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Sunday, 16 December 2012 23:09

IPCC climate change report leaked by sceptic


Alec Rawls, a US-based climate sceptic managed to volunteer as a reviewer of the latest IPCC report and promptly released it to the public.

In addition to breaking the non-disclosure agreement, Rawls took the usual tactic of objectors to climate change by quoting a short statement out of context and distorting the meaning of it. By implication, this would suggest that he is unable to object to any other content in the document!

In order to display his prowess, Rawls has posted the entire contents of the report on his own website ( (which seems to have been registered back in March 2010) along with his own detailed analysis of why the document is flawed.

Note that the StopGreenSuicide site is clearly hosted on a relatively weak server as it has been observed to be offline numerous times since the material went live late last week. It was up at the time of writing, but may not be when iTWire readers attempt to open it.

Oddly, it seems that the only problem Rawls can reasonably come up with is that there was an issue with the way that cosmic rays were assessed as a potential source of planetary warming.

Rawls justifies the blog posting with an impassioned argument along the lines of, "the government paid for the report, therefore the people have a 'right to know." He also makes some kind of justification that the report ought to be subject to Freedom-of-information laws, so he figured he might as well by-pass all the determinations and release it anyway.

The following text (in italics) is directly quoted from Rawls' site.

Compared to the First Order Draft, the SOD now adds the following sentence, indicated in bold (page 7-43, lines 1-5, emphasis added):

Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al., 2009; Ram and Stolz, 1999). The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link. We focus here on observed relationships between GCR and aerosol and cloud properties.

The Chapter 7 authors are admitting strong evidence ("many empirical relationships") for enhanced solar forcing (forcing beyond total solar irradiance, or TSI), even if they don't know what the mechanism is. This directly undercuts the main premise of the report, as stated in Chapter 8 (page 8-4, lines 54-57):

There is very high confidence that natural forcing is a small fraction of the anthropogenic forcing. In particular, over the past three decades (since 1980), robust evidence from satellite observations of the TSI and volcanic aerosols demonstrate a near-zero (-0.04 W m-2) change in the natural forcing compared to the anthropogenic AF increase of ~1.0 ± 0.3 W m-2.

The Chapter 8 authors (a different group than the Chapter 7 authors) are explicit here that their claim about natural forcing being small compared to anthropogenic forcing is based on an analysis in which the only solar forcing that is taken into account is TSI. This can be verified from the radiative forcing table on page 8-39 where the only solar variable included in the IPCC's computer models is seen to be "solar irradiance."

This analysis, where post-1980 warming gets attributed to the human release of CO2 on the grounds that it cannot be attributed to solar irradiance, cannot stand in the face of the Chapter 7 admission of substantial evidence for solar forcing beyond solar irradiance. Once the evidence for enhanced solar forcing is taken into account we can have no confidence that natural forcing is small compared to anthropogenic forcing [emphasis in the second paragraph is by Rawls].

In response to this release, a rather angry UNSW Professor Steve Sherwood, who was the lead author on one of the sections was quoted by New Scientist as saying, "The most interesting aspect of this little event is it reveals how deeply in denial the climate deniers are. If they can look at a short section of a report and walk away believing it says the opposite of what it actually says, and if this spin can be uncritically echoed by very influential blogs, imagine how wildly they are misinterpreting the scientific evidence."

In essence, the cosmic ray argument goes like this:

As cosmic ray bombardment increases, they will cause the creation of more clouds. More clouds mean that the Earth will reflect more energy and thus will cool. Conversely, a reduction in cosmic rays (which is what the deniers are hoping for) will mean that the Earth will get warmer.

There are a couple of problems with this.

Firstly that there has never been a mechanism identified that would link cosmic rays to cloud formation, and secondly, that data for the past 100 years (there is a graph in the material released on Rawls' site) shows zero correlation between cosmic ray levels and temperature.

iTWire reminds readers that despite signing a non-disclosure agreement, Rawls released a DRAFT of a report which is not due for final release until September 2013. But of course we all just know that Rawls and his merry compadres will be scouring the two versions looking for differences that will *definitely* show some kind of conspiracy to hide the evidence that the deniers were right all along.

You just can't win with these people.

One final question for Rawls and his fellow deniers. Having accepted that our planet is warming (all but the most hardy of deniers seems to have reached this position), why are you so desperate to find ANY cause for it other than human intervention?


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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.



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