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Updated: February 7, 2010 19:00 IST

IPCC report faces fresh questions

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IPCC chief R.K. Pachauri listens to a speaker at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi on Saturday.
AP IPCC chief R.K. Pachauri listens to a speaker at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi on Saturday.

The U.N. climate panel headed by R.K. Pachauri faced fresh allegations on Sunday with a British paper claiming that the data contained in its report on the potential of wave power and drop in north Africa’s crop output by half were not properly substantiated.

The Sunday Telegraph, which is carrying on a campaign against Mr. Pachauri, claimed it has discovered a series of new flaws in the report, even as Mr. Pachauri’s predecessor said he “cannot be personally blamed” for the errors.

The latest discrepancies, relate among others to the claim that global warming could cut crop production in rain-fed north Africa by up to 50 per cent by 2020, that has been quoted by Mr. Pachauri and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon in speeches.

This weekend Chris Field, the new lead author of the IPCC’s climate impacts team, told the newspaper that he could find nothing in the report to support the claim.

The paper claimed it has discovered a series of new flaws in the IPCC report, including the publication of inaccurate data on the potential of wave power to produce electricity around the world, which was wrongly attributed to the website of a commercial wave-energy company.

It also came out with claims in the report that were allegedly based on information in press releases and newsletters, new examples of statements based on student dissertations and more claims which were based on reports produced by environmental pressure groups.

Meanwhile, Bob Watson who chaired the IPCC between 1997 and 2002, insisted that despite the errors there was little doubt that human-induced climate change was a reality.

“It is concerning that these mistakes have appeared in the IPCC report, but there is no doubt the earth’s climate is changing and the only way we can explain those changes is primarily human activity,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.

Mr. Watson called for changes in the way IPCC compiles future reports and said the chairman must take responsibility for correcting errors, but added that Mr. Pachauri “cannot be personally blamed for one or two incorrect sentences in the IPCC report."

Last month, the panel was forced to issue a retraction after it emerged that its claims about the melting of Himalayan glaciers were inaccurate.

“And on Friday, it emerged that the IPCC’s panel had wrongly reported that more than half of the Netherlands was below sea level because it had failed to check information supplied by a Dutch government agency,” the report said.

Researchers, however, insist the errors are minor and do not impact on the overall conclusions about climate change.

The claim over north Africa crop production appear not only in its report on climate change but unlike the glaciers claim, are also repeated in its Synthesis Report, it said.

The Hindu presents the all-new Young World


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