Committee backs findings of IPCC climate change report

29 July 2014
By Edd Gent
Mobile version
Share |
The Energy and Climate Change Committee has backed the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's fifth assessment report

The Energy and Climate Change Committee has backed the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's fifth assessment report

There is no reason to doubt the credibility of the latest international assessment of the science of climate change, MPs have concluded.

The parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECC) said the fifth assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) drew on thousands of scientific papers which formed a "clear and unambiguous picture of a climate that is being dangerously destabilised".

Two climate sceptic members of the committee have gone on record as disagreeing with the conclusions of the report, but committee chairman Tim Yeo said there was no reason to doubt the credibility of the science or the integrity of the scientists involved in the latest assessment from the IPCC.

Criticism was levelled at the IPCC after the discovery of an error about melting Himalayan glaciers in the previous international assessment published in 2007, but the conclusion of the report said there was no scientific basis to weaken the UK's emissions targets and backed the Government's decision last week to maintain the ‘fourth carbon budget’ governing carbon emissions cuts in the 2020s.

Yeo said: "Some of the criticism directed toward the IPCC has been from people who for various political or economic reasons do not like its conclusions, but we decided to take a closer look at whether the scientists involved in the IPCC could be doing more to address genuine concerns.

"We were impressed with the integrity of the IPCC and the way it had responded to criticisms by strengthening its peer review procedures since its last Assessment Review, but believe it could improve its transparency still further by allowing non-scientists to observe the review process from start to finish and attend its plenary sessions.

"What is starkly clear from the evidence we heard however is that there is no reason to doubt the credibility of the science or the integrity of the scientists involved.

"Policymakers in the UK and around the world must now act on the IPCC's warning and work to agree a binding global climate deal in 2015 to ensure temperature rises do not exceed a point that could dangerously destabilise the climate."

Despite the findings of the report, two members of the committee known for their climate sceptic views – Conservative Peter Lilley and Labour’s Graham Stringer – disagreed with the other nine MPs.

"As scientists by training, we do not dispute the science of the greenhouse effect - nor did any of our witnesses," they said in a statement. "However, there remain great uncertainties about how much warming a given increase in greenhouse gases will cause, how much damage any temperature increase will cause and the best balance between adaptation to versus prevention of global warming."

But leading scientists welcomed the committee’s findings, with Prof Joanna Haigh, President of the Royal Meteorological Society, expressing her hope that the focus could now be switched to understanding the science behind climate change rather than “dealing with the constituencies working to discredit the IPCC”.

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, also welcomed the consensus reached by the committee.

“This report will make heart-breaking reading for climate change ‘sceptics’ who had hoped that their two cheerleaders on the committee would be able to deliver a report that attacked the IPCC,” he said.

“Some of the hearings during this inquiry would not have been out of place in the US Congress, where Republicans regularly invite climate change ‘sceptics’ to promote conspiracy theories about the IPCC.

“But fortunately, in the end, the two ‘sceptic’ MPs were unable to persuade the other committee members to join them in condemning the IPCC reports. The evidence from the research community was simply too overwhelming to deny, and the committee had no choice than to wholeheartedly endorse the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

“However, the behaviour of the ‘sceptics’ on this committee provides yet more proof that there is a handful of MPs who try to use Parliament to promote unscientific ideas, such as astrology, homeopathy and climate change denial.”

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1607

"As the dust settles after the referendum result, we consider what happens next. We also look forward to an international summer of sport."

E&T jobs

  • Control System Engineer

    United Utilities
    • Lancaster, Lancashire
    • Up to £33415 + Comprehensive Benefits

    Provide ICA maintenance and engineering support to the Water & Wastewater Production

    • Recruiter: United Utilities

    Apply for this job

  • Signal Processing Engineer

    B&W Group
    • Steyning, West Sussex
    • Competitive Salary

    We are looking for a Signal Processing Engineer to support the R&D process on active loudspeaker products.

    • Recruiter: B&W Group

    Apply for this job

  • Principal Mechanical & Electrical Engineer

    De Montfort University
    • Leicestershire
    • Grade G: £36,672 - £46,414 per annum

    Join the Projects Team to develop and manage medium to large projects on the university estate.

    • Recruiter: De Montfort University

    Apply for this job

  • Advanced Commissioning Engineer

    National Grid
    • Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, England
    • £46000 - £57000 per year

    National Grid is at the heart of energy in the UK. The electricity we provide gets the nation to work, powers schools and lights everyone's way home. Our energy network connects the nation, so it's essential that it's continually evolving, advancing and i

    • Recruiter: National Grid

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Design Engineer

    Oxford Instruments
    • Yatton, Bristol
    • Competitive salary plus excellent benefits

    We are looking for an electrical designer to join our engineering design team.

    • Recruiter: Oxford Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Skilled Electrical Fitter

    • Bolton
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What?s the opportunity?   The Electrical Fitter will carry out manufacturing and test tasks within the electrical department in accordance with product certification procedures, defined workmanship  ...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Manufacturing Technician

    • Stevenage
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What?s the opportunity?   As a qualified craftsman with experience in electrical manufacturing, the Manufacturing Technician will report to a Team Leader, receiving day to day ...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Consultant Engineer (Electrical Power)

    BAE Systems
    • Cumbria, Barrow-In-Furness, England
    • Negotiable

    Consultant Engineer (Electrical Power) Would you like to play a key role in providing technical direction to the design of power systems on the Successor class submarines, which will replace the current Trident-equipped Vanguard class, currently in servic

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Electrician

    The Bristol Port Company
    • City of Bristol
    • C. £31,729 per annum plus supplements, benefits and overtime

    You’re a good team worker with a strong technical capacity – so bring your talents to a new role with one of the area’s leading employers.

    • Recruiter: The Bristol Port Company

    Apply for this job

  • Supply Restoration Team Manager (HV/SAP)

    • Oxford, Oxfordshire
    • Salary: £37,588 to £49,645 + Car (SSE8) Depending on skills and experience

    SSE is looking to recruit a Supply Restoration Team Manager to join our existing team in Oxford.

    • Recruiter: SSE

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶


Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T