Dutch review backs U.N. climate change report

A Dutch review of a United Nations climate report backs its finding of global warming’s dangers but says the U.N. panel should be more transparent in its work. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, an institute that advises the Dutch government, released its review Monday of a landmark 2007 report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was heavily criticized by climate skeptics because of a few factual errors.

The agency found “no errors” that would undermine the report’s main conclusions about the possible future impacts of climate change. It says:

The IPCC report conclusively shows that these effects already are visible in many places around the world, and that these will become more serious under further temperature increases. However, the foundation for some of these conclusions could have been made more transparent.

The Dutch review, begun at the request of Dutch Minister for the Environment, said its own data are responsible for one of the two IPCC errors about the share of Dutch land area that lies below sea level. The other concerned the melting of Himalayan glaciers.

It says the IPCC report focused on the most negative impacts and did not include less severe ones and “any positive effects” in summaries for policymakers. It recommends a ” broader representation of projected developments” but also a continued focus on “worst-case scenarios.”

The review, while encouraging greater quality control to avoid mistakes in future reports, said errors in a document that’s thousands of pages “seem in actual practice unavoidable.” It adds:

Among the 32 main conclusions of the IPCC on the regional consequences of climate change, the PBL discovered one minor error, which did not undermine the conclusions drawn. This minor error concerns an inaccuracy in one conclusion: the estimated number of people in Africa who are at risk of experiencing water stress due to climate change by the year 2020, was stated as being between 75 and 250 million people, but should have read between 90 and 220 million people.

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