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IPCC Fails In Education About Climate Change

What disasters threaten humanity in the future? The IPCC has presented its report about extreme weather events. According to the report, droughts, floods and heat waves could increase. But the report is dubious: certain research results are ignored, the full report itself remains secret.

Kampala – At the launch of the new climate report of the United Nations (UN) this Friday in the Ugandan capital Kampala already the first question of a local journalist revealed the dilemma of the UN’s IPCC: “What has triggered the landslide in Uganda this year?” the lady wanted to know. The response of the UN climate experts did not satisfy her: each landslide has many causes, whether man-made global warming plays a role can hardly ever be proven.

Even taking stock of extreme weather events is hard: A large amount of data is needed to determine at all whether the increasing greenhouse effect has changed the frequency of weather extremes in recent decades. But due to the rarity of extreme weather phenomena data is lacking- predictions are much more complicated.

Yet the UN climate panel (IPCC) dares now a report that will provide a glimpse into the future. On Friday, the IPCC has presented the report on extreme weather. The panel warns of an increase in heat waves, floods and torrential rain, unless the emissions of greenhouse gases will not be drastically reduced – SPIEGEL ONLINE had received substantial results in advance.

Pressure put on politicians

But officially the climate report remains secret: it will be released in February – one of the many weaknesses of the IPCC. Only the summary of the report was published officially on Friday. It is, however, a document, which politician and lawyers of the international community have negotiated in Kampala this week.

Another problem with the IPCC has appeared already before the completion of the IPCC reports: politicians had high expectations for the new IPCC report on extreme weather. “We are hoping for a boost to the climate negotiations in South Africa,” said EU climate policy makers in Brussels in early November at a preparatory meeting for the World Climate Summit, which begins later this month. The hope seems to have been fulfilled: media worldwide warned against weather disasters in the future on the occasion of the publication of the IPCC report.

Has the IPCC carried out its mission? The presentation of the IPCC report shows quite the opposite – this way the IPCC makes itself redundant. Its actual task is, according to the 1988 founding document, “to gather knowledge about climate change and inform the world about it.” The presentation of the new climate report shows it seems to be indifferent what scientists find out years of hard work – the message is always the same: “Everything is getting worse.” […]

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