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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his Department’s most recent assessment is of the accuracy of reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (316589)

We consider that the IPCC’s Assessment Reports provide the most authoritative and comprehensive assessment of climate-change science.

Its procedures are robust and are designed to minimise error and ensure a balanced and accurate assessment of the science. However, recent events remind us that even robust processes are not immune to mistakes. Those reported recently are isolated cases out of the thousands of papers reviewed by the IPCC.

The IPCC has proposed that a select group of distinguished external experts advise and guide the IPCC on how best to improve its procedures. A thorough review of the Principles Governing IPCC Work; the procedures for the preparation, review, acceptance, adoption, approval and publication of IPCC reports, is envisaged. The interim results of this review will be discussed at the upcoming session of the IPCC bureau in May 2010.

The UK supports the IPCC in planning to learn from mistakes and strengthen its procedures to ensure that its processes are properly followed. We remain committed to the IPCC as the primary source of information on climate-change science.

Recent errors have not changed the fundamental message that human induced climate change is happening and that we must act now to prevent the worst consequences.