Forty percent of the Amazon vulnerable to climate change?

James Delingpole looks at the IPCC AmazonGate.  From the IPCC AR4 report, page 596

Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and the future situation (Rowell and Moore, 2000). It is more probable that forests will be replaced by ecosystems that have more resistance to multiple stresses caused by temperature increase, droughts and fires, such as tropical savannas.

Sounds problematic, no?  Is this a solid, peer-reviewed scientific conclusion?  Let’s track down the reference to Rowell and Moore, 2000:

Rowell, A. and P.F. Moore, 2000: Global Review of Forest Fires. WWF/IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 66 pp. http://www.iucn.org/themes/fcp/publications /files/global_review_forest_fires.pdf.

Oopsie, the IUCN has removed that page!  But we can see the report is a World Wildlife Federation/International Union for the Conservation of Nature collaboration and it isn’t peer-reviewed. According to Delingpole,the lead author Andy Rowell is a green journalist:

Andy Rowell is a freelance writer and Investigative journalist with over 12 years’ experience on environmental, food, health and globalization issues. Rowell has undertaken cutting-edge investigations for, amongst others, Action on Smoking and Health, The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, IFAW, the Pan American Health Organization, Project Underground, the World Health Organization, World in Action and WWF.

How about P. F. Moore?  He has a PhD from the Australian National University in Forest Fire Policy, and his expertise is described thusly:

My background and experience around the world has required and developed high-level policy and analytical skills. I have a strong understanding of government administration, legislative review, analysis and inquiries generated through involvement in or management of the Australian Regional Forest Agreement process, Parliamentary and Government inquiries, Coronial inquiries and public submissions on water pricing, access and use rights and native vegetation legislation in Australia and fire and natural resources laws, regulations and policies in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia.

Yet another “settled science” conclusion from the IPCC AR4 that is neither settled, nor science, nor even peer-reviewed.  Just how many more WWF puff pieces are in the AR4?

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  1. Ask and you shall find « The Ninth Law

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