Report: Climate science panel needs change at top

By Associated Press
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scientists reviewing the U.N.'s international climate change panel called Monday for a major overhaul in the way it is run, but they stopped short of calling for ousting its current leader.

The independent review of the U.N. climate panel puts new pressure on chairman Rajendra Pachauri, who has been criticized for possible conflicts of interest but shows no sign of stepping down.

"It's hard to see how the United Nations can both follow the advice of this committee and keep Rajendra Pachauri on board as head," said Roger Pielke Jr., a frequent critic of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The University of Colorado professor praised the review findings as a way of saving the climate panel with "tough love."

The InterAcademy Council, a collection of the world's science academies, outlined a series of "significant reforms" in management structure needed by the IPCC, a body that won a Nobel Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007.

Last year, a batch of errors embarrassed the authors of the climate report. And climate change science took a parade of public hits last winter, starting with the release of hacked e-mails from a British climate center.

The mood seems different now. Several outside reports - including those by the British, Dutch and American governments - have upheld the chief scientific finding of the climate panel: Global warming is man-made and incontrovertible. This year, so far, is on target to be the hottest on record worldwide with a number of extreme weather events.

IPCC chief Pachauri, an academic from India who also is a professor at Yale, said many of the recommendations outlined are steps he already has started. He gave no indication Monday that he would resign.

"I think we're jumping the gun if we're talking about taking any action before the IPCC takes a look at the report," Pachauri said.

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