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'Censored' IPCC summary reveals jockeying for key UN climate talks

By David Stern

Was the IPCC's latest report on climate change censored to suit the agendas of different countries?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

In the wake of this month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on ways to cut global greenhouse gas emissions, accusations began to fly in the media that the report had been censored by governments.

Are these accusations true? Well no, not exactly. Parts were edited out of the summary, although all of the details survive elsewhere in the report.

But although this doesn’t amount to the censorship scandal some people clearly wanted to read about, the edits do tell an interesting story. They show us that countries are already looking at how their bargaining chips will stack up at the crucial round of United Nations climate negotiations in Paris next year.

What part of the report was changed?

All IPCC reports include an executive summary called the Summary for Policymakers (SPM). The contents of this summary are approved by the member governments at a plenary meeting once the report itself is complete. This process begins with a draft developed by the researchers who wrote the actual report. Government delegates then debate which of these points should be included in the approved summary, and what emphasis...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.