MPs give IPCC clean bill of health

7th August 2014

Clean bill of health

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The processes applied by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to produce its latest assessment of climate change science have been adjudged to be robust by a committee of MPs. They said there is no reason to doubt the credibility of the science or the integrity of the scientists involved.

The House of Commons’ energy and climate change committee examined the fifth assessment reports (AR5) after criticism by some commentators of the IPCC review process and its conclusions.

“We were impressed with the integrity of the IPCC and the way it had responded to criticisms by strengthening its peer review procedures since its last assessment review,” said committee chair Tim Yeo. He added that some of the criticism directed towards the IPCC had been from people who, for various political or economic reasons, simply did not like its conclusions.

The MPs said the tightening of the IPCC review processes had made AR5, which is based on 9,200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, the most exhaustive assessment to date.

The MPs did, however, call for further transparency, recommending that non-scientists be allowed to observe the review process and attend the IPCC plenary sessions.

Yeo advised policymakers in the UK and around the world to act now on the IPCC’s warning and work to agree a binding global climate deal at Paris in 2015 to ensure temperature rises do not exceed a point that could dangerously destabilise the climate.

The first of four AR5 reports was published in September 2013. It concluded that the warming of the Earth’s climate system was “unequivocal” and that human influence was clear. It confirmed that the past three decades had been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850, with concentrations of CO2 increasing by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels.

Further reports in the AR5 series have revealed that limiting the increase in global temperatures to the 2ºC threshold scientists say is necessary to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change would entail reducing GHG emissions by between 40% and 70% by 2050 compared with 2010.


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