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‘Censored’ IPCC summary reveals jockeying for key UN climate talks

In the wake of this month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on ways to cut global greenhouse gas emissions, accusations began to fly in the media that the report had been censored…

IPCC leaders release their climate mitigation report in Berlin - but governments already have one eye on next year’s UN climate summit. EPA/Joerg Carstensen

In the wake of this month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on ways to cut global greenhouse gas emissions, accusations began to fly in the media that the report had been censored by governments.

Are these accusations true? Well no, not exactly. Parts were edited out of the summary, although all of the details survive elsewhere in the report.

But although this doesn’t amount to the censorship scandal some people clearly wanted to read about, the edits do tell an interesting story. They show us that countries are already looking at how their bargaining chips will stack up at the crucial round of United Nations climate negotiations in Paris next year.

What part of the report was changed?

All IPCC reports include an executive summary called the Summary for Policymakers (SPM). The contents of this summary are approved by the member governments at a plenary meeting once the report itself is complete. This process begins with a draft developed by the researchers who wrote the actual report. Government delegates then debate which of these points should be included in the approved summary, and what emphasis they should receive.

At the plenary meeting in Berlin last week, significant changes were made to the draft summary. The approved SPM emphasises justice and sustainability more than the draft did, and downplays the need for countries to cooperate to deal with climate change.

Delegates also deleted all of the graphs and text that describe the greenhouse gas emissions of specific regions and groups of countries. The approved summary only presents data on global totals.

However, the governments are not allowed to make any fundamental changes to the underlying report, all of which is publicly available. There is also a second executive summary, called the Technical Summary, which governments are not allowed to edit either.

So countries get to put the spin they want on the SPM, but they do not and cannot “censor” the report itself. Nor can they amend the Technical Summary, which remains the executive summary as the scientists see it.

Why do countries want to spin the summary?

In November and December next year, the governments of the world will meet in Paris at the 21st annual meeting of the members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Their goal is to achieve a binding, worldwide agreement on climate change. This will be the most important summit since the meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 and possibly since Kyoto in 1997, which spawned the Kyoto Protocol.

It is easy to be sceptical about the likelihood of governments reaching such an agreement. But as long as an agreement is on the table, each country will want to secure the most favourable terms possible.

In Copenhagen, governments forged a non-binding agreement to limit global warming to 2C over the pre-industrial average. But there is no agreement on the specific way in which the burden of cutting emissions should be distributed.

Some governments might suggest that all countries should eventually move towards an equal level of emissions per person. Others such as China and India might argue that that is not fair because rich countries have a longer history of high emissions, which those countries should be held responsible for.

Many countries have good reasons for not wanting specific information about their own emissions to make it into the IPCC summary. If the SPM includes details of regional trends as well as global ones, that might be seen as an endorsement of a particular approach to burden-sharing.

What was left out of the summary and why?

There are three graphs of historical emissions trends that are in the Technical Summary but not the approved version of the SPM. Each of these shows emissions broken down into broad groups of countries based on geography or development status.

I was an author on Chapter 5 of the report, which deals with historical trends in emissions. I was not at the governmental plenary meeting, so I can only speculate about why some things made it into the approved summary and others did not. But it is easy to see why some governments might find some graphs controversial.

The first of these graphs breaks down annual emissions and historical cumulative emissions by broad global regions. One of these regions is the developed countries – North America, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. The rest of the world is split into four geographical regions. The graph clearly shows that since the 1970s, growth in total greenhouse gas emissions came mostly from developing countries.

Figure 2 of the Technical Summary IPCC

The graph also shows that developed countries are now responsible for less than half of total historical greenhouse gas emissions. Historical responsibility for emissions looks like an idea that might backfire on its proponents in the developing world.

Another graph shows that per capita emissions have grown rapidly in middle-income countries like China and India, but have declined in both the richest and the poorest countries. Despite that, it also shows that per capita emissions remain much higher in the developed world than in developing countries.

Both rich and poor countries would have reason for not wanting others to see this graph.

Figure 4 of the Technical Summary IPCC

Finally, there is a graph showing that the greenhouse gases emitted to produce goods destined for rich countries outweigh the emissions created by rich countries to make goods for export elsewhere. Naturally, the reverse is necessarily true for middle- and low-income countries.

Figure 5 of the Technical Summary IPCC

These results are often used to argue that rich countries have reduced their emissions by offshoring production to developing countries, although the reality is somewhat more complicated.

They are also used to argue that rich countries should be held responsible for their consumption emissions rather than their production emissions. But both importers and exporters gain from international trade, so this is clearly not a cut-and-dried issue.

It is understandable why rich importers like the United States and Europe might not want details of their offshored emissions to be highlighted, or why China might not want attention drawn to its rapid emissions growth.

It’s diplomatically more prudent to keep the information general and avoid specifics. But while that might help countries get around the negotiating table in Paris, it doesn’t really show them what to do when they get there.

Join the conversation

119 Comments sorted by

  1. Brett Lanyon

    logged in via Facebook

    The graphs are of poor quality and hard to read, I take your point but actually being able to read the data would be good.

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  2. Brian R Smith

    logged in via Facebook

    Anything known about what U.S. delegates insisted on?

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  3. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

  4. Craig Myatt

    Industrial Designer / R&D

    I think the graphs are one of the most important components of the summary. It is a shame they were removed, and this "jockeying" surely should mean a penalty against the promoters of it, next year...

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  5. Comment removed by moderator.

  6. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

  7. Richard Thompson
    Richard Thompson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Retired but Active

    It's very easy to say that the 'new' manufacturing nations should reduce their greenhouse gas first before we do while we are exporting hundreds of millions of tons of carbon for their industry.
    This clearly shows that the manufacturers of goods for the rest of the world are being shown as the high CO2 generators while the producers of the fundamental products for manufacture have no black mark against them. Why not?

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  8. Trevor McGrath

    uneducated twit

    Summary for Policymakers (SPM).Just proves why abstracts of science papers are unacceptable for use as references.... Often they don't really reflect what's in the body of the work. Cheers

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  9. Ben Marshall
    Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Writer

    Clear, well-written overview of an issue I've heard raised to the side of MSM that has received little light previously. Thanks Professor David!

    Oh, and I'd second Brian R Smith's request for info on the stance taken by US and Australian delegates. Though I think I can take a fair guess...

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  10. Comment removed by moderator.

  11. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Fred Moore

      Comment removed by moderator.

  12. Comment removed by moderator.

  13. Felix MacNeill

    Environmental Manager

    Thanks David - useful article.

    You've got to wonder why national delegates would think this kind of spin would not be noticed and, as you have done, exposed. Indeed, it just makes them look guilty, suspicious and untrustworthy.

    Except, of course, that we won't hear about this in the MSM, will we?

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  14. Jack Ruffin
    Jack Ruffin is a Friend of The Conversation.

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    The moderators have been busy today doing a great job trying to keep us on track and not socking one another.
    It shows that the climate change issue, though scientifically proven, is more volatile than ever.
    This is hardly a debate. It's more about trying to control which ideas have centre stage despite the evidence.

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    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Jack Ruffin

      Jack and others, the IPCC is not an extreme organisation as one here has asserted, and in reality Gordon's position is not based upon anything else but conspiracy theory.
      The Conversation has a new moderation option I intend to utilise.
      If you or anyone else are interested in thinking about it, and pressing the off-topic option also, the conversation may not keep getting derailed by partisan unsubstantiated posts.
      https://theconversation.com/cleaning-up-climate-comments-25914

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    2. Jack Ruffin
      Jack Ruffin is a Friend of The Conversation.

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice, you may have misread me. I agree that the IPCC is doing a laudable job. The opposition team is the group I think is trying to control the issue. TC enables a range of opinions to be heard and that's needed for stimulating discussion though not all deserve to be believed.

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  15. john tons

    retired redundant

    Perhaps politicians need to be reminded that nature best last - no matter what spin they put on reality.

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  16. Sandor von Kontz

    farmer

    somehow I find the whole negotiations disgusting. It feels like a bus full of people rushing toward a cliff discussing who is responsibel for their plight without stopping the bus first and than fight who is to blame..

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  17. dallas lane

    retired engineer

    Hi David
    It appears to me, the other problem that should be considered by the IPCC panel when analysing world climate change is world population. The relentless increase in the world population is not sustainable and is a major problem contributing to world climate change.
    Surely it is time for advanced countries to invest in the development of cheap non polluting energy sources and to restrain their relentless investment in the coal oil and natural gas industries.
    Developing countries (in particular) need cheap energy to raise their standard of living to control their population growth. Robert Hargraves discusses these problems in his book “Thorium energy cheaper than coal”.

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    1. David Maddern

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to dallas lane

      Well it is certainly not Government that will do it. Not in Australia, that is. I am on the committee of CORENA (a not for profit, volunteer run, full name Citizens Own Renewable Network Australia) which is crowd funding for more solar on public use buildings around Australia, and that aspect turns out to be good for Wills as we award interest free loans to do energy audits and for purchase and installation of solar cells, and the organisation pays back the loan, and the money is recycled again and again.
      We have another fund that accrues to partially fund soar thermal probably at Pt. Augusta, and we can't wait to embarrass the government with that.
      I encourage you to find out more www.corenafund.org.au

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    2. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to David Maddern

      David, I really hope Port Augusta gets their solar thermal power station. This is unanimously what they want.
      I wonder if a green lottery could be a good alternative to the usual.
      There's nothing wrong with proving the 'impossible', it's probably necessary when elected governments are unwilling to act accordingly.

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  18. Geoff Anderson

    Brain Surgeon

    It is disappointing that such well researched findings will be ignored in our corridors of power.

    Will Tony "Cliamte Change is Crap" Abbott be sending a Minsiter to Paris, or just a handful of young Liberals in T Shirts and Thongs as per the last meeting?

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  19. Comment removed by moderator.

  20. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    Oh for goodness sake! Be done with the entire "negotiating" nonsense, and just institute a revenue-neutral consumption tax on fossil fuel.

    The only 'losers' out of a tax as climate policy are the bankers, who stand to make a fortune out of permit trading, and the diplomats, who'll have one less series of talkfests to attend.

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    1. Ivan Quail

      maverick

      In reply to David Arthur

      David.
      Please expand on what you mean by a revenue neutral consumption tax on fossil fuel.

      You may also wish to comment on: Their is a currently 38.1c excise tax on liquid fossil fuel but no excise on solid fuel or gas.

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    2. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Ivan Quail

      Thanks Mr Quail.

      There's this from "Raise the GST: the conversation we have to have" (http://theconversation.com/raise-the-gst-the-conversation-we-have-to-have-25202) "5. Institute a fossil fuel GST surcharge (or a separate Fossil Fuel Consumption Tax, FFCT, on the carbon content of coal, petroleum and gas, which you use to further decrease other taxes (not the taxes outlined above). Before you know it, there'll be Australian biofuels production to replace imported petroleum, and Australian manufactured goods will be competitive once more because goods imported from China will have to pay FFCT on the fuel used to ship them from China."

      I've also expanded upon the issue in my submission in response to the recent Energy Green Paper: it can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/cleaner-environment/clean-air/emissions-reduction-fund/green-paper, and look for "Mr David Arthur".

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  21. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    Thanks for this, Prof Stern. You've clarified one misapprehension of mine, which was my ill-founded belief that governments have some say on what final IPCC Assessments contain; here, you've explained that governments can't touch any part of it apart from the SPM.

    When it comes to the argy-bargy about responsibly for historic emissions, perhaps it borne in mind that, when Svante Arrhenius was looking at greenhouse warming, he suggested that it might be a Good Thing that will stave off the next Ice Age. For most of the century following Arrhenius, oil companies proclaimed, hand on heart, how their service was to 'save the world'.

    I guess the Good News is, we don't have to worry about any forthcoming Ice Age.

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  22. David Furphy

    Mr

    Is it really true that those sitting at negotiating tables in Paris (or any of the multitude of previous negotiating tables) have no knowledge of the more extensive data contained in the Technical Summaries or even the main report itself? Surely someone of influence in each team has taken the time to read more than the few pages of the SPM.

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    1. David Stern

      Professor at Australian National University

      In reply to David Furphy

      Of course they do. But countries presumably don't want to be seen endorsing these issues as key points in the IPCC report that are worth highlighting and/or want to influence media reporting on the IPCC report and hence public perception. Media mainly sticks to what is in the SPM as does the IPCC's report launch press conference.

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  23. Simon Mansfield

    logged in via Facebook

    I managed to read Gordon Alderson comment earlier today. It was stock standard contrary opinion. The comments that followed were stock standard comments in response to someone not in agreement with the consensus - they were mostly rude and arrogant and deserving of being removed. However the original comment was politely argued and worthy of being debated in a rational manner.

    Sadly, the deletion of the original comment was pretty much a perfect example of stock standard thought control from The…

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    1. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Simon Mansfield

      I by and large no longer comment on climate change on here anymore for the reasons you portrayed. I believe man has influenced earths climate and find this site okay on many other issues however.

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    2. Sean Douglas

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Simon Mansfield

      Simon I believe your key phrase "...inputs to create an intelligent conversation that debates the issues." sums up why the majority of comments get deleted by the moderators. They are doing a great job these days, especially since Cory came along on the 'enviro' team as a mod full time. Brandis isn't making an argument he can win by default or any other way.

      re "The Conversation exists through funding derived from taxpayer funded tertiary institutions." First are you sure that's why the conversation exists? And if so, then so what? The ABC has no obligation to publish every complaint or wild conspiracy theory they receive or get from a radio talk-back program.

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    3. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Simon Mansfield

      Whether politely argued means worthy of discussion is a moot point. Reading the Technical Summary is probably a better basis to start a discussion, as it, and what has been omitted in shortened summaries, is in fact what the discussion is about. Reading the opinions, however 'polite' which have been written by those who have no intention of reading IPCC summaries partially or fully, and prefer to come up with other theories, has nothing to do with the topic of discussion.
      Off-topic, spurious unsubstantiated…

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    4. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      "I think we should genuinely move on, and not pander to CC contrarians any more."

      What does that mean when the CC contrarians are the government?

      Pretty hard to not pander to someone when they're running the country.

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    5. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Absolutely right Chris, they're hardly going to change with any form of intelligent conversation, but imploring information providers to lift their game is more likely to work.
      There is (if slow) movement towards not allowing publication of these comments into some media organisations, The Los Angeles Times is one, Reddit is another. Ostracising is one way to distance irrelevance. Sure people can keep banging their heads against a stream of denial here but how well does that really work, and do lies become an acceptable discourse for all forms of communication. I don't see any AMA literature including anti vaccine 'science', is this a lack of free-speech or a better form of science based literature.
      This Government has to be ridiculed, as do publications and online sites which are devoted to contrarian view-points... but why should information which cannot be proved be allowed here? You may have a better idea.

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  24. Peter Sommerville

    Scientist & Technologist

    I read these debates on The Conversation regularly. There is a cohort which believe the arguments promoted by the IPCC are a lay down misere. There is a cohort who believe the IPCC is promoting absolute baloney. And there is another cohort whose opinions lie in between these extremes.

    The reality is of course that the argument for many is about belief, not science. And for those in between the concern is that the IPCC relies far too much on demonstrably flawed computer models, which are really speculations, not science. The result of course is that the debate is now totally politicised but for that the IPCC must bear the responsibility.

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    1. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Well said,

      The southern bluefin tuna models grossly underestimated the spawning biomass of the species by 3x the actual. Despite this fact the IUCN still list SBT as critically endangered. You will note the IUCN listing states the 2011 estimates even though this is outdated information on spawning biomass. So here is an example you speak of about the IUCN's flawed computer model modus operandi.

      http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/21858/0

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    2. Gordon Alderson

      Management Consultant

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      I agree with Peter Sommerville.
      Allow me to add that the Australian government must surely take notice of Maurice Newman’s responses to Emma Alberici’s questions on Lateline. Empirical evidence that human sources of CO2 cause global warming has yet to be presented. The oft-quoted 97 percent consensus of climate scientists is based on a survey that Roy Spencer showed is fundamentally flawed. Science is not a matter of consensus any way. To base a nation’s laws and taxes on flawed computer models…

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    3. Sean Douglas

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Hi Peter, philosopher Alain de Botton gave a talk recently in sydney about his new book on News. His big tip when reading the 'news' online was to never go below the line. That's where the comments start. ( smile )
      That *the debate is now totally politicised* shouldn't come as a surprise because it always has been form the get go from the creation of the UNFCCC and the IPCC all things have been political decisions. What to spend $ on for climate research has been political, and the policy choices to deal with the output of the climate science is political and geo-political. The people inside the IPCC process are politically constrained in all kinds of ways. They were never given the job of educating the proletariat unfortunately. And that my friend was very much a "political decision". And where there is politics there is beliefs, ideologies, opinions, economics, religion, and more.
      Stay above the line? ( smile )

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    4. Sean Douglas

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      Gordon, why should the government pay attention to Newman about climate science when he isn't qualified as climate scientist or any related discipline .. as opposed to the "science itself"?

      Even he says "Science is whatever the science is", and yet he ignores it.

      Newman also says : "the fact remains there is no empirical evidence to show that man-made CO2, man-made emissions are adding to the temperature on earth." but he is wrong there.

      He says: "We haven't had any measurable increase…

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    5. Sean Douglas

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      Try this one https://theconversation.com/on-global-warming-settled-science-and-george-brandis-25806

      Climate science is a broad field but the critical, perhaps defining issue of our time is whether or not the climate is changing in a potentially catastrophic way due to man-made emissions.

      In all fields of science that I’m familiar with, the best place to look for authoritative opinions are from expert researchers in universities and government laboratories. When you do that in climate science…

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    6. Gordon Alderson

      Management Consultant

      In reply to Sean Douglas

      Sean,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes I agree that the government had a “moral, ethical, and legal obligation to inform the public” on this matter.
      I was with Malcolm Roberts on 27 April 2011 in Greg Hunt’s office at Hastings when Malcolm made his presentation. I have spoken with Malcolm this morning (he is in America). He has assented to me adding this Comment to The Conversation. It is an extract from a letter sent to Greg Hunt on 19 March 2014. The letter is on the public record.
      Incidentally…

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    7. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      "Empirical evidence that human sources of CO2 cause global warming has yet to be presented."

      A certain John Tyndall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Tyndall and his successors in radiation physics might disagree with you and Maurice Newman.

      "that Roy Spencer showed is fundamentally flawed"

      Presumably Roy Spencer shows that evolution is fundamentally flawed too, considering how he's a creationist. (Roy accepts the empirical evidence for increased CO2 warming the planet, BTW.)

      I'll leave you to your conspiracy theories.

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    8. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Who cares about what the IPCC reckons? We've got evidence enough to figure it out for ourselves.

      Observation 1. Sun irradiates earth with short-wave energy.

      Observation 2. Earth re-radiates long-wave energy.

      Observation 3. Greenhouse gases retard transmission of long-wave energy, not short-wave energy.

      Observation 4. Satellite observations show decreasing emission to space of this long-wave energy, at EXACTLY THE SAME WAVELENGTHS as CO2 absorbs long-wave energy.

      Observation 5. Arctic…

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    9. Sean Douglas

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      Thanks for the response Gordon. I can't say anything about that now, sorry.

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    10. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      He said "I Believe" That just says it all. Saying something in a puffed up Lawyer voice is just saying something in a puffed up Lawyer voice. Lawyers sprook for who ever pays them, that's why there is so many of them in parliament. appearing to win a private school boy mass debate in your backers newspaper does not mean any thing. The evidence is what those who can about the facts care about; and the world to come...... :Lawyers don't care what the evidence says.... Its their job too at all costs win for the those who pay them the most money. Now with direct action ...only if big companies can gather enough reductions will the government deal with them. What if I can reduce my emissions by 5-10-15%. They wont deal with me and pay me to do so, by for example putting Solar on my roof. I think I'm sick and about to vomit.

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    11. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      Please reference the" fabricated" remakes. I'm sure your moneyed backers would have them in court in a second, or at least have those sacked who wrote such untruths. Looking forward to the references, should be a good read. Cheers

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    12. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      Since we don't have a science minister we now know that science is not to be considered, only the beliefs of those in power, and who only knows what they may be. But Mr Pell has been taken out of the Paedophile Royal commission’s inquiries by his bosses and made finance minister at only Latin speaking state on earth. May the Good Lord strike this wrath upon the unjust. Of course by that I mean all those who follow logic (science) Cheers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56u6g0POvo0

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    13. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      The uncredentialled Malcolm Roberts speaks with forked tongue and his conspiracy theories are so hilarious that even Andrew Bolt has dumped him.

      Roberts continues to collude with busted climate rogues ( Carter, Plimer, Monckton et al) and is a devotee of poseur and “serial liar,” John O’Sullivan who blogs under false pretences.

      Similar to Maurice Newman, Roberts also cites climate scientist and bible banger, Roy Spencer who refers to his opponents as “climate change Nazis.” Sheesh, is he all they’ve got? These wacky extremists really are becoming desperate.

      http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/john-osullivan-my-hidden-muse.html
      http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/

      Transparency and integrity? We get you Gordon.

      “qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent”

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    14. Paul Newell

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      In Reply to; Censored IPCC Summery reveals jockeying for key UN Climate talks
      .
      Vegetation bare surfaces of Earth radiate unused Sunlight energy as heat to the passing air.
      Western civilisation has taught all the disciplines of learning as human logic, that support this collapsed civilisation.
      People of western culture have lost their nature consciousness from living in urban (people made) lands for so many generations without ECOLOGICAL UNDERSTANDING directly taught by nature as eco-logic (ecology…

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    15. Paul Newell

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      PHOTOSYNTHESIS in green and growing leaves gives the opposite symptoms of GW&CC. Green and growing leaves shade the Earth to cool it and transpire water vapour to the passing air to cool it. Photosynthesis is a natural manufacturing process that occurs in functional lands where dense vegetation grows as nature’s own air conditioning process.

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  25. Andrew Fisher

    Worker

    The media does enjoy a good beet up. Summaries always omit material that was included in the full text, otherwise they would hardly be called summaries. The text of the full report and the technical summary are freely available and if the press wants to keep the discussion real, they could just publicise what the report actually says. If people around the world were more familiar with what science has to say on the matter, it would be harder for policy makers to get away with their nonsense.

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  26. Shirley Birney

    logged in via email @tpg.com.au

    Climate sceptic, Maurice Newman (whose scholastic credentials seemingly remain a mystery) should be an embarrassment to the Abbott government since it was the PM (ahem) who said in a radio interview that “climate change is real and humanity is making a contribution”.

    Newman may be an authority on stockbroking and investment banking, however, I suspect he barely knows the difference between a NOx and a sock. While the global average surface temperatures have increased over the last seventeen…

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    1. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      I wonder If this story was about the Jews in Germany during WW2 if Holocaust deniers would be given equal time so to balance the debate. given that some (or 3 %) of historians disagree with the facts. Cheers

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    2. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, if countries can assert political influence, to omit graphs which show emissions directly and indirectly, this is a graphic illustration of why politics can dirty a process.
      Deniers like Maurice Newman are another form of politicisation, but they are no better than the anti-vaccination lobby in Pakistan who believe the polio vaccine is a US plot. They are the true extremists. They seek to deny the science, not just hide it. They should be should be treated with the contempt they deserve…

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    3. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Hi Alice. I would assert that the greatest environmental vandals in the nation are the state governments. I performed some research on statepollutant emissions in 2010, though I can't remember the source. More than likely I have derived the following information from the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI).

      I would urge all fellow Australians to take an interest in what is being dumped on communities in their own state. There is an appeals process for community members to protest. Reducing…

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    4. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Trevor McGrath

      It's indeed intriguing Trevor, given the IPCC was formed 26 years ago yet the 3% of climate scientists still don't understand the science or the definition of "consensus."

      Unfortunately, nor do a large proportion of the Australian public.

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  27. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    "The approved SPM emphasises justice and sustainability more than the draft did, and downplays the need for countries to cooperate to deal with climate change.

    Delegates also deleted all of the graphs and text that describe the greenhouse gas emissions of specific regions and groups of countries. The approved summary only presents data on global totals."

    Heh :) Gotta luv politics. Especially the last part of this. And so we can continue to buy the 'rights' to spew out CO2 in the industrialized parts, from the 'developing Countries' who, by some indecipherable reason, does not?

    The most lovely part of it is that Mother Earth doesn't give a damn about any politics. She will only react on what really is happening. And there we're spewing out more and more CO2, methane, etc, ad infinitum.

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  28. David Stern

    Professor at Australian National University

    As a follow up to my article, please have a look at a blogpost by Robert Stavins, who was at the plenary meeting that edited the Summary for Policymakers:

    http://www.robertstavinsblog.org/2014/04/25/is-the-ipcc-government-approval-process-broken-2/

    He is clear that "government representatives worked to suppress text that might jeopardize their negotiating stances in international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change."

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    1. Ivan Quail

      maverick

      In reply to David Stern

      Thanks for your interesting article Prof Stern.
      I have posted the following comment a number of times on various TC's
      The figures in your article from the IPCC report regarding Co2 emissions do not tally with Dr Bindshadler's statements.

      As Dr Bindschadler (NASA) pointed out we know how many million tons of coal, oil and gas are burnt each year. We know fairly accurately how much additional Co2 is released into the atmosphere each year on top of the Co2 emissions from nature. Dr Bindschadler…

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  29. Chris Saunders

    retired

    Well we do elect governments to act on our behalf and so we are kind of stuck with the process of international government representatives positioning summary points to their liking. But many thanks to the author for informing us of this process; a bit like line entry budget discussions (arguments) between departments at large organisations. What the average person knows is that smoke from the fire next door gets up their nose, makes their eyes tear and their throat to cough. Run-off from the…

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  30. Carole Hubbard

    logged in via Facebook

    The Conversation is overly moderated, too many removed posts for whatever reason. A person gets the idea that The Conversation is removing any posts that argue against the political views promulgated by globalist agenda and promoted in globalist controlled mass media. Yes, I am a conspiracy theorist, and it is legitimate to believe that conspiracies are occurring if there is a case for it, not merely removing posts because they are labeled "conspiracy" or whatever. I don't consider The Conversation a source of unbiased information or discussion.

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    1. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Carole Hubbard

      Carole, thanks for your concern. I don't remember the particular problems that occurred here, but you will usually find that posts are removed when their comments are ad hominem or off topic. I have personally found being off topic is generously administered, ad hominem however are jumped on and quite rightly so. I have erred in that regard on a few occasions much to my shame. No, there is no censorship as you are worried about, although some people think they have the right to be abusive and so feel badly done by when their posts are removed.

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