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Most of today’s Press has articles commenting on what it expects to see in the IPCC report on climate change, the Summary of which is (now) apparently scheduled to be released on Monday, not today. In the past the Summary has been drafted so that politicians and the media will interpret it sympathetically. The articles indicate that even those journalists who are warmists are cognisant of  sceptical views: that is progress” of a sort. Indeed one journalist from the AFR (which displays the most aggressive warmism) even found it necessary to phone and ask my view on how the Abbott government might respond. I suggested that it might first read the Summary, then decide that the uncertainties revealed in the science requires an independent inquiry that might have one or two of the usual suspects as well as some of the sceptical Australian scientists who had tried to persuade former Climate Minister Wong to have such an inquiry, and an international expert who is a sceptic. I added that another possibility would be for it to say it would not consider possible action additional to its existing policy unless an international agreement amongst major emitters was reached to effect substantive reductions in usage of fossil fuels. I said it would be foolish to take additional action that would undermine our international competitiveness.

Below are a number of the articles.

Des Moore

IPCC at crossroads with fifth climate change report
(Article by William Kininmonth published in The Age (online only), 25 September 2013.)

The meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Stockholm this week is arguably the most important in its 25-year history. The meeting is to finalise the fifth IPCC assessment report, the UN's formal advice to governments.

Since the release of the fourth report in 2007, the IPCC finds itself battling to retain credibility as a source of independent advice to governments.

Parliamentary and semi-judicial inquiries were held in Britain following unintended public access to email exchanges held by the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. The emails involved scientists and others associated with the IPCC process. No wrong-doing was attributed to the scientists but questions of probity and bias were left unanswered.

A review panel drawn from international scientific academies found that the IPCC process should be more open and accountable. For example, the inclusion of an alarmist report about melting of Himalayan glaciers turned out to be unfounded; it was not based on peer-reviewed research as required for inclusion in the report.

More recently, a pause in global temperature rise over the past 15 years has raised doubts about the veracity of climate projections that have been a hallmark of IPCC reports since its first in 1990.

Notwithstanding the confidence of dangerous global warming expressed in the IPCC's 2007 report, governments meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 for the UN's Climate Change Convention and Kyoto Protocol failed to reach consensus for co-ordinated international action on reducing industrial emissions of greenhouse gases.

The seeds of the IPCC's problems were sown in its 2001 third assessment. There it claimed, even though temperatures had not started to rise until the mid-1970s: "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."

The basis for the claim resided in confidence that computer models could simulate the climate system and project future climate change as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased. Internal variability of the climate system (i.e. the interaction between the ocean and atmosphere motions) as a source of change was dismissed because, with changing carbon dioxide concentrations and aerosol loadings, the computer models were able to replicate the global temperature of the 20th century.

Despite an ability to replicate 20th century temperatures the computer models were untested against independent data, a prerequisite for validating a forecasting procedure. The apparent consistency of temperature sensitivity to carbon dioxide increase during the course of their development raised confidence (perhaps falsely) in the veracity of the climate models and their projections.

The beginnings of the pause in previous global temperature rise was apparent by the time of the 2007 report but it was ignored by the IPCC authors. They confidently stated that "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations", where "very likely" was given a probability of greater than 90 per cent.

The course of global temperature change is now below the lowest values in the range of earlier projections.

The continuation of the global temperature pause for 15 years needs clear and unambiguous explanation from the IPCC. There is an obvious explanation but previously rejected – natural internal variability of the climate system.

Climate records point to natural climate cycles. These range from the El Nino-Southern Oscillation of the equatorial Pacific Ocean on the inter-annual scale; through the multi-decadal oscillations of the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic basins; to the multi-centennial scales of mediaeval warmth, the Little Ice Age and the current warming. None of these can be simulated by current climate models.

It is incumbent on the IPCC to demonstrate without obfuscation that Earth's climate system is as sensitive to carbon dioxide as the models suggest it is; that the temperature pause is an aberration possible within the envelope of uncertainty. Without such a clear demonstration governments will only further lose confidence in the IPCC and its policy advice.

Around the world, governments are drawing back from previous initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Abbott government's plan to repeal Australia's carbon tax is just the latest. There seems little incentive, following Copenhagen, for governments to mount national or coordinated international action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

William Kininmonth is a meteorologist and former head of the National Climate Centre.

Emissions targets too low: experts
(Article by Tom Arup, Environmental Editor of The Age, 27 September 2013.)

On the eve of the next major United Nations assessment of climate change, senior Australian scientists have said the world needs to increase its ambition to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Authors of the fifth assessment report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are meeting in Stockholm to finalise the first part, to be released on Friday.

The report is expected to declare humans are almost certainly - with 95 per cent confidence - causing global warming, with temperatures having increased an average 0.89 degrees since 1901. Leaked drafts of the report say atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are now 40 per cent higher than in pre-industrial times due to human activity.

''Emissions at or above current rates would induce changes in all components in the climate system, some of which would very likely be unprecedented in hundreds to thousands of years,'' a draft says.

In Australia, Monash Sustainability Institute head David Griggs said current commitments by countries to cut greenhouse gases would not stabilise global emissions at relatively safe levels.

Australia has committed to an unconditional emissions cut of 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020, and would adopt a target of a 15 or 25 per cent cut depending on the level of global action.

Professor Griggs said a 5 per cent cut was too low - as was most countries' targets.

''Five to 25 per cent is at the bottom end of the range of what the science says is required, so I very much hope that 25 per cent stays on the table and becomes more than an aspiration,'' he said.

The University of NSW's Andy Pitman said the existing science underlying the IPCC report pointed to rates of emissions growth incompatible with any definition of ''safe climate change'', and countries such as Australia could help lead negotiations towards an ambitious global treaty with higher emissions reduction targets.

Matthew England, also from the University of NSW, said there had been a failure to address the climate problem despite four decades of warnings, and the world needed much deeper emissions cuts than proposed. ''Global emissions are surging. This is just pushing the problem back for future generations, and all analyses show this will be disastrous both economically and socially,'' he said.

Victoria University's Roger Jones, a lead author of the IPCC report's second section, said Australia had the economic flexibility to be more ambitious in cutting emissions.

Australia's Climate Change Authority is reviewing national emissions targets, with a draft report due out next month. An authority spokeswoman said it was examining the latest climate science in its analysis for the review.

''This will include the upcoming IPCC report,'' she said.

Earth’s warming ‘unequivocal’: IPCC
(Article by Marcus Priest published in The Age, 27 September 2013.)

Hot AirThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finds temperature increases will rapidly resume as a result of strict air quality measures. Further, the top-ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1997.

The hottest days in Australia will increase in temperature by up to 6 degrees and higher than previously predicted sea-level rises could decimate the Northern ­Territory’s Kakadu wetlands, according to an international ­scientific report to be released on Friday.

The latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the science of climate change, on which The Australian Financial Review has been briefed, are expected to upgrade the likelihood that man-made activity is causing global warming to 95 per cent.

It is now “unequivocal” Earth has warmed since the start of the 20th century by 0.89 degrees. In contrast, in 2001 the probability of this being the case was only 66 per cent.

The release of the report is set to intensify domestic political debate about the future of the carbon price scheme and the credibility of the Abbott government’s Direct Action policy in reducing emissions. A summary will be released in Stockholm around 7pm Australian eastern standard time on Friday night.

Emissions need to be cut 10 per cent a year

To keep temperature increases below 2 degrees, the report finds global greenhouse gas emissions will need to be cut by 10 per cent a year.

But there is less confidence than the last report in 2007 that global drought or hurricane activity has increased. The new report also reduces the minimum possible temperature increase from 2 degrees to 1.5 degrees if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations double.

Importantly, the report responds to the slowing of temperature increases over the past decade. The slowing has been seized upon by critics of the IPCC as evidence man-made climate change is not occurring.

The IPCC says the slowdown is partly explained by an increase in aerosols – fine atmospheric particles – and the storage of heat in lower levels of the ocean has slowed surface warming.

It finds temperature increases will rapidly resume as a result of strict air quality measures. Further, the top-ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1997, and 2005 and 2010 were tied for the warmest year.

“It will certainly show there is no ­reason to think this [stabilisation] will continue,” said one of the lead authors of the report, Dr Pep Canadell of CSIRO.

“Global warming will resume in the future because the loading of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has not stalled and if anything has accelerated.”

Growth in China emissions underestimated

The report is the fifth by the IPCC and was written by a group of 831 scientists from 85 countries. The body does not conduct its own research but provides an overview of all existing research on climate change. The summary has been approved and modified by governments. The full report will be released on Monday.

A key difference between the report in 2007 and the new version is a change in the scenarios to project future climate change. In 2007, scenarios were based on assumptions about factors driving emissions such as population growth and economic growth. All but one of the 2007 scenarios drastically underestimated the growth in emissions from China.

As a result, the latest report adopts a different approach. It uses scenarios based on how much extra energy the earth will retain as a result of human activity and the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere based on them.

Under only one of the four new scenarios will it be possible to keep global warming to 2 degrees – a target agreed to by countries in 2009. This target would require an annual cut in emissions of 10 per cent.

In contrast, warming above 4 degrees by 2100 is likely in the most pessimistic scenario, under which emissions continue to rise at the current rate. “In order to be able to stay under the 2 degrees the enormity of the challenge is very large,” Dr Canadell said. “It is possible. It is just what is required is very large and unless policy matches that enormity of the challenge it will be very difficult.”

Australian temperatures up to 1.25 degrees higher

According to regional findings by the IPCC, temperatures have increased between 0.4 degrees and 1.25 degrees in Australia, with the most warming in the centre of the country. Over the medium-term (2046 to 2065), temperatures will increase by 2 degrees and by 2100 they will increase by between 3 degrees and 4 degrees. The warmest daily maximum temperature is projected to increase by 5 to 6 degrees.

Longer dry periods are projected in south-west Western Australia and an increase of floods and droughts is very likely in Australia’s agricultural ­production areas. A loss of snow in mountainous regions is also predicted.

Some of the major findings in the report relate to sea-levels. It finds global sea level has risen by 19 centimetres over the last century, mainly as a result of melting ice and sea water expanding as it warms. Sea levels rose almost twice as fast from 1993 to 2010 than from 1901 to 2010. It is now at least 66 per cent certain global sea levels will rise between 0.29 and 0.82 metres higher than from 1986 to 2005; higher than predicted in 2007 when the range given was 0.18 to 0.59 metres. Glaciers and ice sheets are also melting faster; with continuing high emissions the Arctic is expected to be nearly ice-free in summer by 2050.

Cooling the debate on climate
(Comment by Marcus Priest, The Australian Financial Review, 27 September 2013.)

Here we go again.

The release of the Summary for Policymakers of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is set to flush out all the regular crowd of flat-earthers seeking to undermine and discredit mainstream global warming science.

To put it in common prime ministerial vernacular, they argue the science behind climate change is “crap”.

With the release of the final report a large cherry picker will be employed to extract elements supporting their white-is-black view of the world. The focus is likely to be on the report’s findings around the stabilisation of temperature over the past 15 years. There has also been a downgrading of confidence levels on the links between extreme weather events and human activity.

As a result, the debate will largely be around a fringe issue while the key issue – reducing carbon emissions – is ignored. It will be largely viewed through an ideological prism rather than a scientific one. We’ll hear much from so-called scientists claiming to be experts in interpreting the data and – unfortunately – little from those really qualified to do so.

As in any area of science, knowledge is not static and is constantly updated and fine-tuned as more data is gathered. Scepticism is a natural part of that process, misrepresentation is not.

However, given the extensive coverage given to such attacks – particularly in Murdoch-owned newspapers – an inordinate amount of time is being spent by scientists trying to rebut them. There is an over-riding quest for certainty in a field in which outcomes are determined by the highly complex and uncertain interaction of a multitude of factors.

As one-time American sceptic Richard Muller at the University of California wrote this week in The New York Times, too many people are taking the pause in temperature “too seriously, not just the sceptics and the media but even the greenhouse-warming advocates”.

“We don’t fully understand past variations, but there is a theorem in science: if it happens, it must be possible,” he said.

“The frequent rises and falls, virtually a stair-step pattern, are part of the historic record, and there is no expectation that they will stop, whatever their cause. A realistic prediction simply includes a similar variability as an unexplained component.”

A key element of this report is new climate scenarios, which differ from the emission projections in the 2007 report. The 2007 projections were criticised by the likes of Ross Garnaut for being based on unrealistic assumptions. Instead, the latest scenarios are based on how much extra energy the earth will retain as a result of human activities. Alarmingly, under only one scenario is it possible to keep temperature increases below two degrees. This requires an annual cut in emissions of 10 per cent.

Climate campaigners such as Tim Flannery are their own worst enemies. Using overly emotive language and the most extreme of possible scenarios has been counter-productive.

Claims we will all “end up in flames’’ will just invite ridicule. Similarly, conflating daily weather with long-term climate change is dangerous.

It is certainly getting hotter but it is time to turn down the temperature on the climate change debate.

Focus needs to be on the facts: climate change is happening, it is due to humans and it will get worse unless something is done.

The Australian Financial Review

Profitable path to sustainability
(by Dennis Jensen published in The Australian, 27 September 2013.)

BJORN Lomborg has stated "if it is not economic, it is not sustainable". That single statement encapsulates all that is wrong with the climate change debate. It also points to a potential solution.

For those who know me, don't be confused. I have not changed my view that human activity is not a major driver of global warming.

Indeed, the more than decade-long lack of warming, opposed to the warming predicted by the global circulation models referred to by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, simply reinforces my view.

The problem is the debate has become polarised. Perhaps what is needed is refocusing on how a position can be reached where there is benefit to people on all sides of the argument.

Looking at the past, punitive measures have been recommended and put in place.

First the carbon tax, followed by emissions trading the last government put in place. The latter is the worst of all worlds, as it ends up with the effective payment of "indulgences" to overseas carbon traders for shonky carbon credits while emissions in Australia continue to increase.

Direct action nobly tries to move towards a reward structure to reduce emissions within Australia, but even it is less than optimal, considering Lomborg's statement. Another scheme that lamentably fails the Lomborg test is that of the Renewable Energy Target, which is certainly worse than direct action and should be dumped.

Forcing the generators to use uneconomic methods of generating power is a sop to green carpetbaggers, costing the Australian community dearly.

For the sake of argument, let's assume the most catastrophic climate projections are correct. Even if Australia completely ceased emitting anthropogenic carbon dioxide tomorrow, the net "benefit" in terms of forestalling temperature increases is vanishingly close to zero.

The simple fact is, even under this scenario, the only way to help the situation is to come up with a global solution that conforms with the need to be economic to be sustainable.

At present the only methods of generating power that emit minimal levels of carbon dioxide conforming to this proposition are nuclear power and hydroelectricity, both of which the green and other left movements see as anathema. Other methods such as wind and solar are a long way from being able to generate baseload power economically.

So, what can be done? Instead of foisting uneconomic "solutions" on the market, we need to find ways of making alternatives economic (and for those who argue renewables are economically competitive, the reality check is the generators would jump on them if they were, no subsidies or RETs required). The show stopper for most of the alternatives is economically competitive energy storage.

We should address this at the cheap end of the innovation pipeline - research! Australia should commit to providing significant funding for energy storage research.

The government should stay away from cherry-picking the research proposals. Selection of the most worthy research proposals should be left to the Australian Research Council.

By putting money into energy research, many benefits will follow. For those concerned with global warming, it provides potential for a real energy solution globally that conforms to Lomborg's statement and would have global energy consequences.

For Australia, it provides a realistic prospect for large windfalls as a result of the intellectual property generated, giving a positive return on the investment put into the research, unlike the other methods of trying to solve the anthropogenic global warming problem, which are a financial burden to Australians. Last, but by no means least, it provides a means of reinvigorating our struggling science sector, giving realistic prospects of careers in scientific research and improving the quality of the intake of those aiming for a science-related profession.

Win, win, win - plus the prospect of coming up with a path on the climate change issue on which most, if not all, could agree.

Former CSIRO research scientist and defence analyst Dennis Jensen is the federal Liberal member for Tangney in Western Australia.

Tide turning on climate change
(by Andrew Hammond published in The Australian, 27 September 2013.)

THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change today will release the most comprehensive study on global warming. The landmark study, prepared by more than 200 scientists across two years, reportedly will conclude that global temperatures could rise by up to 4.8C by the end of this century compared with pre-industrial levels, but potentially could still be held to 0.3Cwith deep, speedy cuts in emissions.

This is hugely significant because all countries have agreed that temperature rises should be restricted to no more than 2C, thus increasing prospects of preventing so-called dangerous or runaway climate change.

The study reportedly also will conclude that it is "extremely likely" (at least 95 per cent probability) that human activity, not climate variations, has caused most of the increase in global temperature in recent decades.

A key reason the IPCC report is attracting such enormous media scrutiny is that climate change sceptics, in particular, are looking to see how the report explains the fact the rate of increase in global average surface temperature has slowed for the past 1 1/2 decades. This is contrary to earlier IPCC predictions.

Despite the controversy it will cause with sceptics, the IPCC report will be welcomed by many across the world, and comes when it may seem hard not to be pessimistic about the global battle to manage the huge risks of climate change.

For instance, the last annual UN international climate change summit in Doha in December made only modest progress towards securing a comprehensive, global deal.

Moreover, climate change sceptics appear to be winning the battle for public opinion across much of the world. Earlier this month, for instance, one study showed that the percentage of British people who do not think the world's climate is changing had increased by a staggering fourfold in less than a decade.

However, far from being the hopeless situation some suggest, there are signs that we may be reaching a point when the tide turns on tackling climate change. To be sure, much more needs to be done, but if one takes a step back and examines what is already happening at national and sub-national level across the world, a relatively encouraging picture is emerging.

That is, domestic laws and regulations to address climate change are being passed at an increasing rate, in stark contrast to the pace of progress in UN-driven international negotiations. Last year alone, as described in a report published by GLOBE International, 32 of 33 surveyed countries (which account for more than 85 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions), including the US and China, have introduced or are progressing significant climate or related legislation and regulation.

This is nothing less than a game-changing development:

As these examples underline, it is mainly developing countries, which will provide the motor of global economic growth in coming decades, that are leading this drive. Many are concluding it is in their national interest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by embracing low-carbon growth and development, and to better prepare for the impact of climate change.

They see that expanding domestic sources of renewable energy not only reduces emissions but also increases energy security by reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels. Reducing energy demand through greater efficiency reduces costs and increases competitiveness. Improving resilience to the effects of climate change also makes sound economic sense.

Many governments and companies have recognised that a green race has started, and they are determined to compete.

They also acknowledge that, across time, those that produce in "dirty" ways will be increasingly likely to face border adjustment mechanisms that take account of the subsidy associated with their taking advantage of any unpriced pollution.

It follows, therefore, that advancing domestic legislation on climate change, and experiencing the co-benefits of reducing emissions, is a crucial building block to help create the political conditions to enable a comprehensive, global climate agreement to be reached. Domestic laws give clear signals about direction of policy, increasing confidence and reducing uncertainty, particularly for the private sector, which can drive low-carbon economic growth.

With negotiations on a post-2020 comprehensive global deal scheduled to conclude in 2015, it is unlikely that an agreement, with necessary ambition, will be reached unless more domestic frameworks are in place in key countries. Sound domestic actions enhance the prospects of international action and better international prospects enhance domestic actions.

Given this outlook, and as negotiators prepare for the next annual UN climate change summit in Poland in November, a potential danger is that some countries may lower their long-term ambition. This would be ill-timed. Indeed, now is the right moment for countries to invest more in tackling climate change to help expedite the creation of conditions on the ground that will enable a comprehensive global treaty to be reached.

Andrew Hammond was a special adviser in Tony Blair's government and a senior consultant at Oxford Analytica.

Climate Depot's Special Report Revealing the UN IPCC as Political, Not Scientific

Climate Depot's Morano on new UN IPCC report: "You have to pity the UN. The climate events of 2013 has been one of the most devastating to the UN's political narrative on global warming. Both poles have expanding ice, with the Antarctic breaking all time records, global temperatures have failed to rise for 15 plus years, global cooling has occurred since 2002, polar bear numbers are increasing, wildfire's are well below normal, sea level rise is failing to accelerate, tornadoes are at record lows, hurricanes are at record low activity, Gore's organization is flailing and losing donors amid layoffs, former climate believers like Judith Curry are growing more skeptical by the day. I doubt many will be frightened by the UN IPCC, simply a political body masquerading as a scientific group. The thrill is gone."

‘This is a pure political process’: Why the UN IPCC Meeting Isn’t Being Televised: ‘Scientific truth isn’t negotiated in the dead of night behind closed doors’ -- 'At the [UN IPCC] meeting, one sentence after another has been projected onto large screens. Diplomats, bureaucrats, and politicians from dozens of UN nations have haggled, horse traded, and negotiated. Eventually, phrasing that everyone can live with has been agreed upon. Then they’ve moved on to the next sentence. The meeting is closed to the public. It is closed to the media. No minutes are kept. But let us imagine that a television camera had been smuggled inside. What would we see?' In 2007 we saw: 'An agonizing, frustrating process, as every sentence had to be word-smithed on a screen in front of representatives of more than 100 governments'

UK Daily Mail reporter David Rose UN IPCC: ‘What’s happening here in Stockholm is final terminological shift. Global warming is dead. Long live climate change. New ocean acid emphasis!’ -- ‘Cunning work, IPCC. Surface temp pause is inexplicable, but it's wrong metric, so who cares? And PS, one unknown day it will get really hot.’

Reuters: Skeptics pummel Al Gore & IPCC chief Pachauri into ‘faded’ stars: The ‘glamor’ has gone’ – ‘We need new voices’ — ‘Gore has been worn down by criticisms, especially by U.S. Republicans who say his climate campaigns are alarmist and question the science behind them’ -- Reuters: 'Compared to the heady days in 2007 when U.S. climate campaigner Al Gore and the U.N.’s panel of climate scientists shared the Nobel Peace Prize, the risks of global warming may be greater but the stars preaching the message have faded…'We need new voices,' said Jennifer Morgan, of the World Resources Institute think tank in DC. -- Much of the 'glamor' has gone since Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian chair of the IPCC, and Gore proudly showed off the Nobel gold medals in 2007, a time when firm global action on reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses seemed feasible. Gore's later ventures have been less high profile. He sold his struggling cable channel, Current TV, to Al Jazeera in January.'

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