The leak reveals Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are among countries asking the UN to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels.
This “lobbying” raises questions for the COP26 climate summit in November.
The leak reveals countries pushing back on UN recommendations for action and comes just days before they will be asked at the summit to make significant commitments to slow down climate change and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees.
One senior Australian government official rejects the conclusion that closing coal-fired power plants is necessary, even though ending the use of coal is one of the stated objectives the COP26 conference.
Some of the world’s biggest coal, oil, beef and animal feed-producing nations are attempting to strip a landmark UN climate report of findings that threaten those domestic economic interests, a major leak of documents seen by Unearthed has revealed.
The revelations – which show how this small clutch of nations is attempting to water-down the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) major upcoming assessment of the world’s options for limiting global warming – come just days before the start of crucial international climate negotiations in Glasgow.
They come from a leak of tens of thousands of comments by governments, corporations, academics and others on the draft report of the IPCC’s ‘Working Group III’ – an international team of experts that is assessing humanity’s remaining options for curbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or removing them from the atmosphere.
China, Saudi Arabia, India and Australia were among those who submitted comments urging scientists to downplay or “omit” phrases about the need to transition away from fossil fuels. Officials from the Australian government reportedly questioned the need for all of its coal-fired power plants to close as part of efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) represents 13 major oil-producing nations. It asked the authors to remove the statement: “If warming is to be restricted to 2°C, about 30% of oil, 50% of gas, and 80% of coal reserves will remain unburnable”.
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