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World leaders back embattled Pachauri

Last Updated: Friday, February 5, 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 5, 2010 - 17:10
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