Officials from Saudi Arabia, the United States and Iran allegedly cast doubt on UN scientists’ findings and their recommendations at a UN meeting in western Germany, according to a report in Deutsche Welle. The climate talks ended with little progress made.
Environmental groups said Saudi Arabia, the United States and Iran were blocking progress on fulfilling the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord, as a UN meeting on the landmark deal ended in the western German city of Bonn on Thursday.
Saudi and US delegates reportedly questioned scientific research by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that found limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) would be safer than a 2.0-degree limit.
An article Chloé Farand in Climate Home News says that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5C report has been excluded from formal UN climate negotiations, after Saudi Arabia tried to discredit its scientific underpinnings.
At the closing plenary, which took place amid soaring summer temperatures in the former west German capital, a five-paragraph watered-down agreement put an end to formal discussions on the report.
The agreed text expressed “appreciation and gratitude” to the scientific community for the report, which it said “reflects the best available science” and notes “the views expressed on how to strengthen scientific knowledge on global warming of 1.5C”.
It offers no way forward for the report to be considered further in formal negotiations.
In the final meeting of the talks, diplomats came together to express their disappointment. Franz Perrez, lead negotiator for Switzerland, wore a t-shirt with the message “science is not negotiable” and urged countries to use the report to inform their policies and “make the right decisions”.
A diplomat from Costa Rica said the IPCC report on 1.5C represented “a great triumph of science” and that “the quality of the work and the robustness of the conclusions are a tremendous achievement”.
“We recognise that many messages of the special report are difficult to accept,” she said, adding: “On climate change, listening to the science is not a choice but a duty. If we are asking the world to change, we also, as representatives, need to be willing to change.”
The meeting’s chair Paul Watkinson said science remained “at the heart” of UN Climate Change’s science stream and that it is “essential for all our collective and individual activities”.
Carlos Fuller, lead negotiator for the alliance of small island states (Aosis), told Climate Home News he was disappointed there would be no other formal opportunities for countries to delve into the science.
“When anyone is trying to discredit the science it is worrying, especially in the middle of a heatwave. We are the ones suffering if others reject the science,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia is the main protagonist in this attack on science, although the US has come to its aid,” Oxfam’s Jan Kowalzig said.
The Saudi delegation also objected to including wording that welcomed the IPPC’s findings or any mention of the scientific body’s recommended emissions targets in a final text.
“Saudi Arabia, the US and Iran are forming an unholy alliance of science-deniers,” Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace said.