Climate report card meets dog: the missing science in AR6
Updated: Sep 27
It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.
Thus declareth the UN in the first installment of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since its publication in August, the class of people who list Climate Change Activist among their pronouns have been declaring how unanswerable it is, how it proves everything they've been saying, and how we need Action Now.
I can't quite get my head around how people in late 2021 receive a report stamped "The Science" by a global political bureacuracy, swallow it uncritically, and even proselytize for it. But they're obviously out there, in need of perspective.
Perspective starts with understanding the IPCC's mission--not to understand climate, nor to stop global warming, but to provide governments scientific information to develop climate policies. It and the institutions it represents have gone all-in on the greenhouse theory that rising CO2 levels warm the earth dangerously, by which they justify disrupting energy supplies and every other part of the global economy and seven billion lives.
To develop the theory, climate researchers build elaborate SimEarth models to predict how temperatures will evolve under various CO2 emissions scenarios.
Climatology as of AR5
When the IPCC published AR5 in 2014, it had been in business for 25 years, long enough to evaluate how well the models predicted the temperature in a 15-year period leading up to the report's publication. The money shot appears in Chapter 9, "Evaluation of the Models," on page 771.
The models came nowhere close to agreeing with each other, let alone reality. The IPCC chose a noncomittal basket of models spannin g a 10x temperature range, and even so almost unanimously overestimated the Earth's actual warming. AR5 was bad. Not merely promising-start-bad, but get-out-of-my-office-bad.
The AR6 editor's dilemma
If you were the IPCC, consider your political dilemma. You can't wish away the complexities that showed up in AR5 and present a model evaluation that is both impressive and honest.
You could publish an honest assessment that would probably look like the AR5 graph and shows the models still disagree not only with Mother Nature but with each other. That would give more ammunition to your critics who, despite your "unequivocal" fib, you know exist and will make trouble for you. They would point out, again, that you've failed to demonstrate scientific validity of the CO2-driven-warming hypothesis, since it cannot make predictions better than the null hypothesis of no unusual warming.
You can't introduce other drivers like solar activity into the models, because institutions around the globe are wholly committed to the CO2 theory. For you to waver wouldn't just embarrass them, it would kill millions of careers, billions in subsidies, and trillions in mandates. If the sun drove the climate, how could governments intervene? How could the globalists behind the UN defend climate lockdowns and subsidies? How would AOC justify her Green New Deal?
You could publish fake--shall we say, "curated"--results, and you probably already do to an extent, but it's risky. The climate researchers you summarize publish in scientific journals, are obliged to some degree of transparency, and haven't necessarily abandoned scientific ethics. People notice when the numbers don't line up. You got plenty of heat over AR5, not to mention Climategate in 2011 and Hockeystickgate in 2001, and you don't need another scandal.
So you don't publish a model assessment at all. Your scientific critics will castigate you for omitting the most important element of any scientific paper, the climate research community will excuse it as a politically necessary editorial decision, and most of the public won't notice.
Accordingly AR6 chapter 1, section 22.214.171.124, page 95 quietly makes this announcement:
In this Report, model evaluation is performed in the individual chapters, rather than in a separate chapter as was the case for AR5.
In other words, they will talk about the performance of individual components of their modeling project but won't show how well the overall models, on which the grand climate change claims are based, predict Earth's temperature.
Who is the target audience of AR6?
Scientists, especially skeptical ones, are obviously not the target audience of AR6. The assertion of "unequivocal" CO2-driven warming doesn't mean everyone agrees. It means dissenters don't count, notwithstanding their arguments, their evidence, their PhDs or their Nobel Prizes. The IPCC's headline isn't a scientific finding, it's the same Maoist cancel culture we've become familiar with over the past decade.
If there are a class of citizens who simply want climate doom averted as cheaply and expeditiously as possible, they're not the the target audience either. A bureaucracy that meets a supposed climate emergency by publishing a great report every seven years is not leading an urgent mitigation project. It's operating a business, one it expects to continue for many decades.