The sensitivity issue

An early peek at the next assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change hints at retreat from a vital element of global-warming alarm. The Economist reported this month that a document seen by its reporters indicates a softening of position by IPCC writers on climate sensitivity. The shift, if confirmed by final versions of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment, would be important news. IPCC, the United Nations-World Meteorological Organization group assessing the science of human-induced climate change, responded to the Economist report with an important caveat. The Economist, it said, reported a table subject to change by the time the source, a group studying mitigation, submits its...

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