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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
UN Climate Change panel under fire after Himalayan glacier claim - Times Online
"It has been a bleak winter for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The credibility of the UN body came under attack days before the opening of the Copenhagenclimate summit in December, when leaked e-mails from the University of East Anglia appeared to show manipulation of temperature data used by the panel. Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, was forced to spend much of his time at the conference defending the integrity of the science contained in the panel’s reports. Now it has been forced to apologise for including a highly alarmist claim in its most recent report that Himalayan glaciers were very likely to vanish by 2035. Most glaciologists believe the melting would take hundreds of years and some doubt that it will ever happen, pointing to evidence of glaciers advancing in the neighbouring Karakorammountain range. The IPCC reports underpin every country’s decisions about climate change. If the panel cannot be trusted, it becomes much more difficult to justify the global effort to cut greenhouse gases. That is why it is vital to place the allegations against the IPCC in context. While it is alarming that none of the 2,500 scientists who contributed to its 2007 report spotted the error, this is explained partly by it appearing in a single sentence on page 493. Climate sceptics around the world have spent two years scrutinising every claim made by the panel. So far they have identified one serious error; it seems unlikely that they will find many more. The IPCC should now re-check all the sources of statements in its report, but this process will not alter its conclusion that man-made emissions are very likely to be the main cause of global warming. "