So entrenched is the belief in global warming in academia that even when critiquing its adherents, academics still feel compelled to pay it homage. “The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] does a very good job of reporting the climate science,” Yale economist Robert Mendelsohn told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on Friday, September 24, 2010. “It is a problem that will accumulate for centuries.”
“Ignoring it will leave you looking like Neville Chamberlain,” the ill-fated Conservative Prime Minister of Great Britain in the 1930s who attempted to appease Adolf Hitler. I asked him and his co-panelists why they did not mention the Climategate scandal in which e-mails show that global warming alarmists attempted to “hide the decline” in temperatures that occurred over the past two decades.
“It’s not very important,” he said, “and we’re not climate scientists.” That did not stop him from tacitly endorsing the now controversial findings of the IPCC.
He finds the IPCC’s “predictions” “a pretty accurate reflection of what is happening.” Yet even the evidence presented by Mendelsohn and his peers indicates that the science behind them is wanting for documentation.
For example, Mendelsohn himself avers that the IPCC “completely ignores the benefits from climate change.”
“People in Canada and Russia will be getting warmer instead of freezing,” he asserted. “They will benefit from global warming.”
As to the charge that Himalayan glaciers were melting, Maureen Cropper of Resources for the Future noted that, “No reviewers caught it in the first round.”
“In the second round, two reviewers criticized it but it wasn’t changed.” Cropper also teaches at the University of Maryland.
“You need someone checking this in real time,” she averred. Or any time. The Himalayan claim came from literature that was not peer-reviewed, a category that has been growing in IPCC annual reports.
The percentages of peer reviewed literature in IPCC reports I-III are:
- I-84 percent
- II-59 percent
- III-36 percent.
Of the manner in which his own discipline’s output is handled in the IPCC’s yearly offerings, Mendelsohn argues, “When it comes to economics, the IPCC completely ignores it.”
“They bury the economics. The last report that did a good job was in 1996.”
“They talk as if a third of remediations could be done for nothing. There is no evidence for that.”
The problem of global warming, as he sees it, is one of “relatively low damages with relatively high costs which suggests an approach of moderation.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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