To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown

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.

It has also emerged that 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.

Speculative and informal claim by little-known scientist during phone interview -> article in pop sci mag -> benchmark report by IPCC. This is what happens when you don't bother to check out info that confirms what you think you know: you wind up with egg on your face.

It'd be funny if so much weren't riding on the shoddy work and the outright lies. Well, at least there appeared to be one hell of a party in Copenhagen. And that's the important thing, right?


The Gold Digger said...

Plus we got to pay for it!

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I know.

Imagine getting bloodwork done, and getting billed for it, and asking for the results, and after a great deal of effort finding out that the lab made up a bunch of stuff and didn't bother running the tests. Or even refused to give you the results outright. And they still got your money.

And then imagine your doctor trying to put you on an expensive and risky treatment program based on the lab's data that you aren't allowed to access or question.

At some point we're all going to ask ourselves how we let this happen.