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The policy summaries on climate impacts and mitigation by the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were significantly 'diluted' under political pressurefrom some of the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including Saudi Arabia, China, Brazil and the USA.

Several experts have spoken out about their distortion due to political interests. David Wasdell, who leads the European Commission's Global System Dynamics and Policy (GSDP) network, said that “every word and line of the text previously submitted by the scientific community was examined and amended until it could be endorsed unanimously by the political representatives.

”Wasdell said that scientists had confirmed that governments fought to amend text that would damage their perceived interests:“…the objections were led by Saudi Arabia, strongly supported by China, and associated with an emerging group of 'like-minded nations.' The impasse was broken following suggested modifications of both text and diagram provided by the representatives of the USA.

The resulting compromise safeguards the vested interests of global dependency on fossil sources of energy, while constraining the capacity of the international community to take any effective action to deal with the threat of dangerous climate change.”

The draft submitted by scientists contained a metric projecting cumulative total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, on the basis of which a 'carbon budget' was estimated. However, according to Wasdell the final version approved by governments significantly amended the original metric to increase the amount of carbon that could still be emitted.

Wasdell's claims about the politicisation of the IPCC's summary reports for policymakers are corroborated by other scientists. Prof Robert Stavins - a lead author for the IPCC's Working Group 3 focusing on climate mitigation - describe the procedure as “exceptionally frustrating”since the government approval process "built political credibility by sacrificing scientific integrity.”These criticisms suggest that the IPCC's summary reports are too conservative.


The gLAWcal Team

Thursday, 15 May2014

(Source: the Guardian)