‘Every error exaggerated the impact of change’
The UN body that advises world leaders on climate change must investigate an apparent bias in its report that resulted in several exaggerations of the impact of global warming, according to its former chairman.
In an interview with The Times Robert Watson said that all the errors exposed so far in the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) resulted in overstatements of the severity of the problem.
Professor Watson, currently chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that if the errors had just been innocent mistakes, as has been claimed by the current chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, some would probably have understated the impact of climate change.
The errors have emerged in the past month after simple checking of the sources cited by the 2,500 scientists who produced the report.
The report falsely claimed that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 when evidence suggests that they will survive for another 300 years. It also claimed that global warming could cut rain-fed North African crop production by up to 50 per cent by 2020. A senior IPCC contributor has since admitted that there is no evidence to support this claim.
The Dutch Government has asked the IPCC to correct its claim that more than half the Netherlands is below sea level. The environment ministry said that only 26 per cent of the country was below sea level.