UN Climate Report Will 'Scare Wits Out of Everybody'

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Common Dreams

UN Climate Report Will 'Scare Wits Out of Everybody'

A leaked portion is downplayed as not representative of complete IPCC findings due out in September

by
Common Dreams staff

Though scientists involved with an upcoming report by the UN's scientific panel on climate change warn that a recently leaked portion of the report is not a good measure of the group's ultimate findings, former UN climate chief Yvo de Boer has said the conclusions of the final report will “scare the wits out of everybody.”

In September, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its much-anticipated report on the latest global scientfic consensus on man-made global warming, but last week The Economist magazine released a portion of the report that claimed to show a dip in the IPCC's worst-case predictions.

Responding to magazine's treatment of the leaked portion of the study, however, scientists involved in the project called the story "misleading," "contrived," and "irresponsible" and warned the public not to jump to conclusions until the complete findings of the IPCC are revealed.

Responding to the news reporting—based on a leaked draft from a working group within the larger framework of the review—the IPCC released a statement which read, in part:

The text is likely to change in response to comments from government and expert reviewers. It is therefore premature and can be misleading to attempt to draw conclusions. Draft reports are intermediate products and do not represent the scientific view that the IPCC provides on the state of knowledge of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts at the conclusion of the process.

And as Ed King at the Responding to Climate Change website reports:

Fellow US climate expert Michael Mann emailed the the ThinkProgress website, arguing that: “the author hopelessly confuses transient warming (the warming observed at any particularly time) with committed warming (the total warming that you’ve committed to, which includes warming in the pipeline due to historical carbon emissions).”

“Even in the best case scenario, business as usual fossil fuel burning will almost certainly commit us to more than 2C (3.6 F) warming, an amount of warming that scientists who study climate change impacts tell us will lead to truly dangerous and potentially irreversible climate change.”

Kevin Trenberth from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research commented that since the drafting process is still ongoing, it is too early to draw conclusions.

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