Did the IPCC Screw Up Climate Change Policy?
I found this interview in Der Spiegel of Fritz Vahrenholt, a German renewable energy executive and a former Social Democratic Party figure fascinating since he doesn’t fit the profile of most climate change skeptics. Varenholt has a new book coming out, “Die Kalte Sonne” (The Cold Sun), rejecting the IPCC’s global warming models and climate change predictions.
I don’t know what to make of his scientific criticisms of the IPCC models. According to the interview, IPCC models haven’t explained why global temperatures have declined over the last 14 years and have completely ignored the effect of solar activity on global temperatures. It sounds plausible, but what do I know?
I find more interesting his criticism of the IPCC process and how it has lost credibility by making maximalist claims (CO2 causes all climate change and will raise global temperatures by 2 degrees) that it didn’t need to and that undermine its credibilty.
SPIEGEL: Do you seriously believe that all 2,000 scientists involved in the IPCC are deluded or staying true to the official line?
Vahrenholt: It’s not like that. However, I am critical of the role played by the handful of lead authors who take on the final editing of the report. They claim that they are using 18,000 publications evaluated by their peers. But 5,000 of them are so-called gray literature, which are not peer-reviewed sources. These mistakes come out in the end, just like the absurd claim that there will no longer be any glaciers in the Himalayas in 30 years. Such exaggerations don’t surprise me. Of the 34 supposedly independent members who write the synthesis report for politicians, almost a third are associated with environmental organizations like Greenpeace or the WWF. Strange, isn’t it?
The scientific character of the IPCC gives it great credibility and authority. But it is worth remembering that, like all organizations, the IPCC can be influenced by interest groups. In other words, just because they are scientists, and just because it is an international organization, doesn’t mean they can’t be lobbied. A lesson worth remembering.