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Monday, April 7, 2014

Second Climate Thoughts -- The latest U.N. report tones down the alarmism but ramps up the bad economics -- Review & Outlook, The Wall Street Journal

The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its latest mammoth report last week, and the effort marks an improvement over the IPCC's last such effort in 2007. That may not be saying much, but on climate change intellectual progress of any sort is worth commending.

The IPCC's "Fifth Assessment Report," or AR5, is generating the usual alarmist headlines: "Impacts on All Continents, Worse to Come" was typical. That's partly a function of what the IPCC frontloads into the 28-page "summary for policymakers," the only portion of the report that most politicians or journalists ever bother reading, and that is sexed up for mass media consumption.

So it's worth diving deeper into the report, where a much more cautious picture of the state of climate science comes into view. Gone are some of the false alarmist claims from the last report, such as the forecast that the Himalayan glaciers would vanish by 2035 or that hurricanes are becoming more intense. "Current data sets," the report admits, "indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century." Recall the false claims of climate cause and storm effect last year after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines.

 Absent, too, are claims such as the one made in 2005 that global warming would create 50 million "climate refugees" by 2010 (later pushed back to 2020). In its place, we have the refreshingly honest admission that "current alarmist predictions of massive flows of so-called 'environmental refugees' or 'environmental migrants' are not supported by past experiences of responses to droughts and extreme weather events and predictions for future migration flows are tentative at best."
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