Study challenges IPCC`s Bangladesh climate predictions
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Last Updated: Thursday, April 22, 2010, 19:58
  
Dhaka: Scientists in Bangladesh posed a fresh challenge to the UN's top climate change panel Thursday, saying its doomsday forecasts for the country in the body's landmark 2007 report were overblown.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), already under fire for errors in the 2007 report, had said a one-metre (three-foot) rise in sea levels would flood 17 per cent of Bangladesh and create 20 million refugees by 2050.

The warning helped create a widespread consensus that the low-lying country was on the "front line" of climate change, but a new study argues the IPCC ignored the role sediment plays in countering sea level rises.

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri defended his organisation's Bangladesh predictions today, warning that "on the basis of one study one cannot jump to conclusions".

"The IPCC looks at a range of publications before we take a balanced view on what's likely to happen," he told a news agency by telephone.

But the IPCC's prediction did not take into account the one billion tonnes of sediment carried by Himalayan rivers into Bangladesh every year, the study funded by the Asian Development Bank said.

"Sediments have been shaping Bangladesh's coast for thousands of years," said Maminul Haque Sarker, director of the Dhaka-based Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), who led research for the study.

Previous "studies on the effects of climate change in Bangladesh, including those quoted by the IPCC, did not consider the role of sediment in the growth and adjustment process of the country's coast and rivers," he told AFP.

Even if sea levels rise a maximum one metre in line with the IPCC's 2007 predictions, the new study indicates most of Bangladesh's coastline will remain intact, said Sarker.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, April 22, 2010, 19:58


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