Page last updated at 10:40 GMT, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 11:40 UK

Restating the IPCC's reason for being

Rajendra Pachauri at a news conference in Delhi, 21 January
Dr R K Pachauri

As the latest meeting of the InterAcademy Council's review into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change convenes in Montreal, IPCC chairman R K Pachauri says the past year has been "momentous" for the organisation, and not always for the right reasons. In this week's Green Room, he sets out how and why the panel was established, and argues that it plays a vital role in the global climate policy debate.

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri appearing before the InterAcademy reivew panel (Image: AP)
Contrary to allegations made by some of our wilder critics, there is no role - and no desire - for an executive function making decisions of its own

I would like to start by saying that I am not deaf to those who do not agree with the scientific consensus on man-made climate change.

Nor, indeed, to those who do not agree with the findings - or, in some cases, the existence - of the IPCC.

Such scepticism is inevitable, and has been the case with every area of new knowledge that has burst into human consciousness.

We who are on the side of the consensus must remind ourselves that the evolution of knowledge thrives on debate.

The last year has been a momentous one indeed for the IPCC and climate science, and not always for the most welcome of reasons. The discovery of a mistake in our AR4 report - even as we prepared to start work on AR5 - led to considerable controversy.

It was, and is, inevitable that such an incident would lead to criticism and - quite rightly - to both internal and external examination.

However, at times in the last six months it has become apparent that many people either do not know, or have forgotten, what the IPCC actually is: what it was formed to do, who it reports to, and what its current mandate is.

Without that starting point - of understanding based in current and historical knowledge - there is a danger that the wrong conclusions can be drawn about the organisation's future.

Shared responsibility

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 through the mandate of the UN General Assembly.

Ban Ki-Moon (AFP)
UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for experts to review the IPCC's work

It is not - and it is important to remember this - a UN body but, as its title suggests, an intergovernmental organisation, which means that ultimately its decisions have to be taken by the panel as a whole (ie all the governments of the world).

Contrary to allegations made by some of our wilder critics, there is no role - and no desire - for an executive function making decisions of its own.

It is also worth noting that most of the IPCC's more public figures - myself included - are not paid for our work.

Only our small secretariat in Geneva is paid - and the total budget for our organisation, which is responsible for co-ordinating the work of several thousand scientists around the world, is just £6m a year: hardly the giant, monolithic bureaucracy that some of our critics claim.

Another myth is that the IPCC was founded as a climates science organisation alone, publishing up-to-date science on the subject and nothing more.

Quite the contrary: going back to the IPCC's foundation, it is pertinent to observe that resolution A/RES/43/53 of the UN General Assembly, which was adopted on December 6, 1988, charged the IPCC to: "provide internationally co-ordinated scientific assessments of the magnitude, timing and potential environmental and socio-economic impact of climate change and realistic response strategies".

The IPCC and the scientific community at large should welcome the development of a vigorous debate on the science of climate change

The wording of this resolution is important.

It clearly requires the IPCC to go beyond merely assessing various aspects of climate change and mandates it to provide an assessment of "realistic response strategies", as well as addressing socio-economic concerns.

The same resolution also defines by implication the audience that should be addressed by the IPCC by calling upon "non-governmental organisations, industry and other productive sectors to play their due role".

So, right from its foundation the strength of the IPCC lay in the fact that it is not only able to mobilise the best available expertise from across the globe - in climate science, yes, but also in economics, business, engineering and so on - but, through its voting structure, it also ensures that all the assessment reports are "owned" by the 194 sponsoring governments around the world.

Under the microscope

Notwithstanding my observation that the IPCC has always been charged with delivering more than climate science expertise alone, it is true to say its role in informing decision-makers across the globe has evolved rapidly over the past two decades.

As someone who has long been involved in the IPCC - first as a lead author in the Second Assessment Report and then as vice chairman during the Third Assessment Report and finally as chairman since 2002 - I have seen the rapid spread of its findings.

Himalayan glacier (Image: K.Hewitt)
The IPCC admits just one error, on the melting date of Himalayan glaciers

As the scope of those findings has increased - to address its broader mandate outlined above - it is inevitable that everything that the IPCC does is now under the lens of public scrutiny and criticism.

This requires the Panel to ensure a high level of transparency and objectivity in all that it does.

All the IPCC's reports are subject to open, extensive and transparent review at every stage of drafting.

What do I mean by that?

Well, the IPCC bases its work on the most recent relevant sources of literature available worldwide and undertakes a two-stage review process - first by external experts, and then by governments and experts simultaneously. The results of these processes are then made available to anyone who wants to see them.

Most of the literature we assess is peer-reviewed. However, there are areas such as the ones related to response measures where lots of important and relevant information is not in scientific peer-reviewed literature, but published by very respected institutions, for example from the International Energy Agency or the OECD.

'Wonderful organisation'

The IPCC is now working on the preparation of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

This has begun on a positive and heartening note: in spite of all the attacks on climate scientists over the last year, around 3,000 outstanding scientists from all over the world have been nominated, more than ever before.

Sun over power station (PA)
Some sceptics want to end the "myth" of dangerous climate change

From these, around 600 are under selection to become the actual authors of the AR5, and several more as contributing authors and expert reviewers.

Meanwhile, as the process of author selection continues, we continue to look at improving our work in any way we can.

Earlier this year, we at the IPCC, together with the secretary-general of the United Nations, requested the InterAcademy Council to review the processes and procedures followed by the IPCC.

This review is currently in hand, and its outputs will be considered seriously at our plenary session in October.

The AR5 will, therefore, not only build on the remarkable record of the IPCC in the 22 years of its existence but also benefit from the views of the most dominant scientific body in the world, the InterAcademy Council, which can only add further authority to the output of the Panel.

The IPCC and the scientific community at large should welcome the development of a vigorous debate on the science of climate change (so long as the level of that debate does not descend to personal abuse, as it has done at times).

But welcoming a debate should never equate to losing our focus and our passion for fulfilling our purpose.

For that purpose is more relevant now than it ever has been: given the extent and global nature of the challenge, if the IPCC did not already exist, someone would need to invent it urgently.

It is that sense of urgency and necessity that drives the volunteer spirit of this wonderful organisation I have the honour to chair - a spirit that we can all be proud of.

Dr R K Pachauri is chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Green Room is a series of opinion articles on environmental topics running weekly on the BBC News website

Do you agree with Dr Pachauri? Does the IPCC play a vital role in the global climate policy issue? If the panel did not exist, what - if anything - should be in its place?

We can have a debate over the word concensus related to the science BUT unless there is a political concensus then the human response will likely be too little too late. Whatever the arguments the IPCC does focus the debate that needs to take place and indeed is taking place. However if the mandate is as wide as suggested then the IPCC should begin to focus more on the response than the cause because hardly anyone seems to argue that the warming is real anymore. But the attitude of many seems to be 'if we didn't cause it then there is nothing we can do so let us get on with our lives' This ignores a host of huge economic forces in play, both positive and negative, and these economic issues are not getting the same exposure as the climate science. Many industries like oil are happier (in the short term)to continue undisturbed scraping every last drop of oil from more and more difficult terrain (2010 the Gulf ...2020 the Artic?). But the fact is even the oil industry recognises that the oil is running out and the easy to get at oil has clearly run out. Some would clearly like to delay the inevitable transformation of the energy industry for as long as possible. The conumdrum we must solve is the age old response - 'pain tomorrow is less painful than pain today' or 'never do today what you can put off until tomorrow'. This has been the road to many previous, if potentially smaller, human disasters and it is the root cause of most of the negative side of the climate change debate.
Denison Chapman, Rotterdam, Netherlands

22 years on and the IPCC still hasn't produced any "realistic response strategies", it's the Ofsted of the scientific world, an organisation that is disbanded if it succeeds, given objectives for which there are no solutions. I have never met, or spoken to a sceptic who didn't know what the IPCC was trying to do, it's obvious what it's trying to do it's trying to mitigate global warming, that's it's objective. So it started out life with the problem defined, which meant that the raison d'etre for WG1 was to prove this assumption else there would be no need for WG2 and WG3, or the IPCC for that matter. The Himalayan glaciers weren't there only "mistake", in fact the Himalayan Glaciers weren't a mistake at all the IPCC was informed that there was no chance of the Himalayan glaciers disappearing by a glaciologist, whose name eludes me, he was ignored and the WWF article put into the report. Dr Pielke had the conclusions of his paper reversed by the IPCC to support the message of doom and gloom, and the shenanigans at WG1 were, and remain, a disgrace to science.
geronimo, East Anglia

The IPCC is rightly perceived by more and more observers as an advocacy organization. To this end, the IPCC has pushed a "science by consensus" model to policymakers that ignores or minimizes the formidable work of scientists whose results or approaches are not in line with the IPCC's agenda. For example, the IPCC has ignored things such as: 1) The now infamous "hockeystick" graphic used prominently in one IPCC report - when the "hockeystick" was publicly debunked, it was silently banished to footnotes in future reports, with no acknowledgement of error. 2) The reality that all of the IPCC's computer climate models failed to predict the global decline in temeratures over the last decade. 3) The IPCC's unwillingess to reconcile the existence of previous warming periods prior to the 20th century with the mid-20th century warming period - why were earlier warmings not caused by humans, and why should we accept at only the previous warming was caused by humans? 4) Why is the research ignored clearly showing changes in atmospheric CO2 follow changes in climate, rather than cause changes in climate? Atmospheric carbon seems more like a dependent variable, rather than an independent variable.
John W., Austin, Texas

I'm surprised to see that we are arguing for minor issues and overlooking the major aspects. The over population, fossil fuel and aggressive economic growth rates are ruining the planet like hurricane and the object is crystal clear and fully transparent, then what more transparent need to be seen? What is the meaning of 'objectivity' when major objects are being over looked? Instead we must look at the environmental things with 'emotions' not with 'objectivity'. I fully support the point of view of Mr. Ben from comment section that emphasis must be given on the implementation part. We spend years in advocating the right ideas but finally when it comes to implementation, we postpone it for some reason. To some extent, scepticism and diverse attitudes are alright but extreme attitudes will certainly impair our ability to work together. Why do not we look at the ultimate task by avoiding the minor tussles? We should not forget that our approaches may vary but we all think for the better planet and biodiversity.
Sanjay Singh Thakur, Indore,India

The IPCC and its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, have come under unprecedented pressure following a so-called claim that all Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 and the controversy over the hacked climate science emails. I am agreed with Rajendra Pachauri. IPCC contributes to information availability for climatic models, thereby improving their prediction capability. Today we are able to gain a better understanding of how the oceans play an important role in the earth's 'climate memory'. Once we become familiar with the natural signals, we will be able to better understand how the human factor correlates with climate. The IPCC was credited with having settled the debate over whether human activity was causing global warming. Here, I'd like to ask what needs to change to enable the IPCC to continue to play a central and positive role in enabling the world's governments to take the right action against climate change
Engr Salam, Banladesh

An intergovernmental panel was, is and will always be essential to enhance the understanding of and seek solutions to global problems such as climate change. The undisputed acceptance of such a multinational endeavor of non-biased scientists' aggregation of global scientific research and opionions based on multidecadal to multicentennial observations and future projections would probably only occur in an ideal non-politicized world of science and science policy. If the IPCC did not physcially exist in the way it currently does, an appropriate alternative might be a horizontally tiered, internationally aware, digitally connected but academically diverse body of scientists and environmental experts selected on the basis of their independent and objective research and/or climate change impact remediation activities at the grassroots level. The past IPCC personnel have relied on a similar structure but the alternative, if any, would have to improve upon it to overcome the few claims and notion of the exclusion of certain scientific findings and opinions in their publications and recommendations.
GS, Merced, California, USA

Very good article. I am still dismayed at some of the comments on here still banging on about the medieval warm period etc (now thought to be a europe focused anomoly) as Disproof to any ushering of Global warming. Yes there have been climate changes in the past driven by natural forcings but natural forcings do not explain the warming observed post 1940 of which we can be >90% certain is caused by us. As hinted at in previous comments I think the misunderstanding of scientific findings such as this is due to a lack of education about the language of science. I.e. Hypothesis are never proved 100% but are supported or rejected based upon what the data is telling us. The IPCC outlines inherent uncertainties on the very first page of the report which is more transparent than any legal document will ever be. There is uncertainty due to the temperature record as pre 1850 thermometers were not widely used. There is uncertainty with the models because the climate is a chaotic system so high resolution is near impossible without huge computing power (which we don't have) however they have been varified using past data sets. There is uncertainty due to other factors such as sulphates and their role in the atmosphere. The biggest uncertainty is whether humanity as a whole will get up off its arse and avoid an extinction crisis or whether it will continue to live in a neoclassical dream world (ockwell 2008 Sussex university) until the bubble bursts. So no, the IPCC can't predict the future for certain but it fully explains the consequences of inaction and the inheret uncertainties of global circulation models etc.
Jethro Gauld, St Austell/Brighton

Again the claim of consensus. The key is in the etymology of the word, Con, to swindle, and sensus, to sense. I sense an agenda to invoke carbon taxes as tax for a world government body, which would never have been agreed otherwise. This is the con of the century. Pachauri claims that he is not deaf, but he still claims that the majority are in agreement. Judging by the comments on this article, and the growing realisation among the people that this is flawed science, despite the machinations of an orchestrated propaganda campaign, Pachauri is not listening.
Ross, Windsor UK

The problem is that much of the scientific literature is not transparent. This is even more true of the computer models used to justify the conclusion. I don't hear talk of sensitivity, convergence, divergence, algorithms, stability, validation, or even how the selection of data input into the models is determined. It is hard to trust a group that spouts its assertions without showing the logic, data and process.
Ronald Gardner, Fort Worth, TX

Ahhhh, "consensus" again. Science is not about consensus; it is about facts supporting hypotheses and theories. But that appears lost on Dr Pachauri. His statement that "I would like to start by saying that I am not deaf to those who do not agree with the scientific consensus..." is a gross affront to those who have historically expressed concern about the IPCC, about AGW being presented as fact, and about the lack of open mindedness in the so-called "debate" on AGW or man-made climate change. By that very opening statement, he again belittles those who express concerns, whether they be top scientists or taxpaying citizens of the world, and it reaffirms his BELIEF in AGW-as-fact. It is hard to read anything he writes or listen to anything he says from then on as an honest embrace of true debate about scientific fact or theory. The IPCC was set up as a political pawn of the UN when the charter was written directing it, the IPCC, to find a "solution" to [anthropogenic] global warming. Twenty years ago, climate science was in its infancy; it remains a toddler today, relative to many other fields. The IPCC remains -- largely -- advocacy by scientists masquerading as "scientific assessment, debate and reporting." When a small group of scientists can effectively eliminate the work of others, and can promote their own in the reports, then bias creeps in, intentionally or not. How many of these lead and contributing authors have not emblazoned their CV with their role in the IPCC?
Eugene, Ohio, USA

Pachauri writes that the IPCC was tasked with providing advice not just on climate modelling but on responses and on socioeconomic consequences. Has it been doing those last two things to date? Has it, for instance, generated anything comparable with the economic analyses of Stern and Nordhaus, or studies of geoengineering, or soil sequestration, or ocean nourishment, or harm mitigation? If not, why not? If so, why do we hear so little about them?
David Bofinger, Sydney, Australia

This is a very revealing interview but fortunately R K Pachauri does not represent Climate Science. His statements betray his poor grasp of the historical truth. Scientific Climatism investigates the laws, patterns, ways, and forms of struggle in climate science, prepares the conditions for a climate revolution, and, ultimately, the establishment of a true climatist state. Dr. Pachauri is just an opportunistic politician who tried to use this historical issue to get a free ride. Scientific Climatism will achieve its goals by empowering the climate-aware working classes of proletariat, progressive peasantry and revolutionary intelligentsia. I predict Dr. Pachauri will not be there when it happens.
Dieter Niederbrunnsulzen, Denver, CO, USA

A new panel modeled on the current one being discussed on climate change is set to be finalized by February dealing with preserving biodiversity and recognizing the importance of biologic services to mankind and the planet. My question is how come it takes such monumental efforts to recognize what should be obvious to everyone that if we as a species fail to quickly take action in a unified manner the Earth will die. If recent happenings in the Gulf of Mexico are insufficient hint of what's to come what exactly will motivate the change we need which is to move to an economy which values life for life sake and takes into count the true meaning of the beautiful Earth so highly refined by countless struggles of all living things large and small over the ages that it defends us all from the harshness of space or the depletion of what sustains us if only we were wise enough to have left it alone. Thing is we weren't and it's now essential to take action, wise actions with speed to keep the Earth alive and try to do what we can to restore the natural balance of nature.
Dale Lanan, Longmont, Colorado, USA

Wbat "consensus" is Pachauri referring to and why does it matter when scientific truth is not a consensus of opinions? Mike Hulme of Univ of East Anglia has recently said that only a "few dozen" supported the consensus. He was talking of the pivotal 9th chapter of the WGI contribution, written by 53 people most of whom were in a network of people, mostly dependent on climate models for their employment, who had worked together. That pivotal chapter provided no substantial evidence for significant manmade climate change and yet Pachauri carries on as if such evidence was proven. His position and the IPCC's as a whole, is untenable because climate models are inaccurate and cannot model natural climate forces, and that makes it impossible to determine if there is any human influence whatsoever.
John McLean, Melbourne, Australia

Well, we can keep waiting for IPCC to help save nature and our planet earth. Or we can start doing our bit in our own daily lives by being more responsible. Elpis is an online community focussed on responsible living and sustainable growth. The tagline (Think. Connect. Act) says it all. Get the unbiased facts on environment, sustainability, climate change, biodiversity, clean energy, green living and so on from the experts. Network and collaborate with friends, track thought leaders, and make new links with people who share a common interest in a zero carbon, responsible lifestyle. Measure your carbon footprint using Elpis' unique global carbon calculator. Reduce your footprint in a pragmatic manner by creating a personalized reduction plan. Become carbon neutral by buying carbon offsets from a carefully selected portfolio including biomass, geothermal, solar, wind, and methane capture projects. Use the Elpis Collaboration Platform to set up petitions, volunteering projects or fundraising initiatives for your favourite causes. Buy eco friendly products and services such as solar panels, home energy solutions, energy efficient cars & appliances, green electricity, eco fashion from the Elpis online shop. Create and implement community development plans to tackle issues such as energy, livelihoods, food, resources, health, education etc. And so on. Elpis is truly about social networking with a purpose.
Mario, London

Dr Pachauri is absolutely correct, both in asseting that the IPCC plays a vital role and that at the same time it, or the process it must operate under is not perfect. In the scientific area its forced reliance on peer-reviewed papers, rather than specifically commissioned research, effectively ignores the file-drawer effect: only 'significant' i.e. positive study outcomes ever even make it as far as peer review. Papers showing no 'significant result', if written and submitted at all, are weeded out and rejected by the journal publishers before the peer review stage. Secondly, as he acknowledges, there is a mountain of very important non-peer reviewed (or at least reviewed using different criteria from the 'scientific method') in particular in the social and behavioural sciences and economics. And given that 'response measures' also form part of the brief to IPCC, these cannot be ignored. In fact the difficulty is as always how to harmonize the findings and methodology of one, the 'scientific method', with the other, both in terms of interpretation and communication. And that is not a problem unique to the IPCC but to the whole of science, hard and 'soft'. The fallacious and in particular prevalent idea in 'science' that the answer is simply education not only is not helpful but illustrates the gulf between 'science' and the real world, the understanding of the reasons or motives for human behaviour. I and many others have been educated a long time ago and am/are totally convinced that smoking is bad for me/us. And still I/we do it. Ironically it is really the response to the science that is under attack, not the science itself. But as the science is presented as 'near certainty' (never mind we, scientists, knowing that doesn't exist in our method as wel as the problem with unreported studies) and the response is a "rational" almost linear extrapolation from the science, ignoring the all-important 'typical human factors', it is unsurprising that the fount of this, the science, is being pulled to pieces. And what do they find? Uncertainty. Absolutely correct. We know that. Our method is based on that. The only problem is with how we determine the response patterns and factors. And 'science' has no answer to that. That is up to the "soft" sciences and the IPCC....
Paul van Poppelen, Gibsons, BC, Canada

There are two issues here. One is of science. The other is of policy. They are very different. Science is a process, not a fact. Nothing in science can ever be proven. But contrary to Dr. Becker's amusing claim, it is rather far-fetched to say that anything as well-supported as AGW has been "decisively falsified"--especially using such simplistic arguments as "some temperature variations are natural, therefore all temperature variations are harmless." Nonetheless, there are indeed some deep arguments within climatology, some good questions, some conclusions that are tentative. The science has advanced dramatically in the last 10 years and it will continue to improve, but we will never be completely sure of anything. That is the nature of science. The second issue is that of policy. We know that there are risks: we know that adding CO_2 to the atmosphere in the quantities we have been WILL cause climate change, and we're also observing climate change, and we have some theories and some models showing that there may potentially be great harm. OF COURSE we're operating under uncertainty--we always do--but we know that there's a decent chance that we're in serious trouble. The potential of harm from moving away from fossil fuels is minor, and the potential of harm from maintaining our addiction is enormous. Anyone setting policy should not be waiting for a definite answer from science, but should be aggressively working towards making sure that the world remains habitable and politically and ecologically viable, using the best of our current knowledge. Once we realise that policy and science are not the same: there are other reasons to stop burning fossil fuels. The millions of deaths due to traffic accidents and pollution and terrorism and oil spills and carcinogens and poverty and whatnot ought to be reason enough to have called an end to this charade years ago. Even if there were no possibility of AGW, there is no question that fossil fuels are terribly harmful. So while there may be debate amongst educated scientists on exactly what's going on, why is there debate on what POLICY we should adopt?
Ben, Colorado, USA

David wrote: "Many skeptics, including myself, have made detailed technical comments during expert reviews, and we have always been ignored." But those technical comments were published in the IPCC reports, so "ignored" may be in the eye of the beholder.
Bob Maginnis, Astoria Oregon USA

It would be quite prudent to include self-proclaimed skeptics in the peer-review process for each Assessment Report. Data, science, and theories that refute the claims/analysis of the ARs need at least be addressed.
Brandon, Kodiak Alaska, USA

I wish the libertarians and carbon lobby groups could be subject to a fraction of the scrutiny to that of the IPCC. Then the public would realise the real conspiracy, that we are faced with an army of politically motivated, and media savvy misinformers as opposed to the IPCC who are composed of genuine people interested in communicating the truth. In fact the only valid criticism of the IPCC is that is can be leaned upon by governments to be far too Conservative and under-emphasise the scale of the problem. This is compounded by the fact that by the time the IPCC reports are published, the data is way out of date.
Stephen, Sandhurst

It is very unfortunate that Mr Pachauri and many on the 'consensus'side play the card of 'crisis communication'. Admitting 'a mistake'and claiming to be open to scrutiny so the train can move on, pretending nothing happened while prominent climate scientists like Mike Hulme already left IPCC because in 2001 because it became too much politicized. As for the IPCC meeting in Amsterdam, the most central figures in the 'climategate'-debate were not even invited: McIntyre and Mc Kittrick who published in Geophysical Research Letters on the flaws in a major graph used by IPCC in 2001(the famous hockeystick) , while a Dutch food sociologist, having nothing to do with the climate debate, was invited... MM have been under attack, predominantly by using ad hominem arguments, but not seriously engaging their points of criticism, and there are no signs they will. As for the 'one mistake'in the AR4: also climate scientist Hans von Storch, IPCC economist RIchard Tol and many more scientists can tell this is a creative represantation of the truth. There's many more and they are deliberate, al on the alarmist side. As long as this Pachaurism is not eradicated, climatescience loses more and more credibility in the public mind, and taking science as a whole with it. There is only one solution that will save science. Pachauri has to go, so he can spend more time writing porn novels, and a serious scientist has to take over.
Rypke Zeilmaker, Amsterdam

How can one be on one side of a consensus?
Christopher J Burton, Oakville, Canada

We cannot allow these Eugenicists to push this Man Made Climate Change scam any longer. It has been proven time and time again that humans have no impact at all. This is just a scheme to centralise power in the form of a Global Government. Once this is established they plan to eliminate 80% of the worlds population. What I am saying here sounds far fetched but I strongly encourage anyone reading this to look these statements up. You will be both shocked and disgusted with what you find.
Jack, Gateshead, England

Here's that consensus again....
John, Liverpool

It remains to be seen what Dr. Pachauri means by welcoming debate. Many skeptics, including myself, have made detailed technical comments during expert reviews, and we have always been ignored. To date the IPCC assessments have in fact been one-sided advocacy documents, not true assessments of the science. The scientific debate is real and the IPCC must present it as it is. The world will be watching to see how this is done.
David Wojick, Washington DC, USA

To say there is a "consensus" on global warming is dishonest or delusional, probably both. There is ample peer reviewed literature that decisively falsifies the human caused warming theory. There was a medieval warm period, Roman warm period, and Little Ice Age, for instance. The changes in temperature (up and down) in the last 150 years are entirely natural. I am a serious scientists; the IPCC and AGW are embarrassments to the search for truth championed by real science.
David Becker, Rochester, MI, USA

The IPCC is a political body representing political interests and it is absurd to insist that it represents a consensus of scientific opinion. Given the current state of climate science, the IPCC is a pointless waste of resources and should be disbanded.
Philip, London

Kevin, Fife - that is correct, one mistake has been pinned on the IPCC (2 if you include the mistake that was the fault of the Dutch government). The other allegations of errors made on assorted websites and by a few journalists were all baseless. As for the non-peer reviewed papers, I have to ask if you have even read the article above as it clearly states "there are areas such as the ones related to response measures where lots of important and relevant information is not in scientific peer-reviewed literature, but published by very respected institutions..". The rules as to when peer reviewed is to be used and when so-called 'grey' literature is allowed are very clear, and the IPCC has never violated those rules.
Paul A, London

It's a classical case of "too little, too late"...had Dr Pachauri written the above just before the publication of AR4, or in response to the (correct) claims about the Himalayan glaciers error, the IPCC would have been by now a much, much stronger organisation. An overall review of his work has to take into account the extraordinary lack of judgment shown until today.
Maurizio Morabito, London, UK

AR4 'One mistake'? And the rest! Oh and what about the huge swathes of it that are based on non peer reviewed papers. Far from being the 'Gold Standard', its more like a very tarnished 'Brass Standard. Pachauri needs to go, he as the head bears ultimate responsibility, not to mention his obvious conflicts of interest. Time for a fresh start.
Kevin, Fife

IPCC is wealth nations club, they know what they want, Pachauri is Ginny pig, ofcourse any report errors will be there, so what? there is no system without an error.
Prasanna, Brussels

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