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You may have seen it. They want you to see it. They need you to see it.  It was positioned as a "lead" story on Google news over the weekend. It has been taken up by Forbes magazine and many others.

Global Warming is a hoax. Completely overstated. The official, scientific consensus about the impact of CO2 emissions on the planet's temperature are based on flawed, speculative models. "More than three dozen" scientists have come out with a report that says so.  As the Forbes columnist states:


Your Move, Global Warming Alarmists. Science Has Exposed Your Unwarranted Hysteria
Well... no. What is really being exposed is the power of a few vested interests to create a controversy out of whole cloth for purposes of deliberately muddling what is expected this week to be a brutally stark assessment of the nature and progress of global warming on our planet.
Conservative groups at the forefront of global warming skepticism are doubling down on trying to discredit the next big report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In recent weeks, they've been cranking out a stream of op-eds, blogs and reports to sow doubt in the public's mind before the report is published, with no end in sight.
Perusing the Internet you'd be convinced by late last week that an awfully official sounding organization called the "Nongovernmental International Panel On Climate Change" (the "NIPCC" for short), has just issued a blockbuster report throwing decades of scientific consensus on the reality and scope of global warming into serious doubt.

Just what is the NIPCC?  Well let's start with its founder, a physicist and professor by the name of Fred Singer:

Singer trained as an atmospheric physicist and is known for his work in space research, atmospheric pollution, rocket and satellite technology, his questioning of the link between UV-B and melanoma rates, and that between CFCs and stratospheric ozone loss,[2] his public denial of the health risks of passive smoking, and as an outspoken critic of the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming
The NIPCC is Singer's brainchild:
Singer set up the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) after a 2004 United Nations climate conference in Milan. NIPCC organized an international climate workshop in Vienna in April 2007,[64] to provide what they called an independent examination of the evidence for climate change.[65] Singer prepared an NIPCC report called "Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate," published in March 2008 by The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank.[64] ABC News said the same month that unnamed climate scientists from NASA, Stanford, and Princeton who spoke to ABC about the report dismissed it as "fabricated nonsense." In a letter of complaint to ABC News, Singer said their piece used "prejudicial language, distorted facts, libelous insinuations, and anonymous smears."[61]
Singer is also responsible for alerting the world to "Climategate," in which he essentially attempted to tar all climate research scientists with charges of doctoring their data. Investigations by the EPA, the Department of Commerce, and the National Science Foundation (among many others) found no evidence of either fraud or scientific misconduct. But the timing of Singer's efforts fulfilled its apparent purpose, to undermine the Copenhagen summit on climate change in 2009.

And henceforth, the pattern was established:

Kevin Trenberth is part of that team as well as a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an author and editor on the forthcoming IPCC report. He explained that nearly every time there is a scientific paper linking man-made carbon dioxide emissions to climate change, the "denial-sphere" immediately responds with accusations that the research is wrong, and that, in particular, the IPCC has vastly overestimated the impact of CO2 emissions on climate change.
The report is the latest in the Heartland Institute's "Climate Change Reconsidered" series and the cornerstone of its campaign against the IPCC's fifth assessment. Heartland is aggressively pushing the report in op-eds, blogs and in articles in conservative newspapers and news stations. Among others, it has received coverage in the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph, The Washington Times and the UK's Daily Mail, in an article that had to be "significantly" changed due to errors.
Some of you may recall the "Heartland Institute:"
Heartland gained notoriety last year after running a billboard campaign comparing climate change believers to "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, which caused several corporate donors to withdraw support for the group.
As you might suspect, Heartland's funding comes straight from sources with a vested interest in fostering climate change denial:
Heartland’s funding over the past decade has included thousands of dollars directly from ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute, but a large portion of their funding ($25.6 million) comes from the shadowy Donor’s Capital Fund, created expressly to conceal the identity of large donors to free-market causes.
"Donor's Capital Fund" is the arm of "Donor's Trust" whose sole purpose is to provide an avenue for wealthy "free-marketers" to donate sums in excess of 1,000,000 dollars to right-wing think-tanks and similar organizations without divulging their identities. (h/t New Minas from the comments)

As Trenberth notes, the issuance of this report by this motley collection of "nongovernmental" climate skeptics is timed impeccably to the forthcoming report by the IPCC:  

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific intergovernmental body,[1][2] set up at the request of member governments.[3] It was first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 43/53. Its mission is to provide comprehensive scientific assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences, and possible options for adapting to these consequences or mitigating the effects.[4] It is chaired by Rajendra K. Pachauri.

Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute (on a voluntary basis, without payment from the IPCC) to writing and reviewing reports, which are reviewed by representatives from all the governments, with a Summary for Policymakers being subject to line-by-line approval by all participating governments. Typically this involves the governments of more than 120 countries.

That report, a 20-page summary of which will be published on September 27th, is expected to be profound in its implications:
The fifth assessment by the IPCC, the world's leading scientific advisory body on global warming, is expected to conclude with at least 95 percent certainty that human activities have caused most of earth's temperature rise since 1950, and will continue to do so in the future. That's up from a confidence level of 90 percent in 2007, the year the last assessment came out. The IPCC, which consists of thousands of scientists and reviewers from more than 100 countries, shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Al Gore. Governments often use its periodic reviews of climate risks to set targets for reducing carbon emissions and other policies.
This report is a very big deal.  As Reuters puts it:
Scientists meet on Monday to prepare the strongest warning yet that climate change is man-made and will cause more heatwaves, droughts and floods this century unless governments take action.
So the right, funded and beholden to the fossil fuel industry, is busy preparing its disinformation campaign with great care.  Here, for example, is Media Matters exposing Fox News' treatment of the "NIPCC" report as the equivalent of the report by the IPCC (amazing how the initials are nearly identical, isn't it?)

And it's not just the Heartland Institute; the usual suspects have their grubby hands in this as well:

For months, The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. co-founded by Charles Koch, has been publishing a series of blog posts and op-eds by Pat Michaels, the organization's director for the Center for the Study of Science, challenging the new IPCC report. In recent weeks, this activity has increased significantly. He has written an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal and been a source for media outlets like Forbes.
Fortunately, the IPCC is now accustomed to their tactics and has assembled a 125-member response team to deal with them:
"The scientists get nasty emails. Certain websites comment. ... So a bunch of us formed this rapid response team to deflate these arguments." The group has been very busy in recent weeks.
In addition to obvious credibility issues, here is the difference, in a nutshell, between what the IPCC does and what the "NIPCC" does. The IPCC's Fourth Assessment report, published in 2007, for example, relied on 500 lead authors and 2000 expert reviews.   Conversely, the NIPCC report from 2009 ("Climate Change Reconsidered I") relied on 2 lead authors and boasted a grand total of 35 paid contributors.  

Here's a flavor of what the NIPCC paper does:

From the NIPCC "report:"

IPCC Claim #1: A doubling of atmospheric CO2 would cause warming between 3°C and 6°C.
But what does the IPCC actually say?
The equilibrium climate sensitivity is a measure of the climate system response to sustained radiative forcing. It is not a projection but is defined as the global average surface warming following a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations. It is likely to be in the range 2°C to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values. Water vapour changes represent the largest feedback affecting climate sensitivity and are now better understood than in the TAR. Cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty. {8.6, 9.6, Box 10.2}
IPCC Report [AR4]

h/t Scienceblogs' William M. Connolley

You get the idea. If the initial stated assumption is patently false, it's a fair bet that whatever follows is going to be false as well. But as long as they get their message of "ambiguity" and "uncertainty" out, it really makes no difference that their contributers are paid shills, because the average citizen is not going to be able to distinguish the "IPCC" from the "NIPCC." "There's doubt, doubt out there!" is all the message they need.

This is how they work. The only remaining question is how they sleep.

Originally posted to Dartagnan on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 06:23 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and DK GreenRoots.

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