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Days after the United Nations (UN) asked the InterAcademy Council (IAC) to streamline the procedures of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) for preparing assessment reports, experts suggest that there is an urgent need to tighten the entire process.

“There is need to tighten the procedures adopted by the IPCC for preparing the fourth assessment report on climate change. We are forming a high power committee of scientists that would look at all the aspects and the procedures that were adopted by the IPCC. The scientists in the committee will have to urgently complete the report by the end of August this year,” said M Vijayan, the sole Indian representative in IAC. Vijayan is part of the molecular biophysics unit of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.

Soon after it was found that the IPCC had falsely predicted vanishing of Himalayan glaciers by 2035 in its fourth assessment report on climate change, the UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, had asked the IAC to conduct an independent review of the IPCC’s processes and procedures to further strengthen the quality reports on climate change.

“We are not going to find faults in the IPCC’s assessment report but would definitely take up specific instances of inconsistencies that are found in the procedures that were adopted while formulating the assessment reports by the IPCC,” Vijayan told DNA. He also said that though science can not be precise but the procedures should be tightened.

Vijayan further elaborated that the committee would have 10-15 scientists and there would be two co-chairmen from the Dutch and the Chinese academies. He emphasised that since the IPCC would start work for preparing the fifth assessment report on climate change in October this year, the report would have to be completed by August end so that it could be adopted by the UN when it starts work for the latest assessment report.

“This will be a serious piece of work by highly reputed scientists and we hope that the report would be adopted by the IPCC when it begins work in October. This report would certainly add value to the assessment report of the IPCC,” he added.

Experts of the UN have already said that the IAC will take into account the principles governing IPCC work, including procedures for the preparation, review, acceptance, adoption, approval and publication of the IPCC reports.

The IAC would also review IPCC policies and processes for admitting observer organisations and other relevant guidelines. The IAC will agree on its own rules of procedure and workplan, to ensure achieving the objectives of the review, including the modalities for necessary consultations.

DNA India, 3 April 2010