New Delhi: Prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday lent his support to the beleaguered UN climate change panel, saying a glaring error in the body’s key 2007 report did not change the science of global warming.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been under fire since revelations last month that its landmark Fourth Assessment Report mistakenly predicted that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 as a result of global warming.
The claim has been traced to the campaign group WWF, which in turn took the prediction from an article in New Scientist magazine in 1999.
Addressing a summit on sustainable development, 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,” said Singh.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, who questioned the 2035 prediction and earlier slammed the IPCC’s peer-review standards said the government backed the panel’s embattled chairman, Rajendra Pachauri -- an Indian -- “to the hilt.”
The controversy has dented the credibility of the IPCC -- which does not carry out its own research -- and given new life to climate sceptics who have questioned the process by which the body publishes data.
Pachauri has rejected calls to step down, saying he was not responsible for the error and that he was being targeted for being a vocal advocate of alternative energy and greener lifestyles.