The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is packed with even more hot air than usual.
What is the link between a beautiful stretch of north Devon countryside, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, and that ever more curious body, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? The starting point for teasing out this riddle is a hefty new report just published by the IPCC on renewable energy. This has engulfed the IPCC in controversy yet again, after a preview of the report made headlines by claiming that, within 40 years, nearly 80 per cent of the world's energy needs could be met from renewable sources, most notably through a massive expansion of wind and solar power.
What only came to light when the full report was published last week was the peculiar source of this extraordinarily ambitious claim. It was based solely on a paper co-authored last year by an employee of Greenpeace International and something called the European Renewable Energy Council. This Brussels-based body, heavily funded by the EU, lobbies the European Commission on behalf of all the main renewable industries, such as wind and solar. The chief author of the Greenpeace paper, Sven Teske, was also a lead author on Chapter 10 of the IPCC report, which means that the report's headline message came from a full-time environmental activist, supported by a lobby group representing those industries that stand most to benefit financially from its findings.