“When the error was found it was handled in a totally and utterly atrocious manner.”
A former head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that the organization should adopt a code of conduct and develop a mechanism to fix errors more quickly.
On 15 June, Robert Watson, who chaired the IPCC from 1997 until 2002, testified before an independent review committee tasked with improving the credibility of the United Nations’ group.
The 12-person panel of scientists and economists, chaired by Harold Shapiro, a former president of Princeton University in New Jersey, was asked by the UN to review the IPCC, which has faced numerous criticisms in recent months (see: IPCC flooded by criticism). In particular, the organization has admitted to making an error in its last comprehensive report, released in 2007, which said that the Himalayan glaciers could melt completely by 2035.
“To me the fundamental problem was that when the error was found it was handled in a totally and utterly atrocious manner,” Watson told the committee, gathered at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, by teleconference. “The IPCC needs to find a mechanism so that if something needs to be corrected there is a rapid way to get a correction made. That is something that needs to be looked at very carefully,” said Watson.