Pachauri`s IPCC report faces fresh questions

Last Updated: Sunday, February 7, 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 7, 2010 - 19:48

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