Monday, August 30, 2010

InterAcademy Council Assesses U.N. IPCC in New Report

The InterAcademy Council released a report today saying the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) needs to make several changes to reduce errors and the chance of bias in its reports, including fundamentally reforming its management structure. The council is a consortium of national academies of science. The council said the IPCC should also establish an executive committee that includes people outside the climate-science community, and it should limit the term of its chairman to one term. The current limit of two six-year terms for the chairman "is too long," according to the council press release.

The reforms would aid in seeing that "due consideration was given to properly documented alternative views." In addition, the news release said, the IPCC's guidelines for dealing with sources that aren't peer-reviewed are "too vague" and should be made more specific to try to minimize errors from the use of such sources. The report called on the IPCC to better characterize uncertainty in particular aspects of climate science.

The report also called on the IPCC to develop a conflict-of-interest policy for participants.
The investigation was requested by the IPCC in March, following the disclosure of a handful of errors in the IPCC's 2007 climate-science report. Among the errors was a projection that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035. The IPCC later said that projection lacked scientific basis. (WSJ, 8/30/2010)

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