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. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.... Read the rest of the article
Comment by: PT (David Alexander) (Jan-25-2010) Web site
Yes, I am glad to publish information about negative actions as well as all the positive actions from research all the way through to policy. Of course there is so much science of high integrity, and so many basic measurements, that the mis-step described here should not be blown out of proportion. But it is good to look with some doubt even at published information that agrees with one's preconcieved ideas. Such an attitude, if not overdone, does lead to more reliability in the final conclusions, based on my experience.