The most important is a claim that global warming could cut rain-fed north African crop production by up to 50% by 2020, a remarkably short time for such a dramatic change. …
The African claims could be even more embarrassing for the IPCC because they appear not only in its report on climate change impacts but, unlike the glaciers claim, are also repeated in its Synthesis Report.
I guess this is closest that Leake is likely to come to admitting that he was wrong to pretend that mistake about Himalyan glaciers was a “central claim” in the IPCC report.
Anyway, what’s Leake’s beef with this part of the IPCC report?
The claims in the Synthesis Report go back to the IPCC’s report on the global impacts of climate change. It warns that all Africa faces a long-term threat from farmland turning to desert and then says of north Africa, “additional risks that could be exacerbated by climate change include greater erosion, deficiencies in yields from rain-fed agriculture of up to 50% during the 2000-20 period, and reductions in crop growth period (Agoumi, 2003)”.
“Agoumi” refers to a 2003 policy paper written for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canadian think tank. The paper was not peer-reviewed.
Its author was Professor Ali Agoumi, a Moroccan climate expert who looked at the potential impacts of climate change on Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. His report refers to the risk of “deficient yields from rain-based agriculture of up to 50% during the 2000-20 period”.
So, Agoumi supports what the IPCC says.
These claims refer to other reports prepared by civil servants in each of the three countries as submissions to the UN. These do not appear to have been peer-reviewed either.
And that’s it. Do these reports support Agoumi? Leake doesn’t tell us? Is there good evidence for the claim? Leake doesn’t seem to care. His only objection is that Agoumi’s paper wasn’t peer-reviewed. Now we know that Leake gets his material from Richard North, so let’s see what North has on his blog. Sure enough, the day before Leake’s story was published, North has an ‘Africagate’ post containing much of the source material that Leake used. But Leake has followed his usual dishonest practice of concealing facts that undercut the story he is spinning. North found that one of the reports did support Agoumi:
The report from the Moroccan government is quite explicit, and seems to lend some support to Agoumi. It states that it expects by 2020, “a decrease in cereal yields by 50% in dry years and 10% in normal years.”
and North concedes that official government reports are legitimate sources for the IPCC:
Agoumi’s primary references – which would have qualified as acceptable for the IPCC report
This, too, is not reported by Leake. Now, there is a slight mistake in the IPCC report, which refers to “countries” suffering from a decline of up to 50%, when the underlying reports only support this for one country, but this seems pretty trivial.
Leake also claims that
A leading British government scientist [Robert Watson] has warned the United Nations’ climate panel to tackle its blunders or lose all credibility.
But since Leake routinely misrepresents his sources, we don’t know what Watson really said.
So we have another case where there was scientific support for what was written in the IPCC report and Jonathan Leake deliberately concealed it.