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A UN-requested review of the world’s top panel of climate scientists, accused of flaws in a key assessment on global warming, will be unveiled on August 30, the investigating committee said on Friday.

The five-month probe into “the processes and procedures” of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is being conducted by the InterAcademy Council (IAC), gathering 15 leading science academies.

Its report will be handed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri in New York on August 30, and will be followed by a press conference, according to a statement for the IAC by Britain’s Royal Society.

The IPCC issued a landmark report in 2007 that unleashed a surge of political momentum for tackling climate change.

The 938-page document found evidence that climate change was already underway and pointed the finger of blame at carbon emissions — heat-trapping “greenhouse” gases that mainly come from burning coal, gas and oil.

In late 2009, in the runup to the UN’s climate summit in Copenhagen, the IPCC was rocked by the leaking of emails between some of its scientists that, according to skeptics, showed data had been skewed.

A part of the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report was then taken to task for predicting that Himalayan glaciers which provide water to a billion people in Asia could be lost by 2035.

Other challenges have been mounted to a passage estimating the threat to Bangladesh from rising oceans and to a figure about how much of the Netherlands lies below sea level.

British scientists at the centre of the leaked email controversy were cleared by a House of Commons inquiry and an independent review of any scientific malpractice, although they were also criticised for lacking openness towards public requests for information.

The IPCC has admitted that the Himalayan glacier reference was wrong, but says its core conclusions about climate change are sound, an opinion shared by mainstream scientists.

It also cautions that climate science is a new and evolving discipline, which means that data on extreme weather events and regional impacts may be sketchy.

The Fourth Assessment Report was instrumental in earning the IPCC a co-share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with former US vice president Al Gore.

AFP, 20 August 2010