mine-proof as possible. That bit obviously needs more work and the deniers will probably cry foul when it gets revised.

    The only bit that has me open-mouthed is how the self-appointed “interpreter of interpretations” Delingpole going off on one (again), when he must surely realise by now that he is almost certainly wrong and will look like a complete idiot (again).

  36. 36
    Jim Cross says:

    #32 Eric

    I am not claiming anything of the sort you suggest. I am responding to #31’s statement that the current low solar cycle corresponds to the “strongest warming in the same 100 years.”

    The current solar cycle began three years ago. Are you suggesting that the warming of the last three years is the strongest warming in the last 100 years? The last three years may have been relatively “hot” but there has no been any significant increase in global temperature.

    Now, of course, three years is too short of time to make any judgment whatsoever but that is exactly my point. You can’t judge the failure of a solar hypothesis with three years of data. You can’t argue for its success either.

  37. 37

    #36 Jim Cross, it is not unreasonable to say that 2012 has been the warmest year ever sea ice wise, a natural metric readily visible form space. Right at the time when solar activity is relatively calmest. Its not too short a time, Arctic sea ice volume is like a giant mercury thermometer to all parameters used to measure global warming. Are you waiting for all the ice to disappear before you make a judgement? Climate change is complex, minor temperature trend variations within “too short of time” represent the non linear nature always seen with GT’s. Sea ice volume varies a whole lot less than the temperature record and is more something to consider before claiming that there has been a lull in warming. What does less sea ice mean other than it is warmer?

  38. 38
    John McCormick says:

    RE # 37

    Wayne, you asked ‘What does less sea ice mean other than it is warmer?”

    The concentrated weight of the Arctic sea ice once melted is distributed around the globe. Does that have any small or large or any effect on the earth’s axis? Just asking.

  39. 39
    rufus says:

    This is a bit off topic, but, all this discussion of solar forcing has made me realize I don’t have a good short-form mental model of transient climate dynamics. I wonder if someone can recommend some good references?

    Is there some nice way to break things down, at least approximately, into some component pieces with back-of-the-envelope property descriptions? For example, there are certain time constants associated with atmospheric response, upper ocean response, deep ocean response, and so forth. It would be nice to be able to, say, look at a time series of radiative forcing and roughly imagine what the global temperature response might look like, given the difference timescales in the system. Likewise there are familiar timescales, such as seasonal temperature changes, that have to line up. When Rawls claims the early-mid 20th century solar changes are responsible for late-20th response, it occurs to me, given all the different timescales in the system, most of which I don’t know the values for, that I don’t have a feel for what the response to a pure-solar forcing might look like (leaving energy balance questions aside — just what is the shape of the curves?)

    Basically I’d like a more direct and fine-grained physical understanding than, “We ran a GCM and here is a graph”, which is what most of the papers I’ve found contain, and somewhat more detailed and worked-out than the textbook treatments (e.g.raypierre’s book).

  40. 40
    Bob Brand says:

    John McCormick,

    Both the redistribution of mass from the melt of land-ice towards the equator, as well as the expansion of seawater due to an increase in temperatures tend to increase the length-of-day – because of the conservation of angular momentum. Earthquake effects actually work the other way: mass tends to get redistributed closer to the centre of mass of the earth.

    The yearly hydrological redistribution of mass is visible in the GRACE data, as well as the more extreme melting seasons. A recent study on the basis of GRACE data is here:

  41. 41
    K.A.S says:

    It is nice to see that honor still exists among the rational thinking members of our society. I was recently troll stamped on the infamous FM blog for mentioning links to this site, as a way to gain better understanding of global climate change. I had no idea the deniers were so serious about their cause.

  42. 42
    Robin Levett says:

    @John and Bob #38 & 40:

    John – your premise is incorrect; Arctic sea-ice is not a concentration of mass, and when it melts it doesn’t redistribute around the globe (other of course than in the same way any other Arctic seawater redistributes).

    Sea-ice only stands above seawater becaus it is less dense than seawater and hence occupies more volume than the equivalent mass of seawater. The Archimedes principle would repay some study.

    Bob – he said “sea ice”, not “land ice”.

  43. 43
    Tom Adams says:

    This AR5 scoping document that can perhaps be discussed:

    This is described in a wikipedia article as “text prepared for the [AR5]”:

    (Not that wikipedia is an authority on the matter.)

  44. 44
    Gordon Kenney says:


    Thank you for your work. I have been following your discoveries of our planets complex, and non linear system interactions with awe.

    I suggest that everyone ignore the denier media. Response to the flat earth society is futile.

    My message of concern is that the IPPC report soon to be released will not contain methane data from the arctic. The albedo change over land and sea must be accounted for.

    Not to include this observational data makes the report obsolete, and endangers the political action required.

    Best Regards

    Dr Gordon Kenney MD

  45. 45
    Gordon Kenney says:

    typo request


  46. 46

    ” I had no idea the deniers were so serious about their cause.”

    Serious, yes, but “cause?” Can “anything but carbon” be a cause?

  47. 47
    Russell says:

    Nic Lewis has posted his justification of the numbers underlying Matt Ridley’s WSJ piece here:

    Comments there seem in order .

  48. 48
    K.A.S (Kristine) says:

    Only in so much as it “cause”s great concern over the apparent and rapid decline of homo-Americanos’ intelligence. I guess I was naïve, I thought the ignorance among the Fabius Maximus crowd was due to it being primarily a geo-political site. It seems however, theirs is a deliberate and willful ignorance.

  49. 49
    bjchip says:

    What is interesting is that the IPCC is based on research that has already been done, and published. We already know in aggregation, what is going to go into it. We haven’t seen the full analysis, and coordination, of the data. So any notion that we are about to be shocked seems to miss the fact that we already SHOULD have been shocked.

    Which begs the question, what is this in service of?

    They are starting the spin already… after all they’re pro’s at “spin”, to position any statement by the IPCC that conflicts with their own leaked versions, as being a cover-up.

  50. 50