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The new chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri, has pledged to place more emphasis on regional assessments of climate change, and on its socio-economic impact.

Pachauri, the director of the Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi, says that the melting of glaciers high in the Himalayas is the type of regional question that the panel needs to address (see Global warming triggers Himalayan flood threat).

The new IPCC head — who last month was controversially elected over the incumbent chair, atmospheric scientist Robert Watson — says that he is now busy setting the agenda for the panel's fourth assessment report, which is due in 2007.

Watson, meanwhile, has immersed himself in a new project. He is launching a US$500,000 feasibility study on an advisory mechanism to inform governments and international bodies on the scientific issues facing global agriculture, including the implications of genetically modified crops.

Reference: Nature 417, 106 (2002)

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