US lobbies for watered-down IPCC report

2nd May 2007
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The United States is trying to water-down the recommendations made in the third report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due to be released this Friday, the Associated Press reports.

The report, which undergoes a period of consultation where political recommendations from all UN countries are invited, outlines suggestions for stabilising the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level of 450 parts per million within the next two to three decades.

But the US delegation to the conference wants to re-cast the timeframe for the recommended emissions cuts from 'within the next two to three decades', to 'by the end of the century'.

The delegation is also pressing for an emissions-reduction scenario where greenhouse gases are allowed to rise to levels of 500-550 ppm, which would be considered beyond any 'safe' levels by most climate scientists.

'Our goal throughout the IPCC process is for the reports to best reflect the latest state of knowledge on addressing global climate change so that these reports are useful to the policy community and are supported by scientific and economic data,' Harlan Watson, U.S. delegation head, told the Associated Press in a statement.

Watson's team also want to see wording added to the report which implies that the cost of tackling climate change 'could be unacceptably high'.

The economic analysis of climate change prepared by Sir Nicholas Stern last autumn concluded that it was well within the economic scope - and in the interest - of all developed nations to cut emissions of carbon dioxide.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist May 2007

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