Climate talks | Subscribe News

IPCC chairman dismisses climate report spoiler campaign

IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri

Chief of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri. Photograph: Elizabeth Ruiz/EPA


Powered by article titled “IPCC chairman dismisses climate report spoiler campaign” was written by Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent, for on Thursday 19th September 2013 16.31 UTC

The chairman of the United Nations’ climate panel has dismissed a contrarian spoiler campaign targeting next week’s blockbuster report, saying “rational people” will be convinced by the science.

In his first public comments on the organised effort to discredit the major climate change report ahead of its release on 27 September, Rajendra K Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said he was confident the high standards of the science in the report would make the case for climate action.

“There will be enough information provided so that rational people across the globe will see that action is needed on climate change,” Pachauri told a conference call.

“I really wouldn’t want to say anything about any perceived effort for a pushback,” he went on. “We are doing our job and we are reasonably confident that rational people in government and all over the world will see the merit of the work that has been done.”

Pachauri spoke to a small group of reporters on a conference call organised by the Natural Resources Defence Council ahead of a visit to the US by India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh.

Organisations that dismiss the science behind climate change and oppose curbs on greenhouse gas pollution have made a big push to cloud the release of the IPCC report, the result of six years of work by hundreds of scientists.

Those efforts this week extended to promoting the fiction of a recovery in the decline of Arctic sea ice.

The IPCC assessments, produced every six or seven years, are seen as the definitive report on climate change, incorporating the key findings from some 9,000 articles published in scientific journals.

But an error slipped into the 900-plus pages of the last such report in 2007 – the false claim the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035. That small mistake turned into a public relations disaster for the IPCC.

Pachauri also came under a barrage of personal criticism for his handling of the mistake.

The IPCC chairman suggested climate contrarians and those who oppose action on climate change deliberately exaggerated the significance of that error to try to damage the work of the IPCC – and so hurt the case for climate action.

He pointed out that the single error “was buried somewhere in the middle” and had never made its way to the summary for policymakers – prepared to guide government officials preparing for future climate change – or other areas of the report.

“It doesn’t in any way retract from the reality that glaciers in the Himalayas are melting. They are receding,” he said. “This is an error that should have been seen in a balanced way and should not have been made so much of.”

Even so, the controversy over the last assessment, and the political polarisation in America and other countries around climate science and the need for climate action, have created an additional layer of scrutiny around next week’s report.

Leaked drafts of the report suggest the teams of scientists, while re-affirming that humans are the drivers of climate change, may have couched some of their language.

Some scientists involved in the IPCC effort have asked whether such huge undertakings are still relevant, now that the science is now so certain, and asked whether it might not be a better use of resources to focus on specific regions or extreme weather events.

Pachauri said the IPCC would discuss those suggestions at a meeting in Batumi, Georgia, next month. But he said the final decision on the IPCC’s mission, and the future of the blockbuster climate reports, would rest with governments.

“We are an intergovernmental body and we do what the governments of the world want us to do,” he said. “If the governments decide we should do things differently and come up with a vastly different set of products we would be at their beck and call.”

For this assessment, however, in the wake of the 2007 backlash from climate doubters Pachauri said IPCC had taken additional measures throughout the long process of compiling the report, to ensure it was accurate and faithful to the science.

“We have done everything humanly possible to ensure that every stage of drafting, every stage of comments and expert reviews carried out, that we look for any potential error or any source of information that might not carry the highest levels of credibility,” he said. “We have done everything possible but this is a human endeavour and we just hope for the best.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

Comments are closed.

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.