Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday January 18,2010
FRESH doubts were cast over controversial global warming theories yesterday after a major climate change argument was discredited.
The International Panel on Climate Change was forced to admit its key claim that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 was lifted from a 1999 magazine article. The report was based on an interview with a little-known Indian scientist who has since said his views were “speculation” and not backed up by research.
It was also revealed that the IPCC’s controversial chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, described as “the world’s top climate scientist”, is a former railway engineer with a PhD in economics and no formal climate science qualifications.
Dr Pachauri was yesterday accused of a conflict of interest after it emerged he has a network of business interests that attract millions of pounds in funding thanks to IPCC policies. One of them, The Energy Research Institute, has a
office and is set to receive up to £10million from British taxpayers over the next five years in the form of grants from the Department for International Development. London
Dr Pachauri denies any conflict of interest arising from his various roles.
Yesterday, critics accused the IPCC of boosting the man-made global warming theory to protect a multi-million pound industry.
Climate scientist Peter Taylor said: “I am not surprised by this news. A vast bureaucracy and industry has been built up around this theory. There is too much money in it for the IPCC to let it wither.”
Professor Julian Dowdeswell, a glacier specialist at
, said: “The average glacier is 1,000ft thick so to melt one even at 15ft a year would take 60 years. That is a lot faster than anything we are seeing now so the idea of losing it all by 2035 is unrealistically high.” Cambridge University
The IPCC was set up by the UN to ensure world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change. It issued the glacier warning in a benchmark report in 2007 that was allegedly based on the latest research into global warming.
The scientists behind the report now admit they relied on a news story published in the New Scientist journal in 1999. The article was based on a short telephone interview with scientist Syed Hasnain, then based in
, who has since said his views were “speculation”. Delhi
The New Scientist report was picked up by the WWF and included in a 2005 paper.
It then became a key source for the IPCC which went further in suggesting the melting of the glaciers was “very likely”.
Yesterday, Professor Murari Lal who oversaw the chapter on glaciers in the IPCC report, said: “If Hasnain says officially that he never asserted this, or that it is a wrong presumption, then I will recommend that the assertion about Himalayan glaciers be removed from future IPCC assessments.”
Last year the Indian government issued its own scientific research rejecting the notion that glaciers were melting so rapidly.
Before the weakness in the IPCC’s research was exposed, Dr Pachauri dismissed the Indian government report as “voodoo science”.
The revelations are the latest crack to appear in the scientific consensus on climate change.
It follows the so-called climate-gate scandal in November last year when leaked emails from the
’s Climatic Research Unit appeared to show scientists fiddling the figures to strengthen the case for man-made climate change. University of East Anglia
The scandal prompted critics to suggest that many scientists had a vested interest in promoting climate change because it helped secure more funding for research.
Last month, the Daily Express published a dossier listing 100 reasons why global warming was part of a natural cycle and not man made.