An Industry Out of Control: 13 Major Climate Reports in 2020, and 42 Minor Reports

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Yale Climate Connections has listed 13 major climate reports published this year, like it is a good thing. But at least 6 of the major reports received funding from US taxpayers.

13 major climate change reports released so far in 2020

These free studies and reports contain the latest authoritative information about food security, U.S. flood risks, renewable energy, and much more.

By Michael Svoboda, Ph.D. | Wednesday, August 19, 2020

If measured by the number of reports put out in just the first half of this year, the coronavirus has not slowed the work of the international, national, and non-governmental organizations keeping an eye on climate change.

And that’s a good thing. Because although it has temporarily reduced the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, the coronavirus crisis has done nothing to slow the climatic effects of the carbon dioxide already there after decades of fossil fuel combustion. The planet is still warming, the oceans are still acidifying, and more and more humans are experiencing the consequences.

Readers can also find a link to a much longer list of reports, which provides a measure of depth rather than breadth. Food security, for example, is the subject of six separate reports released since the start of the year, but only one is included in this month’s baker’s dozen.

Read more: https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/08/13-major-climate-change-reports-released-so-far-in-2020/

The reports listed by Yale:

State of the Climate 2019: Special Supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, edited by J. Blunden and D.S. Arndt (BAMS 2020, 435 pages, free download available here; a 10-page executive summary is also available) – paid for by taxpayers via NOAA

The First National Flood Risk Assessment: Defining America’s Growing Risk, by Flood Modelers (First Street Foundation 2020, 163 pages, free download available here) – not sure who pays for First Street Foundation

World Water Development Report 2020: Water and Climate Change, by UN Water (UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization 2020, 235 pages, free download available here) – paid for by taxpayers via the United Nations.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020: Transforming Food Systems for Affordable Healthy Diets, by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO (United Nations 2020, 320 pages, free download available here) – paid for by taxpayers via United Nations.

WHO Global Strategy on Health, Environment, and Climate Change: The Transformation Need to Improve Lives and Wellbeing through Healthy Environments, by WHO (UN-WHO 2020, 36 pages, free download available here) – paid for by taxpayers via United Nations

Cooling Emissions and Policy Synthesis Report: Benefits of Cooling Efficiency and the Kigali Amendment, by UNEP-IEA (UNEP and IEA 2020, 50 pages, free download available here) – paid for by taxpayers via the United Nations

The 2035 Report: Plummeting Solar, Wind, and Battery Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Electricity Future, by Sonia Aggarwal and Mike O’Boyle (Goldman School of Public Policy 2020, 37 pages, free download available here) – Goldman school was started by a charitable donation, so may still be privately funded.

Addressing Climate as a Systemic Risk: A Call to Action for U.S. Financial Regulators, by Veena Ramani (Ceres 2020, 68 pages, free download available here, registration required). Not sure who paid. Ceres Foundation is a tax exempt group based in Switzerland, who appear to function as a meta charity – they provide a vehicle for people who want to create a charitable fund without having to set everything up themselves.

Gender, Climate & Security: Sustaining Inclusive Peace on the Frontlines of Climate Change, by UN Women (UN Environment & Development Programs 2020, 52 pages, free download available here) – paid for by taxpayers via the United Nations.

Evicted by Climate Change: Confronting the Gendered Impacts of Climate-Induced Displacement, by Care International (Care International 2020, 33 pages, free download available here) – Care International receives a lot of funding from taxpayers via the EU and the United Nations.

Defending Tomorrow: The Climate Crisis and Threats Against Land and Environmental Defenders, by Global Witness (Global Witness 2020, 52 pages, free download available here). Global Witness appears to receive much of its money from FPOS, a George Soros Foundation.

Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution, by Pew Charitable Trust and System IQ (Pew Charitable Trust 2020, 153 pages, free download available here). Pew Trust is funded by other large trusts, it was originally founded by the children of Sun Oil family Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.

Adapting to a Change Climate: How Collaboration Addresses Unique Challenges in Climate-Change and Environmental Reporting, by Caroline Porter (Center for Cooperative Media 2020, 24 pages, free download available here) – Center for Cooperative Media appears to be funded by a long list of mostly private sponsors.

At least six of these major reports were funded by taxpayers, and several of the other major reports likely received funding from taxpayers. Who knows how many of the 42 “minor reports” were taxpayer funded.

I have no problem with private individuals or foundations giving their money to whomever they want, as private individuals they are free to spend their money however they want, but I am aghast at the waste of taxpayer’s money.

Imagine if all that taxpayer’s money had been spent on something useful, like finding new cures for deadly diseases.

Given the apparent willingness of private groups to fund major climate reports, I don’t see why reporting on climate change needs so much taxpayer funding.

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August 22, 2020 at 12:04AM

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