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Reuters explains how the climate sausage is made at UN IPCC: ‘Scientists & govt delegates’ must ‘approve’ the ‘science’ report – ‘Each word of each sentence needed to be scrutinized & debated’ by politicians

‘Hours on a footnote’: Scientists felt joy, frustration in making U.N. climate report

  • 234 scientists spent years working on report for free
  • Co-chair compares efforts to a “marathon”
  • Virtual decision-making posed new challenges

GENEVA, Aug 10 (Reuters) – After spending hundreds of hours in virtual meetings to complete this week’s major U.N. climate report, scientists Piers Forster and Joeri Rogelj celebrated in a way their peers could not: by hugging.

Britain-based Forster had been weary of the isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and invited his co-author to work alongside him in his Harrogate kitchen as they worked with other scientists around the world to thrash out the final version of the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Being together for the last stretch of a three-year effort “made it more fun,” said Forster, a climate physicist at the University of Leeds.

“My neighbours must have thought us mad though, hearing “Thank you madam co-chair,” in response to questions from St Kitts, India, or the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, coming through at 4 a.m.”

A Zoom screenshot shows the two smiling out from the same box.

This year’s landmark report, warning that the world is dangerously speeding toward runaway climate change, took years of painstaking effort to pull together.

Specialist scientists, all 234 of them working for free, reviewed more than 14,000 scientific studies published since 2013 to draft the latest version of what has now become the established science on climate change, before coming together – virtually – for two weeks of final checks and negotiations.

While scientists praised the inclusion of colleagues from 65 countries across the globe, some said the resulting time-zone challenges were bad for their sleep.

“We could not find any time slot that wasn’t two o’clock in the morning for somebody,” said Michael Wehner, a climate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. “I’m a night owl, but I’m not that much of one,” he joked.

Completing the politically sensitive “Summary for Policymakers” section, which 195 governments must approve by consensus, presented a particular challenge. Each word of each sentence needed to be scrutinized and debated.

To help the effort, organisers displayed each sentence in yellow on a shared screen until it was approved, at which point it appeared in green. If it was rejected, it turned blue – signaling a revision was needed. Disputes then had to be resolved in virtual breakout sessions.

“We spent sometimes hours on a footnote,” said co-chair Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a climate scientist at the University of Paris-Saclay who described work on the report as a “marathon.” …

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UN IPCC report is ‘the result of negotiations between governments. In other words it is a political statement, not a scientific document’Paul Homewood: “This is the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), the result of negotiations between governments. In other words it is a political statement, not a scientific document. The latter won’t be published until much later, probably long after COP26. And as [UN Sec. Gen] Guterres makes clear, the whole object of the SPM is to scare governments into signing up to the UN agenda at COP26.”

Flashback 2014: Harvard Univ. Prof. On UN IPCC: ‘Serious ‘conflict of interest’ between scientists and governments’ – Top climate expert’s sensational claim of government meddling in crucial UN report – UN Lead Author Robert Stavins ‘was one of only two scientists present, surrounded by ‘45 or 50’ government officials’Prof Judith Curry, the head of climate science at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, said that between them, Professors Tol and Stavins had shown the process was ‘polluted by obvious politics’

How to Manufacture a Climate Consensus - WSJ