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IPCC: ideas on a way forward

By Juliet Eilperin

Amid all the controversy concerning the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there's at least one positive sign: a group of researchers have devised a way to produce a new generation of climate scenarios to help guide policymakers.

Outlined in an article in the journal Nature Thursday, the new method would make scientists collaborate across disciplines to explore different pathways to achieving a specific level of radiative forcing, or warming. In other words, rather than speculating what the world would look like in 2050--how many cars people will be driving, how much land will be cleared--researchers would examine how the world might hit a specific temperature target like 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

"It's a question of taking a step back from what we've always done and making it better," said the paper's lead author Richard H. Moss, senior scientist at the University of Maryland's Global Change Research Institute.

He added that the new method, which will be applied to the next IPCC assessment that will be released in stages between 2013 and 2014, will shave two years off the time that it usually takes to produce climate scenarios.

"We can look at a range of different options, what are the ways we could achieve a particular target that could be achieved by policymakers," Moss said

Thursday"s Nature also has an excellent group of opinion pieces by several scientists about how to preserve the IPCC, reform it--or abandon it altogether.

By

Juliet Eilperin

 |  February 11, 2010; 1:00 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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