UN’s New Report Shows There’s ‘Little Basis’ for a Favorite Claim of Climate Activists

By Michael Bastasch Published on October 10, 2018

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change’s (IPCC) newly-released climate report, once again, found little to no evidence global warming caused many types of extreme weather events to increase.

“The IPCC once again reports that there is little basis for claiming that drought, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes have increased, much less increased due to” greenhouse gases, University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke, Jr. tweeted Sunday night.

For example, the IPCC’s report noted that “there is only low confidence regarding changes in global tropical cyclone numbers under global warming over the last four decades.” Pielke pointed out this inconvenient data.

Much like the IPCC’s 2013 climate assessment, the new special report confirmed what Pielke and others have said for years about the relationship between global warming and extreme weather.

But don’t expect to hear that from many other media outlets, especially those that often cite individual weather events as evidence of man-made warming.

For example, The Washington Post’s write-up of the IPCC’s report focused on the mainline findings — namely, that “the world is woefully off target” to keep future global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The New York Times highlighted the IPCC’s warning of “a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040.” Neither the Post nor the Times mentioned the report’s findings on extreme weather.

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The IPCC’s new report is meant to sound the alarm on global warming ahead of the UN climate summit, which is to be held in Poland this December. Delegates are expected to make further commitments to implement the Paris climate accord that calls for limiting future warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Aside from dire predictions, however, the IPCC’s new report also noted that many types of extreme weather events are not getting worse.

When it comes to droughts, for example, the IPCC admits there is “low confidence in the sign of drought trends since 1950 at global scale. The report says there are “likely to be trends in some regions of the world,” including increasing droughts in the Mediterranean and decreasing droughts in parts of North America.

The IPCC also noted there is “low confidence due to limited evidence, however, that anthropogenic climate change has affected the frequency and the magnitude of floods.” The report added that “streamflow trends since 1950 are non-statistically significant in most of the world’s largest rivers.”

However, the report’s authors warned that future warming could exacerbate extreme weather and hurt the global economy. The report’s authors also claimed extreme weather had already increased, contrary to much of their own evidence.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 [degree Celsius] of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” Panmao Zhai, an IPCC co-chair, said in a statement issued Sunday.


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