The release of emails and other documents from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Britain has triggered a cascade of revelations that could spell the end of what some critics are caling the “great global warming delusion.”
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been caught grossly misrepresenting the status of Himalayan glaciers, falsely asserting in its most recent report scientists believe the glaciers will melt by 2035. IPCC based its assertion on a single World Wildlife Fund paper that took a scientist’s conversations on Himalayan glaciers out of context.
A comprehensive recent study by India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests flatly contradicted the IPCC assertion by finding no sign of global warming impacts on Himalayan glaciers.
IPCC Attacks Indian Study
In November 2009 the India Ministry of Environment and Forests published a comprehensive, 160-page scientific study concluding the evidence does not show global warming is causing a retreat of Himalayan glaciers. The report, “Himalayan Glaciers, A State-of-Art Review of Glacial Studies, Glacial Retreat, and Climate Change,” was written by the deputy director general of the Geological Survey of India, a Ph.D. scientist who has been studying Himalayan glaciers for decades.
IPCC chair Raj Pachauri called the India environment ministry “arrogant” for publishing a study contradicting IPCC’s assertion that Himalayan glaciers are rapidly melting. Pachauri referred to the environment ministry report as “voodoo science.”
With the battle lines drawn, analysts began studying IPCC’s Himalayan glacier assertions more closely. In its 2007 report IPCC claimed, “Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate.” IPCC defines “very high” as a probability greater than 90 percent.
IPCC Study Debunked
IPCC’s supporting documentation, however, shows IPCC based its assertion solely on a paper published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) environmental activist group. WWF in turn had based its assertion on conversations with a single scientist who admits he was only speculating about Himalayan glacier retreat, never mentioned the year 2035 as a potential melt date, and did not base his speculation on any formal research.
With IPCC’s misbehavior becoming apparent and the 2035 date unsupported by IPCC’s asserted source, the Times of London asked leading glacier scientists to assess the IPCC report. According to the January 18 Times, “glaciologists find such figures inherently ludicrous.”
Pachauri Hid Errors
Another bombshell exploded when the Times learned IPCC’s Pachauri was fully aware of the errors in the commission’s Himalayan glaciers forecast in November 2009 when the Indian report came out. According to the Times, Pallava Bagla, who writes for the journal Science, had informed Pachauri of the IPCC errors in several emails and personal discussions, but Pachauri chose not to correct the errors.
Bagla says Pachauri simply responded, “I don’t have anything to add on glaciers,” the Times reported.
“More than just sloppiness, the Himalayan glacier flap shows the corruption that pervades the IPCC as contributors and editors slant their science to support a political agenda,” said S. Fred Singer, president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project and distinguished professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. “Sadly, this corruption extends to the highest level, where denial is the preferred response to accusations of malfeasance.”
“Now all we need is an apology from Chairman Dr. Rajenda Pachauri for saying the claims that this error existed were ‘arrogant’ and ‘voodoo science.’ Will he give one? His track record suggests it is doubtful,” said Anthony Watts, chief meteorologist at KPAY radio in Chico, California and founder of SurfaceStations.org, a Web site that documents inaccuracy of land-based temperature stations.
End of a Delusion
“The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report is riddled with errors at least as egregious as this one,” said Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute and coeditor of Climate Change Reconsidered, an 800-page critique of the IPCC’s latest report. “The revelations will continue until the entire house of cards collapses.
“We are witnessing the end of one of the biggest popular delusions of our age,” Bast added. “Thank God it ended before a binding treaty or cap-and-trade legislation were passed.”
James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.