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 Post subject: UN climate change panel blunders again for wrongly linking
PostPosted: January 24th, 2010, 1:04 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2009, 6:19 pm
Posts: 79
Location: Ontario
By Daniel Martin
Last updated at 4:45 PM on 24th January 2010

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The UN's climate change panel has blundered again - this time by wrongly claiming global warming was to blame for floods and hurricanes.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claimed in 2007 that rising temperatures had already caused an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters.

But it has now emerged that the panel had based the claims on one unpublished report that had not been subject to proper scrutiny by other scientists.
*****rmouth flooding

The report's own author later withdrew the claim because he felt the evidence was not strong enough - and has now criticized the IPCC for being 'completely misleading'.

The revelation is yet another embarrassment for the climate change lobby, as the latest debunked claims were a central plank of the arguments at the recent summit in Copenhagen.

President Barack Obama even used the claims when he said last autumn: 'More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent.'

And climate change minister Ed Miliband has said the 2007 floods in Bangladesh and the *****rmouth deluge in 2009 could be down to global warming.

He said last month: 'Events in Cumbria give a foretaste of the kind of weather runaway climate change could bring.

'Abroad, the melting of the Himalayan glaciers that feed the great rivers of south Asia could put millions of people at risk of drought.'

Only last week, the IPCC was forced to retract claims in a 2007 report that Himalayan glaciers would be largely melted by 2035 - leading to drought in south Asian countries which rely on the meltwaters of the mountains.

It turned out the claim in the 938-page dossier had been lifted from a news report in the New Scientist in 1999.

It has now emerged that the 2007 report also included claims that the world had 'suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s'.

It went on: 'One study has found that while the dominant signal remains that of the significant increases in the value of exposure at risk, once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend.'
Rescue from *****rmouth

But the claim was taken from a scientific paper which had not been peer reviewed or published by the time the IPCC report came out.

When it was finally published in 2008, the authors added a new caveat: 'We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses.'

The IPCC said it would be investigating the false claim and could withdraw it.

Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a climatologist at the Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium, who is vice-chair of the IPCC, said: 'We are reassessing the evidence and will publish a report on natural disasters and extreme weather with the latest findings.

'Despite recent events, the IPCC is still very rigorous and scientific.'

The study on which the IPCC based its claims was written by Robert Muir-Wood, head of research at London-based consultancy Risk Management Solutions.

He wanted to find out whether the 8 per cent year-on-year increase in losses from weather-related disasters since the 1960s was larger than could be explained by social changes such as population growth and urbanisation.
Ed Miliband
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Unfounded: Secretary of State for Climate change Ed Miliband claimed increased severity of flooding was attributable to global warming

If this were true, it would indicate that global warming were to blame for rising deaths from natural disasters.

In his study, he found a 2 per cent annual increase in losses which coincided with temperature increases.

But he said almost all of this could be down to exceptionally strong hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005.

Professor Muir-Wood said: 'The idea that catastrophes are rising in cost partly because of climate change is completely misleading. We could not tell if it was just an association or cause and effect.

'Also, our study included 2004 and 2005 which was when there were some major hurricanes. If you took those years away then the significance of climate change vanished.'

Nevertheless, the IPCC used his report as part of evidence that climate change was to blame for greater losses.

Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, said: 'All the literature published before and since the IPCC report shows that rising disaster losses can be explained entirely by social change.

'People have looked hard for evidence that global warming plays a part but can't find it. Muir-Wood's study actually confirmed that.'

In Novermber, the climate change lobby faced one of its biggest scandals in years when one of the world's leading global warming research centres was accused of manipulating data after thousands of private emails and documents were leaked.

Hackers targeted the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and published the files on the internet.

Among the most damaging is one which appears to suggest using a 'trick' to massage years of temperature data to 'hide the decline'.

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