I know Eli’s already covered this, but I have to say that I’m quite impressed with the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee’s first report on the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report. From the written evidence that I’d read and the oral evidence I’d heard, I was worried that it would be an unmitigated disaster.
The Summary of the Select Committee’s report says,
AR5 provides the best available summary of the prevailing scientific opinion on climate change currently available to policy-makers. Its conclusions have been reached with high statistical confidence by a working group made up of many of the world’s leading climate scientists drawing on areas of well-understood science.
The IPCC has responded extremely well to constructive criticism in the last few years and has tightened its review processes to make AR5 the most exhaustive and heavily scrutinised Assessment Report to-date.
Of course there are those who will continue to be critical of the conclusions and the process through which the IPCC produces its Assessment Reports. But our conclusion here is clear. There is no scientific basis for downgrading the UK’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Select Committee report concludes with
It is important to consider all lines of evidence together when assessing climate change rather than focusing on particular aspects of the report. The overall thrust and conclusions of the report are widely supported in the scientific community and summaries are presented in a way that is persuasive to the lay reader.
and recommends that
The Government must renew its commitment to achieve a global deal on climate change.
So, from what I’ve read it seems pretty sensible. They were reviewing a report written by hundreds of leading scientists, based on the work of thousands, so maybe it’s not that surprising that even our policy makers are not silly enough to heavily criticise such a report just because there are a few dissenting voices. Given the nature of the topic, it’s actually not surprising that there are some that dissent. Given that there are some (as expected) but that they are few in number, might actually give us some extra confidence that there are aren’t any major issues with the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report.