NEW DELHI - The head of the U.N.'s panel of climate scientists promised on Saturday to tighten research procedures but dismissed talk he should resign over an erroneous projection that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035.
A 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said global warming could cause the thousands of Himalayan glaciers to vanish if it continued at its current pace.
Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the panel, told reporters in New Delhi that he regretted including the forecast in the report but said the mistake should not obscure mounting evidence that climate change was a real threat.
Our procedures are very robust, they are very solid, he said. All we need to make sure about, is the fact that we adhere to implementing these procedures.
Pachauri brushed aside questions about whether the error would strengthen the hand of climate change sceptics and should prompt him to step down.
Rational people ... see the larger the picture. They are not going to be distracted by this one error, which of course is regrettable, he said. I have no intention of resigning from my position.
India and some climate researchers have criticised the IPCC for overstating the shrinking of Himalayan glaciers, whose seasonal thaw supplies water to nations like China and India.
Were the glaciers to disappear, it would badly disrupt water flows in Asia that are vital for irrigation.
Flaws in IPCC reports can be damaging since the findings are a guide for government policy.
In its core finding from the 2007 report, the IPCC said it was more than 90 percent sure that mankind was the main cause of global warming, mainly through its use of fossil fuels.
The offending paragraph reads: Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate.
IPCC leaders have noted that the projection about the Himalayan glaciers did not make it into its final summary for policymakers in 2007.
In a statement ahead of his media appearance, Pachauri said the error was caused because procedures were not properly followed and played down the chance of more flaws.
The possibility is minimal -- if not non-existent, he said. We would be reviewing and strengthening our processes henceforth.
(Editing by Noah Barkin)