New analysis: Chinese and Saudi Diplomats Water Down Global Warming Estimates

Tue, 2007-04-17 03:00Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

New analysis: Chinese and Saudi Diplomats Water Down Global Warming Estimates

This is a DeSmogBlog release sent out to media this morning:


Chinese and Saudi Diplomats Water Down Global Warming Estimates

VANCOUVER - A detailed analysis of the recently released report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows what one leading author calls “inappropriate and unjustified” political influence by countries intent upon watering down the scientific assessment of climate change’s most critical risks.

The IPCC Working Group 2 (WG2) was reporting on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Scientists from 120 nations collaborated to establish reliable “confidence statements” based on the latest science.

But scientists say that political officials interfered with the final Summary for Policy Makers, and a DeSmogBlog analysis of leaked WG2 documents shows the language repeatedly watered down. For example, where scientists said, “It is likely that corals will experience a major decline,” the bureaucrats edited that to read: “Corals are vulnerable.” Where scientist said “hundreds of millions” of people face an increased risk from floods, the sanitized version reads “many millions.” Stanford University professor Dr. Chris Field said that amounted to “inappropriate and unjustified” political interference.

“People have accused the IPCC of having a political agenda in the past,” DeSmogBlog co-founder James Hoggan said today. “But while critics say the IPCC is trying too hard to raise concern about global warming, the real threat is that risks are being understated.”

Dr. Field, one of two lead authors on the WG2’s North American Chapter, said American diplomats were hyper-vigilant in making sure every statement in the summary was totally justified by the underlying science – a degree of caution that resulted in some of the language being softened. Dr. Field accepted that as well-intentioned caution, but he said that real damage occurred when a few countries, led by China and Saudi Arabia, successfully lobbied to downplay the consequences of human-caused climate change.

The full analysis, a side-by-side comparison of a leaked version of the scientific consensus with the final, politicized document , can be found at

The DeSmogBlog is a project dedicated to clearing the public relations pollution that clouds climate science. It specializes in exposing attempts to muzzle scientists and downplay the realities of global warming, and identifying fossil-fuel industry-funded public relations campaigns for what they are. The DeSmogBlog is a project supported by philanthropist and climate change activist John Lefebvre.

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