IPCC chief refuses to apologize for glacier error

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at a conference in Vienna, 22 June 2009.
Image: Evstafiev.

The chief of the UN climate change panel, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, admitted on Wednesday that a mistake in a 2007 report had raised questions about the body's credibility, in an interview with The Guardian.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) landmark Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 said the probability of glaciers in the Himalayas "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high."

There is no evidence the claim was published in a peer-reviewed journal, thus calling into question its credibility.

Cquote1.svg "I think this (glacier) mistake has certainly cost us dear, there's no question about it," Cquote2.svg

—Rajendra Pachauri

He refused to apologize in the interview with The Guardian for the unverified claim. "I think this (glacier) mistake has certainly cost us dear, there's no question about it," Pachauri told the newspaper. "Everybody thought that what the IPCC brought out was the gold standard and nothing could go wrong."You can't expect me to be personally responsible for every word in a 3,000 page report," he said.

The IPCC issued a statement expressing regret for the mistake, but Pachauri said, "I don't do too many populist things, that's why I'm so unpopular with a certain section of society," defending his refusal for an apology.

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