Engadgits analysis of new data on climate-related carbon emissions shows that the data on global warming, and the methods for measuring them, have become far more difficult to collect and publish.
The authors conclude that this is a significant and dangerous shift that threatens to undermine the credibility of climate science.
“Data analysis and reporting on global climate change is one of the few fields in which climate science is widely held to be of high credibility,” said the authors, published in the Journal of Climate.
“Climate scientists have become increasingly cautious and uncertain about their claims about the nature of climate change, their methods, and their consequences.”
The researchers at the University of New South Wales have also used statistical techniques to examine the climate change claims of politicians, including the government, which is widely seen as a key supporter of the cause.
They found that when politicians were asked to explain the impacts of global warming on the economy, the data they were asked about were often “noisy” and not reliable, and that the quality of the data used was often poor.
In addition, when politicians said that their governments were working to mitigate the impacts, the information they were given was often misleading.
The data is “unusually noisy”, and “does not reliably capture the scale of changes that have occurred” and could be misleading, said the paper.
The new findings from the University’s Climate and Energy department, which also includes a PhD candidate, come as the United Nations climate change negotiations in Bonn are taking place.
The U.N. climate negotiations in Germany will be the final opportunity for negotiators to discuss the draft climate agreement, known as the “Paris Agreement”.
The draft agreement will be a legally binding agreement that will set the framework for negotiations to follow in 2020.
The draft climate deal is expected to include a number of measures that have been rejected by negotiators from the previous agreement, which included a carbon tax, a carbon market, a cap-and-trade system, and measures to limit emissions from existing power plants and cement factories.
“In the final phase of the negotiations, negotiators will have to take into account all the different approaches and proposals that have emerged from the climate negotiations,” the paper said.
“It will be important to have a wide range of opinions on how the draft agreement should be structured, including those that are different from those that were accepted at the previous negotiations.”
The authors of the study, led by Dr. John M. McEwen, said that the lack of reliable data on the impacts and the lack that are widely reported on is a major issue that is “increasingly worrying”.
“A key challenge for climate scientists, and for governments, is to develop more reliable and open data sources that are easily accessible, accessible, and widely shared,” they said.