UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim
A starling report by the United Nations climate watchdog that global warming might wipe out 40% of the Amazon rainforest was based on an unsubstantiated claim by green campaigners who had little scientific expertise.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its 2007 benchmark report that even a slight change in rainfall could see swathes of the rainforest rapidly replaced by savanna grassland.
The source for its claim was a report from WWF, an environmental pressure group, which was authored by two green activists. They had based their “research” on a study published in Nature, the science journal, which did not assess rainfall but in fact looked at the impact on the forest of human activity such as logging and burning. This weekend WWF said it was launching an internal inquiry into the study.
This is the third time in as many weeks that serious doubts have been raised over the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change. Two weeks ago, after reports in The Sunday Times, it was forced to retract a warning that climate change was likely to melt the Himalayan glaciers by 2035. That warning was also based on claims in a WWF report. The IPCC has been put on the defensive as well over its claims that climate change may be increasing the severity and frequency of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.