Green ideologues from UK government sexed up IPCC climate report

Green ideologues working for the British government helped "sex up" the latest Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) report in order to make its conclusions sound more scary than the evidence warrants, it emerged today.

The draft version of the report's Summary For Policymakers made the startling admission that the economic damage caused by "climate change" would be between 0.2 and 2 percent of global GDP - significantly less than the doomsday predictions made in the 2006 Stern report (which estimated the damage at between 5 and 20 percent of global GDP).

But this reduced estimate did not suit the alarmist narrative of several of the government delegations at the recent IPCC talks in Yokahama, Japan. Among them was the British one, comprising several members of the deep green Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which insisted on doctoring this section of the Summary For Policymakers in order to exaggerate the potential for more serious economic damage.

"Losses are more likely than not to be greater, rather than smaller, than this range (limited evidence, high agreement)"

There was no evidence whatsoever in the body of the report to justify this statement.

One of the economists who contributed to the report Richard Tol last week asked for his name to be removed from the Summary For Policymakers precisely because of this outside interference from politicians.

Tol complained:

"The message in the first draft was that through adaptation and clever development these were manageable risks, but it did require we get our act together."
"This has completely disappeared from the draft now, which is all about the impacts of climate change and the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is a missed opportunity."

The "sexing up" story was inadvertently revealed by a Guardian journalist, Suzanne Goldenberg. She quoted British officials as being disappointed that Tol's report had shown insufficient regard for the possibility of catastrophic climate change. "This statement … risks being deeply misleading," one official wrote. "It seems reasonable to conclude that the quoted figures of 0.2% to 2% are at best an underestimate, and at worst completely meaningless."

Representatives from other governments were said to be similarly concerned that Tol's predictions of economic damage lacked the requisite doominess.

Other governments, including Belgium, Norway and the US, also took issue with Tol's estimate of potential climate losses. France said: "Its message is unclear and is not widely accepted by the community." Japan suggested the line carry a lengthy clarification or be struck off completely.

One delegation - Nicaragua's - pressed for the upper band limit of potential economic damage to be raised as high as 6 percent.

But Tol was doing no more and no less in his report than summarising the last three or four years' worth of peer-reviewed literature on the subject. Had there been any evidence that the potential economic damage was likely to be greater than his 2 percent of GDP upper limit he would, of course, have mentioned this in his summary.

"This is a scandal which once again shows how blatantly politicians are prepared to sex up the IPCC's reports for the media - in a way that is simply not substantiated by the evidence," said Benny Peiser of the independent think tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation.


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