UN climate experts deny secrecy after new leak

OSLO Wed Jan 9, 2013 4:19am IST

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OSLO (Reuters) - The U.N. panel of climate scientists has rejected criticism that it is too secretive after a blogger sceptical about global warming published a leaked draft on Tuesday of one of its massive reports.

The panel, whose work is a guide for governments deciding whether to make billion-dollar shifts away from fossil fuels, said it welcomed comments from all to fine-tune the report whose final version is due to be published in 2014.

"All scientific comments submitted through the review process will be considered and addressed by authors, and all comments are made public after publication," it said in a statement on Tuesday night.

Anyone signing up as a reviewer, however, has to promise not to quote from the report or hand it on.

Donna Laframboise, a Canadian writer sceptical that climate change will be damaging, published thousands of pages of the draft by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and accused it of withholding information from the public.

"This is foolishly short-sighted," she wrote of the panel, which comprising thousands of climate scientists. "The IPCC needs to be upfront, open, and honest about every single step by which it arrives at its conclusions."

She said that environmental activists, rather than scientists, had been submitting many comments to lobby authors.

Last month, another sceptic published a separate draft IPCC report that said it was at least 95 percent certain that most recent global warming was man-made, up from a probability of at least 90 percent in the previous IPCC report in 2007.

The reports also say that rising temperatures are set to bring more heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.

The IPCC said that "the early drafts of IPCC reports are just that - early drafts". They become official once adopted by governments after a long periods of reviews and re-writes.

Tuesday's leaked report looks at the impacts of climate change around the world. It says, for instance, that impacts "will likely affect productivity and economic growth, but the magnitude of this effect is not well understood".

"Climate change variability could be one of the causes why some countries are trapped in poverty, and climate change may make it harder to escape poverty traps," it said.

The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. vice president and climate campaigner Al Gore. It also came in for criticism in 2010 after its 2007 report exaggerated the pace of melt of Himalayan glaciers. (Reporting by Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent; Editing by Alison Williams)

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