Ed Miliband pleads for belief in climate change as fresh hole blown in claims
IT WOULD be "profoundly irresponsible" to allow recent controversies over scientific data to undermine the fight against global warming, Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said yesterday.
• Mr Miliband said the row did not undermine decades of research
He said it would be "devastating" for future generations if the world community did not continue with its efforts to cut carbon emissions and limit further temperature rises.
Mr Miliband was speaking amid claims that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may have known that a report it issued before last month's summit in Copenhagen exaggerated claims about the melting of the Himalayan glaciers.
The row followed the disclosure that the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia – already at the centre of a controversy over hacked e-mails – broke Freedom of Information rules in refusing to release research data.
Mr Miliband conceded the claims had been damaging and the IPCC had to reform some of its procedures in collecting data, but said they did not undermine the decades of climate research and the "overwhelming" majority of scientists agreed.
Mr Miliband said: "It is important that not just politicians but scientists come out and put this in context.
"Yes it was bad a mistake that was made, yes the IPCC needs to reform its procedures… so these kind of mistakes don't happen again.
"But the truth is it doesn't undermine decades of climate research and the overwhelming majority of scientists say that."
He added: "I think science is improved when criticised and improved when opened up. What I think is it is profoundly irresponsible is to suggest that one fact that was wrong about a glacier undermines the overall picture on climate change.
"There are people who want to say: 'Look this is all a load of nonsense, let's just stick our head in the sand, let's take the easy way out.'
"It would be much easier if climate change wasn't happening, it would be much easier for governments, and it would be much easier for the population at large.
"But it would be a disastrous way to go because it would be devastating for future generations."
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown said pledges to cut emissions mark the "first steps towards a historic transformation" in the fight against global warming.
As countries responsible for more than 80 per cent of the world's emissions inscribe their commitments to the Copenhagen Accord, the Prime Minister labelled the step a "turning point" in leading to a peak in emissions by 2020 and the target of keeping temperature rises below 2C.
But he called for more action and said lessons must be learned from the "flawed" process at the Copenhagen conference on climate change in December.
The two weeks of talks in the Danish capital descended into chaos with repeated clashes between rich and poor countries and wrangling over procedures.
The Copenhagen Accord, agreed on the last day following intervention by Mr Miliband, got developing countries to commit to action on their emissions, laid out finance to help developing countries, recognised temperatures should not go above 2C and ensured nations would monitor action to curb greenhouse gases.
But the deal – agreed by 49 countries – had no timetable for securing a legally-binding international treaty and there were no targets for global greenhouse gas cuts.
Countries were expected to submit pledges for reducing emissions by yesterday, although it is understood commitments will continue to be inscribed over the coming days.
In a letter to Dr Alan Williams, chair of the House of Commons Liaison Committee, Mr Brown – who is due to appear before the panel of senior MPs tomorrow – said: "Over the next few weeks the initial phase of the Copenhagen Accord will be completed."
He continued: "If those countries which agreed the Accord in Copenhagen inscribe into it the commitments they made in the run-up to the conference – and I believe it is very much in the global interest that they should do so – the international community will have taken the first steps towards a historic transformation in the trajectory of global emissions."
Mr Brown, who said "the process up to and at Copenhagen was clearly flawed", called for countries to work together to ensure the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change could bear the "huge expectations" on it and to find ways to balance all countries' views.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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