Climate report aims to blossom in Japan

Springtime in Japan It's springtime in Japan and the blossoms are spectacular as usual

Haiku, high towers and the scent of cherry blossom all come into play as government officials and scientists discuss the global impacts of climate change.

"There are no strangers under the cherry blossoms," said Mr Nobuteru Ishihara, Japan's minister for the environment, as he welcomed members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to what's likely to be a fractious session here in Yokohama.

The scientists and government officials will spend the next four days trying to clarify and summarise how climate change will impact the world over the next 100 years.

No easy task, and already there are some dissenting voices over the tone and content of the draft report.

But with the cherry trees in this huge city just about to bud, Mr Ishihara, was hoping to encourage a collective spirit in the work, by quoting from a celebrated haiku written by the Japanese poet and Buddhist preacher, Kobayashi Issa.

However, given that his audience is likely to spend the next few days, and possibly nights as well, working through every comma of a complicated text, the minister could also have cashed in on some Issa alternatives.

"All the time I pray to Buddha, I keep on killing mosquitoes."

Or, my personal favourite: "Hey sparrows, no urinating on my old winter quilt."

I can see that one coming in handy over the next week!

Classical allusions were all the rage in the opening ceremony, with the co-chair of the working group tasked with producing this new report describing the five-year effort to get it together as an "odyssey".

'Gloves are off'

Dr Chris Field highlighted the fact that the scale of this report was far broader than in the past. Over 300 authors worked on it, he said. There have been 50,000 review comments to process.

It had been a remarkable journey to produce a report that was "scientifically bold", he added.

Dr Field also gave an interesting new definition of what the IPCC is all about. He said there were plenty of organisations out there whose job was to share information about climate change.

"I think of them mainly as bells," he said, taking a leaf from earlier monastic references. "Their goal is to ring a message as loudly and clearly as possible.

"The IPCC is fundamentally different. It is more like a bell tower than a bell. Its role is to not so much ring the message of climate change as it is to elevate the community, giving everyone a chance to see farther and more clearly from a great height."

So when will the bells end?

I think it's likely that regardless of his intentions, the publication of this report next week will hear them tolling far and wide.

Listening carefully to all this talk of haiku and high towers was long-time IPCC chair Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

In his remarks, Dr Pachauri went out of his way to praise Japan's contribution, stating that he himself had visited the country on professional business 150 times. All these trips have made him something of a media star here and he's rapidly been booked up with interviews.

Journalists were let into the proceedings for an hour to hear these speeches, all the while closely watched by burly security staff, wearing immaculate uniforms.

But after the sweet-talking, we were asked to leave the room. The pleasantries were over. Unlike the security guards, the negotiators' kid gloves will definitely be coming off over the next few days.

IPCC meeting Down to the nitty-gritty: Dr Rajendra Pachauri is in demand here
Matt McGrath Article written by Matt McGrath Matt McGrath Environment correspondent


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  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    The climate change deniers are out, even they have no scientific evidence to support their views. No denier can point to any scientific evidence published in the peer reviewed literature. Why not because it doesn't exist, they are pathetic. AR5 IPCC WG1 reviewed over 9200 papers.Where are the denier papers in the peer reviewed literature, they just regurgitate the same old junk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Its fascinating how many people benefit from the idea of climate change: scientists, correspondents, politicians, engineers, even manufacturers--yet in spite of all the studies and reports and conferences and new taxes and fees and regulations and mandated technology changes none of it appears to be having an appreciable effect on the climate itself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Echoing the view of @33, what an astounding waste of licence fee payers money, no need to travel to Japan, the sooner the licence fee is abolished, let alone de-criminalised the better. It's all of your own making!

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    There have been many occasions in the past when the climate has warmed - it has absolutely nothing to do with CO2 levels or human-generated emissions.
    As the head of the Met Office freely admits, climate is a 'chaotic system' and attempts to use computer models to try to work out what climate will be like in 100 years time are completely valueless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    how can people deny something that doesn't exist?

    there is no proof co2 causes climate change. if there was the ipcc would say so. So to believe it does is an act of faith not science.

    so the use of the word denier is purely to create a curfew that hides the truth which the bbc is complicit in. The bbc have confused a debate between scientists to one between science and religion.

    prove the link

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    26.Disabled Dave
    Jack Napier:

    Bronze Age blacksmiths caused the rise in temperatures


    Nice of you to take me completely out of context. #6 claimed that the earth was warmer in the late bronze, roman & medieval eras.

    I pointed out that these were all periods of increased human industrialisation.

    I didn't realise that the paranoid mistrust of deniers had extended to historians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    An ancient forest has thawed from under a melting glacier in Alaska and is now exposed to the world for the first time in more than 1,000 years.

    so forests were there first and the ice later. Settlements are also being found as ice melts. So the correct narrative is we are coming out of global freezing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    23.Jack Napier
    particularly in regards to the widespread manufacture of iron implements, which at its most basic level involved burning lots of stuff at very high temperatures.

    Are you seriously suggesting lighting fires in the bronze age warmed the planet??? I've heard some whackos from the alarmist camp but this takes the biscuit! Thanks for the laugh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Got to laugh haven't you?

    These IPCC members flying all over the world to discuss the human effect of over-use of resources. Think of the cost of hosting that in different cities all the time.

    These lot have done rather more than their fare share of polluting and consuming. Maybe they are so blinkered they just don't see the irony of it all?

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Was it necessary for the BBC to send someone to Tokyo to produce drivel like this? Think of the carbon footprint, even if you don't think about the cost to the licence fee payer. The one thing more astouding was that Dr Pachauri claims to have visited Tokyo 150 times. Why? His time would have been better spent reviewing research. This sums up the IPCC - uncontrolled junketing achieving nothing

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.


    The evidence for contributory factors towards climate change I adhere to are not based on a social construction, unlike yours. That's all I need to say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    ah name calling and bearing false witness sums up the co2ers narrative They have NO facts to support their case so just try to create a curfew thro name calling Its for u to prove your co2 claim

    show me the proof co2 causes climate change
    tell me why co2ers decontextualise their data from ice age cycles
    why do they believe predictions from unvalidated models that can't recreate past climate.

  • Comment number 30.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    i think the climate modelers will be cringing at some of the claims being made here for bronze age 'industrialisation' causing climate change.

    ooo it think the ipcc would be interested if you have proved co2 causes climate change. Even they don't say that. Maybe they don't read the same books u do? Go tell them Try changing the wiki on holocene optimum if u think it wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.


    Look, I've also read some of your other postings on various issues, here on HYS and it does not take long to confirm the type of person (of which you are one) who tries to deny climate change is caused by human activity (e.g. CO2 emissions).

    That's all the evidence I need from you. Thank you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    2.Sine Wave
    2 Hours ago
    So NASA have spoken, just like they did 20+ years ago citing models of doom which have utterly failed when measured against the reality since then. Why are you still listening to them after wasting probably TRILLIONS of dollars? Are you stupid?

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Jack Napier:

    If a few thousand Bronze Age blacksmiths caused the rise in temperatures then the Industrial Revolution would have resulted in the entire planet frying to death, yet we are all still here. Presumably you think the high CO2 during the Carboniferous period was down to the plants having major industrial developments? Please get a grasp on reality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    if u co2er its propaganda for the rest of us its science

    Less ice in the Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 years ago

    Recent mapping of a number of raised beach ridges on the north coast of Greenland suggests that the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.


    You continue to give Wikipedia a bad name. Please desist.

    I don't personally need to show you any evidence, as the evidence is clearly in the environment and the academic literature.

    The time has come to stop arguing about the causes and now find solutions and pronto!

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    21.Macin Tosh
    @ Jack Napier #19
    Bronze Age "industrialisation" caused climate change? Really?


    I was responding to No6, but as you mention it there was a huge increase in industrialisation towards the end of the Bronze age, particularly in regards to the widespread manufacture of iron implements, which at its most basic level involved burning lots of stuff at very high temperatures.


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