UN panel seeks to erase doubt about warming

Report to assert climate changes are man-made

The report will provide updated observations of the changes taking place, such as the melting of Arctic Sea ice.
2007 file/Associated Press
The report will provide updated observations of the changes taking place, such as the melting of Arctic Sea ice.

STOCKHOLM — Seeking to dispel doubts over the credibility of their work, United Nations climate experts called their latest report an unbiased and reliable assessment of global warming as they presented it Monday to officials from 110 governments for a final review.

The final report by the officials making up Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to state with more confidence than its previous four assessments that global warming is mostly man-made.

The report will also provide updated observations and projections of the changes happening, from the melting of Arctic sea ice to the warming and acidification of oceans.


Thomas Stocker, cochairman of the group that wrote the report, said it has undergone multiple stages of review, with more than 50,000 comments considered by the authors. The final version is scheduled to be adopted at the end of the panel’s conference this week in Stockholm.

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‘‘I know of no other document that has undergone this scrutiny,’’ Stocker said as the meeting opened. ‘‘It stands out as a reliable and indispensable source of knowledge about climate change.’’

He said millions of measurements on land, at sea, in the air, and from space underpinned what he called an ‘‘unprecedented and unbiased view of the state of the climate system.’’

The panel’s work to improve the world’s understanding of climate change earned it the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 together with climate campaigner Al Gore. But a series of errors embarrassed the authors of its previous climate assessment, which was completed that same year.

Among the most prominent was an incorrect statement that the glaciers in the Himalayas were melting faster than others and that they would disappear by 2035 — hundreds of years earlier than other information suggests.


An independent review of the UN climate panel in 2010 found that overall it has done a good job but needs more openness and regular changes in leadership. The review also called for stronger enforcement of the panel’s reviews of research and adoption of a conflict of interest policy.

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said Monday that he hopes the review has helped enhance the panel’s credibility.

‘‘Our processes were found to be very strong. Very good. Very effective,’’ he said. ‘‘But you know we have been in existence for 20-odd years and therefore it was time for us to get a second opinion on how we could improve ourselves. And I’m sure we’ve done very well in implementing the recommendations.’’

The report being completed in Stockholm deals with the physical science aspects of the climate system and is the first of a four-part assessment that covers several aspects of global warming.

Earlier Monday, Pachauri told delegates in Stockholm that the latest report marks ‘‘a new milestone in the understanding of climate change.’’


He said 60 percent of the authors were new to the process, which shows the panel’s ‘‘inclusivity and openness . . . and the emphasis we place on new knowledge and expertise and fresh perspectives and approaches.’’