Oops: IPCC to withdraw claim that AGW will wipe out Himalayan glaciers by 2035

posted at 1:30 pm on January 17, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The UN agency for “climate change” will withdraw a years-old claim that man-made climate change will destroy the Himalayan glaciers within 25 years — after its highly unscientific method of reaching this conclusion got exposed this week. Instead of conducting actual science themselves, with open and transparent methods, the IPCC apparently just read the claim in an interview and decided to adopt it. Now the original reporter in the interview claims that not only did the IPCC simply lift the claim without any investigation, they didn’t understand it correctly in the first place:

A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.

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.

The Times of London makes a mistake in this opening. The blunders weren’t “scientific” in nature — in other words, the errors did not stem from bad modeling, data, or assumptions in a scientific inquiry. The IPCC adopted the claim without doing any science on their own at all.  They never tested the hypothesis that they read in the New Scientist.  It matched their politics, not any kind of science they conducted or reviewed.

On top of that, it seems that the IPCC has some reading-comprehension problems:

The IPCC’s reliance on Hasnain’s 1999 interview has been highlighted by Fred Pearce, the journalist who carried out the original interview for the New Scientist. Pearce said he rang Hasnain in India in 1999 after spotting his claims in an Indian magazine. Pearce said: “Hasnain told me then that he was bringing a report containing those numbers to Britain. The report had not been peer reviewed or formally published in a scientific journal and it had no formal status so I reported his work on that basis.

“Since then I have obtained a copy and it does not say what Hasnain said. In other words it does not mention 2035 as a date by which any Himalayan glaciers will melt. However, he did make clear that his comments related only to part of the Himalayan glaciers. not the whole massif.”

Um, okay.  So the IPCC read the interview in which Hasnain speculated — with no scientific evidence whatsoever — that a portion of the Himalayan glaciers would melt at some indeterminate time, and concluded that the entirety of the massif would evaporate by 2035.  They never even bothered to wait for Hasnain’s report to see exactly what he claimed, and why.  Instead, they just inflated the unsubstantiated speculation with a zeppelin of greenhouse-gas hyperbole and stated categorically that the entire glacial structure in the Himalayas would be gone in a quarter-century.

This is what passes for science at the UN.  This is what passes for science at the IPCC.  It’s also what passed for science at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.

And AGW hysterics like to call skeptics deniers, in what is clearly the most obvious case of projection on the global stage.

On the plus side, I believe I’ve found the basis for the next IPCC report and AGW hysteria.  I want to warn you before you click on this that the video is extremely sensitive: it cost a fortune to produce and only a few people have been foolish enough to watch it all the way through.  View at your own risk!

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Does carbon fall from the South end of a bovine and end up in stinky steaming piles?

Oldnuke on January 17, 2010 at 3:51 PM

What falls from that end is cr@p0nium !
Carbon is what we get when we go on a date with older people
-_0

macncheez on January 17, 2010 at 4:29 PM

“Hysterics” may call then deniers, but more thoughtful folks who accept the basic premise of AGW welcome skeptics – that is, those who have doubts but who haven’t completely made up their minds and are NOT dismissive of any evidence that supports the premise.



Hmmm… that works so long as someone still has an ‘open mind,’ but by the logic of that statement, as soon as one decides that AGW is NOT ‘confirmed fact’ they become deniers and crackpots. In other words, you’re OK until you disagree.

Sheesh. GK Chesterton once wrote, “the only reason to have an open mind is so that you can close it again on somethiong solid.”

psrch on January 17, 2010 at 4:30 PM

But, but, but the trick was not what you think it is….
It is a clever way of doing something, not to deceive….

nazo311 on January 17, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Plus, a peek inside the AGW think tank … so to speak.

More like an scientific deprived cesspool.

docdave on January 17, 2010 at 4:33 PM

How on earth did I miss that movie?

txag92 on January 17, 2010 at 1:38 PM

It came out around the time you were finishing up your undergrad degree. I saw it because I had completed my undergrad five years earlier and had time to watch movies – including ones as horribly lame as this one.

The only excuse for it that I can come up with was that Waterworld was made deliberately for Mystery Science Theater 3000

Wanderlust on January 17, 2010 at 4:35 PM

(assuming that “txag92″ refers to the year you got your degree, that is)

Wanderlust on January 17, 2010 at 4:36 PM

loved waterworld

blatantblue on January 17, 2010 at 4:37 PM

But, but… I *liked* that movie! :)

Midas on January 17, 2010 at 4:46 PM

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Do your part. Cut your carbon footprint to zero. Kill yourself. You will not be missed.

PimFortuynsGhost on January 17, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Scientists generally make conclusions based on probabilities. I doubt that many scientists would state categorically that absolute proof for AGW exists (but would, nonetheless, assert that there is a high probability that it is the case). What amazes many is that there are those who will state categorically that AGW is nonsense, despite a very large body of evidence that supports it (and, yes, some data has been questioned both from within and without the scientific community). There should always be those who would question data and suggest alternate explanations that those that have been put forth; these are not deniers but rather part of the process of rigorous testing of hypotheses.

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 4:48 PM

That’s the most I’ve ever seen of Waterworld. I’m happy to say I’ve missed most of Costner’s movies.

PatMac on January 17, 2010 at 4:49 PM

How on earth did I miss that movie?

txag92 on January 17, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Because they only show Dumb and Dumber movies over and over again at College Station.

conservnut on January 17, 2010 at 4:49 PM

payback txag!

conservnut on January 17, 2010 at 4:50 PM

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 4:48 PM

I just can’t trust a group of people that tell me we only have a handful of years left, then tell me we have five years, then tell me we have forty

The claims are ever evolving, always changing, and are categorically diametric to one another.

first its warming, then its climate change

first we have no time, then we have sometime, now we have 40 years

idk, its just all too over the place for me to take seriously.

blatantblue on January 17, 2010 at 4:51 PM

OT:

ROFL at the Cowpies. Next time they should send their actual team to play and not just the male cheer squad.

Bishop on January 17, 2010 at 4:54 PM

I just can’t trust a group of people that tell me we only have a handful of years left, then tell me we have five years, then tell me we have forty

The claims are ever evolving, always changing, and are categorically diametric to one another

Such is the nature of science. You will never find absolute agreement among the ranks of scientists. Do we never trust any scientists simply because each has his own ideas and interpretations? Do we not trust scientists on the whole simply because there is disagreement? What would worry me is total agreement on a given hypothesis; that would smack of conspiracy.

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Scientists generally make conclusions based on probabilities
oakland on January 17, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Those are not scientists they are prognosticators.

thomasaur on January 17, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Truth will out.

ronsfi on January 17, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Those are not scientists they are prognosticators

Who are “those”?

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 5:02 PM

IDK if it was just because all the buzz about it being an absolute bomb had my expectations at zero, but I thought waterworld was watchable.

TexasDan on January 17, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Bad science. Bad movie. Horrible actor.

That about covers it.

pugwriter on January 17, 2010 at 5:06 PM

Plus, a peek inside the AGW think tank…

I’d rather just bang on the outside with a sledge hammer…

karl9000 on January 17, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Scientists generally make conclusions based on probabilities
oakland on January 17, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Scientist draw conclusions from verifiable and empirical data not on what “might” have or “could” happen. These people are telling us that AGW can be solved by taxing the wealthy and giving the money to the dictators of 3rd world crapholes.

thomasaur on January 17, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Scientists generally make conclusions based on probabilities
oakland on January 17, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Yes, they have to calculate the Type I error value and reject or fail to reject a null hypothesis on the basis of the probability of Type I error.

However the key difference is those probabilities are assigned to actual observations, not observations extrapolated from a model which may or may not be accurate.

What they could do is provide a 95% confidence interval for their projections, but I suspect that such an interval would be so wide that they would be laughed at when that value became known.

PackerBronco on January 17, 2010 at 5:19 PM

You will never find absolute agreement among the ranks of scientists.

There is no disagreement if there are data to backup a theory or hypothesis. Raw data that is ..no homogenised, not fudged, not cooked, but raw data

Do we never trust any scientists simply because each has his own ideas and interpretations? Do we not trust scientists on the whole simply because there is disagreement?

When so called “scientists” have a vested financial interest in whatever they are publishing and/or peer-reviewing, their ideas and interpretations are not worthy of any trust

What would worry me is total agreement on a given hypothesis; that would smack of conspiracy.

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 4:58 PM

What worries me is the intimidation and thuggery unleashed by those on taxpayer dole, and ofcourse their lack of any accountability .

macncheez on January 17, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Such is the nature of science. You will never find absolute agreement among the ranks of scientists. Do we never trust any scientists simply because each has his own ideas and interpretations?

And such is the nature of ill advised BS from people who talk about science… oakland, you are a poseur and it is painful to read your comments.

Science is not about “trust”. Scientific facts can be reasonably verified without any confusion. Not to mention, scientific facts cannot be falsified. So, there.

That is the difference between hypothesis and facts. Hypothesis can be disproved – facts cannot be.

AGW is at best a theory – it is based on climate models which are poor to say the least. This earth has been through drastic changes in climate over periods of millions of years. To try and model the climate of this earth is a challenge of epic propotions.

To even think that you can model this complexity is what Hayek would call the FATAL CONCEIT… there is just so much that you dont know.

What would worry me is total agreement on a given hypothesis; that would smack of conspiracy.
And our IPCC morons are pure as the white snow, arent they? They are IN TOTAL AGREEMENT over AGW destroying the world if the world economic order is not turned upside down.

nagee76 on January 17, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Scientist draw conclusions from verifiable and empirical data not on what “might” have or “could” happen. These people are telling us that AGW can be solved by taxing the wealthy and giving the money to the dictators of 3rd world crapholes.

B-I-N-G-O.

However the key difference is those probabilities are assigned to actual observations, not observations extrapolated from a model which may or may not be accurate.

What they could do is provide a 95% confidence interval for their projections, but I suspect that such an interval would be so wide that they would be laughed at when that value became known.

Great comment. These are probably the two most reasonable comments in the thread.

nagee76 on January 17, 2010 at 5:24 PM

When so called “scientists” have a vested financial interest in whatever they are publishing and/or peer-reviewing, their ideas and interpretations are not worthy of any trust

Do not all professionals have some financial interest in their work? Do we fault people for receiving compensation for their efforts?

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 5:44 PM

AGW is at best a theory – it is based on climate models which are poor to say the least. This earth has been through drastic changes in climate over periods of millions of years. To try and model the climate of this earth is a challenge of epic propotions.

To even think that you can model this complexity is what Hayek would call the FATAL CONCEIT… there is just so much that you dont know.

It is a challenge, no doubt. I’m glad that there are folks up to the task; aren’t you?

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 5:46 PM

So, I’m still going to have to muffle up to climb Everest?

OldEnglish on January 17, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Depends on who you talk to English. Al Gore figures you can just take a water taxi to the summit in 5 years.

JusDreamin on January 17, 2010 at 5:49 PM

However the key difference is those probabilities are assigned to actual observations, not observations extrapolated from a model which may or may not be accurate.

What they could do is provide a 95% confidence interval for their projections, but I suspect that such an interval would be so wide that they would be laughed at when that value became known.

…and what would be a reasonable range within a 95% confidence level, in your opinion? (that is, one that would not evoke laughter on your part)

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 5:50 PM

fred5678 on January 17, 2010 at 2:49 PM

kingsjester on January 17, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Yep, there’s nothing so compelling as a gay, falsetto rendition of “Walk Like a Man.”

Barnestormer on January 17, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Oh Please the Himalayans, will be gone by 2012, has no one watched the trailer for 2012? Come on Already. 2035 indeed the IPCC isn’t watching the right Hollywood movie trailers/SARC.

Trailer for 2012.

Dr Evil on January 17, 2010 at 6:10 PM

I liked Waterworld. And the reruns. It’s one of those movies I’m happy to have on in background while doing other stuff.

Alana on January 17, 2010 at 6:14 PM

It sounds to me like Prof Cogley’s hypothesis as to where the 2035 number came from was speculation and has been overtaken by the (even more egregious) revelations now reported by the Times (and others). Cogley was being charitable compared to this. At least Kotlyakov’s article was a scientific paper.

Lynn B. on January 17, 2010 at 6:41 PM

Somehow this must be what the IPCC guys are listening to as they do their calculating.

Every week another juvenile embarrassment.

Even their acronym is silly.

I pee, si, si.

Global jokes.

profitsbeard on January 17, 2010 at 8:23 PM

Prediction: The claim will stay in kids movies for five years and in textbooks for ten.

29Victor on January 17, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Breaking news: Based on the box office success of “Avatar,” film director James Cameron has decided to go ahead with plans to remake “Water World,” starring Sean Penn, Jeff Goldblum, Tim Robbins, and Michael Moore. The centerpiece of the film’s special effects will be the raising of the “Titanic,” which will be used as a floating island for the creme de la creme of liberal elitist survivors, including hollywood celebs and politicians (with cameos by Pelosi, Reid, and Hoyer) as it traverses the seemingly endless oceans in quest for the secret land of Pandora, where the race of evil white conservatives was wiped out by the otherwise peaceful indigenous Na’vi.

Goldy1 on January 17, 2010 at 10:03 PM

I appreciate you highlighting this story Ed, but as always I find that you’re treating these SOBs too kindly. It’s not simple politics, etc. I wish you would strongly acknowledge and condemn the not so secret, yet very sinister motives behind this entire movement.

RightWinged on January 17, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Pearce said he rang Hasnain in India in 1999 after spotting his claims in an Indian magazine. Pearce said: “Hasnain told me then that he was bringing a report containing those numbers to Britain. The report had not been peer reviewed or formally published in a scientific journal and it had no formal status so I reported his work on that basis.
“Since then I have obtained a copy and it does not say what Hasnain said. In other words it does not mention 2035 as a date by which any Himalayan glaciers will melt. However, he did make clear that his comments related only to part of the Himalayan glaciers. not the whole massif.”

When in doubt, MEASURE.

Re Water World, been there, done that. Remember Noah’s Ark?

Steve Z on January 17, 2010 at 10:47 PM

That’s the most I’ve ever seen of Waterworld. I’m happy to say I’ve missed most of Costner’s movies.

PatMac on January 17, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Ditto. Ditto. Costner is a putz – fact.

AH_C on January 17, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Hey, Waterworld made a crackin’ good stunt show at Universal Studios. And it’s STILL going, and getting renovated periodically. (The sound system was in my living room for “too long” waiting for down time to install it on the last sound system renovation.)

{^_-}

herself on January 18, 2010 at 2:24 AM

Welcome Oakland. One who knows how to use a non sequiter. Polite, too.

Scientists generally make conclusions based on probabilities. I doubt that many scientists would state categorically that absolute proof for AGW exists (but would, nonetheless, assert that there is a high probability that it is the case).

Thank you for the improvement in the conversation. Perhaps a fellow in disagreement; a valued antagonist. HA is the Forum. Welcome.

Caststeel on January 18, 2010 at 4:10 AM

Prediction: The claim will stay in kids movies for five years and in textbooks for ten.

29Victor on January 17, 2010 at 9:20 PM

…and New Scientist for 20.

MNHawk on January 18, 2010 at 7:15 AM

but who haven’t completely made up their minds and are NOT dismissive of any evidence that supports the premise.

oakland on January 17, 2010 at 4:09 PM

That’s just the problem. There isn’t, and never has been any evidence that supports the premise. The only thing we have are highly tuned computer models that can’t hindcast historical climates accurately.

MarkTheGreat on January 18, 2010 at 8:57 AM

In the last 100,000 years, the earth has warmed and cooled many times. Many of those warmings were substantially hotter than what we are feeling today.

So the claim that this must be caused by CO2 is false on it’s face.

The claim as to how much the earth has warmed is backed only by the ground based temperature network. As Anthony Watts has demonstrated, this network is so badly maintained that it is unable to generate measurements within 5C, much less the fractions of a degree that is being claimed by the alarmists.

The alarmists claim that the small increase in temperature that CO2 will cause, will be amplified by increases in water vapor. However such increases have never been observed and in fact, real world measurements show just the opposite.

CO2 in the atmosphere is close to saturation already. No matter how much more gets put in, it will have very little affect.

MarkTheGreat on January 18, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Here’s a good chart that pretty well refutes all of the alarmists claim. Notice how the rise in temperatures started well before the rise in CO2. Notice also how the rise in CO2 had absolutely no impact on the rate of temperature rise.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100022226/agw-i-refute-it-thus-central-england-temperatures-1659-to-2009/

MarkTheGreat on January 18, 2010 at 9:44 AM

I thought dolphins and whales were supposed to inherit the earth anyway?

nolapol on January 18, 2010 at 10:29 AM

We are all gonna die!!!
wait, maybe not.

TBenton on January 18, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Comment pages: 1 2