In the Daily Mail, Ben Spencer reported that Britain unduly interfered with the drafting of the IPCC’s final report on climate change that has been published today. Under the headline, “Britain’s secret bid to fix UN climate Report”, he accuses the UK delegation of political interference. This is hugely misleading and wrong on every level.
The latest IPCC report is the leading authority on the current state of our climate and its robust and informed findings are a stark reminder to us all on the seriousness of the threat we all face. Along with other Governments, the UK was asked by the IPCC to submit comments at the end of last year on the Final Draft Summary of the report and invited to attend and participate in a meeting in Yokohama (Japan) in order to reach a global agreement on the findings. The UK was not the only country to comment on the section on the costs of climate impacts– other countries also commented included Germany, Japan, Belgium, USA and Finland who all asked for clarification on what the costs represented or questioned the robustness and completeness of the data.
It became clear that not just the UK thought this section of the report needed further work. The lead authors themselves responded to the comments in a final draft of the report which was discussed by Governments at the meeting in Yokohama last week. Changes were made to highlight the difficulties in assessing global aggregate economic impacts and the limitations of the models. So it is not secret, not a fix and not the UK.
Our trust in the IPCC can be reassured as the process guarantees the summary is factually correct and agreed by all member governments – it is therefore not possible for one country to unduly influence the process. All government comments submitted in December will be published by the IPCC when the final version of the underlying chapters are released in a few months’ time.
I am grateful to the IPCC and my officials for all the work that has gone into producing this report. The evidence builds the case for early action in the UK and around the world to lessen the risks posed by climate change. We cannot afford to wait.
Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.