Fearing Govt Whitewash, Scientists Leak Draft Part Three of IPCC Report

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  • The IPCC released its latest climate assessment report on August 6, the first of three parts. A group of scientists from the IPCC has leaked a draft of the third report.
  • The report finds that “the 10% of the world’s top emitters, who are the richest 10%, contribute between 36% and 45% of emissions, which is 10 times more than the poorest 10%, which is responsible for only about 3% to 5%. “
  • Climate scientists have voiced alarm that their warnings about the need for far-reaching political-economic reforms to prevent the collapse of civilization are not being heard.

Concerned that policymakers will water down aspects of their findings, a group of scientists has leaked a draft of an upcoming IPCC report, which argues that to avoid further climate chaos, global carbon emissions must peak by 2025 and All fossil fuel plants around the world are due to be closed by the end of the decade.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change officially released the first part of its tripartite “Sixth Assessment Report” on 6 August. That document, the only section of the comprehensive review to be released before the next United Nations COP 26 meeting in Glasgow, focuses on the physical science of the climate crisis and warns that continued emissions will result in climate disasters. more frequent and intense extremes.

The second and third parts of the landmark report, covering impacts and mitigation, are scheduled for release in February and March next year, respectively. But nevertheless, The Guardian reported on Friday that a group of IPCC scientists, who wanted to share their unadulterated findings as quickly as possible, recently leaked a draft of the third part through the Spanish branch of Scientist Rebellion, an outgrowth of the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion. .

Journalists Juan Bordera and Fernando Prieto, who first reported on the leaked draft in CTXT, a Spanish media outlet, argued that while the authors do not specifically mention capitalism, the report shows that the pursuit of capital accumulation for the sake of accumulation “has brought us to the current tipping point.”

To avoid the most catastrophic consequences of the climate emergency, Bordera and Prieto wrote, it is necessary to fundamentally transform the global economy, including a rapid shift away from the carbon-intensive goal of endless GDP growth.

Economic inequality and carbon inequality go hand in hand, and the rich in all countries bear a greater responsibility for global warming emissions than the poor. Oxfam has found that the world’s richest 1% emit more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorest 50% of humanity, and the leaked IPCC draft also highlights how wealthy households are generating a large proportion of pollution by greenhouse gases through disproportionate levels of sport utility vehicle use. , eat meat and travel by plane.

“The consumption patterns of higher-income consumers are associated with large carbon footprints,” states a summary of the leaked report, according to The Guardian. “Top emitters dominate emissions in key sectors, for example the top 1% accounts for 50% of aviation emissions.”

The report finds that “the top 10% of emitters globally, who are the richest 10%, contribute between 36% and 45% of emissions, which is 10 times more than the poorest 10%, who is responsible for only about 3% to 5% ” The Guardian reported.

IPCC researchers say wealthy people should adopt lifestyle changes to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, the newspaper noted:

The report highlights the lifestyle changes that will be needed, particularly in rich countries and among the wealthy globally. Refraining from overheating or overcooling homes, walking and biking, reducing air travel and using fewer energy-consuming appliances can all contribute significantly to the necessary emission reductions, according to the report.

Eating patterns in many parts of the rich world will also need to change. “A switch to diets with a higher proportion of plant-based protein in regions with excessive consumption of calories and foods of animal origin can lead to substantial reductions in emissions, while also providing health benefits … Diets plant-based can reduce emissions by up to 50% compared to the average emission-intensive Western diet, ”the report says.

While the report makes clear that wealthy people must cut emissions to save lives, it also advocates meeting the needs of the 800 million people around the world who lack access to electricity. “It is not incompatible to fight against energy poverty and climate change” simultaneously, says the report, according to CTXT. Because the rich are responsible for much greater amounts of greenhouse gas pollution than the poor, changing the behavior of the top 10% has more consequences, while “increasing the consumption of the poorest to basic subsistence levels would not increase much emissions “.

CTXT reported that the leaked IPCC draft says global carbon emissions must peak by 2025. To meet the more ambitious goal of the Paris agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C above levels Pre-industrial by the end of the 21st century, the report states that -Zero emissions should be achieved “between 2050 and 2075”, and reiterates that to stay on track, greenhouse gas pollution must be cut in half by 2030.

Echoing recent recommendations made by the International Energy Agency, the draft IPCC report says that to avoid widespread social and ecological devastation, existing coal and gas-fired power plants must be shut down within the next nine to 12 months. years, and there are no new fossils. fuel infrastructure built.

The Guardian reported that the policies needed to achieve a low-carbon global economy have so far been woefully inadequate. “Approximately $ 546 billion was spent on reducing greenhouse gases and building resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis in 2018,” the newspaper noted, but “current investment falls below what is needed ‘in a factor of five ‘, even to keep warming in the upper limit of 2 ° C, according to the report. “

Citing Bordera, The Guardian reported that “the leak reflected the concern of some of those involved in the preparation of the document that its conclusions could be diluted before its publication in 2022.” The newspaper noted that “governments have the right to make changes to the ‘summary for policy makers.'”

In recent days, a growing number of climate scientists have expressed discontent and alarm that their warnings about the need for far-reaching political-economic reforms to prevent the collapse of civilization are not heeded. Scientist Rebellion, the group behind the leak of the IPCC draft, tweeted that “life on Earth is in danger” and “[nonviolent direct action] it is the most efficient way to achieve changes in the system. “

Acknowledging the first point but ignoring the second is “acting inconsistently,” the group said. “We will have blood on our hands if we remain passive.”

Sonia Seneviratne, Professor of Environmental Systems Science at ETC Zurich, has contributed to three of the six assessment reports published since 1990 by the IPCC. She just finished offering hundreds of hours of her time as the lead author of a chapter on extreme weather in the physical science report released Monday.

A day after that document, which implored policymakers to cut methane emissions, received a significant but significant ephemeral With corporate media coverage, US senators, including seven Democrats, voiced their support for the preventive outlawing of the fracking ban, even though fractured gas is a major source of methane pollution.

The next day, President Joe Biden’s administration, which approved more than 2,000 new permits for drilling and fracking on federal land, used its considerable geopolitical influence not to push for faster decarbonization, but to encourage OPEC to push forward the oil production.

Seneviratne said earlier this week that such examples of climate denial by powerful elected officials have made her question the usefulness of spending so much time on these reports, and she is considering not doing so in the future.

“Yes, there is a certain level of frustration,” he said. CBC News On Wednesday. “It doesn’t make sense for us to just watch what a disaster is unfolding if no one is doing anything about it.”

“If no actual action is being taken as a follow-up to [the latest] report, you can question whether this is effective, “he said. “It is necessary to monitor and observe what is happening. In reality, it is the policy makers who ask the scientists to make these reports; I would say that scientists have done their job and now legislators have to do their own job. “

In an email to CBC NewsBaylor Fox-Kemper, professor of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University and a co-author of the IPCC report, said he is “with Dr. Seneviratne that the response to our reports has been less than what I expected”.

He added that “while the response may disappoint us, if we stop the action is likely to slow down.”

This article was first published by Common dreams and has been republished here under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license.

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