IPCC's claim over Amazonian rainforest 'unsubstantiated'

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London, Jan. 31 (ANI): In another blow to United Nations climate watchdog's credibility, it has emerged that its claim that global warming might wipe out 40 percent of the Amazon rainforest was based on an unsubstantiated claim by green campaigners.

In its 2007 benchmark report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had said that even a slight change in rainfall could see swathes of the rainforest rapidly replaced by savanna grassland.

"Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state. It is more probable that forests will be replaced by ecosystems that have more resistance to multiple stresses caused by temperature increase, droughts and fires, such as tropical savannas," the report said.

The source for its claim was a report from WWF, an environmental pressure group, which itself had little scientific evidence to back its claim. The group had based their "research" on a study published in Nature, which did not assess rainfall but in fact looked at the impact on the forest of human activity such as logging and burning, The Times reports.

This is the third time in as many weeks that serious doubts have been raised over the IPCC's conclusions on climate change.

Recently, it had emerged that its warning about ice disappearing from the world's mountain tops was based on a student's thesis and an article published in a mountaineering magazine.

Earlier, the IPCC had to issue a humiliating apology over its inaccurate claim that global warming will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was based on a "speculative" article published in New Scientist.

After the surfacing of the fact that IPCC has been using unsubstantiated claims and sources for its warnings, sceptics have cast doubt over the validity of the IPCC and have called for the panel to be disbanded.

Scientists fear the controversies will be used by climate change sceptics to sway public opinion to ignore global warming - even though the fundamental science, that greenhouse gases can heat the world, remains strong. (ANI)

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