Thursday, April 12, 2007

The IPCC drafts

Differences in the IPCC Working Group 2 Summary before and after political negotiations are posted here. With regard to coral reefs there are at least these changes.

Page 9, original:
It is likely that corals will experience a major decline due to increased bleaching and mortality due to rising seawater temperatures. Salt marshes and mangroves will be negatively affected by sea-level rise.
After political negotiation:
Corals are vulnerable to thermal stress and have low adaptive capacity. Increases in sea surface temperature of about 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 12, original:
Increases in sea surface temperature are likely to have adverse effects on Mesoamerican coral reefs, and shifts in the location of south-east Pacific fish stocks.
After political negotiation
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.
(see also More on IPCC censorship)

[P.S. I missed a 10 April response on Coral List from John Hocevar, Senior Oceans Specialist at Greenpeace USA, to my 7 April post about IPCC WGII on this blog. For ease of access, a copy is now attached as comment to this post]

2 Comments:

Blogger Caspar Henderson said...

On 10 April John Hocevar wrote:

Greenpeace was present for the IPCC Working Group negotiations, and can verify what was written in the New York Times. With respect to coral bleaching, for example, language to the effect that sea surface temperature spikes of 1 degree above average cause bleaching, and temperature spikes of 3 degrees cause widespread coral mortality was modified under pressure from the U.S. delegation (led by Ko Barrett of NOAA). Several countries objected, including New Zealand, Germany, and France, but ultimately the statement was qualified to say that "Increases in sea surface temperature of about 1 to 3 degrees C are projected to result in more frequent coral bleaching events and widespread mortality, UNLESS THERE IS THERMAL ADAPTATION OR ACCLIMATISATION BY CORALS."

It's hard to argue with a hypothetical clause, but of course the issue is that we have a government that is still in denial about climate change when what is needed is leadership. If we are going to have any chance of saving coral reefs, it is going to take government action: mandatory reductions of CO2 emissions and strong support of renewable energy.

John Hocevar
Senior Oceans Specialist
Greenpeace USA

6:05 pm  
Blogger Simon Donner said...

I think that clause is reasonable, if it is followed by a statement about what adaptation would entail (ie. not a panacea).

Also, knowing the literature on this fairly well, and having reviewed parts of the WG II, I think the "1-3 deg C" must have been changed from "1-2 deg C".

Nevertheless, the end message is still the same.

9:34 pm  

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