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.
From Tim Blair:
"Yet surely the IPCC had the sense to review this claim and not overplay it? They didn’t:
When finally published, the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was “very high”. The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%.
The London Times summarises: “If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research.” Which is saying something. More from Walter Russell Mead:
Something is falling, but it isn’t the sky."
If evidence this slender was sufficient to convince the IPCC that this threat was real, it’s clear that the panel is more like Chicken Little than a serious source of scientific information.