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Shifting blame

Mankind has had less effect on global warming than previously supposed, a U.N. report on climate change will say next year, according to the London Sunday Times.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet, but the organization has reduced its overall estimate of this effect by 25 percent.

In a final draft of its fourth assessment report, to be published in February, the panel reports that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has accelerated in the past five years. It also predicts that temperatures will rise by up to 4.5 degrees Celsius during the next 100 years, bringing more frequent heat waves and storms.

The panel, however, has lowered predictions of how much sea levels will rise in comparison with its last report in 2001.

Climate-change skeptics are expected to seize on the revised figures as evidence that action to combat global warming is less urgent, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and the outgoing chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, announced release of a committee booklet, “A Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism. Hot & Cold Media Spin Cycle: A Challenge to Journalists Who Cover Global Warming.”

A small triumph

President Bush won his first skirmish with the Iraq Study Group,” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton, the ISG directors, insisted the president adopt all 79 of its recommendations for changing policy in Iraq. Bush balked, and for good reason. A sizable chunk of the ISG’s advice — its call, for instance, for a new diplomatic outreach to Syria and Iran — is unrealistic and wrongheaded. Within 24 hours of the report’s release, Hamilton conceded he and Baker had never expected full compliance by Bush,” Mr. Barnes said.

“It was, however, a small triumph. The president faces significant hurdles in his effort to finesse the ISG report and the get-out-of-Iraq-now Democrats. Bush’s plan is twofold. First, while praising the ISG report, he’s already begun rejecting parts he doesn’t like, while other parts he’ll probably just ignore. Second, to quell Democratic (and media) opposition, he’ll invoke the ISG’s plea for bipartisanship and its support for ‘success’ in Iraq.

“Bush would no doubt have preferred to dismiss the report flatly, perhaps even contemptuously. He came to Washington six years ago with a strong desire to thumb his nose at the mandarins of the Washington establishment. And the ISG is a perfect embodiment of that establishment, both in who’s on it and the type of advice it’s offering. But given his political weakness and the unpopularity of the war in Iraq, Bush doesn’t have the option of snubbing the ISG.

“Still, the private scorn among Bush aides for the ISG was hard to disguise. One administration official said a line in Eliot Cohen’s analysis of the ISG report in the Wall Street Journal captured his view. ‘A fatuous process yields, necessarily, fatuous results,’ wrote Cohen, a military expert at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.”

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