Saturday, April 07, 2007

Censoring the IPCC on coral reefs?

More information on what was excised/censored from the summary of the IPCC Working Group II report (published yesterday) will probably leak out with time (some early pointers are noted in Grains of Sand, Baconbutty plus Dire warming report too soft, scientists say in the Los Angeles Times).

I have noticed one specific reference to excision with regard to coral reefs in news reports so far. James Kanter and Andy Revkin write in the New York Times (emphasis added):
Under pressure from nations including Russia, China and Saudi Arabia, the authors said, sections on coral damage and tropical storms were softened in the summary. They also got the authors to drop parts of an illustration showing how different emissions policies might limit damage.
It would be interesting to know what has been dropped. For reference, a comment attached to this post lists all the mentions of coral and coral reefs in the published IPCC summary.

If anyone has further information please let us know!


Blogger Caspar Henderson said...

Here are the references to corals and coral reefs in the summary of the Working Group II Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, as published on 6 April 2007.

Page 8: ‘The progressive acidification of oceans due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is expected to have negative impacts on marine shell forming organisms (e.g., corals) and their dependent species.’

Page 9: ‘Corals are vulnerable to thermal stress and have low adaptive capacity. Increases in sea surface temperature of abut 1 to 3°C are projected to result in more frequent coral bleaching events and widespread mortality, unless there is thermal adaptation or acclimatisation by corals.’

Page 10: ‘Towards the end of the 21st century, projected sea-level rise will affect low-lying areas with large populations. The cost of adaptation could amount to at least 5-10% of GDP. Mangroves and coral reefs are projected to be further degraded, with additional consequences for fisheries and tourism.’

Page 12: ‘Sea-level rise is projected to cause increased risk of flooding in low lying areas. Increases in sea surface temperature due to climate change are projected to have adverse effects on Mesoamerican coral reefs, and cause shifts in the location of south-east Pacific fish stocks.’

Page 13 ‘Deterioration in coastal conditions, for example through erosion of beaches and coral bleaching, is expected to affect local resources, e.g. fisheries, and reduce the value of these destinations for tourism.’

Page 16: [increases in intense tropical cyclone activity will cause] ‘damage to coral reefs.’

Page 19: ‘Non-climate stresses can increase vulnerability to climate change by reducing resilience and can also reduce adaptive capacity because of resource deployment to competing needs. For example, current stresses on some coral reefs include marine pollution and chemical runoff from agriculture as well as increase in water temperature and ocean acidification.’

3:28 pm  
Blogger Caspar Henderson said...

...and here's one I missed:

Page 11 'Significant loss of biodiversity is projected to occur by 2020 in some ecologically rich sites including the Great Barrier Reef...'

5:25 pm  

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