* Costs "almost insignificant" compared to growth-U.S.
* U.N. to issue report Nov. 2 summing up climate science
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent
OSLO, Oct 20 The United States and European
Union want the U.N. to stress the low cost of fighting climate
change in a draft handbook on the issue that it is compiling, a
leaked document showed on Tuesday.
The United States wants the handbook to do more to show that
the costs of action "will be almost insignificant relative to
projected growth", the document showed.
In more than 2,000 comments on the U.N. draft, obtained by
Reuters, some governments also suggested more explanation of why
the pace of temperature rises since 1998 has slowed even when
greenhouse gas emissions have hit record highs.
The 32-page draft drawn up by top climate scientists and due
for publication on Nov. 2 after editing next week in Copenhagen
will guide almost 200 governments that aim to agree a deal to
slow global warming at a U.N. summit in Paris in December 2015.
The synthesis report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) seeks to sum up three studies of more
than 1,000 pages each, published since mid-2013 about the risks
of warming and ways to limit heat waves, floods and rising seas.
Among comments, Washington said the draft's findings about
the small cost of fighting climate change were highlighted more
clearly in a report issued in April.
The European Union also suggested changes to stress that the
cost of cutting greenhouse gases, mainly by shifting from fossil
fuels towards renewable energies such as wind and solar power,
"looks relatively modest".
TINY BRAKE ON GROWTH
The report says actions to fight climate change will cut
global growth in consumption of goods and services by 0.06
percent a year over the 21st century, relative to expected
growth of 1.6 to 3.0 percent a year without action.
Nations including India urged the IPCC to drop consumption
as the yardstick of growth and shift to talk about gross
domestic product as a more easily understood measure.
The United States also said many tables in the draft report
were "remarkably dense" and "may be impenetrable to the
policymaker or the public".
The draft says that rising greenhouse gas emissions are
raising the chances of "severe, pervasive and irreversible"
impacts for people and nature, ranging from damage to coral
reefs to a melt of polar ice sheets.
But it holds out some hope, saying that work to adapt to
climate change twinned with "substantial, sustained" cuts in
rising emissions of greenhouse gases can limit the risks.
It reiterates past findings that it is at least 95 percent
probable that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, rather
than natural swings in the climate, are the main cause of
warming since 1950.
Nations including OPEC member Saudi Arabia, which worries
that a shift to renewable energy will undermine its
oil-dependent economy, urged changes to reflect a slowdown of
the rate of warming at the Earth's surface since 1998.
The draft says short-term natural variations in the climate
can mask long-term warming. It says 1998 was an exceptionally
warm year because of a natural El Nino weather event that heated
Saudi Arabia said that the period of the slowdown should be
extended to 1998-2014 from 1998-2012 in the draft.
Russia also called for deletion of reference to pledges made
by governments in 2010 to limit global warming at a U.N. meeting
in Cancun, Mexico. The report says those promises are
insufficient as a long-term solution.
"The text describing Cancun pledges should be removed, since
it is a political matter," Russia said. "Anyway, by the end of
2015 they will be out of date" after the Paris deal is agreed.
(Editing by Hugh Lawson)