Amid controversy surrounding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on melting glaciers, Xie Zhenhua, Vice-Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, today urged the UN panel to make the fifth assessment report comprehensive by also citing contrarian views.
He said there is a view that climate change is caused by the cyclical element of nature itself. “Climate change concerns survival and development of people. We need to adopt an open attitude to scientific research and incorporate all views,” said Xie, while addressing a conference of BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries here today. The fourth assessment report of IPCC, chaired by R K Pachauri, had stated -- erroneously, it now admits -- that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear altogether by 2035, if not sooner.
Stressing the fact that more scientific and consistent views are required, Xie said: “Scientists are waiting for the fifth assessment report and amongst us (BASIC countries), we will enhance cooperation in the report to make it more comprehensive. This will need prompt and scientific action.”
“We need an intensified programme in glaciology by cooperating with China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, besides building our own glacial (study) capacity,” corroborated India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, who added that the IPCC didn’t carry out due diligence on the fourth assessment report. “The health of the Himalayan glaciers is precarious and we need to make major investments in the next five to 10 years on what is happening there and policy interventions. We need intensified measuring, modelling and monitoring of the glaciers,” said Ramesh.
Though the four ministers agreed more science and research is required, Brazilian environment minister Carlos Minc noted all science should not be rejected if one scientist makes a mistake. “It is important to deepen scientific studies and use it to reduce emissions,” he said.
On the fact that the very existence of climate change is questioned, Buyelwa Sonjica, South Africa’s minister of water & environmental affairs said: “All that we do depends on sciences and their validity. BASIC, as a part of the G 77, must clear all doubts on the impact of climate change and find mechanisms with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and IPCC to clear doubts about the existence of climate change.”
IPCC, in an earlier statement, said the broader assessment remained correct, that warming of the earth would lead to widespread losses of glaciers. The concluding document of its fourth assessment report stated: “Climate change is expected to exacerbate current stresses on water resources from population growth and economic and land-use change, including urbanisation.”