This sunny, warm, spring Sunday morning in Germany brings us yet another spectacular scandal…one that shows how the Environment Ministry of the German government is not really interested in climate science after all, but in using the climate issue as an instrument to generate hundreds of millions of euros for funding pet environmental programs.
Daniel Wetzel of the online Die Welt brings us a story titled: “The Brazen Report-Falsification of Climate Tricksters“.
The story today is about how the conclusions the UN IPCC report released last month apparently did not satisfy the expectations of a series of German government agencies within the German Ministry of Environment, and so they made some major changes in their own German language four-page summary for the public and media. The four-page summary contains outright contradictions and falsifications of IPCC recommendations, Die Welt reports.
Wetzel first explains how condensing the monster size IPCC report into a summary that is only a few pages long (one that can be easily digested by the public) is a daunting task. More than 1000 pages of technical gobbledygook gets summarized into a 33-page Summary for Policymakers – in English. But that too is also too tough for an increasingly lazy German media and groups to get through. Die Welt writes:
And so the journalists, speakers and environmental groups were thankful that the German federal ministries and authorities responsible for climate protection provided a very clear four-page summary of ‘key points’ of the IPCC report.
Responsible for the German summary were four high-ranking institutions: led by Ministry of Environment, and involved were the German IPCC Coordinating Office in Bonn, the Environment Agency in Dessau, and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.”
This is where the scandal begins. The government agencies, obviously unhappy with the recommendations of the IPCC, simply ignored and changed some of the IPCC key findings in order to say the opposite in their 4-page German summary.
For example the German Ministry of Environment was not pleased that the IPCC report was sharply critical of the practice of maintaining a renewable energy subsidy system alongside an emissions trading system. Die Welt:
The UN declares emissions trading an effective instrument that makes subsidies for renewable energy unnecessary. But the German government reverses the conclusion and makes emissions trading the culprit that supposedly ‘constricts the impact of other measures’.”
Also the German report reverses the sense of an emission trading scheme. Wetzler at Die Welt explains:
Emissions trading is by definition a system in which a number of freely tradeable emission certificates is prescribed so that free market prices can result for the emissions certificates. From this system of a fixed certificate number and flexible prices, the German translation turns it into a system of flexible certificate numbers to force the highest possible price for emission rights.”
When asked by Die Welt to comment, the Environment Ministry simply shuffled the matter off to the German IPCC Coordination Office, who in turn played it down, claiming that the “core messages” were “not a literal or even official translation of the IPCC report.” and that it was “a first presentation of the report in an intelligible form.” and that “that elements of the report can be reflected only in highly abbreviated form. ”
Yet, it was good enough to use for informing the media and public?
“Not what we wrote”
When confronted, the IPCC responded by insisting that the German version “is not what we wrote.” Die Welt also asked the IPCC scientists concerning the German translation of their core messages. writes that they “reacted with surprise”. Die Welt quotes Edenhofer:
That’s not what we wrote in the IPCC report,’ declared Ottmar Edenhofer who as Co-Chair of Working Group III played a leading role in formulating the original IPCC report. ‘Fundamentally the purpose of an emissions trading system is not to generate high prices.’ ‘Only the original English version is important,’ says Edenhofer. […] What ‘the ministries or other agencies do with it is not in my hands.'”
Gross misinterpretations “a scandal”
Meanwhile the German Association for Emissions Trading and Climate Protection (BVEK) views the (mis)interpretations of the IPCC report as “a scandal. Die Welt quotes:
‘Essential statements of the UN IPCC were simply reversed to say the opposite,’ criticized association director Jürgen Hacker: ‘The demand for the highest possible CO2-prices have nothing to do with that statements of the UN report, but they do correspond very well to the interests of the German Federal Ministry of Environment.'”
Die Welt then writes that indeed the German Ministry of Environment was banking on high CO2 certificate prices. The auctioning of emission certificates was supposed to “feed a billion-euro ‘energy and climate fund’ which in turn would finance a number of environment programs of Ministry, led by Barbara Hendricks.” Now that certificate prices are so low, the German Ministry has to go begging for money, Die Welt writes.