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 The report had not been peer reviewed or formally published in a scientific journal and it had no formal status so I reported his work on that basis.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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