After the “catastrophe signal’ – When science entered the policy greenhouse

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Bernie Lewin

A new book on the origins of the global warming movement tells how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was first pressed into policy based evidence making.

It was a single line in one report that read:

The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.

These words in the second assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change can now be seen as pivotal in the history of global warming science.

However tentative the wording, this was the first time that an official assessment had made a positive ‘detection’ claim.

The breakthrough was widely celebrated and then used to justify a change of US policy, towards support for binding greenhouse gas emissions targets.

But this came only after protests over what had been done to the IPCC report to make way for this statement. Just days before the US policy change…

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