UK climate chief supports IPCC, says GHG impact well known

Last Updated: Sunday, January 31, 2010 - 19:16

London: British Climate Secretary Ed
Miliband on Sunday came out in strong support of the R K Pachauri
led UN panel on climate change, slamming the "siren voices"
gunning for the panel over allegations of exaggeration of
global warming claims.

Extending support to the IPCC, Miliband said the effects
of concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is
at highest levels in 6,000 years, were all too well known and
that "we know there are observed increases in temperatures and
observed effects that point to the existence of human-made
climate change".

"Mistakes and attempts to hide contradictory data had to
be seen in the light of the thousands of pages of evidence in
the IPCC`s four-volume report in 2007," he said referring to
the IPCC report that has been surrounded by controversies.

"It`s right that there`s rigour applied to all the
reports about climate change, but I think it would be wrong
that when a mistake is made it`s somehow used to undermine the
overwhelming picture that`s there," he said.

The most recent accusation against the panel`s work is
that its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, may have known before
the Copenhagen summit that its assessment report had seriously
exaggerated the rate of melting of the Himalayan glaciers.

However, Miliband said he believed the IPCC was on right
track. "It’s worth saying that no doubt when the next report
comes out it will suggest there have been areas where things
have been happening more dramatically than the 2007 report
implied".

Miliband said the danger of climate skepticism was that
it would undermine public support for unpopular decisions
needed to curb carbon emissions, including the likelihood of
higher energy bills for households and issues such as the
visual impact of wind turbines.

"There are a whole variety of people who are skeptical,
but who they are is less important than what they are saying,
and what they are saying is profoundly dangerous," he said.

Miliband said if the UK did not invest in renewable,
clean-energy, it would lose jobs and investment to other
countries, have less energy security because of the dependence
on oil and gas imports and contribute to damaging temperature
rises for future generations.
"Everything we know about life is that we should obey the
precautionary principle; to take what the skeptics say
seriously would be a profound risk," he said.

Admitting the Copenhagen summit was a "disappointment,"
Miliband said there were, however, important achievements
including the agreement by countries responsible for 80 per
cent of emissions to set domestic carbon targets.

"There`s a message for people who take these things
seriously, don`t mourn, organize," said Miliband, who has
previously called for a Make Poverty History-style mass public
campaign to pressure politicians into cutting emissions.

Lord Smith, the environment Agency chairman, said: "The
Himalayan glaciers may not melt by 2035, but they are melting
and there`s a serious problem that`s going to affect
substantial parts of Asia over the course of the next 100 or
more years".

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010 - 19:16

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