A landmark report on climate change which was leaked online was seized upon by sceptics last night as evidence that man-made emissions are not behind global warming.
However, the report by the UN’s climate science panel, also found scientists believe it is now “virtually certain” that human greenhouse gas emissions trap energy that warms the planet.
The disparity between the interpretation of the report, which was not due to be released until next year, is due to conflicts of interests between different groups.
Sceptics say a key paragraph in the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) discusses how cosmic rays could have a greater warming influence on the planet than man- kind’s emissions. Climate change sceptics say this is “game-changing”.
Scientists from the IPCC said paragraph has been wrongly seized upon. It said: “The IPCC regrets this unauthorised posting which interferes with the process of assessment and review.
“We will continue not to comment on the contents of draft reports, as they are works in progress.”
But it later emerged the man who leaked the report was US-based climate sceptic Alex Rawls, who worked for the IPCC as an expert reviewer.
He said he believed it was his duty to leak the document. “The addition of one single sentence [discussing the influence of cosmic rays on the earth’s climate] demands the release of the whole. That sentence is an astounding bit of honesty, a killing admission that completely undercuts the main premise and the main conclusion of the full report, revealing the fundamental dishonesty of the whole.”
But a lead author of the relevant section, Professor Steve Sherwood, said the theory had been rejected later in the report.
“You could go and read those paragraphs yourself and the summary of it and see that we conclude exactly the opposite, that this cosmic ray effect that the paragraph is discussing appears to be negligible.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved