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Feb 23, 2010

SA govt looking to nominate scientists for IPCC review

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South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs has called for expressions of interest from South African scientists who would like to be involved in the compilation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report.

The IPCC's fifth assessment report was being developed for publication in 2014.

Scientists wishing to participate in the IPCC assessment process would need to be formally nominated by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DoEA), and interested parties were urged to email their details to the department before March 5.

Scientists could participate as either a: coordinating lead author; lead author; contributing author; review editor; or expert reviewer.

As in the past, three working groups would assess the most recent science for review. Working group I assesses the physical scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change; working group II assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change, and options for adapting to it; and working group III assesses the options for mitigating climate change through limiting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing activities that remove them from the atmosphere.

The DoEA noted that the IPCC was a scientific review body, and did not conduct new research or monitor climate related data or parameters.

Thousand of scientists worldwide, nominated by their governments, contributed to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis.

A special effort was made to ensure a gender and regional balance in the selection of IPCC authors. The work produced by the teams of authors was reviewed by a wide range of technical and policy stakeholders, to ensure and objective and complete assessment of current information, added the department.

The IPCC was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment programme, and the World Meteorological Organisation, and provided an evidence-based assessment on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences.

The IPCC, together with Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Recently, the IPCC has been under scrutiny as the fourth assessment report incorrectly stated that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. This projection was not included in the final summary for policymakers.

The IPCC has since acknowledged that the date is incorrect, while reaffirming that the conclusion in the final summary was robust. The organisation expressed regret for "the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance".

Others have criticised the IPCC for being too conservative, adding that it underestimates the dangers and understates the risks of climate change.


Edited by: Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
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