For two decades, the IPCC has spearheaded efforts to convince the world's governments that man-made carbon emissions pose a threat to the global temperature equilibrium -- and to civilization itself. IPCC reports, collated from the work of hundreds of climate scientists and bureaucrats, are widely cited as evidence for the urgent need for drastic action to "save the planet."
But the prestigious InterAcademy Council, an independent association of "the best scientists and engineers worldwide" (as the group's own Web site puts it) formed in 2000 to give "high-quality advice to international bodies," has finished a thorough review of IPCC practices -- and found them badly wanting.
For example, the IPCC's much-vaunted Fourth Assessment Report claimed in 2007 that Himalayan glaciers were rapidly melting, and would possibly be gone by the year 2035. The claim was actually false
-- yet the IPCC cited it as proof of man-made global warming.
Then there's the IPCC's earlier prediction in 2007 -- which it claimed to have "high confidence" in -- that global warming could lead to a 50 percent reduction in the rain-fed agricultural capacity of Africa.
Such a dramatic decrease in food production in an already poor continent would be a terrifying prospect, and undoubtedly lead to the starvation of millions. But the InterAcademy Council investigation found that this IPCC claim was also
based on weak evidence.
Overall, the IAC slammed the IPCC for reporting "high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence. Furthermore, by making vague statements that were difficult to refute, authors were able to attach 'high confidence' to the statements." The critics note "many such statements that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective or not expressed clearly.
Some IPCC practices can only be called shoddy. As The Wall Street Journal reported, "Some scientists invited by the IPCC to review the 2007 report before it was published questioned the Himalayan claim. But those challenges 'were not adequately considered,' the InterAcademy Council's investigation said, and the projection was included in the final report."