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The head of the UN’s climate change panel defended his organisation Thursday against a new claim that its landmark 2007 report on global warming might have overblown the danger posed to Bangladesh.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), already under fire for errors in its key 2007 report, said a one-metre (three-foot) rise in sea levels would flood 17 percent of Bangladesh and create 20 million refugees by 2050.

But the prediction ignored the role that at least one billion tonnes of sediment, carried by rivers into Bangladesh every year, will play in countering sea level rises, a study by the Dhaka-based Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) said.

“On the basis of one study one cannot jump to conclusions,” IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri told AFP by telephone when asked to comment on the new findings.

“The IPCC looks at a range of publications before we take a balanced view on what’s likely to happen.”

The IPCC is made up of several thousand scientists tasked with vetting scientific knowledge on climate change and its impacts.

But its reputation was damaged by a warning in its seminal 2007 report that global warming could melt Himalayan glaciers by 2035, a claim that has been widely discredited and fuelled scepticism about climate change.

Pachauri said the new research in Bangladesh would be taken into account in the next study.

“The science is evolving. In a number of parts of the world there isn’t enough research, so we welcome this study,” he added.

AFP, 22 April 2010