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UN panel admits new error in key climate report

Last Updated: Monday, February 15, 2010 - 23:45

Geneva: The UN climate change panel has
admitted to having imprecisely stated in a key report that 55
per cent of The Netherlands is under sea level, saying that is
only the area at risk of flooding.

The Dutch government this month asked the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to explain
the figure, used in a landmark 2007 report, saying its numbers
were that only 26 percent of the country is below sea level.

It was a new embarrassment for the panel. The same
938-page Fourth Assessment Report also contained an erroneous
claim that global warming could melt Himalayan glaciers by

The IPCC admitted in a note sent to AFP yesterday that
the 55 per cent figure was actually the portion of The
Netherlands "at risk of being flooded". It insisted that the
imprecision did not affect the conclusions of the report.

The figure had been used in various publications to mean
"either the area below the highest sea-level reached during
storms, or the total area of the country that is prone to
flooding from the sea and rivers," the note said.

"Therefore, a preliminary analysis suggests that the
sentence discussed should end with: `because 55 per cent of
The Netherlands is at risk of flooding`."

The panel said the figure had been supplied by a Dutch
government agency.

Dutch environment ministry spokesman Trimo Vallaart told
AFP on February 5 that the figure used by the IPCC included
the area below sea level -- 26 per cent -- and the area
threatened by river flooding -- 29 per cent.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, February 15, 2010 - 23:45

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