UN climate report reliable enough, review concludes

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A UN panel report on climate change was sound, says a Dutch agency which reviewed the results after questions were raised over its accuracy.

The PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency says it found no errors that would undermine the main conclusions of the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report examined possible future regional impacts of climate change.

Back in January, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admitted that it had made two errors in the report.

It had overestimated the extent to which the Himalayan glaciers were melting, as well as the percentage of land area in the Netherlands lying below sea level.

To clear up the confusion, the Dutch Parliament instructed the PBL to provide a new update on climate science, including the implications of the errors.

The report says that the Working Group II contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report shows 'ample' observational evidence of regional climate change.

It does, however, find that in some instances the foundations for the summary statements should have been made more transparent. The PBL recommends that the IPCC should invest more in quality control in order to prevent mistakes in future.

It also says that the IPCC does, like Cassandra, tend to report only the bad news. "The investigated summary conclusions tend to single out the most important negative impacts of climate change," it says.
 
"Although this approach was agreed to by the IPCC governments for the Fourth Assessment Report, the PBL recommends that the full spectrum of regional impacts is summarised for the Fifth Assessment Report, including the uncertainties."

The full report is here.