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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Headquarters

10 March 2010

Remarks to the press on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Good afternoon. I am pleased to be joined today by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In 2007, the IPCC issued its Fourth Assessment Report.

Many of the world's leading scientists contributed to this landmark synthesis of what we know about climate change.

The IPCC's work has been used by policymakers around the world as the most authoritative, comprehensive source for assessing climate risk.

The IPCC's conclusions are clear. The earth's climate systems are warming above and beyond natural variability. Human activities are contributing significantly to that warming through the emission of greenhouse gases.

Let me be clear: the threat posed by climate change is real. Nothing that has been alleged or revealed in the media recently alters the fundamental scientific consensus on climate change. Nor does it diminish the unique importance of the IPCC's work.

Regrettably, there were a very small number of errors in the Fourth Assessment Report. Remember: this is a 3,000 page synthesis of complex scientific data.

I have seen no credible evidence that challenges the main conclusions of that report.

The scientific basis for climate action remains as strong as ever. Indeed, evidence collected since the 2007 report suggests climate change is accelerating. The need for action is all the more urgent.

We need to act based on the best possible science. We need to ensure full transparency, accuracy and objectivity, and minimize the potential for any errors going forward.

That is why I have initiated, in tandem with the Chair of the IPCC, a comprehensive, independent review of the IPCC's procedures and processes.

This review will be conducted by the InterAcademy Council (IAC), an international scientific organization. It will be conducted completely independently of the United Nations.

Of course, climate science is not static. New discoveries are being made that increase our overall understanding of how the climate is changing.

We must be clear about what we know and also about where there is uncertainty.

We must communicate transparently and debate intelligently.

Too much is at stake. Climate change is harming our planet's systems.

People are increasingly at risk.

How much risk, when and where - these are critical questions that scientists continue to grapple with. That is why it is imperative that we have the best possible science to inform climate policy.

That is why we have established this independent review.

On that note, I would like to ask Dr Pachauri to say a few words.