the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

More scare tactics from AR4

Posted by Jeff Id on April 28, 2010

Climatequotes asked me to run this while I was gone to the trade shows.  AR4 has so many problems in its economic and damage from global warming conclusions that the whole document isn’t credible.  It’s going to be fun to see how they make it even better for 5. Unfortunately the well funded/organized denial machine has taken a couple of years just to check the sources.

It’s a crazy world these days, up is down, true is false and left is right.

Guest post from Climatequotes:

AR4 makes false claim about Bangladesh mangroves

I was looking through the AR4 recently in order to look at the recent Bangladeshi scientist’s claim that the AR4 exaggerated how much sea level rise would affect their country. That may be another post, because I found another false claim related to Bangladesh.

In WGII, Chapter 10.2.4.3 Oceans and coastal zones, the following claim appears (bold mine):

Evidence of the impacts of climate-related factors on mangroves remain limited to the severe destruction of mangroves due to reduction of freshwater flows and salt-water intrusion in the Indus delta and Bangladesh (IUCN, 2003a).

Notice the “and Bangladesh” on the end. The claim is that the climate-related factors of reduced freshwater flow and salt-water intrusion are causing severe destruction of mangroves in both Pakistan’s Indus Delta and in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh claim is what I am focusing on in this post.

Their source for the claim is IUCN 2003a. This is referenced as such:

IUCN (The World Conservation Union), 2003a: Indus Delta, Pakistan: economic costs of reduction in freshwater flows. Case Studies in Wetland Valuation No. 5, Pakistan Country Office, Karachi, 6 pp. Accessed 24.01.07: http://www.waterandnature.org/econ/CaseStudy05Indus.pdf.

That link is bad, the article is available here.

The article talks about what you would expect it to talk about: the Indus Delta, in Pakistan. There is something very obvious missing. There is no talk about Bangladesh. In fact, the word ‘Bangladesh’ doesn’t appear once, and neither does the Ganges Delta or anything at all pertaining to Bangladesh.

I thought maybe they made a mistake in their citation (I’ve already found this before), so I took a look at IUCN 2003b also. This is referenced as:

IUCN (The World Conservation Union), 2003b: The lower Indus river: balancing development and maintenance of wetland ecosystems and dependent livelihoods. Water and Nature Initiative, 5 pp. Accessed 24.01.07: http://www.iucn.org/themes/?wani/flow/cases/Indus.pdf.

That link is also bad. The article is here.

Same story as first. No Bangladesh, no Ganges, only about Pakistan.

So where did the “and Bangladesh” come from? I looked back at the drafts and reviewers comments and found……..nothing. Here is the Second Draft, same section:

There are also reports on destruction of mangroves due to climatic factors such as reduction of freshwater flows and related processes like salt water intrusion in Indus Delta (IUCN, 2003; Tablez et al., 2003).

No Bangladesh. I tried to find Tablez, et al., 2003, but didn’t have any success. Since it wasn’t used in the final report it doesn’t show up in the reference list. If anyone can find it, let me know.

Since it wasn’t in the first or second draft, I looked at the reviewer and government comments. There is no mention at all of Bangladesh in this section. It simply appeared out of the blue, with a citation that doesn’t support the claim.

The claim itself is suspect. According to this FAO report (from 2002, slightly outdated), the largest mangrove forest in Bangladesh, the Sunderbans Forest Reserve, is not facing “severe destruction of mangroves”. Here is a chart from the report showing mangrove extent:

That looks more like a slightly positive trend than “severe destruction”.

That source was from 2002, so just to be sure that the mangroves hadn’t been devastated by climate change from 2002 to 2007, I looked for more information. I found this recent article from thenews.com:

‘Bangladesh forest model can be adopted to save Indus Delta’
Thursday, April 01, 2010
By Jan Khaskheli

The World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan is planning to initiate consultation with all the stakeholders, including the government and local communities, for the rehabilitation of the Indus Delta that has lost a wide area due to sea erosion for the last three decades. In this regard, the WWF-Pakistan organised a field trip for its staff, government officials and journalists to a forest in Bangladesh called Sundarban — the largest mangroves forest in the world and a natural wildlife sanctuary — to observe the forest’s model which might be helpful to save the Indus Delta.

Wow! This appears to contradict the IPCC’s claim completely. The Bangladesh mangroves aren’t facing “severe destruction”, they are actually a model of how a good mangrove forest should look. Just to verify this article, I found the story on WWF Pakistan’s site as well.

Where does this leave us? The IPCC claim of Indus Delta mangroves being destroyed stood alone in the first and second drafts, no reviewers mentioned anything about Bangladesh, yet out of the blue in the final report the words “and Bangladesh” appeared. The source cited does not mention Bangladesh once, and it appears that Bangladesh’s mangrove forests are the largest and best preserved in the world.

Perhaps salt water intrusion and the reduction of fresh water flows are harming Bangladesh’s mangroves. If this is true, it is on a very limited scale, and to claim “severe destruction of mangroves” is completely false. More scare tactics.

9 Responses to “More scare tactics from AR4”

  1. Dagfinn said

    Severe destruction of IPCC credibility.

  2. Chuckles said

    Perhaps it is someone who thinks Bangladesh is still East Pakistan, or wishes it was?
    Or is simply unaware that the two are 1000 miles apart.

  3. Bob Koss said

    Tangentially related.
    It appears the EPA is borrowing from the IPCC play-book.
    A brand new document from the EPA came out yesterday.

    Took a look and I think some extensive checking of claims and references is going to have to be done. Here are a couple things I’ve noticed.

    Page 32 Tropical Cyclones.

    Background:
    Climate change is expected to affect tropical
    cyclone intensity by increasing sea surface temperatures, a key factor that influences cyclone formation and behavior. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, it is very likely that increased levels of greenhouse gases have contributed to an increase in sea surface temperatures in areas where hurricanes
    form, suggesting a human contribution to hurricane activity over the last 50 years.22 The U.S. Global Change Research Program and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change project that tropical cyclones will become more intense, with higher wind speeds and heavier rains.23
    However, observations of past cyclone activity and projections of future activity have uncertainties because of changes in monitoring technology, longer-term regional climate patterns,
    and the limitations of climate models.

    Here is their reference 22-23.
    I searched for greenhouse, CO2, and intensity and couldn’t find anything that supported their reference. Their claim isn’t justified and their use of “very likely” is certainly an exaggeration. Portion of the same reference shown below actually indicates considerable uncertainty concerning the relationship of SST and greenhouse gases.

    2.2.3.1.4 Low-frequency Variability and
    Trends of Tropical Cyclone Numbers
    Mann and Emanuel (2006) reported that Atlantic
    tropical cyclone counts closely track lowfrequency
    variations in tropical Atlantic SSTs,
    including a long-term increase since the late
    1800s and early 1900s (see also Figure 2.15 from
    Holland and Webster, 2007). There is currently
    debate on the relative roles of internal climate
    variability (e.g., Goldenberg et al., 2001) versus
    radiative forcing, including greenhouse gases,
    and sulfate aerosols (Mann and Emanuel, 2006;
    Santer et al., 2006) in producing the multidecadal
    cooling of the tropical North Atlantic.
    This SST variation is correlated with reduced
    hurricane activity during the 1970s and ‘80s
    relative to the 1950s and ‘60s or to the period
    since 1995 (see also Zhang et al., 2007).

    Moving to page 41.

    Key Points.
    After a period of approximately 2,000 years of little change, average sea levels rose worldwide throughout the 20th century, and the rate of change has accelerated
    in recent years.16 When averaged over all the world’s oceans, absolute sea level increased at an average rate of 0.06 inches per year from 1870 to 2008 (see Figure 1). From 1993 to 2008, however, average sea level rose at a rate of 0.11 to 0.13 inches per year—roughly twice as fast as the long-term trend.

    No mention of the fact that the graph on page 40 shows 1936-1951 sea level rose at 0.15-0.17 inches per year-roughly 2.5 times the long-term trend.

    Relative sea level rose along much of the U.S. coastline between 1958 and 2008, particularly the Mid-Atlantic coast and parts of the Gulf coast, where some stations registered increases of more than 8 inches (see Figure 2). Meanwhile, relative sea level fell at some locations in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. At those sites, even if absolute sea level has risen, land elevation has apparently risen faster.

    If they are going to mention a localized rise of 8 inches they should also put a figure to the localized fall in Alaska that is the same size. It must be land elevation changes and nothing to do with climate. Globally since 1958 sea level rise has been less than 4 inches.

    It appears this report is going to turn out to be heavily exaggerated and slanted.

  4. Thoughtful Tom said

    Check. Strike “and Bangladesh”

  5. Carrick said

    It’s the attribution and impact sections of AR4 that I have major problems with. I actually find the science explained reasonably well (considering it’s the product of a committee).

    I have had great difficulties finding anybody in the AGW activist community who is willing to defend this stuff. Even people like Michael Tobis who is ordinarily extremely vocal remains silent on these issues.

    I guess part of the problem in the skeptic community is the AGW science (the good stuff) is a proxy for a political debate over carbon tax, socialism versus free market solutions, etc. This showed up a bit when I was getting used as a pin cushion by every AGW True Skeptic for the temerity to question their religiously held beliefs on wind power. I also get this occasionally, and I’ll note Jeff does to, for having the temerity of defending radiative physics with people who “know it’s wrong” but wouldn’t know a Planck’s Radiation Law from a hole in the ground.

    I’m hoping that one thing “hard science” blogs like Jeff can do is reformulate the debate at least to the point where people can recognize the difference between science issues (as Jeff says, “science is science and we don’t get a choice as to the answer.”)

    There will always be people out there who can’t debate at a level above the tactics used by car salesmen, but maybe we can as a group vote them off the island. ;-)

  6. Brian H said

    I’m rather curious about the detail of the justification for the presumption that warming would increase severe storms. Temperature gradients tropics to pole actually become shallower (less drastic) in a warming regime, and steeper (more drastic) under cooling.

  7. AusieDan said

    It is getting rather boring to keep reading about yet more errors and distortions in IPCC reports.

    It would perhaps be more productive to start listing their accurate claims.

    It should be a very short list, but perhaps quite difficult to comb through all the guff to compile.

    Anybody up for this task?
    Don’t look at me!

  8. Great informaiton, Thanks!

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