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New Zealand Experts Chosen For World Climate Panel

Sunday, 21 April 2002

Two New Zealanders have been appointed to the bureau of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world expert panel set up by the World Meteorological Organisation and United Nations Environment Programme to assess the science of climate change.

At a meeting in Geneva this weekend, the panel appointed Dr Martin Manning, a principal scientist with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, to serve on its bureau. It also appointed Helen Plume, a senior policy analyst in the Government’s Climate Change Project Team, to the task force bureau on greenhouse gas inventories.

The Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, Pete Hodgson, said he was pleased that New Zealand’s climate change expertise was recognised by such a distinguished panel.

“The panel selects experts from throughout the world to ensure its reports are of the best possible quality. The fact that two New Zealanders were chosen to serve amongst a group of only 42 individuals signifies the excellence of our science and the integrity we are bringing to the international examination of climate change.”

The panel also elected a new chairman, replacing the previous chair, Dr Robert Watson, with Indian scientist Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Director-General of the Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi.

Mr Hodgson said that the election of a chair from a developing country was an expression of the concern by many developing countries about the risks posed by climate change.

“New Zealand is keen to work with and support Dr Pachauri. Developing nations are very likely to be hardest hit by the impacts of climate change. At the same time, their large and growing populations mean it is important to bring them into the political process to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Dr Pachauri’s expertise in energy systems and sustainable development will help the IPCC focus on effective and fair mechanisms for achieving this.”

The IPCC reported in 2001 that human emissions of greenhouse gases had contributed substantially to global warming over the past 50 years, and that temperatures could rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees celsius on average by 2100 if no action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ends

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