Pachauri`s IPCC report faces fresh questions
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 07, 2010, 19:48
  
London: The UN climate panel headed by Rajendra Pachauri faced fresh allegations Sunday with a British paper claiming that the data contained in its report on the potential of wave power and drop in north Africa's crop output by half were not properly substantiated.

The Sunday Telegraph, which is carrying on a campaign against Pachauri, claimed it has discovered a series of new flaws in the report, even as Pachauri's predecessor said he "cannot be personally blamed" for the errors.

The latest discrepancies, relate among others to the claim that global warming could cut crop production in rain- fed north Africa by up to 50 per cent by 2020, that has been quoted by Pachauri and UN chief Ban Ki-moon in speeches.

This weekend Chris Field, the new lead author of the IPCC's climate impacts team, told the newspaper that he could find nothing in the report to support the claim.

The paper claimed it has discovered a series of new flaws in the IPCC report, including the publication of inaccurate data on the potential of wave power to produce electricity around the world, which was wrongly attributed to the website of a commercial wave-energy company.

It also came out with claims in the report that were allegedly based on information in press releases and newsletters, new examples of statements based on student dissertations and more claims which were based on reports produced by environmental pressure groups.

Meanwhile, Bob Watson who chaired the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) between 1997 and 2002, insisted that despite the errors there was little doubt that human- induced climate change was a reality.

"It is concerning that these mistakes have appeared in the IPCC report, but there is no doubt the earth's climate is changing and the only way we can explain those changes is primarily human activity," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

Watson called for changes in the way IPCC compiles future reports and said the chairman must take responsibility for correcting errors, but added Pachauri "cannot be personally blamed for one or two incorrect sentences in the IPCC report".

Last month, the panel was forced to issue a retraction after it emerged that its claims about the melting of Himalayan glaciers were inaccurate.

"And on Friday, it emerged that the IPCC's panel had wrongly reported that more than half of the Netherlands was below sea level because it had failed to check information supplied by a Dutch government agency," the report said.

Researchers, however, insist the errors are minor and do not impact on the overall conclusions about climate change.

The claim over North Africa crop production appear not only in its report on climate change but unlike the glaciers claim, are also repeated in its Synthesis Report, it said.

The paper also claimed that The Energy and Research Institute, of which Pachauri is director-general, has handed out a series of environmental awards to companies that have given it financial support like Pepsi, ONGC and Hero Honda, as well as Indian businesses, raising questions over possible conflict of interest.

The report claimed that Teri's biggest single sponsor, BP India which has provided 6 million pounds, paid for dinner and drinks at an event publicising Pachauri's debut novel.

Pachauri has repeatedly denied any conflict of interest between his work for the IPCC and his work for Teri.

The Department for International Development (DfID) has pledged to give Teri up to 10 million pounds in grants for five years but will subject the institute to an "institutional assessment", expected to take at least five months, before handing over any of the money.

A DfiD spokesman described Teri as a "globally respected institution" and said "their accounts are externally audited and annually submitted to the government of India".

In another report, the paper pointed out that the carbon footprint of Pachauri, amounted to a whopping 121.1 tonnes of carbon, all coming from his over half a million miles of air travel on official business in 19 months.

It is estimated that the average Briton produces around 8.6 tons of carbon dioxide a year, while the average Indian produces just over one ton.

Pachauri in September last year admitted his carbon footprint was significant, and cut back on it using video conferencing technology where possible for overseas events.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, February 07, 2010, 19:48


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