According a leaked draft of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are at their highest level in at least 650,000 years, and there is now overwhelming evidence that the Earth's climate is undergoing drastic change due to human activity. The document -- the working draft of the fourth official report by the IPCC since its founding in 1998 -- is the international scientific panel's strongest statement to date.
So, who leaked it?
Why, the United States government. That's who.
It seems the Bush administration, which has been hugely critical of the IPCC, saw fit to post the draft prominently on the website of the US Climate Change Science Programme. Although that site says the document (not scheduled for release until February 2007) is "available for expert and government review," anyone who sends an email gets a password to view it.
Experts within the field see the leak as an attempt by the Bush administration to ultimately undermine the impact of the document. The UK Guardian talks to noted climatolgist Roger Pielke, who says: "I do have some suspicions. If the report is out there and the findings have been discussed, then it deflates the newsworthiness of the official report when it is released."
For a response, the paper turns to Harlan Watson, senior climate negotiator at the state department, who says: "I find it quite ironic that running an open process would be criticized. What we're doing is providing an opportunity for people to comment. It's not for us to say who the experts are."
What a crock.