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Praise for proposal to reform climate panel -

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A review has praised the overall success of the IPCC but criticised mistakes, exaggerations and
inadequate transparency.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Some of Australia's leading climate scientists have welcomed proposals for
wide-ranging reform of the United Nations climate science panel.

An international review has found that the credibility of the International Panel on Climate
Change, known as the IPCC, has been damaged by some mistakes, exaggeration and inadequate
transparency.

But the review also praised the IPCC for its overall success in assessing climate change.

Margot O'Neill reports.

MARGOT O'NEILL, REPORTER: The mistaken prediction by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 due to global warming escalated
attacks on the IPCC and on the accuracy of climate science.

Now an international review has also criticised the IPCC for a lack of transparency and for making
some statements for which there is little evidence.

HAROLD SHAPIRO, UN REVIEW CHAIRMAN: I think the errors made did dent the credibility of the
process, there's no question about it, and trust is something you have to earn every year. You
never build up trust; you just have trust and you have to re-earn it all the time.

MARGOT O'NEILL: But the review supports the IPCC as an overall success, although it could prompt
more calls for the resignation of chairman Dr Rajendra Pachauri because of a recommendation that
members of the panel only serve one term. But Dr Pachauri , who's in his second term, says he's not
going anywhere.

RAJENDRA PACHAURI, CHAIRMAN, IPCC: I was instrumental in requesting this review. I personally feel
that now that the review has been carried out and we have a set of recommendations, I have a
responsibility to take it forward.

MARGOT O'NEILL: In Australia for a range of political meetings, British economist and influential
climate change lobbyist Lord Nicholas Stern said while IPCC processes could be improved, the core
science has not been called into question.

NICHOLAS STERN, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: You've had, of many thousands of papers, you've had a
few that have turned out to be mistaken.

I'm very glad we've discovered them. We should go on discovering them.

But if you asked yourself how in this 200-year story of scientific history, how that makes any
difference at all to the strength of the case, the answer is it doesn't make any serious
difference.

MARGOT O'NEILL: The review by the international science body called the Inter-Academy Council, or
IAC, recommends fundamental reforms to the IPCC. More rigorous guidelines for predicting the
impacts of climate change and for stopping scientists from straying into advocacy. Greater
transparency, and steps to ensure that genuine scientific debates are acknowledged.

Two-time lead author and now review editor for the next IPCC report Professor Andy Pitman says the
reforms will further improve an already rigorous process.

ANDY PITMAN, UNSW: There were errors in the second report, the impacts report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the review process that's been undertaken I hope will
tighten up procedures and help us avoid making those mistakes in the future.

MARGOT O'NEILL: But while welcoming the reforms, climate sceptic Professor Bob Carter believes the
IPCC should be abolished.

BOB CARTER, JAMES COOK UNI.: There's no earthly need for Australia to be going to the United
Nations to ask for policy advice on environmental matters.

We have our own scientists and we should consult with them, and CSIRO is clearly one of the cases
in point, and CSIRO should certainly be consulted.

However, they've been associated closely with the IPCC. They have 40 of their staff advise the
IPCC. So, what's really important is that the policy advice to the Government is contested. It
needs due diligence done on it and an independent audit, in a sense.

You must consider many lines of scientific advice. You can't just take a monopoly advice from one
body, be that body the IPCC or CSIRO or the Bureau of Meteorology.

MARGOT O'NEILL: The next IPCC report on the state of climate change is due in three years.

Margot O'Neill, Lateline.