World leaders back embattled Pachauri
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Last Updated: Friday, February 05, 2010, 17:10
New Delhi: Embattled UN climate panel chief R K Pachauri on Friday found support from world leaders attending the climate change conference here as they contended that some mistake in the IPCC report does not change the basic facts of global warming.

"Those who took delight in chastising the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its prediction on melting of Himalayan glaciers by 2035 missed the point ... we in Bhutan feel and see for ourselves the rapid change in the surroundings," Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Thinley said.

He was addressing the 10th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) here.

Similar were the views of the Prime Ministers of Norway, Greece and Finland who spoke at the DSDS. They unequivocally backed the IPCC report and its findings about the impact of global warming on glaciers and rising sea levels.

"We do not want to give a false sense of hope to our people by telling them that climate change is not happening," said Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, a tiny Pacific nation comprising 32 atolls and one raised coral island.

"Some of the recommendations have been subject to criticism. In principle I welcome criticism. I also congratulate Pachauri for taking prompt steps to correct mistakes," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

The main point of the IPCC report remains unchanged -- polar ice is melting, sea levels are rising and the globe is warming, Stoltenberg said.

Finland Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said regardless of the panel's report the world must move together to combat global warming and efforts should be made to reach a legally binding agreement in tackling climate change when leaders meet in Mexico later this year.

Earlier inaugurating the DSDS, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also backed the Pachauri-led IPCC, which has been under fire since revelations last month that its landmark Fourth Assessment Report mistakenly predicted that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 due to global warming.

Singh acknowledged that "some aspects of science reflected in the work of the IPCC have faced criticism. "But this debate does not challenge the core projections of the IPCC upon the impact of greenhouse gas accumulations on temperature, rainfall and sea level rise," he said.

"Let me reassert that India has full confidence in the IPCC process and its leadership and will support it in every way," Singh said.

Pachauri has rejected calls to step down, saying he was not responsible for the error and insisted that the mistake did not detract from the underlying message of climate change.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, February 05, 2010, 17:10

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