December 27, 2010

OF COURSE-It's all in the marketing

FROM-The Times of India

IPCC looking for communications manager to tackle crisis situation

WASHINGTON: Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is reportedly looking for its first Communications and Media Relations Programme Manager to help it avoid a mismanaged situation like last year, when it was stated that "most Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035."

The IPCC, which was honoured with the 2007 Nobel peace prize for its work, had a lot of explaining to do after journalists last year exposed errors in its 2007 assessment report.

IPCC officials have also admitted that the group's crisis management was as bad as the now-infamous statement that most Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 (see 'Glacier estimate is on thin ice'). At the time, the IPCC reportedly had no full-time professional communications director who could have dealt with the matter instantly.

The paper quoted Nick Nuttall, spokesperson and head of media with the United Nations Environment Programme that set up the IPCC in 1988 jointly with the World Meteorological Organization, as saying that in a world of rapid communication, "you cannot move at the speed of the slowest."

"The glacier affair didn't need to become the feeding frenzy for the international media that it did, he says. In scientific circles it had been known for months that something was badly wrong with the glacier claim. A skilled public-relations manager with a good network of relevant scientists could have nipped the problem in the bud before it burst on the scene, rather than having journalists claim a scoop," Nuttall added.

The IPCC was later criticised for its claim that 'most Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035' by many scientists who said that the claim was based on a decade-old interview of one climate scientist in a science magazine, The New Scientist, and that hard scientific evidence to support that figure was lacking.

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