At This Rate, We Should Be Glad the IPCC Didn’t Cite A Spiderman Comic

| January 18, 2010 | Comments (0)

Pity the poor glaciers of the Himalayas. For ten years, we’ve been told by the adherents of the Global Warming Cult, they have been slowly dying. Indeed, not just dying but being killed by our profligate and greedy CO2 emissions. The IPCC warned us that if we didn’t mend out ways now (and by “mending our ways” they meant “give them trillions of dollars to make all the nasty CO2 go away”) the glaciers would be gone by 2035.

This was not a small claim. It was an anchor of the IPCCs report two years ago and it has been trumpeted by the world media for nigh upon a decade. We learned last month that the claim was load of bunk, but thanks to an article in the UK’s Times Online, we now have a clear view of just how big the load of bunk really was.

Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC’s 2007 report.

It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was “speculation” and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.

In other words, the whole was based on a one-off conversation with a scientist barely anyone knew published in a non peer-reviewed magazine.

Oh, but it gets better. See, the IPCC didn’t get the claim from the magazine article. They got it from a piece of World Wildlife Fund agitprop that cited the article without attempting to verify the claim. The IPCC report then cited the WWF piece as a source, even though no one on the team actually followed up on the claim. If they had, Mr. Hasnain would likely have told them, as he told the New Scientist, “The magic number of 2035 has not [been] mentioned in any research papers written by me…It is not proper for IPCC to include references from popular magazines or newspapers.” Or, they could have asked Fred Pearce, the author of the original article, who told the Times Online that Hasnain’s comments only pertained to part of the Himalayan glaciers, and not all of them, as Pearce originally reported.

But I guess it was all too good to verify. After all, the science is settled, right?

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Category: Oh the Climate, It is A-Changin'

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