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Climate Change chief won’t quit or apologise

February 7, 2010

This article was originally published in yesterday’s Straits Times (Saturday 6th February 2010) in Prime A25.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri

It says that Dr Ragendra Pachauri has come under fire over error in the IPCC report but he claims not to be responsible for the ‘melting glaciers’ claim. He allegedly told the Guardian in an interview that “you can’t expect me to be personally responsible for every word in the 3,000 page report”, referring to the 2007 4th IPCC Assessment Report.

He adds “I think this mistake has certainly cost us dear, there is no question about it. Everybody thought that what the IPCC brought out was the gold standard and nothing could go wrong. But don’t look at the larger picture; don’t get blinded by this one mistake.”

Dr Rajendra Pachauri is the current chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and because of the error, even Mr John Sauven, director of Greenpeace UK has asked him to step down.

Mr John Sauven, Greenpeace UK

The mistake in the report has hurt the IPCC’s credibility but Dr Pachauri insisted that this saga should not undermine the “basic truth” that human activity was causing temperatures to rise, and the climate to change. The IPCC is working on the 5th Assessment Report and Dr Pachauri said that it would stress to writers the importances of checking sources. Peer review science came up as an important part of the accepted sources procedure in IPCC report writing.

I suppose the important thing we need to note here is that science is not perfect and that uncertainty will continute to plague us, especially when it comes to climate change. The climate is changing in ways we cannot predict or even begin to imagine, so what should the science tell us? We need to engage in the precautionary principle, rather than argue about whether the science is right or not. I think it’s ridiculous that people waste their time arguing about who’s right or wrong when actual solutions can be implemented, time and money be better spent to help those experiencing climate injustice NOW.

Supporters of Dr Pachauri include India’s PM Manmohan Singh, who said: “Let me reassert that India has full confidence in the IPCC process and its leadership and will support it in every way.”

Indian PM Manmohan Singh


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