Climate change summiteers perturbed by hacked emails

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, December 9, 2009
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To do it and how or simply not to, that is becoming the rub with the summiteers at Copenhagen where the contents of hacked emails loomed to render the UN climate talks sort of a "climategate."

The language used in those 1,079 hacked mails are being claimed by climate skeptics as proof of how scientists had manipulated data to exaggerate the climate change threat.

But believers rebuked hackers, arguing that the timing of disclosure was intended to undermine the Copenhagen conference which is expected to aim high at further reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), argued that the hacked mails will not hurt the integrity of the scientists who prepared the climate change report under the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri defended the trustworthiness of the scientists by saying at a Copenhagen press conference: "The persons who have worked on this report, and those who unfortunately have been victims of this terrible and illegal act (email hacking), are outstanding scientists, and have contributed enormously over the 20, 21 years of the existence of the IPCC."

On Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) boosted the sense of urgency for the climate change conference by showing the current decade is on track to become the hottest since records began in 1850, with 2009 the fifth warmest year ever.

The second warmest decade was the 1990s, according to the UN weather agency.

Without a global deal stopping climate change, the Earth's average temperatures will rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level "well before the end of the century," according to WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud.

Though over a decade's worth of email correspondence between British and U.S. scientists was hacked and posted on the Internet, the IPCC chief said: "I do not believe that it (the hacking) has damaged the credibility of IPCC, given the fact that that is a process where 2,500 scientists do not research themselves but review works that had been published and peer reviewed."

As the prime minister of the country where the hacked emails mostly originated, Gordon Brown said prior to the Copenhagen conference: "We mustn't be distracted by the behind-the-times, anti-science, flat-earth climate skeptics."

The British prime minister urged: "We know the science. We know what we must do. We must now act and close the 5 billion-ton gap."

Studies have suggested that 10 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions must be taken out of the atmosphere by 2020 and so far only half of that amount has been agreed by countries to take out.

Man-made or natural, extreme weather events in the form of unusual drought, flood, snowstorms, heat and cold waves in unusual places on Earth have indeed pointed to unexpected and unwanted climate change which needs the human attention for now or never.

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