I’m not going to claim any prescience but some time ago I suggested the denial machine would begin its war on the credibility of the IPCC and its fifth assessment report due to be released in 2013.
In the past few days we’ve just witnessed the opening salvo in the denial machines attempt to undermine public confidence in the IPCC.
For those not up to speed, this is what transpired:
- late last week climate sceptic blogger Alec Rawls got hold of draft versions of the IPCCs upcoming fifth report
- Rawls breathlessly announced to the world that that IPCC admitted that “enhanced solar forcing” was the cause of recent warming.
In other words, Rawls claims the IPCC is admitting it’s the sun and not human activities – none of which is true. Journalist and blogger Graham Readfearn provides a good summary of what happened:
- Rawls registered himself as a reviewer via online form – something any member of the public can do – obtained copies of the draft documents and leaked them to the internet
- Rawls has misread, misinterpreted and cherry-picked the draft report.
There is an irony in this, as the actual conclusions of the draft report confirm that human influence on the climate is undeniable and is deeply concerning (for further commentary I’d also suggest the following article on The Conversation).
Of course all the usual suspects amongst the denial movement are salivating over the leaked documents. Sceptic blogger Anthony Watts is calls it “game changing” while Daily Telegraph blogger James Delingpole claims the IPCC has just admitted the “jigs up”.
None of which is true of course – they’ve merely cherry picked a single paragraph from the leaked document in order to mislead the public.
While it is impossible to know what motivated Rawls to sign up as a reviewer of the latest IPCC report, I’m going to make the assumption he did so with less than honourable intentions.
Weather he acted alone or in concert makes little difference – Rawls abused the process and undermined the IPCCs attempts to make itself more transparent.
All I can say is expect much more of these kind of tactics over the coming months.