● By Simon Buckle, Imperial College London ●
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is set to publish the “synthesis report” of its fifth assessment period, drawing on three individual working group reports already published on: the physical science of climate change; climate impacts and adaptation; and mitigation, or how to reduce emissions or enhance the natural uptake of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
The latest report is the first collective assessment of climate change by governments since the 2007 report, published just as the world fell off a financial and economic cliff. It is therefore a vital input to the current round of UN climate negotiations culminating in Paris next year.
IPCC reports can be over 1,000 pages long – and no one seriously expects even the most diligent of politicians to read through the whole thing. To make life easier, each report includes a “Summary for Policymakers”.
However this summary is subject to line-by-line agreement by representatives of the 195 government members. There is therefore always a risk that the IPCC’s policy messages might not adequately reflect the underlying science.
This isn’t just a theoretical possibility. The summary of the working group report on climate mitigation published earlier this year left out an important analysis of country emissions by income grouping, which differs from the standard binary classification – developed and developing – used in the UN climate negotiations. No doubt some governments were concerned that this income-based analysis might imply the need for greater action on their part ...Zum vollständigen Artikel