This report has been commissioned to the InterAcademy Council (IAC) by the UN Secretary General and the much-criticised Chair of the IPCC Pachauri with the request to conduct an independent review of procedures. The need to revise the IPCC process emerged as the Forth Assessment Report (AR4) of 2007 has been severely criticized for some inaccuracies or mistaken predictions. In particular the “Climategate” and the wrong prediction about Himalayan glaciers melting in 2035 questioned the scientific credibility of the overall Panel.
After five months of work , the IAC Committee concluded that, despite the IPCC process has been successful overall, it could be improved through some changes in the governance and the structure of the Panel. Indeed, it suggests the following key actions:
- Clarify the role of the Review Editors, encouraging them to fully exercise their authority;
- Revise the ability to manage the number of review comments. To this purpose the IAC Committee recommends to establish a targeted process which demands to both Editors and Authors to prepare written summaries of controversial issues and responses;
- Adopt a more transparent approach in the communication of Assesment Reports;
- Adopt a single scale to describe uncertainty. Specifically, it recommends to use the quantitative likelihood only when there is sufficient evidence;
- Establish an Executive Committee which makes decisions quickly. Such Executive body should be composed also of independent members in order to guarantee its full independence;
- Appoint an Executive Director to lead day-to-day activities and support the Secretariat;
- Limit the term of office of the institutional figures (Executive Director, IPCC Chair and Working Group Co-Chairs) to just one assessment period.
Now, the next step is up to IPCC national governments, which have to transform the recommendations from the IAC in concrete actions (hopefully).