Monday, February 1, 2010

The IPCC Under Siege

2010 has not been kind to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This U.N. sanctioned body is supposed to issue periodic reports that summarize the state of the science of global climate change based upon a comprehensive review and synthesis of the relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature. In the past few weeks, however, it has been revealed that the IPCC’s 2007 Working Group II report on “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” contains claims about the projected impacts of climate change that are completely unfounded, based upon non-scientific (let alone peer reviewed) sources, or misrepresent the underlying scientific literature.

The first revelation was that there was no scientific basis for the IPCC’s widely-hyped claim that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. This projection is off by a few centuries, at best. When an Indian climate researcher first challenged this claim, suggesting there is no evidence (yet) of warming-induced glacial retreat in the Himalayas, IPCC chief Rajenda Pachauri was dismissive. Now, however, he’s changed his tune, and the IPCC has acknowledged the error. This was more than a simple mistake, however, as it appears the IPCC was informed of the error before the report was finalized, but failed to make any changes, nor was Pachauri quick to acknowledge the error once it was brought to his attention. Read more.

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