Sunday, May 18, 2014

IPCC Reports 'Diluted' Under 'Political Pressure' to Protect Fossil Fuel Interests

Berlin, April 14th 2014. Sigmar Gabriel speaking at the IPCC WG3 briefing. '' protestors watch him in silence. (Credit: Click to enlarge.
Saudi-led coalition sought to make policy summaries as vague as possible to minimize climate action.

Several experts familiar with the IPCC government approval process for the 'Summary for Policymakers' (SPM) reports – documents summarizing the thousands of pages of technical and scientific reports for government officials – have spoken out about their distortion due to political interests.

According to David Wasdell, who leads on feedback dynamics in coupled complex global systems for the European Commission's Global System Dynamics and Policy (GSDP) network, "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 thus told me:
The summary for policymakers is a document of appeasement, not fit for purpose.  In reality, if my calculations are correct, we not only don't have much of a carbon budget left, we have already overshot that budget – we're in overdraft.
In a letter addressed to senior IPCC chairs dated 17th April, Harvard Prof Robert Stavins - a lead author for the IPCC's Working Group 3 focusing on climate mitigation - complained of his "frustration" that the government approval process "built political credibility by sacrificing scientific integrity."

Stavins' remarks were also backed up by Oxford University's Prof John Broome, a IPCC WG3 lead author:
At our IPCC meeting, they treated the SPM as though it were a legal document rather than a scientific report.  To achieve consensus, the text of the SPM was made vaguer in many places, and its content diluted to the extent that in some places not much substance remained."
IPCC Reports 'Diluted' Under 'Political Pressure' to Protect Fossil Fuel Interests

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