IPCC chief Pachauri welcomes debate on climate science

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London, June 16 (ANI): The chairman of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri, has said that he welcomes "the development of a vigorous debate" on climate science.

In an article for the BBC's Green Room series, he said those on the side of "consensus" must remember that debate drives the evolution of knowledge.

"As the scope of (IPCC) findings has increased... it is inevitable that everything that the IPCC does is now under the lens of public scrutiny and criticism," he writes.

"This requires the panel to ensure a high level of transparency and objectivity in all that it does."

Critics have accused the IPCC of making multiple errors in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), but Dr. Pachauri admits to just one - citing 2035 as the date by which Himalayan glaciers may have melted away.

"It was, and is, inevitable that such an incident would lead to criticism and - quite rightly - to both internal and external examination," he writes.

He adds: "However, at times in the last six months it has become apparent that many people either do not know, or have forgotten, what the IPCC actually is: what it was formed to do, who it reports to, and what its current mandate is."

Tuesday's session of the Inter-Academy Council reviewed testimony from four people who have all worked closely with the IPCC down the years.

Robert Watson, now a senior UK government adviser, chaired the organisation between 1997 and 2002.

Dr Pachauri testified to Harold Shapiro's IAC panel in Amsterdam. Christopher Field, an ecologist based at Stanford University in California, now leads the working group on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. The other two speakers are Hans von Storch, director of the Institute of Coastal Research in Geesthacht, Germany, and John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, US.

The IAC panel will conclude its deliberations by the end of August. Its report will then go out for peer review before being formally presented at an IPCC meeting in South Korea in October - a meeting that will set parameters for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). (ANI)

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