January 17, 2010

IPCC Glacier Science

Where did the 2007 United Nation's International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) come up with the idea that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 due to global warming? Was there are international team of scientists investigating over years, measuring the glaciers, measuring the melt, studying the region's weather? No, no, no, there was none of that. That got the estimate by reading an article in "New Scientist" published in 1999. So New Science was reporting on the findings of a lengthy study of the glaciers? No, no no...

the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was "speculation" and was not supported by any formal research.

So this is how the IPCC does science: some politicians read blurbs in pop-science magazines and never even investigate if anyone, anywhere actually did any science. In this case, Syed Hasnain threw out a guess over the phone nearly a decade past and that was enough for the United Nations (and Al Gore) to start taxing every business in the world.

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