UN climate chief rules out conspiracy behind debate

UN's climate change body's chief Pachauri says whole system cannot be blamed

The march continues
Image Credit: Reuters
People in giant panda suits and mimes dance before a march to the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen yesterday.
03 Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: There is no conspiracy behind climate change and its anticipated impact, the UN's climate change body's chief has said.

In an interview with Gulf News, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), said: "In every field of endeavour, there might be a few ‘black sheep' who deviate from ethical practices. But that does not mean the whole system can be labelled as being dishonest or fraudulent on the basis of one particular incident, even if it was true."

He was reacting to a scandal that erupted last month after leaked e-mails exchanged between scientists at UK's renowned University of East Anglia (UEA) apparently suggested that scientists manipulated data to exaggerate the impact of global warming.

The incident created an uproar, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, with climate change sceptics using it to support their point.

Exaggeration

"Why is there any need to exaggerate the effects of climate change when the reality itself is so stark?" Pachauri asks. He was in the capital shortly before heading to the Copenhagen conference.

The scandal broke on November 19 when hundreds of UEA's internal e-mails were hacked and posted in the public domain. "We are living in an age when there is no chance someone can get away with any make believe, at least not for long," he said.

Investigations are ongoing to verify the truth behind the e-mails and to find those who hacked the university's server. The e-mails also suggested the scientists were able to prevent publishing of works they did not agree with in the IPCC's fourth assessment report in 2007.

Defending IPCC, widely regarded as the leading authority in the world on climate change, Pachauri said: "I m not aware of the actions of individuals. But IPCC is an extremely transparent body. Everything we do is in the public domain. Those we deploy to carry out assessments are selected from a long list of people nominated by governments based on their individual backgrounds, experience and expertise. "At every stage of the draft of any report IPCC produces we carry out detailed peer reviews. Each of these comments is put up on the website after which the authors decide on accepting or rejecting the reviews. Again, reason has to be shown for rejecting a comment," he said.

New research suggests the earth is heading towards six degrees temperature rise by the end of the century.

Do you consider climate change to be a real threat? How damaging will the email controversy be to those who support action against global warming? What steps do you take to maintain a 'green' lifestyle?

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Latest Comment

The emails just reinforces what a lot of skeptics were saying anyway. The peer review process appears to be political, not objective.The refusal to release raw data suggests that the data is open to alternative interpretation besides possibly being illegal under the British Freedom of Information act.The 'hide the decline' email suggests that information is systematically presented in a misleading way.

Ben

13 December 2009 18:54jump to comments
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