China Questions Warming Cause While Backing IPCC

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

by Pallava Bagla and Eli Kintisch

As outsiders continue to heap criticism on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, China has to introduce new doubt on the scientific consensus regarding the cause of global warming. From the Guardian yesterday:

China's most senior negotiator on climate change said today he was keeping an open mind on whether global warming was man-made or the result of natural cycles.

Xie Zhenhua said there was no doubt that warming was taking place, but more and better scientific research was needed to establish the causes.

Xie, Premier Wen Jiabao's special representative on climate change, was speaking in Delhi at the end of a two-day meeting of ministers from four of the most powerful emerging economies - China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

Those four key developing nations—dubbed the BASIC countries—met here in a bid to firm up plans to carry out the non-binding Copenhagen Accord and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The group said they will "communicate information on their voluntary mitigation actions to the United Nations, Framework Convention on Climate Change by January 31, 2010," sticking to the deadline agreed to in Copenhagen.

But according to the Indian press agency, Press Trust of India, even as IPCC has been criticized over its forecast on the melting of Himalayan glaciers, the BASIC environment ministers issued a supportive statement saying that "one mistake does not make the science less important."

Added Brazil's Environment Minister Carlos Minc: "Kaka or Ronaldinho may miss an occasional goal but that does not make them any less exceptional players." India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh noted that IPCC was correct in its overall assessment that the Himalayan glaciers were receding and were in poor health due to global warming.

Posted in Climate, Asia ipcc