Is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Report Too Conservative?

In Cosmos Magazine (vis Sci Tech Daily):

Some voices, including from within the IPCC itself, fear the panel’s grand report will be badly out of date before it is even printed. Others quietly criticise the organisation as being too conservative in its appreciation of the climate threat.

The document to be issued in Valencia later this week boils down a 2,500-page, three-volume assessment issued this year, the first IPCC review of climate change since 2001.

The upcoming “synthesis report,” comprising a summary for policymakers of 25 pages, and a technical document of around 70 pages, puts in a nutshell the evidence for climate change, its likely impacts and the options for tackling it.

The analysis carries huge political weight. It will be a compass for guiding action on climate change for years to come, starting with a crucial U.N. conference in Bali next month.

But some experts are worried, fearing that the IPCC’s ponderous machinery, which gives birth to a new review only every five or six years, is falling dangerously behind with what’s happening to Earth’s climate systems.

The new report notably fails to take into account a batch of dramatic recent evidence, including the shrinkage of the Arctic ice cap, glacier loss in Greenland, a surge in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and an apparent slowing of Earth’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases, they say.