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Greenhouse row New Scientist 24th August 1996
THE authors of the latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been accused of altering key passages after the completion of the report's peer-review process last year. The passages appear in a chapter on whether the "hand of man" can be seen in recent global warming. Roger Bate, environment director of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, says a sentence admitting that "none of the studies cited has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed changes [in global temperature] to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases" was deleted. It was replaced by the claim that "if changes cannot be fully explained by natural climate variability, some (unknown) fraction of the changes must be due to human influences". The original text was agreed by a conference of scientists in Madrid last November, but was altered prior to publication in June. "I'm not making a judgment about which version is correct or about the authors' motives, but these are significant changes and an abuse of the scientific process," says Bate.