Time to smother the IPCC

Judith Curry writes at the Financial Post that it is time to suffocate the IPCC.

The IPCC is in a state of permanent paradigm paralysis. It is the problem, not the solution.

The IPCC has given us a diagnosis of a planetary fever and a prescription for planet Earth. In this article, I provide a diagnosis and prescription for the IPCC: paradigm paralysis, caused by motivated reasoning, oversimplification, and consensus seeking; worsened and made permanent by a vicious positive feedback effect at the climate science-policy interface.

In its latest report released Friday, after several decades and expenditures in the bazillions, the IPCC still has not provided a convincing argument for how much warming in the 20th century has been caused by humans.

The IPCC is as much a fraud as climate change is.

[W]ith the release of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, we find ourselves between the metaphorical rock and a hard place with regards to climate science and policy:

• as temperatures have declined and climate models have failed to predict this decline, the IPCC has gained confidence in catastrophic warming and dismisses the pause as unpredictable climate variability 

• substantial criticisms are already being made of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report as well as of the IPCC process itself; IPCC insiders are bemoaning their loss of their scientific and political influence; the mainstream media seems not to be paying much attention to the Fifth Assessment Report’s Summary for Policymakers; and even IPCC insiders are realizing the need for a radical change

• global CO2 emissions continue to increase at higher than expected rates and there is a growing realization of the infeasibility of meeting emissions targets

• failure of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties to accomplish much since 2009 beyond agreeing to establish future meetings

• growing realization that you can’t control climate by emissions reductions

• European countries and Australia are backing away from their emission reductions policies as they realize their economic cost and political unpopularity

• increasing levels of shrillness on both sides of the political debate, with the “warm side” steeped in moral panic and hyperbole

And finally:

• the politically charged rhetoric has contaminated academic climate research and the institutions that support climate research, so that individuals and institutions have become advocates; scientists with a perspective that is not consistent with the consensus are at best marginalized (difficult to obtain funding and get papers published by “gatekeeping” journal editors) or at worst ostracized by labels of “denier” or “heretic.”

• decision makers needing regionally specific climate change information are being provided by the climate community with either nothing or potentially misleading predictions from climate models.

What on earth are we going todo about these ratbags?

We have been focused on climate models rather than on climate dynamics and theory that is needed to understand the effects of the sun on climate, the network of natural internal variability on multiple time scales, the mathematics of extreme events, and the predictability of a complex system characterized by spatio-temporal chaos.

Securing the common interest on local and regional scales (referred to as “adaptive governance”) provides the rationale for effective climate adaptation strategies. This requires abandoning the irreducibly global consensus-seeking approach in favour of open debate and discussion of a broad range of policy options that stimulate local and regional solutions to the multifaceted and interrelated issues surrounding climate change.

The IPCC needs to get out of the way so that scientists and policy makers can better do their jobs.

The diagnosis of paradigm paralysis seems fatal in the case of the IPCC, given the widespread nature of the infection and intrinsic motivated reasoning. We need to put down the IPCC as soon as possible – not to protect the patient who seems to be thriving in its own little cocoon, but for the sake of the rest of us whom it is trying to infect with its disease. The precautionary principle demands that we not take any risks here.

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