January 21, 2010

Himalayan Glacier-melt Prediction Withdrawn

First the leaked emails, now this:

The UN’s top climate change body has issued an unprecedented apology over its flawed prediction that Himalayan glaciers were likely to disappear by 2035.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said yesterday that the prediction in its landmark 2007 report was “poorly substantiated” and resulted from a lapse in standards. “In drafting the paragraph in question the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly,” the panel said. “The chair, vice-chair and co-chairs of the IPCC regret the poor application of IPCC procedures in this instance.”

I am not advocating climate-change denial here. But how can we know what to think and what changes to make when the so-called people in charge are so sloppy and/or dishonest?

Every incident like this just feeds the "ain't nothing happening" folks, industry sponsors and all.


Retrieverman said...

Academia is always suspect in the public mind. Sloppy scholarship merely feeds this distrust.

I've never been a denier. In fact, I had to withdraw a few posts I've written on the issue because the discussion tended to go sideways very quickly.

Many people believe in conspiracy theories about climate change scholarship. I don't think there is.

However, the pressure to publish or perish has resulted in a kind over-zealousness among climate experts to prove an obvious thesis. The more gloom and doom that can be worked into a model the greater the chance of an academic getting published. Publishing means tenure and job security.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Wouldn't you say that here--with the glaciers--we are dealing more with pronouncements in the news media rather than in academic publications.

The Climategate scandal shows people attempting to manipulate the peer-review process, which is even worse to my mind, since public pronouncements usually rest on scholarly publishing.