Washington — The Nobel Prize-winning international scientific panel studying global warming is seeking independent outside review for how it makes major reports.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it’s seeking some kind of independent review because of recent criticism about its four 2007 reports.
Critics have found a few unsettling errors, including projections of retreats in Himalayan glaciers, in the thousands of pages of the reports.
Scientists say the problems are minor and have nothing to do with the major conclusions about man-made global warming and how it will harm people and ecosystems. But researchers acknowledge that they have been too slow to respond to a drip-drip-drip of criticisms in the past three months. And those criticisms seem to have resonated in poll results and media coverage that has put climate scientists on the defensive.
“The IPCC clearly has suffered a loss in public confidence,” Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field, a chairman of one of the IPCC’s four main research groups told The Associated Press on Saturday. “And one of the things that I think the world deserves is a clear understanding of what aspects the IPCC does well and what aspects of the IPCC can be improved.”
An independent review “is much needed,” said University of Colorado environmental studies scientist Roger Pielke Jr., a longtime critic of the IPCC.
“The IPCC has a long road ahead to regain trust,” Pielke said by e-mail.
In a statement issued Saturday by overall IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri the group of volunteer scientists said it tries to be accurate and follow procedures.
“But we recognize the criticism that has been leveled at us and the need to respond,” Pachauri said in the statement.
One example of the criticism was a Senate speech earlier this month when Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., called problems with the IPCC “the makings of a major scientific scandal.”