Saturday, December 13, 2008

IPCC says global warming is not a certainty!

Have you ever read an IPCC report?

Having become increasingly curious and concerned about the direction governments are heading in the name of saving the planet from this thing called Global Warming, or Climate Change, I decided to do my own research. After reading a number of assorted items I found by searching Google, I decided I was ready to tackle the big one - IPCC.

First, let's tackle the acronym. IPCC stands for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their website is at

On their website they have a number of reports dating back to 1990.

The IPCC is a scientific body which was set up by the WMO and UNEP in 1988. More acronyms! WMO is Wolrd Meteorological Organisation and UNEP is the United Nations Environment Programme. On their About IPCC page they describes themselves as:

The IPCC is a scientific intergovernmental body set up by the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP). Its constituency is made of :
  • The governments: the IPCC is open to all member countries of WMO and UNEP. Governments of [member countries] participate in plenary Sessions of the IPCC where main decisions about the IPCC work programme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. They also participate [in] the review of IPCC Reports.
  • The scientists: hundreds of scientists all over the world contribute to the
    work of the IPCC as authors, contributors and reviewers.
  • The people: as [an] United Nations body, the IPCC work aims at the promotion of the United Nations human development goals

So, this seems to be a very credible organisation. Pity the third dot point says they speak for "the people", and not that they consult them.

It is their work that lead to the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). See why they use acronyms?

The IPCC has several classifications of publications:

  • Assessment Reports
  • Special Reports
  • Technical Papers
  • Methodology Reports
  • Supporting material
IPCC has produced four Assessment Reports - 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007. The Assessment Reports have a number of parts or volumes. I found one of these, the Synthesis Report, which has a sub-report called "Summary for Policymakers" or SPM. Aha! This sounded like a good place to start. I downloaded the Summary for Policymakers for 2007 and 2001 last night.

Talk about good bed time reading!

I had a quick overview of the headings and diagrams, and glanced through some of the text. I will progressively study some the IPCC documents and post some observations and questions as I go. Be patient, it will take me a while!

Glancing through the 2007 Summary for Policymakers, some words caught my attention - "likely", "very likely", "high confidence", "very high confidence", "medium confidence" and "more likely than not"!

Having studied a little bit of statistics, and having worked in bureaucracy, I noted that the use of these words is significant. The words caught my attention because I don't recall the reports I have read and heard in the popular media using them.

IPCC says that global warming is not a certainty!

Talk about an "Aha!" moment!

They have my attention now. More reading and more blogging to come............

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