In March, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked a committee of leading academics to review the work of one of the world’s most prestigious scientific bodies: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC, as it is often called, won the Nobel Prize in 2007 with Al Gore for its work on global warming. That year, the IPCC reported with more than 90 percent certainty that global warming was real, and that it was “very likely” caused by human activity.
As it turns out, there were some embarrassing errors in that report, and critics have seized on the mistakes as evidence that the IPCC’s work is flawed. The panel charged with investigating the IPCC recently released the results of its five-month review, along with a slew of recommendations for how the body could improve its work and regain the public trust. The full body of the IPCC will consider the recommendations at a meeting in Korea next month.
Need to Know’s Alison Stewart talks with the man who led the investigation, Harold Shapiro, a former Princeton University president and bioethics adviser to Bill Clinton. Shapiro explains how the mistakes have hurt the IPCC, how the panel has reacted to his findings, and whether the problems he discovered surprised him.