• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • High Sticking: The Flaws of the IPCC and the Hockey Stick Model

    Rajendra Pachauri , chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), responded to the errors exposed in the IPCC report saying that “Scientists are demonised because of one error in 3000 pages of evidence.” Truth be told, there were several errors uncovered in the report including questionable sources in the assessment of mountain ice reduction in the Andes, Alps and Africa as well as acknowledged overstating crop loss in Africa, Amazon rain forest depletion, sea level increases in the Netherlands. But Pachauri only acknowledges that the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035 or sooner was speculative at best. The reality is the IPCC reports have significant flaws; they simply aren’t picked up by the mainstream media.

    Take the hockey stick theory, for instance. The theory is best explained by a graph that shows a time-series of global temperatures with current and future temperatures increasing at such rapid rates that it resembles the blade of a hockey stick. The graph appeared six times in the IPCC’s 2001 report. Andrew Montford’s new book, The Hockey Stick Illusion, reveals that the problems with the hockey stick theory go back much further than Climategate. In a review of the book, the Prospect Magazine’s Matt Ridley writes:

    “The emails that were leaked from the University of East Anglia late last year are not proof of this; they are merely the icing on the lake, proof that some of the scientists closest to the hockey stick knew all along that it was problematic. Andrew Montford’s book, despite its subtitle, is not about the emails, which are tagged on as a last chapter. It is instead built around the long, lonely struggle of one man— Stephen McIntyre—to understand how the hockey stick was made, with what data and what programs. A retired mining entrepreneur with a mathematical bent, McIntyre asked the senior author of the hockey stick graph, Michael Mann, for the data and the programs in 2003, so he could check it himself. This was five years after the graph had been published, but Mann had never been asked for them before. McIntyre quickly found errors: mislocated series, infilled gaps, truncated records, old data extrapolated forwards where new was available, and so on.

    Not all the data showed a 20th century uptick either. In fact just 20 series out of 159 did, and these were nearly all based on tree rings. In some cases, the same tree ring sets had been used in different series. In the end the entire graph got its shape from a few bristlecone and foxtail pines in the western United States; a messy tree-ring data set from the Gaspé Peninsula in Canada; another Canadian set that had been truncated 17 years too early called, splendidly, Twisted Tree Heartrot Hill; and a superseded series from Siberian larch trees. There were problems with all these series: for example, the bristlecone pines were probably growing faster in the 20th century because of more carbon dioxide in the air, or recovery after “strip bark” damage, not because of temperature change.

    This was bad enough; worse was to come. Mann soon stopped cooperating, yet, after a long struggle, McIntyre found out enough about Mann’s programs to work out what he had done. The result was shocking. He had standardised the data by “short-centering” them—essentially subtracting them from a 20th century average rather than an average of the whole period. This meant that the principal component analysis “mined” the data for anything with a 20th century uptick, and gave it vastly more weight than data indicating, say, a medieval warm spell.”

    Ridley’s book isn’t the only evidence. Fred Singer recently published an 800 page report entitled, “Climate Change Reconsidered” that questions and debunks many of the conclusions found by the IPCC report. An article written last year by Kesten C. Green, J. Scott Armstrong and scientist Willie Soon write that scientists in many respects are being paid to make, at best, guesses or projections of how climate change actually works and what temperatures will be like in the future. They say, “The models employed by James Hansen and the IPCC are not based on scientific forecasting principles. There is no empirical evidence that they provide long-term forecasts that are as accurate as forecasting that global average temperatures won’t change. Hansen’s, and the IPCC’s, forecasts, and the recommendations based on them, should be ignored.”

    This especially includes costly regulations on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases our government is willing to impose because the IPCC recommends CO2 is a threat to our health and environment.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to High Sticking: The Flaws of the IPCC and the Hockey Stick Model

    1. njm, Jefferson Count says:

      There's a larger problem than the science.

      Billions have already been invested in chasing the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. Political and academic reputations are at stake. Many of the key "journalistic" power centers are in the tank to the point where, in the United States, they are displaying even less integrity than the worst of the European tabloids in terms of reporting the turmoil taking place in the world of climatology.

      Projecting forward, there's an estimated minimum of $45 Trillion to be gained by the well-positioned.

      We're well beyond science and into fantasy, but there's so much money and power at stake that it's going to be very difficult to make a significant change to the political trajectory we are on.

    2. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Isn't it interestering that Michael Mann just received $400,000 from Obama to

      continue his total distortion and manipulating of facts. It's all about MONEY!

      Amost every aspect of Man Made Global Warming, Climate Change, Melting

      Ice, and the entire "green movement" (including Al Gore) is about MONEY, not the environment.

    3. Bill - Forney, TX says:

      When the hockey stick graph came out, there was some disagreement as to how much the temperatures would rise or the "slope" of the graph amongst the "scientific experts". However, none of those experts predicted what actually occurred, a decrease in the average temperatures. Yet, we continue to rely on these same experts when considering policy that will cost us trillions? Where is the updated data 12 years after the graph with the actual temperatures superimposed on the predicted graph. Is the media too stupid to go after this or too invested in what it would tell the reader about the earlier Chicken Al – the sky is falling cry.

    4. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      njm – well said.

      The marketing industry has jumped on the global warming bandwagon in an effort to sell products – as if the theory is vaild. The very nature of marketing tends to reinforce illusions as if they are valid. I fear that Madison Ave will sell global warming as did snake oil salesmen in the 1800's with all sorts of bogus claims and the children of today will grow up accepting this theory as fact.

    5. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      It's all about political control. They want to rule, not govern. Vote 'em out!

    6. danny roberts says:


      obama and all his corrupt friends, family, political hacks, are all about gaining control of every aspect of your life. Google up Emerald Cities.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.