Examination of Witnesses (Questions 151-159)|
Dr Rajendra Pachauri
1 FEBRUARY 2005
Q151Chairman: Good afternoon, Dr Pachauri. I
am most grateful to you for coming along to help us with our inquiry.
You know what our inquiry is about. Unless you particularly want
to say something to start off, I was going to go straight into
the questioning. Do you want to say something at the beginning?
Dr Pachauri: Thank you for affording me this
privilege. I am ready to answer your questions.
Q152Chairman: We are absolutely delighted you
are able to come. Some of our witnesses have questioned the extent
to which the IPCC is representative of scientific and economic
opinion. Can you tell us about the procedure for appointing those
who prepare the IPCC assessment reports and, once appointed, what
are the arrangements for ensuring that they work together? To
what extent are non-believers in global warming involved?
Dr Pachauri: The manner in which we choose the
authors of the IPCC chapter teams is essentially based on our
writing to governments, other international organisations and
a few other select organisations. We receive nominations from
each one of them. We have three working group in the IPCC, the
first one dealing essentially with the science of the climate
system, the second dealing with impacts and adaptation and the
third dealing with mitigation options. Each of these working groups
has a small bureau which is elected by the plenary of the IPCC
every five to six years. To give you an example of the scale of
this response, for the fourth assessment report we had close to
2,000 nominations. The bureaux scrutinise these, try to see how
each individual fits into the task that has been outlined for
preparing the assessment report, and they make a selection. Then
there is an IPCC bureau which consists of several government representatives
as well as those who are the elected members of the bureau. They
approve of this selection. I would like to highlight that we have
followed certain criteria, particularly this time around. This
has happened progressively with each of the successive assessment
reports. We try to create a geographical balance. This time, I
am happy to say that about 40 per cent of the authors that have
been selected come from developing countries or economies in transition.
Given that the initial nominations come essentially from governments
and that we do try to ensure a geographical balance so that no
part of the world is left out, we believe that it is a very objective
exercise which ensures that we have a proper balance of different
points of view. The question was asked about whether we have non-believers
in global warming involved. Yes, provided they have the research
record, publications to their credit and have done scientific
work on the subjects for which they are being considered; they
are included. We certainly do not include armchair critics who
may be critics just for the sake of criticising the science that
is produced. That is the manner in which we select the authors
of the report as well as the reviewers.
Q153Lord Lamont of Lerwick: We understand that
once the main report has been done there is then a review process,
once the chapters have been drafted. I wonder if you could tell
us about that and how the reviewers are selected. Are they and
the lead authors paid? Do you believe that the review process
really does achieve its objectives?
Dr Pachauri: The good thing about the IPCC is
that nobody is paid for his or her labour. It is essentially a
labour of love. The only payments that the IPCC makes are in respect
of travel expenses for people coming from developing countries
and economies in transition. There is no compensation provided
for all the labour that the authors provide. The reviewers are
also selected on the basis of nominations that are received. There
is a two stage review process that is followed. In the first stage,
there are expert reviewers, again drawn from the nominations that
are received. They carry out a detailed review of each of the
chapters which have been drafted. Their comments are incorporated
in the next draft and the next draft is sent to governments. Governments
can either review it themselves or they will seek experts in their
own countries to carry out the review. They send back a set of
comments which are now considered all over again and brought to
the attention of the authors. Then each one of these is dealt
with specifically and in a very transparent manner. I would like
to believe that this is a very fair, very objective and transparent
Q154Lord Sheldon: You mentioned that there are
non-believers in IPCC. Could you give us some sort of estimate
as to how the numbers compare with the others? What are the numbers
of non-believers and believers, so that we can see how representative
each of these groups is?
Dr Pachauri: It is very difficult to draw a
distinction. Basically, you have all shades of opinion that are
brought together, let us say, to work on a particular chapter.
It is very seldom that everyone agrees on a particular point of
view. If we talk about the impacts of climate change on agriculture,
there is a whole range of agricultural experts that are drawn
into this business and each one of them has a substantial amount
of research to his or her credit. They do not necessarily agree
with each other but the strength of the IPCC lies in arriving
at a consensus. They spend substantial time together; they exchange
a draft; they exchange views. The IPCCI should have clarified
this right at the beginningdoes not carry out any research
of its own. It relies entirely on peer reviewed, published literature.
Of course, we do refer to something that you might call "grey"
literature which would be proceedings of workshops, including
those that are carried out by business and industry. Given that
we access literature in different languages and different parts
of the world and that we have authors with very diverse experience,
you seldom have an identity of views when you bring them together
but, at the end of the process, they do arrive at a consensus.
Q155Lord Sheldon: Can you give us an indication
of the number of such people altogether who have given information
Dr Pachauri: I am sorry; I would not be able
to classify believers versus non-believers.
Q156Lord Sheldon: No; in total.
Dr Pachauri: For the fourth assessment report
we have a total of about 500 authors who are going to be working
on this project.
Q157Chairman: Does this not then put an enormous
premium on the people who summarise the chapters at the end of
the day? How is that monitored and how do you get that right?
The bits that the politicians read are the summaries of these
things, as I understand it.
Dr Pachauri: That is a different product altogether.
What we have is something called a synthesis report. The manner
in which these reports are produced is, first, you have these
three working group reports. Each one of them has a very clearly
accepted outline and this outline is presented to the plenary
which is essentially a grouping of 192 countries, theoretically.
Based on those outlines, we have chapter teams that have been
allocated specific tasks. They function together and they are
serviced by what is known as the technical support unit of each
working group. It is essentially a team effort and it goes through
these various stages. At the end of the day, the reviewer also
looks at what the original outline was that gets accepted by the
plenary and the panel as a whole. If there is something that is
missing by way of coverage, that is also brought to the attention
of the writing teams. The synthesis report is written only after
the working group reports have been completed and accepted. Based
on that, we draw up a synthesis report which is essentially a
summary of the key findings of each of the working group reports.
There are two parts of the synthesis report. There is a Policy
Makers' Summary where every single word is approved by the plenary,
the 192 countries that are members of the IPCC. As far as the
report itself is concerned, which incidentally this time around
will be about 30 pages, it is accepted paragraph by paragraph
by the plenary, so there is hardly any likelihood of something
that is indefensible going into the reports.
Q158Lord Lawson of Blaby: This Committee is
very anxious, because this is such a difficult and important issue
and so much of it is in dispute, to maximise the area of agreement.
With that in view, may I read to you something that Professor
Lindzen of MIT, who was one of our witnesses last week, said:
"The disagreement is not over whether temperature has been
changing. Almost everyone agrees somewhere around the order of
a half degree change over the last century." That is agreed,
Dr Pachauri: 0.6 degrees is what we estimate.
Q159Lord Lawson of Blaby: Is there an agreement
over how much of that 0.6 degrees was in the first half of the
century and how much in the second and, if so, can you tell us?
Dr Pachauri: The bulk of it took place in the
second half of the century. The third assessment clearly brought
out the finding that the bulk of the increase took place in the
last 50 years.