The Trump administration criticized key aspects of the United Nations’ upcoming report on meeting the stretch goal of the Paris climate accords, according to leaked comments.
UN officials want the upcoming report to spur more action to fight global warming, but leaked comments seen by Climate Home News show the Trump administration isn’t totally buying it.
The U.S. submitted nine pages of comments to the UN over its soon-to-be-published report on from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on keeping future global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
While the leaked comments don’t fully represent the Trump administration’s position, officials criticized key aspects of the upcoming IPCC. Government comments are supposed to be kept confidential.
U.S. officials criticized the summary for policymakers (SPM) section, which lays out the supposed consequences of future warming and policy pathways to limit such climate change.
“The SPM narrative fails to communicate the scale of the global technological and economic challenge to meet the 1.5C objective,” the U.S. wrote in its comments.
“The SPM implies that these challenges will be minor and any trade-offs easily resolved, whereas the underlying report and the published literature clearly demonstrate the scope and depth of these barriers to limiting emissions consistent with 1.5C,” officials added.
The Trump administration also called into question the climate models used to estimate future impacts of any warming. Indeed, climate models have come under increased scrutiny in recent years since they’ve consistently over-predicted warming.
“There is no discussion — or a summary thereof — in the SPM regarding the credibility of models (or methodologies) used in the report to project future impacts,” U.S. officials said, adding that “most” models incorrectly predicted the rate of warming since the 1990s.
U.S. officials aren’t the only ones to call into question the plausibility of the UN’s views. A paper by University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke Jr. laid out many of the problems with the UN’s assumptions about keeping global warming in line with the Paris accord.
“In the face of ongoing failure to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, they are rejiggering the way they define the climate change challenge as if that will somehow allow policies that have been failing for over 25 years to become successful,” Pielke wrote in his paper.