Understanding the climate row

A lot has been said in the media recently, and on unaccountable blogs, about the error in the IPCC report on the melting of the Himalayan glaciers. The IPCC has put forward a statement to "regret the poor application of well established procedures in this instance" and have assured the world of their "commitment" to ensuring the level of performance required in the future. As a coordinating lead author in the Third Assessment Report, I can affirm that the IPCC’s processes and guidelines are very carefully drafted and followed. Beyond this, the element of 'human error' always remains. Even the ministry of environment and forests in its State of Environment Report 2009 has said that the "… Himalayan glaciers could disappear within 50 years because of climate change…." The IPCC has an opportunity to update its statements on this issue as well as reflect new knowledge that has emerged, and will continue to do so, in its Fifth Assessment Report.

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