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COP26: Document leak reveals nations lobbying to change key climate report

October 20,2021

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58982445

A huge leak of documents seen by BBC News shows how countries are trying to change a crucial scientific report on how to tackle climate change.

The leak reveals Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are among countries asking the UN to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels.

The leak shows a number of countries and organisations arguing that the world does not need to reduce the use of fossil fuels as quickly as the current draft of the report recommends.

An adviser to the Saudi oil ministry demands "phrases like 'the need for urgent and accelerated mitigation actions at all scales…' should be eliminated from the report".

One senior Australian government official rejects the conclusion that closing coal-fired power plants is necessary, even though ending the use of coal is one of the stated objectives the COP26 conference.

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The IPCC says comments from governments are central to its scientific review process and that its authors have no obligation to incorporate them into the reports.

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Professor Corinne le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, a leading climate scientist who has helped compile three major reports for the IPCC, has no doubts about the impartiality of the IPCC's reports.

She says all comments are judged solely on scientific evidence regardless of where they come from.

"There is absolutely no pressure on scientists to accept the comments," she told the BBC. "If the comments are lobbying, if they're not justified by the science, they will not be integrated in the IPCC reports."

She says it is important that experts of all kinds - including governments - have a chance to review the science.

"The more the reports are scrutinised", says Professor le Quéré, "the more solid the evidence is going to be in the end, because the more the arguments are brought and articulated forward in a way that is leaning on the best available science".

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More comments by various countries on the IPCC reports are contained in the BBC link.

Jaak
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