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Don't undermine IPCC study, says Australian co-author

world Updated: Jan 25, 2010 13:14 IST

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An Australian professor, who co-authored the climate report that wrongly claimed Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035, said the discovery of the error does not undermine the science but added the charge that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chief Rajendra Pachauri may have have benefited by receiving funds for his institute "looks extremely bad".

Andy Pitman, co-director of the University of New South Wales climate change research centre and key author of the IPCC's 2001 and 2007 reports, said: "As far as I understand it, there are two paragraphs that have been questioned in a 1,600-page document."

"We ought to be talking about the other 1,599 pages that nobody has found any problems with," he told ABC Radio.

The report erroneously claimed Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035.

Pitman says while the 2035 date may be wrong the outcome will be the same.

"It doesn't say that the Himalayan glaciers are not vulnerable to climate change or are not melting or are not melting at an accelerated rate. It is the date of 2035 that is in error," Australian news agency AAP quoted him as saying.

But Pitman was concerned over the charge that IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri may have benefited from the errors by receiving funding for his research institute.

"I have to admit that it looks extremely bad," he said.

"But looking bad and actually undermining the broad conclusions that are in the IPCC report are two very different things."

He went on to say: "It's clear that increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing climate change but it certainly won't stop the sceptics using the information for their own purposes."

"My personal view is that climate scientists are losing the fight with the sceptics," he said.

"They're (the sceptics) doing a damn good job. I think they're doing a superb job of misinforming and miscommunicating (to) the general public, the state and the federal governments."

"Most of the climate sceptics, particularly those that are wandering around publicly at the moment, don't base their arguments on science."