Decision on tenure at next meet, says Pachauri
The United Nations' top institution for climate change policy, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, has come in for sharp criticism from an independent review, which has recommended “fundamental reform of IPCC management structure.”
The IPCC had earlier found itself embroiled in a controversy over whether some of its members had deliberately overstated the case for climate change, prompting calls for such a review.
The review was conducted by the Inter-Academy Council and was “completely independent of the U.N.”, according to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The IAC's report criticised the leadership of the IPCC, which is chaired by Indian scientist Rajendra Pachauri, and its procedures and operational guidelines for research, areas such as governance and management, review process, characterising and communicating uncertainty and transparency.
The IAC said the IPCC should encourage review editors to “fully exercise their authority to ensure reviewers' comments are adequately considered by the authors” and that “genuine controversies” are adequately reflected in the report.
The review report said the current limit of two six-year term for the IPCC chairman was too long. The terms for the IPCC top leadership should be limited to one assessment in order to maintain a variety of perspectives and fresh approach to each assessment, the IAC noted.
According to reports Mr. Pachauri said the decision about the duration of his tenure would have to be made at the full meeting of the IPCC in Korea in October.
The IAC said stronger enforcement of existing IPCC review procedures were required to minimise the number of errors.
The use of so-called “gray literature” from unpublished or non-peer-reviewed sources has been controversial and the guidelines for the use of such literature were currently “too vague,” the IAC Committee was reported to have said.
Criticising the IPCC's “slow and inadequate response to revelations of errors”, in previous assessments and complaints that its leaders had gone beyond mandate to be “policy relevant, not policy prescriptive” in their public comments, the IAC said the climate body's communications had become a “critical issue.”
Overall the IAC committee noted the quality of the assessment process and results depended upon the quality of the leadership at all levels, adding: “It is only by engaging the energy and expertise of a large cadre of distinguished scholars as well as the thoughtful participation of government representatives that high standards are maintained and that truly authoritative assessments continue to be produced.”
The IAC stressed that because intense scrutiny from policymakers and the public was likely to continue, the IPCC “needs to be as transparent as possible in detailing its processes, particularly its criteria for selecting participants and the type of scientific and technical information to be assessed.”