By JR on Saturday, June 18, 2011
The United Nation’s climate change body was at the centre of a new row today after it admitted using a Greenpeace campaigner to help write an ‘impartial’ report on green energy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a study last month claiming that the world could meet nearly 80 per cent of its energy by 2050 from renewable sources such as wind farms and solar panels.
But the full version of report published this week revealed that one of the lead authors was an employee of Greenpeace – a group that fiercely opposes nuclear power and which has campaigned on the perils of global warming for decades.
The revelation is another blow to the credibility of the IPCC which was set up to offer impartial, rigorous and science-based advice to politicians.
Last year, it was at the centre of a major row when it was forced to admit that it had exaggerated the threat of global warming to glaciers.
The latest report was produced by the IPPC’s Working Group 3 – a panel of experts that tries to predict the likely impacts of climate change. The working group has come under fire for relying on so-called ‘grey literature’, reports published by charities, campaign groups and environmentalists instead of high quality independent research published in academic journals.
The latest gaffe was flagged up by environmentalist Mark Lynas, author of the award-winning book Six Degrees. ‘I have lost confidence in the Working Group 3,’ he said. ‘The point needs to be strongly made to the IPCC that no campaigner should be a lead author of a report and put in charge of peer reviewing their own work. ‘That it allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by Greenpeace is an extraordinary failure and one which cannot simply be forgotten.’
The latest row centres on an IPCC report into renewables. When the summary report was published in May, the IPCC’s six page press release highlighted a key finding that green sources could provide 77 per cent of the world’s energy by 2050. However, the source of this claim only emerged when the full 1,554 page report was published this week.
It appears as just one possible scenario for the future in chapter 10 and was based on a report co-authored by Dr Sven Teske, an employee of Greenpeace International. Dr Teske’s report was originally published by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council, an industry body that promotes wind turbines and solar panels. An updated version was published in a minor academic journal last year. Dr Teske was also one of 10 lead authors who wrote chapter 10 and so had a say in whether his own study was included in the finished document.