February 6, 2010

Netherlands Enters The Climate Fray

A claim made by the UN climate change panel in 2007 that half of the country of the Netherlands was below sea level, is being contested by the country itself.

Dutch authorities estimate that only 26 percent of the country is below sea level and will be asking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to check its figures, environment ministry spokesman Trimo Vallaart told AFP.

The IPCC's calculation that 55 percent of the Netherlands was below sea level came from adding the actual estimates that 26 percent of the area was below sea level and 29 percent of the area was threatened from river flooding, Vallaart said.

Vallaart told reporters that the IPCC "should have been clearer" in their findings. The Dutch office for environmental planning had the exact figures. The error has been brought up to the IPCC several times, but nothing has happened as of yet. He was disappointed that proper procedure could not be followed and added that it should not be left to politicians to review IPCC figures.

The Dutch environment ministry plans on reviewing the IPCC's 938-page Fourth Assessment Report to see if it contains more errors, Vallaart said.

The report initiated politicians around the world to take action on the warning of global climate change on the horizon, but criticism has been met by many activists over their inaccurate claim that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.

The glacier mistake, added to the new Netherlands error, could cause great embarrassment for the IPCC, especially if any more mistakes are found in the report.


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