Skip to content

Following an investigation by this blog (and with the story also told in The Sunday Times), another major “mistake” in the IPCC’s benchmark Fourth Assessment Report has emerged.

Similar in effect to the erroneous “2035” claim – the year the IPCC claimed that Himalayan glaciers were going to melt – in this instance we find that the IPCC has wrongly claimed that in some African countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent by 2020.

At best, this is a wild exaggeration, unsupported by any scientific research, referenced only to a report produced by a Canadian advocacy group, written by an obscure Moroccan academic who specialises in carbon trading, citing references which do not support his claims.

Unlike the glacier claim, which was confined to a section of the technical Working Group II report, this “50 percent by 2020” claim forms part of the key Synthesis Report, the production of which was the personal responsibility of the chair of the IPCC, Dr R K Pachauri. It has been repeated by him in many public fora. He, therefore, bears a personal responsibility for the error.In this lengthy post, we examine the nature and background of this latest debacle, which is now under investigation by IPCC scientists and officials.

Full report