Pachauri won't apologise, admits IPCC's credibility damaged

"You can't expect me to be personally responsible for every word in a 3,000-page report", Pachauri says to defend himself

PTI | February 3, 2010



Top Indian scientist Rajendra Pachauri has refused to apologise for a false claim made in a landmark report by the UN climate change panel headed by him that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035, even as he admitted that the mistake had damaged the body's credibility.

"You can't expect me to be personally responsible for every word in a 3,000-page report," Pachauri said in an interview to the 'Guardian', asserting that he would not resign.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has already issued a statement that expressed regret for the mistake, but Pachauri said a personal apology would be a "populist" step.

"I don't do too many populist things, that's why I'm so unpopular with a certain section of society," he told the paper.

Pachauri, however, admitted that the mistake had seriously damaged the IPCC's credibility and boosted the efforts of climate sceptics.

"It was an isolated mistake, down to human error and totally out of character" for the panel, he said.

But, Pachauri said "it does not undermine the basic truth that human activity is causing temperatures to rise."

Pachauri's comments came even as a report about e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia showed how climate scientists acted to keep research papers they did not like out of academic journals.

Pachauri defended the IPCC's use of so called "grey literature" - sources outside peer-reviewed academic journals, such as reports from campaign groups, companies and student theses.

He said in its next report on climate, IPCC would stress to authors and reviewers the importance of checking sources.

"Our procedures are very clear on the use of grey literature. Whenever an author uses grey literature they need to double check the source of information is authentic and defensible.

"People have been using grey literature for quite some time now. Apparently in this (Himalayan glacier) case there has been a failure because authors did not follow the procedures required," the climate czar said.

He also rebutted newspaper reports that he lived a lavish lifestyle and wore USD 1,000 worth suits.

"It's ridiculous and it's a bunch of lies," Pachauri said.
 

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