'Honesty needed on climate change'
Published 27/01/2010 | 05:00
THE impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions on the rate of climate change, the British government's chief scientific adviser has said.
John Beddington made the comments last night after an admission by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that it grossly over-stated the rate at which Himalayan glaciers were receding.
Professor Beddington said that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.
He said public confidence in climate science would be improved if there was more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly disputed issues.
He said: "I don't think it's healthy to dismiss proper scepticism. Science grows and improves in the light of criticism. There is a fundamental uncertainty about climate change prediction that can't be changed."
He said the false claim in the IPCC's 2007 report that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 had exposed a wider problem with the way some evidence was presented.
Professor Phil Jones, the director of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and a contributor to the IPCC's reports, has stood down during an investigation into leaked emails allegedly showing that he attempted to conceal data. (©The Times, London)