Scientists pan ‘alarmist’ UN climate report, green groups cite in fundraising

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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A United Nations climate report is being slammed by climate scientists as “alarmist,” but that hasn’t stopped environmental groups from fundraising off it.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the latest update to its fifth climate assessment, laying out the dangers the world faces from rising global temperatures.

“The stark warning: There isn’t a place on earth that isn’t already feeling the effects of climate change,” the Environmental Defense Fund wrote in an email to supporters. “Even if we slash emissions immediately, societies around the globe will have to take major steps to adapt to warming we’re already seeing. And it will get worse.”

“Over the next few days, we’ll have more to say about this report and what it means in our fight to avoid climate catastrophe,” the EDF email continued. “For now, your donation today to our 2014 Annual Fund is the most important step you can take to support our all-out effort to fight for climate action here in the U.S. and around the world.”

The IPCC’s report doubles down on claims that global warming poses a huge risk to future generations. The report says that warming has been felt “on all continents and across the ocean” and that countries could see their lands shrink and natural resources become more scarce as the world warms.

“We’re all sitting ducks,” Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer, one of the report’s main authors, told the Associated Press.

But the IPCC report has been called “too alarmist” by one of the report’s authors who pulled out of drafting the document. Richard Tol, an economist at Sussex University said that the report downplayed any potential benefits of global warming, including fewer deaths in winter and increased crop production in some areas of the world.

“The drafts became too alarmist,” Tol told Reuters, adding that other authors of the report “strongly disagree with me.”

“It is pretty damn obvious that there are positive impacts of climate change, even though we are not always allowed to talk about them,” he added.

Tol is not the only UN expert tasked with drafting its comprehensive climate report. In the past, other experts have had some strong words for the UN IPCC report and the integrity of its scientific studies.

“I was at the table with three Europeans, and we were having lunch. And they were talking about their role as lead authors,” climatologist Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who served as a lead author on the UN IPCC’s third 3rd assessment report in 2001, told CNN in May 2007.

“And they were talking about how they were trying to make the report so dramatic that the United States would just have to sign that Kyoto Protocol,” Christy added.

Christopher Landsea, a hurricane expert at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, resigned from working on the UN IPCC’s fourth climate report after working on the group’s 1995 report and 2001 report. Landsea wrote a public letter in January 2005 saying he was withdrawing from the UN because “I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized.”

“In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns,” Landsea wrote. “I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound.”

Regardless of what scientists have said in the past about the IPCC’s review process, environmentalists are still playing up the dire predictions of the panel’s latest report.

“This is a serious moment and, as today’s IPCC report underscores, time is running out,” the EDF told supporters. “What we do together in the coming days, weeks and months could make a huge difference in this fight. I hope we can count on your Annual Fund support today to help us respond the growing climate threat.”

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