The generally held fear of carbon dioxide these days has been perpetrated primarily through a series of Assessment Reports (AR) released every five or six years since 1990 by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC). These reports contain alarming evidence of man made global warming and forecasts of devastation by melting polar ice caps, rising seas, extreme weather, droughts. floods, wars, epidemics, and social disintegration that are expected to kill billions of people. The 4th Assessment Report, usually referred to as AR4, was released in 2007 and AR5 was expected in 2013 but it has been delayed and is not expected before 2014. The reason for the delay is likely to be a requirement for scientific rigor imposed on the IPCC by the InterAcademy Council (IAC).
The IAC is an association of national science academies worldwide. Faced with criticism of the science in CAGW (catastrophic man-made global warming) by growing numbers of “skeptics” and a series of embarrassing retractions by the IPCC, the UN ordered an independent review of the the IPCC’s procedures. The review was carried out by the IAC in 2010.
The IAC found serious flaws in the IPCC’s procedures that call to question the credibility of the Assessment Reports. For example, (1) their review process is flawed because authors do not adequately address reviewer comments and genuine controversies, (2) the probabilities of events are reported without sufficient evidence and without providing a basis for how the probability was evaluated, (3) the IPCC communication and selection processes emphasize secrecy rather than transparency, (4) the use of unpublished and non peer reviewed material in the assessment reports is not controlled or made transparent, and (5) a sufficiently wide range of scientific viewpoints is not considered and due consideration is not given to properly documented alternative views.
Based on these findings, the IAC submitted a set of recommendations to the IPCC for future assessment reports. The IPCC responded saying that AR5 will adhere to all IAC guidelines. If it does, it is unlikely that AR5 will generate the kind of fear that the prior reports are known for. My personal feeling is that the IAC recommendations will eviscerate the assessment reports removing the propaganda and leaving only a mundane scientific study without a political agenda and without any ammunition to continue the war against carbon dioxide. The long delay in the publication of AR5 may be rationalized in these terms.