CCLLIIMMAATTEE SSCCIIEENNCCEE CCOORRRRUUPPTTEEDD
How the IPCC's sponsor, the UNEP, and key
IPCC individuals have misled Governments into
supporting the notion of manmade warming
by John McLean
SPPI ORIGINAL PAPER . November 20, 2009
CLIMATE SCIENCE CORRUPTED
How the IPCC's sponsor, the UNEP, and key IPCC individuals have
misled Governments into supporting the notion of manmade warming
by John McLean | November 20, 2009
SUMMARY FOR POLICY MAKERS
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established under the sponsorship of the
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The UNEP's belief in manmade warming in the late 1970's led to a stage-managed conference in Villach
in 1985, which in turn led to the political decision to form the IPCC.
The IPCC rose to prominence because people with clear bias were appointed to key positions where
they could influence the development of the entire organization. Bert Bolin, the first chairman of the
IPCC was already heavily committed to the notion of manmade warming having worked previously for
the UNEP, WMO, the Brundtland Report, the SCOPE 29 report (on which the first IPCC report was largely
based) and, very crucially, having documented that the Villach conference reached a consensus that
manmade emissions of carbon dioxide were to blame for variations in climate. John Houghton, the first
chairman of the IPCC working group that attributes blame for climate change, was assisted in his
assertions by his staff at the UK Met Office and by a very supportive UK government.
The other key factor for the IPCC was the adoption of the UNEP's methods of coercing governments and
the general public. Those methods included (a) the use of the environmentalists' catch-all the
"precautionary principle", (b) a penchant for creating models based on partially complete scientific
understanding and then citing the output of those models as evidence, (c) the politicisation of science
through the implied claim that consensus determines scientific truth, (d) the use of strong personalities
and people of influence, and (e) the manipulation of the media and public opinion. Directly and
indirectly these methods greatly influenced political parties whether they held government or not
None of these UNEP techniques provide scientific justification of the IPCC's principal claim, which
considered dispassionately is very weak. Not only is it based on the output of climate models, that the
IPCC shows us are built according to incomplete knowledge and therefore cannot be accurate, but also
on the opinions of those who use such models as if somehow the models were credible and scientific
truth should be determined by consensus and opinion.
It is long overdue that the IPCC was called for what it is - a political body driven not by the evidence that
it pretends exists but by the beliefs and philosophies of the UNEP, the IPCC's sponsor, and by the initial
holders of key IPCC positions.
ince the publication of its Fourth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) has been severely criticized by several writers, myself included. These writers have
highlighted the IPCC's use of questionable data, weak evidence, wild assertions, failure to abide by
its own procedures, distortion of the normal peer review process, mendacious statements of some of its
senior people and, overall, its attitude of advocacy and the continued defence of a dubious and
To understand how these attitudes became an integral part of the IPCC we need to look at the influence
of its two sponsoring organizations on both the creation of the IPCC and its ongoing operations.
One sponsor is the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a body whose focus until recently was
on the observation and measurement of meteorological phenomenon; the other is the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), whose position on several subjects has been tantamount to activism
and whose advocacy on key issues has been subsequently proven to be exaggerated, doubtful or
The roots of the IPCC can be traced back to a conference in Villach, Austria, in 1980, hosted by the
WMO, UNEP and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), with the aim of providing a
"carefully prepared scientific assessment of the CO2 question to provide them with guidance in their
future activities and advice to nations". According to Franz1, this conference concluded that the
scientific uncertainties were so significant that no CO2 management plan could be proposed.
1 Wendy E. Franz. “The Development of an International Agenda for Climate Change: Connecting Science to Policy." ENRP
Discussion Paper E-97-07, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, August 1997, online at
A stage-managed conference at Villach, with attendees
selected by the organisers, starts the ball rolling.
The same three organizations tried again in Villach in1985, but this time the 100 attendees participated
as individuals rather than representatives of their countries, and they were selected by the three
These agencies pressured the attendees for policy recommendations with the UNEP representative
asking for a recommendation about moving away from fossil fuels, the WMO asking for clear statements
about the state of knowledge and for advice to policy makers and the ICSU asking for "necessary policies
at the national and international level". That one sponsoring organization was already asking for a
movement away from fossil fuel and another asking for certain "necessary" policies shows that they had
decided on the conclusion even before the conference began. But these were not the only ones. Franz
says that the chairman, James Bruce, told the participants to "develop a consensus statement on the
present state of our scientific knowledge of increases in CO2 and other radiatively active gases, and the
physical and socio-economic impacts, and to develop sound recommendations for action by countries
and by international agencies, based on this scientific consensus".
This conference included the presentation of several papers, which according to Boehmer-Christiansen
and Kellow2 were both commissioned and peer-reviewed by the conference organizers. These pre-
approved papers went on to be cited in the report of that conference, which seems to be trying to imply
an independence of thought that they really did not have.
2 Boehmer-Christiansen, S., A.J. Kellow (2002) - "International environmental policy: interests and the failure of the Kyoto
process", Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar Pub., 2002.
3 Personal communication, Oct 2009.
4 "Statement at the opening plenary of the twenty-ninth session of the IPCC", online at
According to Dr John Maunder3 of New Zealand, he was among 10 people who were there because of
his "climate/socio-economic" background. He recalls being told "Put into words which the politicians
could understand what the 90 experts at the Villach meeting were trying to say" and when he raised
questions about Nature, sun and oceanic influences on climate he was reminded "We know all about
Franz points out that the 1980 conference drew on virtually the same data as the 1985 conference but
the conclusions of 1980 were significantly more cautious and urged further research rather than policy
development. She attributes the different conclusions in 1985 to several factors. First, the attendees
were not answerable to their governments and were therefore not constrained by national policies.
Second, the people were there by direct invitation by the three sponsors, two of whom had clear
leanings towards promoting the notion of manmade warming. Third, some participants were not climate
scientists and accepted the claims with enthusiasm rather than with cautious qualification. Fourth,
some appear to have accepted the notion of a human influence on climate because it was claimed that
the hole in the ozone layer was clear proof that human activity could produce changes on a global scale.
Fifth, the sociopolitical climate of rising environmental concern was ripe for accepting that mankind was
altering the natural environment. And sixth, the attendees were trying to sidestep normal scientific and
government processes in order to directly influence policymakers.
Claims of a consensus among delegates at this
conference lead to political action.
The Secretary General of the WMO, M. Jarraud, mentioned this conference when in 2008 he talked of
the consequences of the 1980 establishment of the WMO's World Climate Research Programme
(WCRP). He said:
Very intensive scientific work followed, which ultimately led to the milestone Villach
Conference in October 1985, ... which produced a consensus statement on the probable
magnitude of climate warming and its implications. Thereafter, in 1987, the Tenth World
Meteorological Congress formally recognized through its Resolution 9 ... that national and
international studies had led to the conclusion that a global climate change would ensue
from increases in the concentrations of greenhouse gases and that this climate change
could have potentially serious consequences on society.4
Boehmer-Christiansen and Kellow (2002) say that there "was no need for consensus-generating
procedures at Villach, as only those in agreement with the aims of the group had been invited." 5
5 Boehmer-Christiansen, S., A.J. Kellow (2002) - "International environmental policy: interests and the failure of the Kyoto
process", Northampton, MA : Edward Elgar Pub., 2002 (pg 129).
6 Zillman, John, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change online at http://www.atse.org.au/index.php?sectionid=790.
Franz interpreted the outcome of the Villach conference somewhat differently:
There is little evidence to support the claim that the Villach conference marked a change in
scientific consensus. The basic predictions of warming due to a doubling of CO2 or its
equivalent and the range of decades in which doubling could be expected to occur were
roughly consistent between 1981 and 1985, and those who disagreed still disagreed in 1985.
However, a change did seem to occur in the conclusions, or policy judgments, that were
reached based upon the scientific findings. In addition, the group did focus some additional
attention on the role of other greenhouse gases. The group concluded that policies on
energy, the use of fossil fuels, and emission of greenhouse gases could strongly affect the
rate and degree of future warming. Explanations for this shift rest largely on the nature of
the scientific community that was created at the meeting, and by the timely and
advantageous connections to ozone.
You will notice that Jarraud, Boehmer-Christiansen and Kellow, and Franz all use the term "consensus".
Consensus is of only minor relevance to science, but it is a tool used widely in politics and therefore
favoured by organizations such as the United Nations and its subgroups. The declaration that the Villach
conference had reached a consensus should therefore be regarded as a ploy by which the conference
sponsors attempted to influence politicians and policymakers.
Apart from the political ramifications of the declaration of a consensus the 1985 Villach conference put
pressure on the World Meteorological Congress of 1987, which concluded that it was necessary to...
"establish a more broadly-based mechanism to provide governments with a
comprehensive, expert, objective assessment of the contemporary state of
understanding of the science of climate change."6
At its 40th session in 1988 the WMO executive council decided on the establishment of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and shortly thereafter the UNEP governing council
authorized the UNEP support for the IPCC.
The IPCC's mandate is defined with the original plans
giving way to a single focus on the risks associate with any
human influence on climate.
It was suggested at that time that the IPCC should consider the need for:
• Identification of uncertainties and gaps in our present knowledge with regard to climate
changes and its potential impacts, and preparation of a plan of action over the short-term
in filling these gaps;
• Identification of information needed to evaluate policy implications of climate change and
• Review of current and planned national/international policies related to the greenhouse
• Scientific and environmental assessments of all aspects of the greenhouse gas issue and
the transfer of these assessments and other relevant information to governments and
intergovernmental organizations to be taken into account in their policies on social and
economic development and environmental programmes.7
7 IPCC brochure "16 Years of Scientific Assessment in Support of the Climate Convention", (pg 2) online at
8 IPCC document "Principles Governing IPCC Work", online at http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles.pdf.
Whether the IPCC has ever considered these issues is a good question because its findings and reports
suggest otherwise. Taking the above points in order, the need for uncertainties to be identified has not
been described but the uncertainties themselves have been mentioned in various IPCC reports, where
the usual aim is to dismiss them as minor rather describe any plan of action to clarify and investigate
them. The need for identification of information needed to evaluate policy implications has never been
stated although governments have regularly been presented with the IPCC's claims.
The need for a review of national and international policies rests entirely on the assumption that
anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases have caused a significant increase in temperature. Finally
the need for scientific assessments of those policies has never been explicitly stated, nor has the need to
transfer the information to governments and various intergovernmental agencies, or even why the IPCC
should tell governments to take the information into account.
The IPCC's more recent charter, as noted in various IPCC publications, is as follows:
The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the
scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis
of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and
In concept this charter is laudable but only if it is balanced by other climate research, and with the
benefit of hindsight I add, free from political influences. These other avenues of research should have
examined the role of natural forces on climate, first to establish whether they posed serious risks and
then to describe any measurable human impacts and if necessary, possible mitigation strategies for
The IPCC's mandate seems to assume from the outset that adaptation and mitigation strategies will be
necessary, in other words that human-induced climate change can only be detrimental. This ignores
potential benefits of longer growing seasons in the 45° to 60° latitude band and fewer people dying from
issues related to low temperatures.
The bigger problem though is that the IPCC is put in a position of justifying its own existence. To put it
simply, if no human influence could be demonstrated there would be no reason for the organization to
exist. It's not only the existence of the IPCC that would be under threat from a negative finding but also
a savage blow to anyone profiting materially or professionally from being aligned to the IPCC's
Maybe the WMO was just playing along but its fellow
sponsor, the UNEP, was quite certain that the IPCC must
"bravely tell the world what should be done".
The then president of the WMO, John Zillman, later explained that organization's involvement
in the IPCC saying:
"Several Directors of National Meteorological Services, especially from developing countries,
called on WMO to establish a mechanism that would enable them to respond
authoritatively to the increasingly frequent requirements to brief their Governments and
national communities on the reality or otherwise of the threat of global warming as a result
of increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. For the most part,
Governments, at that stage, were reacting to sensationalized media coverage of predictions
of future climate change promulgated by a number of individual scientists and climate
modelling groups, as well as the then recently released report of the Brundtland
Commission on 'Our Common Future'... which had dramatically lifted the profile of
enhanced greenhouse warming as a threat to the future of the planet."9
9 Zillman, John W, "The IPCC: A View from the Inside" online at http://www.apec.org.au/docs/zillman.pdf.
10 From "Report of the first session of the WMO/UNEP intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)", online at
Perhaps Professor Obassi, Secretary General of the WMO held a somewhat different view to Zillman
because, at the first session of the IPCC 10 he "... stressed that the predicted global warming is one of the
most important long-term challenges facing humanity. He referred to the enormous outburst of public
concern over global warming and the related sea level rise..."
The UNEP was no shrinking violet at that session either with its executive director, Dr Mostafa Tolba,
" the Panel should, as a first step, identify the agreed facts and projections, separate them
from mere speculations and bravely inform the world what ought to be done".
Note the word "bravely" in the above as Tolba projects a certainty about the cause and consequences of
climate change, which is quite remarkable given the paucity of solid evidence available to him in 1988.
The evidence in 2007, almost 20 years later, was likewise very weak, but we'll get to that shortly.
Zillman's comments about government attitudes are however reflected in the report of that IPCC
session with almost 30 national governments enthusiastically supporting the establishment of the
organization and some - Japan and the U.K. - even demanding immediate action, although on what
evidence these urgings were based remains a mystery.
Bert Bolin, who had already worked for both IPCC sponsors
and was already blaming human activity for warming,
was appointed as the first chairman of the IPCC.
At that first session of the IPCC, Professor Bert Bolin was unanimously elected chairman on the basis of
his eminence in the politics of the claim of a significant human influence on the environment.
He was the first chairman of the Committee on Atmospheric Sciences (CAS), a body created by the ICSU,
a sponsor of the Villach 1985 conference. He then played a leading role in a number of associated
international environmental research organizations, including the Global Atmospheric Research
Programme (GARP), created in 1967 for which he was also the first Chairman. The success of this project
led in 1980 to the transition of GARP into the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), an offshoot
of the WMO, a sponsor of Villach 1985 and the IPCC.
In 1983, at the urging of Mostafa Tolba, the Executive Director of the UNEP, Bolin began a UNEP-
supported project to look into the link between physical climate and global ecosystems, then in 1985-86
Bolin chaired an ICSU working group that produced background material used by ICSU in its decision in
1986 to launch the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme."11
11 "Bert Bolin (1925-2007): A world leading scientists and science organizer", online at http://www.bbcc.su.se/about-bert-
12 "Bert Bolin: Meteorologist and first chair of the IPCC who cajoled the world into action on climate change" at
13 Bolin, B., B, Döös, J. Jäger and R.A Warwick (1986), "The Greenhouse Effect, Climate Change and Ecosystems, SCOPE 29;,
John Wiley and Sons.
Bolin was also a central figure in the 1987 report "Our Common Future", created by the UN Commission
on Environment and Development (and sometimes referred to as the "Brundtland Report" in
recognition of former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland's role as Chair of that UN
According to his obituary in 2007 in "The Independent" (UK)12,
Bolin was a leading figure at the now-legendary meeting of scientists who discussed the
future threat from climate change, held at Villach in Austria in 1985. More than any other
participant, it was he who had responsibility for turning the conference's findings which
went unreported in the press at the time into a manifesto for global action. He wrote the
500-page report, which warned that "in the first half of the next century, a rise in global
mean temperatures could occur which is greater than any in man's history", and called for a
"global convention" to prevent it. And he persuaded the UN Environment Programme's then
director Mostafa Tolba to adopt its conclusions.
To this we can add that Bolin was the lead author of a 1986 report, known as SCOPE 29, from the
Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE)13 of the ICSU. The foreword to IPCC's first
assessment report explicitly states that the report was based largely on Bolin's document.
In other words Bolin was heavily involved with the ICSU, WMO and UNEP, all of which sponsored the
Villach conference of 1985 and two of which subsequently became sponsors of the IPCC. The
appointment of Bolin to chair the IPCC may not have been the direct doing of the WMO and UNEP. At
this point in the IPCC's development it was very largely made up of committed believers in manmade
warming and with Bolin's established prominence in this field it is no surprise that he was elected, but I
have no doubt that the WMO and UNEP were pleased that a reliable person, one who could expound
their beliefs, was to be in charge.
Bolin's commitment to blaming mankind for climate change was made clear at just the second session of
the IPCC (Nairobi, June 1989) when he said:
"There are some key issues on which much uncertainty exists. For example, how much has
climate changed in the last 100 to 150 years? How much have human activities contributed
to such change? What will be the regional distribution of the expected climate change?
Despite the uncertainties there is little doubt about the role of human intervention and its
potential in causing these changes."14
14 From "Report of the second session of the WMO/UNEP intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)", online at
15 From "Report of the third session of the WMO/UNEP intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)", online at
He doesn't know how much climate has changed in the last 100 to 150 years and yet he is already
convinced that human activity is to blame.
And at the third IPCC session (Washington, Feb 1990) Bolin said "The fossil fuel issue ... is however
undoubtedly the critical one and must be addressed now" and he went on to talk of the financial aid and
technology transfer that would be required from developed countries to developing countries15.
John Houghton, of the UK's Met Office and seemingly as
much a believer in man-made warming as Bolin,
appointed to chair IPCC Working Group I,
whose role was to look for evidence of climate change
and attribute causes (as if that blame hadn't
Bolin was certainly not alone in being committed to the notion of manmade warming and holding a key
position in the IPCC. His key support was always going to be from the chairman of Working Group I, the
group tasked with reporting on observed climate change and attributing causes to these changes. The
first person to hold this position was John Houghton, who held it from 1988 to 2002, i.e. until after the
IPCC's Third Assessment Report in 2001. (For the first two IPCC assessment reports it was a sole chair,
but for the third and fourth it has been a co-chair.)
Houghton was involved with the WMO and simultaneously with his IPCC appointment the Director
General of the United Kingdom's Met Office. He was also instrumental in the establishment in 1989 of
the Met Office's offshoot the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction. The Hadley Centre has a very close
relationship with the IPCC on several fronts. In conjunction with the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the
University of East Anglia the Hadley Centre supplies the IPCC with a key temperature dataset that claims
to prove global warming but which has never been independently audited. Hadley Centre has also
provided climate modelling for most, if not all of the IPCC's report and although, as we will see shortly,
this modelling is very dubious it has been readily accepted by the IPCC. The pivotal chapter of the 2007
report, the chapter in which human activity was blamed for warming, had 53 authors of whom 10 were
from the Hadley Centre. At one stage the IPCC even had offices in the Hadley Centre building. I
sometimes wonder whether Houghton wanted the Hadley Centre to serve the IPCC more than it served
Houghton has been very adamant that human activity is to blame16 for climate change. He is also not
averse to hyperbole, such as his reported 1994 comment, "Unless we announce disasters no one will
listen", and in a later newspaper opinion piece he said, "the parallels between global climate change and
global terrorism are becoming increasingly obvious."17
16 For example: St Edmunds Lecture series at http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/cis/houghton/lecture2.html.
17 Houghton, J (2003), "Global warming is now a weapon of mass destruction", The Guardian, 28 July 2003, online at
In the latter he cited an increase in US tornadoes in May 2003 and the European heatwave that was just
abating at the time of his writing. The former shows no long-term correlation with temperature and
was simply natural variation, and the IPCC report of 2007 described the latter as being due to near-
stationary pressure cell directing warm air over south-western Europe. In both instances he was wrong
and you would think that in his position he should have known the facts.
At an appearance before a UK parliamentary committee18 in 2000 Houghton provided no evidence for
his accusation that American coal and oil lobbyists had fed untruths to the governments of petroleum-
rich countries in attempts to subvert the IPCC process. He also said:
"The number of scientists who are working in the climate change field who would argue that
[climate change] is all explained by the sun are very few indeed; in fact, there is probably no
credible scientist in the world who would say that."
and then later before the same committee
"The number of genuine scientists who would be considered as contributors to any scientific
literature who are outside the range of uncertainty that we give, and who say there is no
climate change occurring, of one kind or another, worldwide, is probably less than ten, in
fact, probably less than five, actually."
The first quote shows an either-or situation where he makes no allowance for "mostly explained". The
second is technically correct but its contextual implication is misleading and false. Natural climate
change is always occurring but Houghton gives the impression that few scientists disagree with his view
about man-made climate change.
Houghton was adamant that human activity influences
climate but what evidence could he have had in the
1990s when in 2007 the IPCC had so very little?
Houghton not only set the relationship between Hadley Centre and the IPCC but also set the tone for
Working Group I reports and the IPCC's many strident but unsupported assertions based on that work.
It is simply illogical to believe that assertions in 1990 could be backed by clear evidence when IPCC's
report of 2007, almost 20 years later, could only claim that temperatures were rising (since 2002 that's
debatable) and that climate models confirmed a human influence. Table 2.11 of the 2007 report lists 16
climate forcings (i.e. drivers) of which 13 have a level of scientific understanding (LoSU) below
"medium". In the 2001 report a figure in the Working Group I Summary for Policymakers showed that 8
of 12 forcings had a "very low" LoSU. (In the 2001 report chapter 6 contained a similar figure displaying
12 forcings but only listed 11 LoSU's.)
It simply defies logic that accurate climate models can be constructed when climate forcings are poorly
understood but IPCC Working Group I, which for the first three reports was managed by John Houghton,
has consistently based its attributions and projections on these models. The Working Group I
contribution to first IPCC Assessment Report, for example, had two chapters directly related to
modelling - chapter 3, "Processes and Models" and chapter 4, "Validation of Climate Models" - and the
Fourth Assessment Report of 2007 had chapter 8, "Climate Models and Their Evaluation".
In each assessment report we are told that scientific knowledge is incomplete, that the accuracy of
climate models has improved since the previous report and that we should accept without question
every conclusion or prediction based on the output of those models ... at least until the next report
published when we find that we were misled.
Levels of Scientific Understanding of Climate Forcings according to the IPCC
IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001)
Radiative Forcing agent
Level of Scientific
Greenhouse gases (halogens, N2O, CH4, CO2)
Aerosols - Sulphate
Aerosols - Carbon from fossil fuel burning
Aerosols - Biomass burning)
Aerosols - Mineral dust
Aerosols - indirect effects
Aviation-induced cirrus e
Land use - albedo only
Solar radiative forcing
After IPCC TAR WGI SPM figure 3
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007)
Level of Scientific
Long-lived greenhouse gases
Stratospheric water vapour from CH4
Medium to Low
Cloud albedo effect (all aerosols)
Surface albedo (Land Use)
Medium to Low
Surface albedo (BC aerosol on snow)
Persistent Linear Contrails
Stratospheric water vapour from causes other than CH4 oxidation
Tropospheric water vapour from irrigation
Other surface effects
After Table 2.11 (page 201) of IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Despite the low level of understanding of most of these forcing agents in their 2001 and 2007 reports, the IPCC
wants us to believe that climate models are accurate. Also, take no notice of any claims that models accurately
replicate past climate because, in its simplest terms, excess in the modelling of one factor might compensate for a
deficit in another factor. Accurate output is no guarantee that all factors are accurately modelled.
"We don't know what else could be causing warming so we will assume that it's human activity". I don't
know if Houghton expressed a view in these or similar words but people associated with the early days
of the IPCC certainly did. Surely it's no surprise at all that the causes couldn't be identified when in 2007
there's still a shortfall in scientific knowledge.
Did Houghton resort to belief in the absence of evidence?
Perhaps the answer to Houghton's position lies in the word "faith". Houghton has a strong religious
streak and has referred to mankind as the "stewards" who are to look after the Earth "as God wants it
looked after"19. He made a similar statement in 2001 at St Edmunds College in 200120 when he also
emphatically declared that human activity was the cause of warming, cited the "precautionary principle"
(to which we shall return shortly) and said that "polluters" should "pay for the damage of their
pollution". That last point is remarkable for a scientist who should know that carbon dioxide not a
pollutant but is essential for life on Earth.
19 John Ray Institute document at http://www.jri.org.uk/brief/christianchallenge.htm.
20 St Edmunds Lecture series at http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/cis/houghton/lecture4.html.
For the first time that I can recall, I am forced to conclude that Houghton is a scientist driven more by
belief and religious conviction than by evidence. How can it be otherwise when he is so adamant that
human activity has a significant influence on climate and yet the scientific evidence to support that claim
is appallingly weak? Correlations are not evidence of a cause, nor are the output from inaccurate
climate models or the opinions of people who work with those models, but all the so-called evidence
that the IPCC report of 2007 presented.
Boehmer-Christiansen and Kellow (2002)21 summarized the situation with both Bolin and Houghton:
21 Boehmer-Christiansen, S., A.J. Kellow (2002) - "International environmental policy: interests and the failure of the Kyoto
process", Northampton, MA : Edward Elgar Pub., 2002 (pg 120).
"While Bolin, Flohn, Häfele, and Houghton spoke as well-known scientists and leaders of
research institutes and programmes, it was their task to ensure that research fields to which
they had devoted the active research lives were adequately funded and continued to have
their respective governments' ear. The claim to policy relevance is a well-known aspect of
the politics of research funding. These men were eminent researchers but made their
impacts as opinionated bureaucrats who may have predispositions which, if they influence
any judgments they make, are likely to accentuate their interpretations in such a way as to
strengthen the apparent evidence for climate change. Bolin was particularly close to
Swedish Energy Policy and Houghton himself gave 'teach-ins' to [UK Prime Minister]
Margaret Thatcher and senior UK bureaucrats, many of whom were unable to be critical of
the science presented to them ... but saw the world view presented to them as close to their
personal beliefs, while those who could follow the debate foresaw major opportunities for
themselves and their departments."
Already these people are trying to influence bureaucrats towards accepting a certain line of argument
despite the deficiencies in scientific knowledge. In my book that's dishonest lobbying.
As noted above, Houghton was from the WMO, but his evangelism certainly helped promote the UNEP's
claims of manmade warming in a manner consistent with that organization. And logically it was the
UNEP that set the modus operandi for the IPCC given that it was more experienced in politicising science
than the WMO and knew far more about UN machinations.
The Working Group I contribution to the IPCC's first Assessment
Report has a deceptive preface, relies on chairman Bolin's earlier
work and is dominated by British interests, but despite the authors
of the key chapter relying on their own published papers, cannot
show any clear evidence of manmade warming.
A look at the first two IPCC assessment reports shows how the influence of Bolin, Houghton and the
UNEP played out for Working Group I.
For the Working Group I contribution ("Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment") to the first
IPCC Assessment Report (1990)...
- The Preface, by Obassi (WMO) and Tolba (UNEP) fails to mention that the IPCC's only task is to
assess the risk of human induced climate change and instead implies that it deals with all issues
about climate. Only several pages later, in the Introduction do we find "The purpose of this report is
to provide a scientific assessment of the factors which may affect climate change during the next
century, especially those which are due to human activity."
- The authors were of the Working Group I contribution were Houghton, Jenkins and Ephraumus, all
apparently of the Meteorological Office, Bracknell, United Kingdom, and we are told that financial
support was provided by the UK Departments of Environment and Energy.
- The Foreword to this report says that the report builds on the SCOPE 29 report of 1986, for which
IPCC chairman Bert Bolin was the lead author.
- Seven of the 11 chapters had at least one lead author22 from the UK, 3 from Houghton's Met Office
and 2 from its close partner the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. The
chapter on radiative forcing had 3 lead authors from the UK and one other.
22 At this point the IPCC chapters only had lead authors and contributing authors. The more senior position of coordinating
lead author was introduced for the IPCC's Third Assessment Report (2001).
23 Zillman, John W, "The IPCC: A View from the Inside" online at http://www.apec.org.au/docs/zillman.pdf.
- The two lead authors of chapter 8, "Detection of the Greenhouse Effect in Observations were Wigley
of the CRU and Barnett. (Wigley was also a contributing author to 2 other chapters).
- The Executive summary of chapter 8 ends with the statement: "The fact that we are unable to
reliably detect the predictive signals today does not mean that the greenhouse theory is wrong, or
that it will not be a severe problem for mankind in the decades ahead."
- Chapter 8 cited 51 references of which 34 (exactly 2/3rds) had at least one co-author from among
the chapter 8 authors, and it cited Bolin's SCOPE 29 report. In other words the claims were based
fundamentally on Bolin's report and the authors' own works, so perhaps it is no surprise to find that
many of the authors had either co-authored papers together or were work colleagues, which is in
contravention of IPCC procedures.
According to former President of the WMO, John Zillman23, the need to prepare a comprehensive
assessment of climate change issues in time for the Second World Climate Conference, scheduled for
1990, meant that all three IPCC Working Groups had to proceed in parallel rather than sequentially.
Zillman also noted that because the IPCC had no time to sponsor new research, heavy reliance was
placed on the research effort conducted under the auspices of the World Climate Program. The World
Climate Program had four major components, one of which was the World Climate Research Program,
the organization that Bolin, the chairman of the IPCC, had previously worked with.
As mentioned earlier, the Working Group I contribution to this first IPCC report relied on climate models
that were constructed from the very little knowledge available at the time. In what would become
typical IPCC practice, the output of models was used to both support claims of a human influence on
climate and to make dire predictions that garnered huge publicity.
The IPCC's second Assessment Report shows little improvement over
the first and has people from Houghton's Met Office taking a larger role.
The second IPCC Assessment Report (1995) was little improvement on the first. In the Working Group I
contribution ("The Science of Climate Change") to this report we find ...
- The Foreword by Obassi (WMO) and Dowdeswell (UNEP) says "The IPCC was jointly established by
the WMO and the UNEP in 1988 to (i) assess available scientific information on climate change, (ii)
assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change and (iii) formulate response
strategies." This fails to mention the IPCC's focus is on an assumed human influence on climate.
- Chapter 6, "Climate models - projections of Future Climate" had a total of 81 authors (8 lead
authors, 73 contributing authors) with 10 from the UK's Met Office, again showing the huge
influence of the organization of which Houghton was Director
- The lead authors of chapter 8, "Detection of Climate Change and attribution of Causes" were Wigley
and Barnett (as for the 1990 report), along with Santer and Anyamba24. (Wigley, formerly of the CRU
but now in the USA, was busy giving his opinion in other chapters too, being also a lead author of
chapter 2 and 6, and a contributing author of chapter 7.)
24 Authorship of this chapter is like passing the baton because among the contributing authors were Karoly and Mitchell, both
Co-ordinating Lead Authors of the corresponding chapter of the 3rd IPCC assessment report, and Hegerl and Zwiers, both
Lead Authors of the 3rd assessment report and Co-ordinating Lead authors for the 4th IPCC assessment report. (Wigley and
Santer relinquished their roles by the 3rd IPCC report but were both Contributing Authors to the corresponding chapter.)
- Chapter 8 had 31 contributing authors of which 6 were from UK Met Office and 4, like lead author
Santer, from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Again the many authors of this IPCC chapter
were either work colleagues or had co-authored papers together.
- Chapter 8 cited 134 references of which 83 (62%) had at least one co-author from among the total
of 35 authors of this chapter. The lead authors Santer, Wigley and Barnett, were first named authors
of 6, 9 and 5 papers respectively, or 15% of all cited papers.
These two IPCC reports are characterized by the dominance of the influence of chairman Bolin, the UK's
Met Office, headed by true-believer Houghton, and its close ally, the Climatic Research Unit.
In the pivotal chapters to both reports we see a deliberate flouting of IPCC procedures as a cabal of
climate modellers cite their own published papers and those of their colleagues, then ludicrously cite,
with apparent approval, the output of climate models that were constructed without full understanding
of all climate forces. This isn't science; it's advocacy and it's the preservation of one's own research
The first IPCC assessment report is crucial to the UNFCC
and the establishment of the Kyoto Protocol although
credible scientific justification does not exists.
The UNEP was probably very pleased with Bolin and Houghton giving the IPCC a high profile in a very
short period of time by virtue of the first assessment report. This report was a key force in the 1992
establishment of the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC), which is a body that supports the operation of a treaty of the same name and that treaty
asserts that manmade emissions of carbon dioxide cause warming. The update from the treaty was the
Kyoto Protocol that governments were pressured into signing and ratifying.
The basis for the Kyoto Protocol can therefore be traced back to Bert Bolin's work for the UNEP and
other organizations prior to the establishment of the IPCC.
IPCC principles now explicitly state that it
"... shall concentrate its activities on the tasks allotted to it by the relevant WMO Executive
Council and UNEP Governing Council resolutions and decisions as well as on actions in
support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process."25
25 IPCC document "Principles Governing IPCC Work", online at http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles.pdf.
This tie-in has created a political juggernaut of climate opinion, one that levers off the willingness of
governments to sign the Kyoto Protocol when in fact there was no scientific evidence to justify that
action. There seems to be the belief that if governments were gullible enough, or susceptible enough to
public opinion, to sign that agreement then they will continue to endorse the hypothesis of significant
manmade warming. In the eyes of the UNFCCC and IPCC, it hardly matters whether the governments
are gullible, swayed by public opinion, reluctant to admit that they or earlier governments got it wrong,
or are held fast by the coercion and threats of other countries, so long as they continue to show faith.
And faith is what it is when we have the extraordinary situation of one UN body, the UNFCCC, being
adamant that carbon dioxide causes warming and the IPCC, whose charter directs it to support the
UNFCCC, after 20 years of work and reaping the product of about USD $100 billion worth of research,
being unable to find any credible evidence to support that claim.
Governments supported and even attempted
to direct the IPCC.
It's ironic that the climate research that the IPCC selectively and unconvincingly cites has been very
largely funded by the governments, ensnared first by the UNFCCC, and then by the IPCC itself.
Perhaps it was fear of criticism that forced governments to allocate research funding in alignment with
IPCC claims. At the very least it would look decidedly odd if governments endorsed the IPCC's beliefs
but then allocated substantial funding to other areas of climate research. Should that alternative
research clearly demonstrate that natural forces could significantly or completely account for the
observed variations in recent temperature that would not only discredit the IPCC but also cast doubt on
the judgment of governments that so emphatically supported it.
The consequence of this situation is that there's no level playing field in climate research, just one
biased by the heavy hand of government. The sequence of events is as follows:
1. Governments accept the IPCC's claims.
2. Governments allocate climate research funding in line with IPCC findings.
3. Research proposals are presented in a manner best likely to result in funding.
4. Research papers are produced with conclusions in line with government beliefs in order that future
funding is not jeopardized.
5. The IPCC has a wider selection of papers to cite in its next report and present a more convincing
argument to government (or claim that the number of papers is somehow evidence).
This is a self-perpetuating spiral with each cycle binding governments more tightly to the IPCC.
Funding is not the only means by which governments influence the IPCC reports. Take for example the
following comments by the United Kingdom, prepared by the Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs, in regard to the first scoping meeting for the 2007 Working Group reports
We agree that there is a need to treat both natural and anthropogenic climate variation in
the AR4, assessing the new science that has become available since the TAR in a balanced
way against the background of what was already known, rather than becoming too focused
on natural climate variability. This is because it is the long-term anthropogenic signal that is
of concern to policy development. There is a general consensus, presented in the TAR and
widely accepted, that climate change in the latter half of the 20th century is due to
anthropogenic forcing, and the emphasis for WGI should be on anthropogenic change
rather than shorter term variability.
Similarly, palaeoclimate information is useful in terms of setting anthropogenic climate
change in a longer-term context and for considering detection and attribution of human
effects, but we would be concerned to see this topic receive undue prominence.26
26 Untitled IPCC document online at http://www.ipcc.ch/meetings/ar4scope/scoping-meeting2/comments.pdf.
27 IPCC document "Principles Governing IPCC Work", online at http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles.pdf.
In other words DEFRA is expressing the UK government's views that there is a consensus and saying
what material should appear in the IPCC reports. It seems very likely that DEFRA was advised by the
Houghton-instigated Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction with its vested interest, because its the pre-
eminent climate body in the UK and Houghton had previously advised the Prime Minister and senior
Governments are also involved in the nomination of participants in IPCC activities and in the
circumstances are hardly likely to nominate anyone who is highly critical of the key hypothesis. The
IPCC's "principles" document27 says:
8. Invitations to participate in the sessions of the Panel and its Working Groups, Task Forces
and IPCC workshops shall be extended to Governments and other bodies by the
Chairman of the IPCC.
9. Experts from WMO/UNEP Member countries or international, intergovernmental or
nongovernmental organizations may be invited in their own right to contribute to the
work of the IPCC Working Groups and Task Forces. Governments should be informed in
advance of invitations extended to experts from their countries and they may nominate
IPCC procedures allow it to directly invite experts to join it.
The second of these two clauses allows IPCC Working Groups and Task Forces to directly invite other
experts to participate. In other words people who supported the notion of a human influence on climate
could invite other like-minded individuals, perhaps advocates or potential beneficiaries of the notion of
man-made warming, to work with them.
This became a highly effective way to create a strong lobby group and beyond even that, a self-selecting
tight group of people with a vested interest. The opportunity to promote a hypothesis that one believed
in or could be used for personal advantage (financial or reputational) was obvious from the outset.
Although some individuals appointed to the IPCC were probably sceptical of the extent of any human
influence on climate, the very nature of the organization's charter and procedures indicates that such
minority viewpoints would be quickly forced out or ignored.
The UNEP's weapon of choice - the "precautionary principle".
The UNEP's approach in climate and other matters has been based on the "Precautionary Principle", a
notion that can be traced back to the environmental movement in Germany in the 1960's. This principle
"If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full
scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent
The principle is hopelessly imprecise. The word "serious" is subjective and undefined, and the notion of
"irreversible" rests on the current level of knowledge, which may be far from complete. Further, the
extent of acceptable scientific certainty is undefined (10%?, 50%?, 90%?) and the principle as a whole
implies that scientific truth is determined by a consensus.
In short, this principle is a farce and is sociological rather than scientific. It's a catch all for anyone
wanting to block anything that might conceivably damage the environment; never mind that it may not
be possible to quantify the danger or that the natural environment is in a continuous state of change.
It's a principle that the UNEP can, and often has, invoked. Then, never mind if the evidence is weak or
lacks confirmation, through the auspices of the United Nations, the UNEP will seek to influence the
policymakers in national governments. By feeding a plausible hypothesis through its publicity machine
to ensure that it is presented as a scientific certainty the UNEP gets good coverage in mainstream
media, leading to public support and further pressure on politicians to conform to the hypothesis. As
those politicians conform, the public perceives a legitimacy in adopting that position and public opinion
is therefore reinforced. At the same time, frightened politicians allocate more funding, which itself gives
credibility to UNEP ideas as well as potentially providing that organization with useful data.
The UNEP's forceful Executive Director
explains the modus operandi of that organization,
especially the need to influence public opinion.
The head of the UNEP from 1975 to 1992, which spans the creation of the IPCC, was Dr Mostafa Tolba.
He was a microbiologist who had an academic career after he obtained his PhD in 1948 and then in 1959
moved into various government appointments in his native country of Egypt. Tolba led Egypt's
delegation to the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, and thus started his
involvement with environmental issues. In his role of Executive Director of the UNEP he drew on his
government experiences, and what even UNEP documents describe as his forceful personality, to
In a 2007 retrospective document about the Montreal Protocol that phased out CFC's in the belief that
they damaged the ozone layer, Tolba described several key ingredients for having that protocol
accepted28 and some of these reflect uncomfortably on the IPCC's handling of climate change.
28 From "Lesson Learned" by M.K. Tolba, in The UNEP's "Our Planet" magazine, September 2007, under the theme
"Celebrating 20 years of the Montreal Protocol", online at
29 Sine qua non = An essential condition or element; an indispensable thing.
30 Tolba made a similar comment about involving politicians and the public on page 6 of "Report of the Third Session of the
First Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol", online at
Tolba referred to ..."
• The presence of a core group of countries intent on ...
• Science—and the consensus among scientists worldwide—was a critical ingredient in the Protocol
• Some strong personalities. In the end, everything boils down to individuals and personalities.
• Mobilizing public opinion is the sine qua non29 of environmental negotiation. The framework Vienna
Convention was agreed in a climate of only mild interest: neither the NGOs nor the media had drawn
enough attention to the ozone problem to arouse the public. But when reputable scientists reported
that the ozone layer was being depleted above the Antarctic and that the likely results would be
increased risks of cancer, cataracts, and crop failures and reduced immunity, the media responded
with headlines and an aroused public pressed for quick action. Citizen groups and NGOs demanded
and got the swift negotiation, adoption and entry into force of a viable control mechanism.30 ..."
This isn't science; it's politics, consensus, the manipulation of public opinion and, by virtue of
governments responding to UNEP claims, it's the de-facto control of the direction and focus of
Tolba omitted some salient points in the above:
- The penchant for the UNEP to encourage predictions and the construction of models before the
science is properly understood and then to cite the predictions or the output of those models as
evidence to support its cause.
- The ability to omit, downplay or discredit data or hypotheses that refute the UNEP's claims.
- The UNEP's failure to admit that it might have exaggerated its claims, cited false papers or
otherwise been in error.
The IPCC uses the same techniques as its sponsor, the UNEP.
It takes no great leap of the imagination to applying Tolba's four points to the IPCC - (a) the United
Kingdom with the rest of the European Union not far behind, (b) the content of the IPCC reports being
approved by consensus of a plenary of government representatives, (c) Tolba, Bolin and Houghton in
particular, but many others lending support and (d) (I don't have apace to name them all)
The points that Tolba failed to mention can likewise be applied to the IPCC. We have already seen that
climate models are constructed despite many climate forces being poorly understood. On the second
point, the 2007 IPCC report worked hard to discredit temperatures obtained via satellites that have
consistent coverage across the Earth's surface in favour of near-surface measurements that cover the
Earth in a far from homogenous manner and are susceptible to local effects. The primary cause for
rejecting the data obtained by satellites was that a rival organization claimed that the first provider had
made errors. Very conveniently for some, only after the IPCC report was published did it recant and
admit to its own mistakes. An example of the third point is that a "hockey stick" temperature graph
featured in the 2001 IPCC report but was missing from the 2007 report without explanation. That graph
had in fact been discredited when it was demonstrated that flaws in the method of calculating data for
that graph meant that even random data would usually generate a graph of similar shape, but as with
the temperature data the advantage that IPCC gained from publishing the erroneous material was
The IPCC has taken the UNEP methods on board and has added at least two further points to its list of
techniques. The ability to:
- Ignore the quality of the peer-review process for the scientific papers that it cites and the fact
that in fields with small numbers of researchers a person's co-author one day might be their
peer-reviewer the next.
- Corrupt the normal peer review process in which authors modify their text to meet the
demands of the reviewers into a process where the IPCC authors are not required to make
These points undermine the credibility of the documents cited by the IPCC and its implied assertions
about the peer review process applied to its own reports.
Rash statements from Tolba, the UNEP's Executive Director,
characterise that body's public support for the IPCC.
As early as April 1989 Tolba claimed31 in his opening address to a conference on the protection of the
ozone layer, that scientific research had confirmed the link between ozone depletion, climate change
and global warming. This claim was not substantiated at that conference and, given that the IPCC had
only been established the previous year for the express purpose of assessing any risk of a human
influence on climate, it seems a remarkably premature statement.
31 From "Report Of The Conference Of The Parties On The Work Of Its First Meeting" online at
32 From "Report of the second session of the WMO/UNEP intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)", online at
33 From "Report of the third session of the WMO/UNEP intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)", online at
But as we will see, statements of this nature have been characteristic of the UNEP and have been
subsequently proven false or exaggerations. Repercussions are few because the UNEP is, after all,
comprised of unelected individuals and answers to no-one save perhaps the United Nations, which is
hardly likely to pull its high-profile child into line.
Tolba's statements on climate change before the IPCC had time to consider the matter were very
premature and without foundation but they were decisive in setting the tone. Earlier we saw Tolba's
comments to the first session of the IPCC and at the second session (in June 1989) he was no more
"It should be borne in mind that both the Governing Council of UNEP and the Executive
Council of the WMO expected the first report of the IPCC to form the basis of international
negotiations on a global convention on climate change. The report can also play a valuable
guiding role for the large number of conferences, meeting and symposia on climate change
being held all over the world."
He went on to stress "independent but swift actions by governments reflected the anxiety
of the public on global warming and other atmospheric environment issues", and which
point he referred to ozone depletion before returning to theme with the statement
"Developing countries need to be assured of full participation in all actions for limiting the
emissions of greenhouse gases and for preparing for global warming."
This was just the second session of the IPCC but Tolba and the UNEP had already made up their minds
about the cause of climate change even if the scientific evidence did not exist - and how could it exist
when no credible evidence was presented in the IPCC's report of 2007? And the anxiety of which Tolba
speaks is probably only that generated by the publicity machine as the UNEP sought to influence public
The next session of the IPCC saw Tolba admitting that there were many uncertainties but he went on
to say,33 " that while more research was required, it would be irrational to continuing gambling with
The unimpressive record of the UNEP's alarmism
about environmental matters.
The track record of other high-profile UNEP issues under Tolba is unimpressive as regards science, but
very successful as regards manipulating governments and public opinion.
Back in the 1970s the UNEP made a huge fuss about acid rain, giving rise to claims that 10% of the
Earth's trees would be destroyed. On the strength of the UNEP's statements Scandinavian countries
were quick to blame British pollution for dying trees and the Mulroney government in Canada blamed
the U.S.A. It became problematic for the Canadian government when its scientists found no evidence to
support those claims, and found instead that the death of trees was due a weather pattern of a warm
early spring that encouraged leaf growth, followed just weeks later by a return to extremely cold
conditions that proved fatal to the new growth on many trees34.
34 Personal communication.
36 "Opportunities and Risks: Control of Diseases" in Africa Environment Outlook 2 online at
Despite the US government spending about $700 million in the first year to clean up airborne pollutants,
there was virtually no improvement in the acidity of lakes and rivers in the Adirondack Mountains and
after 30 years the improvement has been marginal. Opinion now seems to be that the acidity was due
to natural processes in the surrounding soils.
In Europe the impact of acid rain was found to be very localised, with the worst examples being in
central Europe where sulphur pollution in the atmosphere was particularly high.35
In this instance the UNEP seems to have exaggerated both the causes and the consequences, which is
not a huge surprise given that it acted before the scientific investigation was complete.
Another UNEP mistake was that it instigated a ban on DDT by environmental protection agencies by
declaring the very successful chemical defence against malaria to possibly be carcinogenic. In 2006, the
World Health Organization subsequently declared DDT safe provided that basic guidelines were
followed, a finding that was probably instrumental in the UNEP's very belated reversal of its earlier
decision. Tucked away in a UNEP publication we find that in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province the
number of malaria cases rose from 8,000 in 1996 when DDT use stopped, to 42,000 by 2000 and had
fallen to about 50 deaths per year after the reintroduction of DDT.36
Those figures are only for one region in South Africa for which data is available. The estimated deaths
across the African continent range as high as 20 million. On the matter of climate change the UNEP's Dr
Tolba has encouraged the involvement of developing countries, so I wonder how he felt about the
suffering that the UNEP imposed on these people when DDT was banned.
Prior to turning to climate change, the UNEP made a lot of noise about chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
causing the depletion of the ozone layer over the Antarctic and it pressured countries a phase-out of
those gases. The UNEP's success in this venture is cited by some as a reason for the acceptance of the
claim that human activity was causing significant warming, but as before, the UNEP had reacted in haste
before scientists had fully explored the issue and subsequent research has cast very serious doubt on
The Montreal Protocol that banned CFCs in many countries came into force in 1989. By early 1990 the
hole had shrunk considerably, which was far too soon for the protocol to be the cause. In August 2006 it
was claimed that the hole had stopped growing but two months later the hole was larger than ever
previously recorded and in 2008, almost 20 years after the protocol came into force, the second largest
hole was observed. Together these events cast serious doubt on the influence of CFCs on the ozone
layer and strongly suggest that the drivers were natural forces, which by implication meant that
mankind's understanding of natural forces was quite low.
The hole in the ozone layer was supposedly discovered in 1983 but British observational notes refer to
the recovery of Antarctic ozone in 1956, which is prior to significant use of CFCs. The data also shows the
hole to be seasonal and at times the change in its size has been very rapid, which suggesting that
temperature or radiation are the principal drivers and that CFCs have a minor or even negligible
In July 2007 scientists discovered a natural source of halogens, a known ozone depleting agent, in the
Antarctic37, suggesting a natural cause of the hole. Later that same year it was discovered that
dichlorine peroxide (Cl2O2), a crucial molecule for the UNEP's theory about ozone depletion, had a
breakdown rate about one-sixth of the rate necessary to cause ozone damage on the scale envisaged by
the UNEP38. Then in 2008 Canadian scientist Qing-Bin Lu found that data across 1980-2007 showed a
good correlation between cosmic rays and ozone depletion, suggesting yet another natural influence39,
so in the space of about 12 months the IPCC's claims about ozone were shown to be very dubious. Why
did these matters take 17 years to appear? If it was like the situation with the IPCC, the delay was
probably because of a lack of funding for research that might refute the UNEP's claims.
37 "New clues to ozone depletion", online at http://www.physorg.com/news104666673.html.
38 Pope, F.D, J.C. Hansen, K.D. Baynes, R.R. Frield and S.P. Sander (2007), Ultaviolet Absorption Spectrum of Chlorine Peroxide,
ClOOCl, Journal of Physical Chemistry, 111(20), pp 4322-4332, doi: 10.1021/jp067660w, online at
39 Q-B Lu (2008) - Correlation between Cosmic Rays and Ozone Depletion, Physical Review Letters, (20 Mar 2009), DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevLett.102.118501, online at http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~qblu/Lu-2009PRL.pdf.
40 From "Redefining UNEP", from UNEP publication, "Our Planet", January 1997, online at
Let me be the first to admit that it's likely that the above comments will be roundly condemned, but
that's to be expected when the UNEP's belief has dominated the science and greatly influenced research
funding for over 20 years. Careers and reputations have been created on the back on those UNEP
beliefs. Let's remember that according to Tolba, mobilizing public opinion is the sine qua non of
environmental negotiation, and that there are many people and organizations who seem to care less
about truth than about profiting from UNEP (and IPCC) claims.
The UNEP failed to get responsibility for the UN FCCC
(which was fortunate given its usual tactics!)
Dr Tolba has said that his greatest disappointment was that UNEP was not given responsibility for the
Convention on Climate Change, which was instead negotiated under the direct auspices of the United
Nations General Assembly40. I for one am very pleased that the UNEP was not given sole responsibility
regards the possibility of a human influence on climate given that this body is prone to jumping to
conclusions on scant evidence, to wild exaggeration and to the manipulation of governments.
We saw earlier how government-funded research has been crucial to the IPCC's claims and this appears
true also for UNEP claims. The UNEP also seeks to impose its view on governments because by seeking
to directly address the media and the public the UNEP is forcing governments to agree with its position
or fall out of favour with voters.
Another approach is via the government agencies with responsibility for the environment that take their
cues from the UNEP, such at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Like the UNEP the primary focus
of these agencies is on pollution rather than climate per se, but with a careful choice of words it's easy
to mix the two issues. The recent morphing of "carbon dioxide emissions" into "carbon pollution" is
dishonest science, and merely a linguistic device by which these anti-pollution authorities can continue
to assert their scientifically unjustified involvement and urge the application of the over-arching and
anti-development precautionary principle.
The UNEP continues to be dishonest, distorting
and deceptive about climate.
Even today the UNEP is still up to its old tricks of exaggeration and outright lies on climate matters. In
the preface to its recently published "Climate Change Science Compendium" the UN Under-Secretary
General and Executive Director of the UNEP, Achim Steiner, tells us
"Two years ago, in 2007, the Intergovernmantal [sic] Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth
Assessment Report provided the world with conclusive proof that humans are altering the
Conclusive proof? Who is he kidding? That so-called proof amounted to a claim that temperatures
were rising - which is not true since 2002 according to the most reliable temperature sources - and
various claims based on the output of climate models, which, as we saw earlier, according to the IPCC's
own statements cannot possibly be regarded as accurate.
Steiner went on to say:
"Under a high emission scenario—the one that most closely matches current trends—12–
39 per cent of the planet’s terrestrial surface could experience novel climate conditions and
10–48 per cent could suffer disappearing climates by 2100."
Climate disappearing? Does he mean no climate at all? It looks like the influencing of public opinion is
taking priority over scientific honesty.
Nature and researchers are exposing the fallacies
of the IPCC's claims.
Like the abovementioned high profile UNEP issues, the IPCC's assertions about man-made warming are
starting to unravel.
The temperature data it relies upon to demonstrate warming has come under threat first from satellite-
based temperature data that is less contaminated by local effects than near-surface thermometer
readings; second the much acclaimed "hockey stick" graph of the Third Assessment Report of 2001 has
been shown to be an artefact of the statistical method even when random data is used41; third by a
survey that showed that 80% of meteorological observation stations in the USA are poorly sited and cast
doubt on the integrity of other similar data from elsewhere42; and fourthly by recent revelations that
key data was "cherry-picked" from a larger data set43.
41 McIntyre, S. and R. McKitrick (2003), Corrections to the Mann et al (1998) Proxy Data base and Northern Hemispheric
Average Temperature Series, Energy & Environment, vol.14 no.6 and online at
42 Watts, A. - "Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable", Heartland Institute (2009) also available online at
43 First reported at McIntyre's "Climate Audit" website (e.g. http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7168) with less technical
comments available at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/29/yamal_scandal/ and
Since 1998 it has become apparent that variations in global average temperature anomalies bear little or
no resemblance to variations in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. As the latter has
increased, the former has been more closely aligned to variations in natural climate forces. It can be
reasonably argued that since 1950 the IPCC's claimed close correlation between temperature and
carbon dioxide appears plausible for only the period 1975 to 1995 when annual average temperatures
are used (i.e. the data is smoothed - and smooth two sets of data enough and the results will always
correlate very well, that's the nature of averaging). Just 21 years out of the 60 from 1950 to 2009 shows
poor overall correlation and undermines the IPCC's thesis and claims. While good correlation never
proves causation, the absence of a good correlation disproves causation, so 39 years between 1950 and
2009 disproves the IPCC's claims. That the IPCC ignores this basic tenet shows its disdain for science and
statistics and highlights its penchant for misrepresentation.
The UNEP, Bolin and Houghton have established an IPCC
that misleads governments and the public.
The IPCC was established at the instigation of the UNEP, and of Mostafa Tolba in particular. It seems
clear that UNEP belief in man-made warming dates from the late 1970's and while it gained some
acceptance with the environmental mood of the times it was not until it stage-managed the 1985 Villach
conference that the belief gained widespread acceptance, largely on the back of alarmist propaganda
and a pretence that scientific truth was determined by consensus. The scientific evidence to support
the UNEP's notion was very weak but that didn't bother the UNEP, which coerced governments into
submission. One of the UNEP's major sources of information in those days was Bert Bolin who, very
conveniently for the UNEP, had reported that the Villach conference reached a consensus (although
other attendees doubted that) and was then elected chairman of the newly established IPCC. Bolin was
assisted at the IPCC by John Houghton who despite the absence of credible scientific evidence appears
to have believed that human activity was a significant influence on climate.
The IPCC has practiced the techniques used by the UNEP and described by Tolba - invoke the
precautionary principle, get some highly respected countries on board along with some people with
strong personalities, then have some hitherto reputable scientists make the kind of claims that attract
the attention of the media and the general public. Never mind that the science is incomplete but create
some mathematical models from what little information is available, then attempt to manipulate public
opinion by touting the output of those models as a reason to blame human activity for warming and
using the models to make dire predictions.
The UNEP-concocted IPCC has never focused on the broader issue of climate change, as its name
suggests, and has rejected proper scientific scepticism in favour of advocacy for the UNEP's agenda and
claim of human causation. The mainstream media has accepted those claims as facts or at least near-
certainties, which has meant that political parties have been cowed into submission and anyone who
dares to show scepticism is branded a "denier" in a manner reminiscent of a religious purge.
Plausible alternative hypotheses consistent with empirical evidence and even direct observational
evidence that refute the IPCC's claims have failed to slow the runaway train that is driven by ideology,
money, media opinion, public opinion and political belief in manmade warming. Signs have recently
appeared that one of these drivers, public opinion, is turning against the IPCC's claims and that is most
encouraging given that politicians respond to public opinion.
The UNEP's strident claims were probably a crucial factor in starting the ball rolling for the
establishment of the UNFCCC, a situation that came about after the publication of the first IPCC
Assessment Report, which itself was largely based on Bert Bolin's work for the UNEP and other
organizations. The evidence on which the UNFCCC was created was particularly thin but clearly this was
ignored for reasons that we can only speculate on and it has never been an obstacle to the
organization's eco-political activism.
Where to from here?
To my mind the only logical step from here is to demand that the UNEP, IPCC and the UNFCCC show
proper scientific evidence to support their claims and the wider audience, especially governments,
needs to critically and impartially appraise that evidence.
The evidence should amount to something more than a consensus of opinions based on the output of
climate models that cannot be anything but inaccurate. The blithe acceptance of models based on
incomplete knowledge is bad enough but the determination of scientific truth is not a democratic
process; if it was we'd still be back in the Dark Ages before the time of Enlightenment when reason and
empirical evidence replaced superstition.
Rather than being stifled by UNEP or IPCC beliefs, other hypotheses about the drivers of climate should
be encouraged, and all should be exposed to proper scientific scepticism, where the emphasis is on
testing that hypothesis against data and plausible circumstances. This is the proper scientific method but
it is conspicuous by its absence from the work of these two bodies.
In the bigger picture UN bodies that take partisan positions should be avoided. Where scientific
knowledge is incomplete those bodies should encourage research to improve that understanding, not
press for the acceptance of hypotheses based on limited knowledge. Science is not a political football,
nor is it a personal fiefdom for those in charge of scientific organizations or those who might distort a
situation in order to procure funding. If a properly tested hypothesis holds up, scientists will advise their
governments accordingly and perhaps the UN play a part in any coordinated action.
In the meantime, it is long overdue that the IPCC was called for what it is, an activist eco-political body
driven not by the dangerous manmade warming evidence that it pretends exists, but by the beliefs and
philosophies of its sponsor, the UNEP, and by key individuals at the time the IPCC was established.