Review of climate reports planned
International scientific panel is seeking outside evaluation in response to recent criticism.
The international scientific panel studying global warming is seeking independent outside review for how it makes major reports.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it’s seeking independent review because of recent criticism about its four 2007 reports.
Critics have found errors, including projections of retreats in Himalayan glaciers, in the thousands of pages of the reports.
Scientists say the problems are minor and have nothing to do with the major conclusions about man-made global warming and how it will harm people and ecosystems. But researchers acknowledge that they have been too slow to respond to criticisms in the past three months. And those criticisms seem to have resonated in poll results and media coverage that have put climate scientists on the defensive.
“The IPCC clearly has suffered a loss in public confidence,” said Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field, a chairman of one of the panel’s four main research groups. “And one of the things that I think the world deserves is a clear understanding of what aspects the IPCC does well and what aspects of the IPCC can be improved.”
In a statement issued Saturday by the climate change panel’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, the group of volunteer scientists said it tries to be accurate and follow procedures.
“But we recognize the criticism that has been leveled at us and the need to respond,” Pachauri said in the statement.
One example of the criticism was a Senate speech earlier this month when Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, called problems with the panel “the makings of a major scientific scandal.”
“There is a crisis of confidence in the IPCC,” Inhofe said Feb. 11. “The challenges to the integrity and credibility of the IPCC merit a closer examination by the U.S. Congress.”
The panel shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with Al Gore. The panel was created by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization.
Pachauri’s statement said the panel plans to find “distinguished experts” to review how it write its reports.
There were no details on how the review would be done. They will come soon, according to Pachauri’s statement.