THE UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has defended itself against charges by New Scientist that it was “putting politics before science” by imposing geographical and even gender quotas in the selection of its contributing scientists.
In a statement, the panel said it “has always sought, among other considerations, to achieve geographical representation, including representation from developing countries, in the selection of authors for its reports” assessing the phenomenon and risks of global warming.
“This is because the IPCC wants its assessments to reflect a range of scientific, technical and socio-economic views and expertise, and not to be subject to any one perspective. There has never been any question, nor is there now, of imposing geographical or gender quotas.”
The statement noted the original article published in the online edition of New Scientist on June 18th – written from Rio by Fred Pearce, its highly respected senior environment correspondent – had been “corrected” on June 19th and “further corrected” on June 22nd.
Responding to a charge it had decided to impose geographical quotas for the election of its 31-strong ruling bureau, it said the composition had “always represented the different regions of the world”, in line with the practice of many UN bodies. At its meeting in Geneva this month, “the panel amended the election rules to strengthen the representation of Southwest Pacific states . . . in order to ensure that each region is represented in each [IPCC] working group and in the executive committee”.