Authors Claim IPCC Global Warming Report Watered Down

On Friday the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a much-anticipated report detailing impacts of human-caused global warming. As expected, the news isn't good. Predictions include hundreds of millions without water, mass food shortages and floods and millions of species becoming extinct -- with the world's poor bearing the brunt of the consequences. A preceding IPCC report, issued in February, confirmed a scientific consensus that climate change is a reality and humans are to blame.

Authors unhappy with editing

Some scientists criticized the final version for being too soft, saying governments watered it down before release to reduce calls for action. Information changed and deleted included a timeline for water scarcity in Asia, a table matching up various carbon dioxide levels with increasing temperatures and a table showing the negative effects of each 1.8 F increase in temperatures. An issue over wording kept scientific authors and diplomatic editors deadlocked for days. In a paragraph that said scientists have "very high confidence" of the effects climate change is already having, "very" was deleted, bringing the level of certainty down by 10 percent to about 80.

"'The science got hijacked by the political bureaucrats at the late stage of the game,' said John Walsh, a climate expert at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who helped write a chapter on the polar regions." - LA Times article

Four IPCC reports on global warming will be delivered this year, but some are expecting this to be the last one to offer warnings; the final two might end up reporting damaging effects as they happen more frequently.

"That clarity is perhaps the last warning we're going to get before we actually have to report in the next I.P.C.C. review that we're seeing the disaster unfolding." - report author Bill Hare, NY Times article

As another contributing scientist puts it, people should be relatively safe, unless of course they are poor in a hot country or live in hurricane alley, along the coast, in the artic or at high altitudes. Some of the first measures needed to be taken to prevent deaths is said to be coastal protection to keep rising water at bay. Aside from that, trillions will be needed to counter other effects.

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