Monday, July 5, 2010

Dutch review backs UN climate panel report

Amazon forest. A UK newspaper had to apologise over inaccurate reporting in the AmazonGate' episode.  SPL / BBC

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News
Page last updated at 12:23 GMT, Monday, 5 July 2010 13:23 UK

A Dutch inquiry into the UN's climate science panel has found "no errors that would undermine the main conclusions" on probable impacts of climate change.

However, it says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should be more transparent in its workings.

The Dutch parliament asked for the inquiry after two mistakes were identified in the IPCC's 2007 report.

The inquiry is the latest in a series that have largely backed "mainstream" climate science against detractors.

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) does not give the panel a completely clean bill of health, however.

Whereas the IPCC's landmark Fourth Assessment (AR4) from 2007 "conclusively shows" that impacts of human-induced climate change are already tangible in many places around the world and will become more serious as temperatures increase, PBL also says the foundation for some of the specific projections "could have been made more transparent".

The Netherlands inquiry adds that the IPCC's summaries tended to emphasise "worst-case scenarios".

However, this was disputed by scientists who had played a leading role in AR4.

"The net impacts of climate change are not beneficial," said David Vaughan, science leader at the British Antarctic Survey, who coordinated the AR4 chapter on polar impacts.

Martin Parry, visiting professor at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change Research at Imperial College London who co-chaired AR4 Working Group 2 on climate impacts, welcomed the PBL report.

"We welcome the conclusion of this report, which is essentially that our conclusions are safe, sound and reliable," he said.

"The IPCC is about to venture into the next assessment; so it's important that we learn from these issues, and it's important not to be defensive, and I think that's how the IPCC is approaching things now." …

Dutch review backs UN climate panel report

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