One of the top American authorities on climate change has revealed that the latest UN climate change report was marred by interference from various governments before it was released. The climate expert dropped the bombshell involving clandestine night-time meetings and forced revisions.
Robert Stavins, a professor from Harvard and one of the country's leading experts on climate change has come forward with claims that representatives from the top countries and regions around the world took a more heavy handed approach to the lately published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report. Stavins said that the representatives forced his team to make revisions to the report during a late-night meeting half a month ago. Stavins and the other Co-Coordinating Lead Authors (CLA) of the report were present during the meeting in Berlin.
"Several of the CLAs present with me in Berlin commented that given the nature and outcome of the week, the resulting document should probably be called the Summary by Policymakers, rather than the Summary for Policymakers," said Stavins in a blog post.
Based on Stavins' blog post, around 75 percent of the SPM5.2 [PDF], a section of the Summary for Policymakers, were removed due to pressure from the government representatives. Moreover, the missing parts of the report may cause a die "conflict of interest" between governments from various countries and climate change experts. Stavins' claim is one of only a handful of reported instances where scientists have publicly spoken out against the process of creating climate change reports. While Stavins' statements may drive a wedge between governments and scientists, he says that his post was not a personal attack on anyone.
"I understand that country representatives were only doing their job, so I do not implicate them personally; however, the process the IPCC followed resulted in a process that built political credibility by sacrificing scientific integrity," Stavins said.
Stavins was one of the CLAs who worked on the latest UN IPCC report on the effects of climate change that was released during the start of the month. The report was originally 2,000 pages long before it was shortened prior to its release. The important report contained the latest findings and recommendations on how the worst effects of climate change can be reduced or mitigated. Due to the seriousness of the content, climate experts say that it is vital that the people behind the report be free from interference from any government or organization. Moreover, the report is often by governments to create new policies regarding climate change.
"I urge the IPCC to direct public attention to the documents produced by the lead authors that were subject to government (and expert) comment, but not subject to government approval," Stavins said. "I believe that tremendous public good would arise from publicizing the key findings of the Technical Summary and the individual chapter Executive Summaries, instead of the Summary for Policymakers."