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IPCC likely to backtrack on claim that global warming will destroy rainforests

backpedalingFirst published: March 15, 2010

Source: The Times of India

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is the world’s leading climate change group, is expected to backtrack over its claims about how rainforests would be devastated by rising temperatures, as one of its own scientists has said that the claim is “totally wrong”.

According to a report in the Express, the latest embarrassment for the IPCC relates to a claim in a 2007 report that estimates up to 40 per cent of the Amazonian rainforest could be lost by even a “slight reduction” in rainfall.

But, a study of the region in 2005 when rainfall was at its lowest in living memory has contradicted the figures.

“We found no big differences in the greenness levels of these forests between drought and non-drought years, which suggests these forests may be more tolerant of droughts than we previously thought,” said Professor Ranga Myneni, who led this research at Boston University.

The Amazon claim was based on a report by environmental group the World Wildlife Fund.

The WWF’s figures were yesterday dismissed as “totally wrong” by Brazilian climate scientist Jose Marengo, a member of the IPCC.

But Keith Allott, of the WWF, said the report was based on “respected sources and peer reviewed literature”.

Earlier this year, the IPCC came under fire for exaggerating the rate at which glaciers in the Himalayas were melting by 300 years.

The claims, made in the same 2007 report, were found to be based on speculation by a scientist in a magazine.

The UN has ordered an inquiry into the organisation’s methods while critics say it should be overhauled.

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