The IPCC has been Deceiving the Public about the Carbon Cycle from the Start


Anthony Watts / 2 hours ago March 16, 2016  

Guest essay by Ari Halperin


Many people hold the opinion that the early full reports of the IPCC Working Group I were scientifically wholesome, at least for some time. This might be true for some parts of the reports, but their treatment of the carbon cycle was fraudulent from the start, i.e., from the IPCC First Assessment Report (FAR, 1990).

The claim that man-released CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years was necessary for the alarmist case.  It was required to justify the notion of “commitment” to the temperature rise that might happen few hundred years in the future according to the alarmist computer models. It allowed to exaggerate future CO2 concentrations, and to demand premature action (a typical high pressure selling tactic – act now, regret later). And IPCC pulled out all the stops to justify such claims. It tried to create the impression that CO2 is something like a demon from the underworld: ignoring the laws of physics, harmful and dangerous, and difficult to exorcize. This is a claim that was made in FAR:

“Because of its complex cycle, the decay of excess CO2 in the atmosphere does not follow a simple exponential curve … For example, the first reduction by 50 percent occurs within some 50 years, whereas the reduction by another 50 percent (to 25 percent of the initial value) requires approximately another 250 years” (FAR WGI, p. 8).

The authors of this text did not explain how CO2 knows when it is in the “first reduction” and when it is in another one, which is supposed to take five times longer. This ideation is not grounded in any scientific evidence. In another place, the authors claim:

“The added carbon dioxide declines in a markedly non-exponential manner; there is an initial fast decline over the first 10 year period, followed by a more gradual decline over the next 100 years and a rather slow decline over the thousand year time-scale. The time period for the first half-life is typically around 50 years for the second, about 250 years …” (FAR WGI, p. 59).

The report also presented a carbon budget, in which emissions minus sinks should equal the CO2 build-up in the air. The report acknowledged the ocean sink but dismissed the land biota sink. Thus, the budget had a huge error, equal to 30% of the fossil fuels emissions, as shown in the following table taken from it:


FAR WGI, p. 13:


Emissions from fossil fuels into the atmosphere

5.4 ± 0.5

Emissions from deforestation and land use

1.6 ± 1.0

Accumulation in the atmosphere

3.4 ± 0.2

Uptake by the ocean

2.0 ± 0.8

Net imbalance

1.6 ± 1.4


The error, misleadingly called “net imbalance” by the authors, was equal to CO2 removal due to the extra fertilization. This is how the IPCC explained its decision to disregard CO2 fertilization:

“There are possible processes on land which could account for the missing CO2 (but it has not been possible to verify them). They include the stimulation of vegetative growth by increasing CO2 levels (the CO2 fertilization effect), the possible enhanced productivity of vegetation under warmer conditions, and the direct effect of fertilization from agricultural fertilizers and from nitrogenous releases into the atmosphere.” (FAR WGI, p.13, emphasis is mine).

Yes, the IPCC stated that the mechanism of photosynthesis was not known well enough and needed verification! The hundred years of growing plants in CO2-enriched greenhouses were not considered sufficient verification. The Nierenberg Report (1983) was not an authority for them, and neither was the research by Sherwood Idso. Simply put, the IPCC did not like the fact of CO2 fertilization for many reasons, so it threw it out in calculating carbon budget.


  And so on and the article continues to show that the IPCC had one thing in mind:  to sell the notion that CO2 was going to destroy the climate.


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