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Page added on June 28, 2011

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Global warming consensus melts in its own heat


Credibility of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, embodiment of the ballyhooed consensus about humanly induced global warming, has suffered another blow.

The IPCC hasn’t recovered from past embarrassments: mistaken warnings about melting Himalayan glaciers, disclosures of attempts by data providers to discredit dissenters, and reports that grants flowed to a New Delhi institute run by IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri on the basis of the faulty glacier warnings.

In each case, IPCC and its supporters insisted the lapses didn’t undermine the case for urgent response to the perceived threat of catastrophic warming. That response includes slashed energy use and substitution of fossil energy by costly alternatives.

Now IPCC has stumbled over a claim that 77% of global energy supply in 2050 could come from renewable sources “if backed by the right enabling public policies.”

That’s a lot to expect from renewable energy, even 4 decades from now. The outlook appears in the first paragraph of a May 9 press release about an IPCC working group report.

When IPCC made the full report available, doubtful analysts pointed out that the headline expectation for renewable energy was an outlier—an unrepresentative number atop a range from more than 160 scenarios. Underlying the extreme scenario were at least two assumptions most analysts consider fanciful: that total energy consumption will fall despite population growth and industrialization and that hydroelectric generation capacity will greatly expand. So the claim is weak. But the political appeal is obvious. In fact, the press release looks calculated not to communicate scientific findings but to incite political action. Why else would IPCC start a press statement the way it did?

The rosy view of renewable energy turns out to have originated in an article by the activist group Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council. A climate specialist working for Greenpeace, one of that article’s authors, helped write the working group report.

IPCC looks less and less like a scientific consensus and more and more like a political coalition.

Oil and Gas Journal

One Comment on "Global warming consensus melts in its own heat"

  1. Mike on Tue, 28th Jun 2011 1:19 am 

    Haha, the Oil and Gas Journal, yes, that’s where I go for an accurate account of Global Warming Information.

    That’s for the Laugh.

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