IPCC Crisis Deepens

  • Date: 09/02/10

The Nobel-prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change faces new challenges following a call for an investigation of its conduct and for its chairman to resign amid continuing criticism of the scientific basis of its reports. Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming called on Thursday for the independent investigation and for Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Geneva-based panel, to resign.

The panel has so far declined to make Dr. Pachauri available for an interview, and officials didn’t return phone calls or emails over the weekend seeking further comment. Republicans previously had pushed for him to resign in the fall.

The IPCC, whose vast reports on climate science influence policy makers and undergird global action against global warming, defends its work, saying that its reports “are as solid as careful science can make them,” and that it is required to include some literature that hasn’t been peer-reviewed and therefore requires “additional care and professional judgment” to evaluate.

Dr. Barrasso said that “new scandals” emerge “every day” about the “so-called ‘facts'” in the panel’s reports. “The integrity of the data and the integrity of the science have been compromised.…The scientific data behind these policies must be independently verified,” he said.

While evidence of global warming is voluminous and the notion of global warming has gained wide scientific acceptance, the credibility of the panel has been challenged by continuing allegations that its seminal 2007 climate-change study is plagued with unsubstantiated predictions about the danger posed by global warming.

These include longer-standing allegations of misleading claims about the pace at which rising temperatures will cause Himalayan glaciers to vanish and —more recently—to cause the Amazon rainforest to retreat and African agriculture to decline.

The latest allegations of problems with the science behind some of the IPCC’s claims come on the heels of revelations in the fall that prominent climate researchers, including several who helped write the its reports, refused to share data and tried to squelch dissenting views.

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