Here’s an overview of where the IPCC fits into the more than 120 years of “Scientists say climate is rapidly warming up, could be an end to winter” followed by “Scientists say climate is rapidly cooling, could be the beginning of another ice age” followed by “Scientists say record breaking heat wave is a sign of more to come, could result in a new ice-free Northwest Passage,” etc.
Up until the early 80s, upon seeing a change it was just a matter of taking whatever happened to be observed in the current phase of the cycle and extrapolating indefinitely.
After the IPCC got involved, three things changed: 1. the justification of the reporting, 2. the methodology used to generate the report, and 3. the treatment of current and past data.
1. Justification of the reporting
Previously the reporting of observed changes was largely described in terms of an established body of data and the understanding that the present should be looked at in the context of long-established cycles of past conditions to determine just where we are now and, based on a long history, what we can reasonably expect next.
It appears that much reporting became taking whatever change was occurring and then extrapolating it at that rate far enough into the future to come up with something sufficiently scary to capture the public’s attention because it first captured an editor’s attention who knew it was scary enough to move copies. This approach, still tethered to reality, went on at least since the late 1800s up into the mid 1970s
Then the justification suddenly switched from:
“Here’s what we see happening now; similar effects from the majestic outworking of the powerful cycles of nature over the vast panorama of the geological past, compared to which any of our efforts are utterly insignificant, were followed in due course by these other effects we are observing now. A clue to what lies ahead for us now can be found by looking back at nature’s record writ large and accessible through geology and other scientific disciplines”
“The very nature of nature is endangered by the unprecedented threat posed by human activity in the production of hitherto unknown high levels of CO2. And since this is so unprecedented, it does no good to look backward into natural history to see what will happen next because our activities have disrupted the very course of nature.”
2. Methodology used to generate the report
This change in interpretation or justification led directly to a change in methodology of how data would be generated and interpreted:
“Since we cannot predict or forecast what happens in the future by looking to the past because we have disrupted the natural order and since we don’t have the luxury of time to just sit around hoping the outcome of our meddling won’t be a threat to our very existence, we will use the mighty power of science to build computers and write modeling programs that will be able to take our input of present conditions and quickly run them out into the future to see what will happen while we still have enough time now to halt it, if we act bravely and decisively enough.”
And over the decades, as things have changed in ways that apparently corresponded to predictions, it was used as proof of what was asserted to have been the cause. And when things changed in ways contrary to predictions, that was also used as proof of what was asserted to have been the cause: something so dangerous that it foiled the ability of the most powerful computers on earth and the best and brightest and most noble of scientific minds to predict.
3. Treatment of current and past data
This change in justification and methodology led to a change in how past data should be understood:
“Since the cause was known beyond the shadow of any reasonable scientific doubt, since the disruption of nature by human activity made relying on nature for clues a fool’s game, and since existing data in many ways was contradicted by the knowledge and models of what was actually happening, it became clear that man’s distortion of natural processes started much earlier and was much more extensive than hitherto understood, requiring an extensive campaign to examine existing data sets and, through the data generated by computer modeling, adjust that data to remove the human-caused artifacts that caused it to appear to be so contradictory to what we know to actually be occurring and to have been occurring for over a millennium.
“Those who want to keep polluting the earth with human-generated CO2 use the presence of these spurious artifacts in the data to cast doubt on the latest data by the best in the field. This is just one more reason to identify and adjust these human-generated artifacts in the historical climate data so that data cannot be used by Big Fossil Fuel partisans and entrenched capitalistic interests to undermine the confidence of the public in the only campaign and the only experts who can save them and their fragile blue spaceship earth from everlasting destruction.
Before the early 1980s it was just the typical Chicken Little extrapolations based on actual observations.
But after the early 1980s, it became a criminal enterprise modeled off the protection rackets of organized crime: create a crisis, threaten danger, then promise salvation from the danger for a price.
And here’s an important addendum: In the usual course of science, changes in the methods of data collection that result in increased accuracy lead to changes in methods of analysis that lead to changes in understanding that lead to changes in one’s justification for changes in one’s predictions.
But in this current matter of climate change, the situation is exactly reversed. What is desired to be the outcome is that which controls the means of observation, which controls what is supposedly observed, which produces exactly the outcome necessary to justify the tactics designed to produce the justification of the actions designed to justify the desired outcome.
It is totally ad hoc with absolutely no reference to the real world.