Taking on "GlacierGate", The Latest Climate Science Scandal

By Chris Mooney | January 27, 2010 12:26 pm

My latest blog post for Science Progress is up; it’s about the scientific black-eye known now as “GlacierGate,” in which the IPCC was found to have published plagiarized misinformation about the vulnerability of the Himalayan glaciers to climate change in its Fourth Assessment Report. The content was indefensible; a quick retraction should have occurred. But instead, there was wagon-circling and defensiveness and hence, we have yet another scandal on our hands.

Here’s a sampling of my take:

…without exonerating the IPCC in this instance—there is no defense for such shoddy work—let’s attempt to inject a little sanity here. The IPCC goofed, but we should keep matters in perspective. We’re talking about one tiny section of a 938-page report on how climate change will affect different parts of the world. It would be amazing if errors did not slip into such a vast document, whatever the professed peer review standards may be. And the mistake was originally caught not by skeptics, but by scientists, including an IPCC report co-author. In the broadest sense, the scientific process is actually working here, even if the IPCC stumbled in this case.

Moreover, Himalayan glaciers are retreating, even if they’re not doing so faster than glaciers in other parts of the world, and even if they won’t be gone by 2035. As a team of scientists who exposed the IPCC’s mistake in a letter to the journal Science judiciously put it:

This was a bad error. It was a really bad paragraph, and poses a legitimate question about how to improve IPCC’s review process. It was not a conspiracy. The error does not compromise the IPCC Fourth Assessment, which for the most part was well reviewed and is highly accurate.

That’s the true significance of “GlacierGate,” but sure enough, it is being vastly misused in yet another cynical attempt to undermine all of earthly climate science.

You can read the full blog post here.

Comments (60)

  1. Dear Chris,

    do you have some criterion how to distinguish indefensible statements from the defensible ones? The whole plan to “fight climate change” is built on similar indefensible statements such as the statement that the Himalayan glaciers will be gone in 25 years.

    Still, many people – including you – keep on defending them.

    Is the glacier statement really indefensible? Is the similarly unsourced statement about the devastation of Amazonia defensible or indefensible? What’s the difference? And what about the statements that a mild temperature increase makes hurricanes or droughts or floods more intense and dangerous?

    Once you divide these things, will you tell us a justification?

    The glacier nonsense used to be defended. Just a few months ago, it was the typical kind of material that even superficially serious newspapers would parrot. Glaciers are melting faster than we ever thought, and so on. I think that your sudden realization that this particular statement was indefensible is a sign of your opportunism. You just realize that you won’t be able to defend it, so you focus on similarly absurd propositions that still have a chance to be defended.

    But you know that they’re equally absurd, don’t you? The whole pyramid of assumptions needed to justify a “fight against climate change” is built out of nonsense of the same degree of absurdity as the 2035 glacier meltdown. After all, Al Gore who shared the Nobel prize with the IPCC, predicted the end of the world around 2015, well before the 2035 demise of the glaciers, and there still exist people who think that Al Gore is defensible.

    Cheers
    LM

  2. moptop

    Nobody says it’s a conspiracy, more like a confederacy of the like minded, each of whom believes that they must stretch the truth to save the world or finds the justifications for higher taxes just too inviting. There is no “Dr Evil” at the top of such a scheme.

  3. If it's not science it's CRAP

    AGW is as much of a conspiracy as the neo-con agenda. It’s not a controversy, it’s a carefully manufactured and orchestrated campaign to win the hearts and minds of the American people. And it’s failing for good reasons right now.

  4. Kirk

    Until skeptics and deniers produce 900 page reports with <12 errors, they can kiss Benders rear end. I haven't seen a 240 character post with <12 errors yet. One planet, one experiment.

  5. Neuro-conservative

    This is not just about a little slip-up in a tiny paragraph. Instead of your “good guys/bad guys” hackery, you should be at least as forthright about the IPCC’s larger failings as the John Beddington, the Chief science advisor in the UK:

    Professor Beddington said that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.

    He said that public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly-disputed issues.

    He said: “I don’t think it’s healthy to dismiss proper scepticism. Science grows and improves in the light of criticism. There is a fundamental uncertainty about climate change prediction that can’t be changed.”

    He said that the false claim in the IPCC’s 2007 report that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 had exposed a wider problem with the way that some evidence was presented.

    “Certain unqualified statements have been unfortunate. We have a problem in communicating uncertainty. There’s definitely an issue there. If there wasn’t, there wouldn’t be the level of scepticism. All of these predictions have to be caveated by saying, ‘There’s a level of uncertainty about that’.”

  6. Neuro-conservative

    Similarly, Canada’s leading climatologist Andrew Weaver:

    “The problem we have is that the IPCC process has taken on a life of its own,” says Dr. Weaver, a climate-modelling physicist who co-authored chapters in the past three IPCC reports.

    “I think the IPCC needs a fundamental shift.”

  7. Dear Kirk,
    here it is:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1934791288?tag=lubosmotlsref-20

    It’s our 900-page error-free NIPCC report. Enjoy reading.

    Lubos Motl

  8. DavidS

    Friends, Exactly how many order of magnitude errors would you expect in an operations-critical Boeing 747 maintenance manual? With industrial strength assurance, a single major error represents a major failure in governance. It’s not about the errors of a single person. It is about a collapse in confidence in leadership and competence. All conclusions are impaired in UN IPCC reporting until new scientific leadership takes over in this important area of human inquiry. Let’s all get behind real scientific inquiry not the politically driven pseudo-science embraced by the warmists. DavidS

  9. Why are you even worrying about a scientific boo-boo. Didn’t you get the memo? AGW is not about science!

    /quote
    Kenneth Davis, meteorology professor and audience member, also agreed.

    “Focusing on the ethical aspect is critical,” Davis said. “We are continually deceived to think of [AGW] as a scientific debate.”
    /quote

    http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2010/01/27/post_97.aspx

    This about ethics, not science. If the science is wrong, so what? The right thing to do is give billions to third world countries to prepare for climate change, even if it isn’t happening.

    Now doesn’t that make it so much simpler? No worries about melting dates and parts-per-million and solar wattage and such. Just let the AGW people tell you what is good (stop eating meat and have fewer kids) and what is bad (owning a home and driving a car).

    Science has nothing to do with this. That’s what a climate change meteorologist says. I think he’s right.

  10. GM

    Friends, Exactly how many order of magnitude errors would you expect in an operations-critical Boeing 747 maintenance manual? With industrial strength assurance, a single major error represents a major failure in governance. It’s not about the errors of a single person. It is about a collapse in confidence in leadership and competence. All conclusions are impaired in UN IPCC reporting until new scientific leadership takes over in this important area of human inquiry. Let’s all get behind real scientific inquiry not the politically driven pseudo-science embraced by the warmists. DavidS

    How may errors do you find in the denialist “literature”? You find a few minor bugs in the IPCC report of 1000 pages of actual science, and you dismiss the whole thing, yet you trust the writings of people who do absolutely no science themselves and who commit crimes against facts and reasoning every other line…

  11. TTT

    I actually consider this to be much worse than the SwiftHack. In that instance we were only being attacked because of the ignorant layman public’s unfamiliarity with the jargon and context, as well as transparently fake outrage over how some scientists said, basically, “I hate my critics and want to punch them.” There was nothing really there.

    But THIS is a case of actually using crap data to draw false conclusions. Rates of glacial retreat are one of the major factors determining just how bad global warming will be and how hard we should fight it.

    Ironically, I expect this case to get not 1/100th of the presstime or traction that SwiftHack did.

  12. Jon

    Rule #1 of denialism:

    Any time you find any problem with any data set, no matter how small that problem is, it always brings down the entire edifice of mainstream climate science–no matter how large, independently researched, or how various the subjects of study are.

    The important thing is the level of outrage you can generate with the problem, not how important that problem is in the context of the science.

  13. Another Pro AGW Blog

    It’s a VAST document: if 3,200 people contributed to it, that means that each page had 2 readers…..it shouldn’t be too hard to find the glaring error regarding the Himalayas glaciers. It’s only vast if it’s written by 1 guy. I could excuse Pachauri if he had written the whole thing. No, Pachauri’s is a failure of governance and oversight.

    It’s a SMALL mistake: Well, if telling 1.4 billion people that their main source of fresh water in 25 years is a small mistake, well then I acquiesce. This error is akin to telling the people of Canada and the US that the Great Lakes will disappear in 25 years due to global warming — imagine the furor.

    CAUGHT BY SCIENTISTS: Sorry, many of us have known about this error since 2008. It’s a sad state of affairs that the MSM and these bloggers only now report on this error once the IPCC issues its statement. C’mon guys — what ever happened to INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM?

    I generally find this forum on discover to quickly degenerate into a mangled mess of insane people posting all kinds of lunacies so please don’t expect me to respond to every nut out there.

    To the blogger author: for how long will you defend this church? Please stop defending a bunch of corrupt individuals engaged in allegedly illegal activities.

  14. moptop

    There are certainly more than a few denialists on this thread. Hint, if you have never asked yourself if it is possible that could be wrong, you almost certainly are.

  15. moptop

    Chris, I kind of like the way you link to an AP source from this January which purported to “discover” this mistake.

    If you look at this “denialist blog”, you will see that the issue was discovered at least a month prior *BY A SKEPTICAL BLOG*

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/global-warming-and-glacier-melt-down-debate-a-tempest-in-a-teapot/

    And was covered by Wattsupwiththat at the time

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/22/texas-state-climatologist-ipcc-ar4-was-flat-out-wrong-relied-on-flawed-wwf-report/

    If you can’t bring yourself to click on the links, notice the dates.

  16. GM

    It’s a VAST document: if 3,200 people contributed to it, that means that each page had 2 readers…..it shouldn’t be too hard to find the glaring error regarding the Himalayas glaciers. It’s only vast if it’s written by 1 guy. I could excuse Pachauri if he had written the whole thing. No, Pachauri’s is a failure of governance and oversight.

    Apparently you have never been part of a large collaborative scientific effort. OF the hundreds of people who contribute to such project, very few will be actually involved in the writing of it. BTW, if it was the other way, nothing would have ever been written…

    It’s a SMALL mistake: Well, if telling 1.4 billion people that their main source of fresh water in 25 years is a small mistake, well then I acquiesce. This error is akin to telling the people of Canada and the US that the Great Lakes will disappear in 25 years due to global warming — imagine the furor.

    Those 1.4 billion people will eventually run out of water, because the glaciers will melt, sooner or later, if warming continues which it will. So they have to prepare, sooner or later and the only way to prepare is by becoming much less than 1.4 billion because there is nowhere that they can get the water from, even now both China and India are severely depleting their aquifers, so with the exception of South China, they will both run out of water, even without glaciers melting. So in the big scheme of things that they were “unnecessarily scared” that they will be dying of hunger in 25 years instead of in 50 years does not seem too problematic to me

  17. moptop

    “the only way to prepare is by becoming much less than 1.4 billion”

    Behind every lefty is a Stalin or a Pol Pot.

  18. GM

    “the only way to prepare is by becoming much less than 1.4 billion”
    Behind every lefty is a Stalin or a Pol Pot.

    Any realistic suggestions for ways of providing 1.4, to become 2 by 2050 billion people with the food and energy they need if there simply isn’t enough food and energy around for them are more than welcome.

    For the record, I have absolutely no left inclinations, I am completely apolitical, I just see the left as slightly less bad than the right, but that doesn’t means that they aren’t completely disconnected from reality too.

    And you don’t need to kill people Pol Pot style to reduce the population yet, although the more you wait for that, the higher the chance becomes that they will have to do it themselves in the future. All you need to do right now is to stop births. Unfortunately, were you to try and do that, you run against the massive wall of ignorance combined with the basic evolutionary instinct of reproducing as much as possible, which means you will have to use some repression, which in turn means that you very soon find yourself without the power needed to implement such a program (and very likely dead like Chaushesku) as it is highly unlikely that you will find enough military personnel educated enough to understand why this is necessary and ready to protect you.

    So don’t worry, it won’t happen and you people will have the opportunity to carry out the reduction themselves, as it has happened historically, for which the bones with teeth marks archaeologists find in places like the American Southwest where ancient civilizations decided they can ignore the laws of nature just as we’re doing testify

  19. GM

    the only way to prepare is by becoming much less than 1.4 billion
    Behind every lefty is a Stalin or a Pol Pot.

    Any realistic suggestions for ways of providing 1.4, to become 2 by 2050 billion people with the food and energy they need if there simply isn’t enough food and energy around for them are more than welcome.

    For the record, I have absolutely no left inclinations, I am completely apolitical, I just see the left as slightly less bad than the right, but that doesn’t means that they aren’t completely disconnected from reality too.

    And you don’t need to kill people Pol Pot style to reduce the population yet, although the more you wait for that, the higher the chance becomes that they will have to do it themselves in the future. All you need to do right now is to stop births. Unfortunately, were you to try and do that, you run against the massive wall of ignorance combined with the basic evolutionary instinct of reproducing as much as possible, which means you will have to use some repression, which in turn means that you very soon find yourself without the power needed to implement such a program (and very likely dead like Chaushesku) as it is highly unlikely that you will find enough military personnel educated enough to understand why this is necessary and ready to protect you.

    So don’t worry, it won’t happen and you people will have the opportunity to carry out the reduction themselves, as it has happened historically, for which the bones with teeth marks archaeologists find in places like the American Southwest where ancient civilizations decided they can ignore the laws of nature just as we’re doing testify

  20. Wil

    It was announced today that, in addition to Dr. Phil Jones, a number of administrators at the University of East Anglia would already be under arrest, if the statute of limitations had not run out on the UK’s Freedom of Information Act.

    The Information Commissioner’s Office is now trying to lengthen time period during which any legal accusations can be filed. The ICO spokesman said that the illegal breaches by the administrators were knowing and intentional.

    It would be interesting if many of these “climate good guys” wound up being “good guys” in prison cells. For details:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7004936.ece

  21. GM

    It was announced today that, in addition to Dr. Phil Jones, a number of administrators at the University of East Anglia would already be under arrest, if the statute of limitations had not run out on the UK’s Freedom of Information Act.

    Great…

    So first we decide we know better than those pesky scientists and we’re not going to listen to them, now we’re going to jail them…

    In the same time we’re giving trillions in bailout money to bankers…

    Great society to live in…

  22. It was announced today that, in addition to Dr. Phil Jones, a number of administrators at the University of East Anglia would already be under arrest, if the statute of limitations had not run out on the UK’s Freedom of Information Act.

    Even the article you link to doesn’t make that claim.

  23. gillt

    Denialist whiners, pay attention: The important thing is not whether a few members of a collaborative science organization made an error but how they handled it. The error was discovered from within and the admission was public and transparent. No cover up, no denial.

  24. bilbo

    Rule #1 of denialism:

    Any time you find any problem with any data set, no matter how small that problem is, it always brings down the entire edifice of mainstream climate science–no matter how large, independently researched, or how various the subjects of study are.

    The important thing is the level of outrage you can generate with the problem, not how important that problem is in the context of the science.

    Jackpot!!!!!!

    I recently saw a news article where researchers in the medical community have had to readjust projected cancer deaths by 2020 upward because their original projections were based on faulty data (no joke). You know what that means in skeptic logic……

    ….those scientists are LIARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you have to readjust your projections, you’re not doing science!!! Who needs planning, anyway? That’s why I, Robert Moen, hereby call for our own transparent, government-based Cancer Truth Commission to get the bottom of these mistakes and faulty predictions being made by scientists.

    I hadn’t seen Robert on this post yet, so I figured I’d just expunge diarrhea all over the thread in his place.

  25. Milton C.

    Whew. I’m sure am glad this faulty projection has stopped the glaciers from shrinking! I bet all those farmers, government leaders, and thirsty citizens in places like Kashmir (where glacier loss has already dropped water supply by two-thirds over the last couple decades), New Delhi (where glacier loss has caused water shortages outside of the monsoon season that have spurred lost crops and street fights), and Nepal (where some entire villages are having to relocate because their water sources have already melted) are dancing in the streets.

    Or, they’re still in a panic because their most precious natural resource is vanishing while the skeptics take pot-shots at a ridiculous strawman from their comfortable homes in suburbia.

  26. bilbo

    Hey Milton, don’t forget the village of 1,000 households in Nepal that’s being flooded more and more each year as their glacier melts. Some of their families have already had to relocate because their homes have been flodoed out. I’m sure they’re glad this bad IPCC projection has stopped the destruction of their hometown, too. They’re saved!!!!

    That was a close one…. *facepalm*

  27. Seminatrix

    I bet that guy in India that had to start making his own artificial mini-glaciers just to grow food for his family (because the glacier he used to use has already melted) is pissed that the Himalayan glacier melt was all a fake, too.

    Sometimes you feel bad for the skeptics when they fail to see the screamign contradictions. Other times, like this one, you just laugh.

  28. gillt

    Bradley, do you even read the your own links?

    It said the scientists behind the faulty data (and sloppy methodology) openly admitted their error–exactly what one would expect.

    Whether or not the IPCC commented on some other report does not support your insinuation that they were lying and cheating.

  29. bilbo

    I’ve noticed people not reading their own links has been a common disease amongst the skeptics on the last couple of threads, gillt. They keep refuting their own arguments with the links that they claim back it up…

  30. gillt

    As if being biased was a virtue, when in fact having your own news articles used against you is just embarrassing. Well that and linking to news articles in the first place.

  31. gillt,

    Okay, let’s take a look at the story and your claims:

    You wrote:
    Whether or not the IPCC commented on some other report does not support your insinuation that they were lying and cheating.

    The story said:

    Two years ago, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) headed by India’s Rajendra Pachauri, issued a benchmark report that claimed to have incorporated the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming.

    A central claim was that world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

    You wrote:

    It said the scientists behind the faulty data (and sloppy methodology) openly admitted their error–exactly what one would expect.

    The story said:

    Rajendra Pachauri has previously dismissed criticism of the Himalayas claim as “voodoo science” and last week the IPCC refused to comment on the report.

    So you were wrong on both counts: The story indeed refers to the IPCC report with the false Himalayan glacier claim, and the IPCC only admitted the error after stonewalling failed.

    If this easily exposed spin is the best you can do, why even bother?

  32. gillt

    Bradely: “A central claim was that world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.”

    This is incorrect. That was never a central claim of the IPCC. You’d know this if you read the summary of the report.

    Bradely: “The story indeed refers to the IPCC report with the false Himalayan glacier claim, and the IPCC only admitted the error after stonewalling failed.”

    Really? Is that what you read into the story? Where does it say that the IPCC stonewalled? Where is your justification that the IPCC won’t fix the error in a timely fashion?

    No one is arguing that the IPCC made a false claim based on scant data, but the deniers won’t even budge in admitting that this is irrelevant to the fact that the glaciers are not doing fine. This is why your side is the anti-science side.

    Your conspiracy theory of a cover up is just as ridiculous as it ever was.

  33. gillt
    This is incorrect. That was never a central claim of the IPCC. You’d know this if you read the summary of the report.

    That’s a direct quote from the story. I gave you a hint when I prefaced that graf with “The story said.”

    Before accusing someone of a reading problem, you should first check your own facts.

    As to whether it was a “central” claim, it was significant enough to be repeated in the media as a dire warning

    Really? Is that what you read into the story? Where does it say that the IPCC stonewalled?

    The IPCC initially refused comment, and Pachauri dismissed criticism as “voodoo science.”

    Where is your justification that the IPCC won’t fix the error in a timely fashion?

    The error has now been fixed. But only after a storm of criticism.

  34. gillt
    No one is arguing that the IPCC made a false claim based on scant data, but the deniers won’t even budge in admitting that this is irrelevant to the fact that the glaciers are not doing fine. This is why your side is the anti-science side.

    So it’s all “your side” and “my side.” I don’t think in that simplistic way. I accept evidence that warming is affecting Himalayan glaciers. NASA recently did a study showing that much or most of the melting is caused by deposits of black carbon (soot).

    “Over areas of the Himalayas, the rate of warming is more than five times faster than warming globally,” said William Lau, head of atmospheric sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Based on the differences it’s not difficult to conclude that greenhouse gases are not the sole agents of change in this region. There’s a localized phenomenon at play.”

    So if you want to preserve the Himalayan glaciers, cut down on emissions of soot from adjacent areas.

  35. It’s much worse than a goof: the MSM is still going on about the 2035 ‘error’ being of recent discovery (by, say, Prof. Cogley). The truth is much more devastating. It was known YEARS BEFORE the 2007 IPCC report that Hasnain’s 2035 figure was fiction. It had been exposed as a myth and utter nonsense by one of the most highly respected experts on the Himalayan mountains, Jack Ives, in 2004, and in a peer-reviewed article in 2005. There is no doubt that those who compiled the IPCC AR4 report knew that 2035 was a lie. See the evidence here and make up your own mind:

    http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/un-ipcc-rotting-from-the-head-down

  36. gillt

    Bradely: “That’s a direct quote from the story. I gave you a hint when I prefaced that graf with “The story said.”

    I’m aware of that. But it’s still wrong, so why did you quote it?

    How long did it take the IPCC to fix the error and why do you consider it too long? Is three days too long? How about three weeks? Exactly how long does Bradley think the IPCC should take to re-analyze the data and fix the errors?

    I don’t know how the IPCC functions and neither do you. Though it’s much more fun to jump to conclusions.

    Bradley: “I accept evidence that warming is affecting Himalayan glaciers.”

    No you don’t. You only accept evidence that confirms your bias.

    The conclusion of the report by Kargel et al. AGU titled: “Satellite-era glacier changes in High Asia”
    http://web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.pdf

    •Global climate change is a huge factor in this region.
    •There are WEand NS transitions to wetter and warmer climate, and this shows in the pattern and complexity of glacier changes being observed.
    •Soot deposition and aerosols are likely important parts of the climate-glacier system, especially in recent decades.
    •The effects on glaciers of industrial and natural particulates as well as global warming should vary across the region.
    •These effects must be more thoroughly documented by remote sensing and from the field with more benchmark glaciers and high-altitude meteorological stations established for long-term study.

  37. gillt
    I quoted from the story to show it was discussing the IPCC report, which you inaccurately implied didn’t. The story was wrong in saying the claim was “central”, but the rest of the story stands even when that is omitted.

    Your “central claim” is that the IPCC was the first to bring its false claim to light and acted in good scientific faith. That doesn’t square with its initial refusal to comment on what critics have said, which the story showed.

    You also still haven’t argued your way around Pachauri’s initial dismissal of the claim as “voodoo science.” Google his name and “voodoo science” and see how widely his derision was circulated.

    Please me how that is consistent with good science.

    As far as accepting evidence that only confirms your bias, you should ought to be more careful throwing that charge around.

    Now show me how Pachauri’s actions in calling the criticism “voodoo science” was the epitome of concern for accuracy.

  38. gillt,
    I just skimmed through the document you linked to: These points on page 40caught my eye:

    1 Himalayan rates of recession are not exceptional.
    2.The first “2035” is from WWF 2005, which cites a news story about an unpublished study that does not estimate a date for disappearance of Himalayan glaciers.
    3.The second “2035”, an apparent typographic error, is not in WWF 2005, but can be traced circumstantially to a rough estimate of the shrinkage of all extrapolar glaciers (excluding those in basins of internal drainage) between the present and 2350.
    4.In conflict with knowledge of glacier-climate relationships, disappearance by 2035 would require a 25-fold acceleration during 1999–2035 from the loss rate estimated for 1960–1999.
    5.This was a bad error. It was a really bad paragraph, and poses a legitimate question about how to improve IPCC’s review process. It was not a conspiracy. The error does not compromise the IPCC Fourth Assessment, which for the most part was well reviewed and is highly accurate.

    I find these points pretty convincing, especially about the need to improve the IPCC review process.

    But the claim that the report “for the most part was well reviewed and is highly accurate” is less than an unequivocal endorsement. “For the most part” leaves a lot of wiggle room to acknowledge more errors.

  39. Tony

    The glacier claim was not one sloppy mistake, it was a deliberate fraud:

    “But even before the 2007 report was published, it now emerges, the offending claim was challenged, not least by a leading Austrian glaciologist, Dr Georg Kaser, a lead author on the 2007 report.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7062667/Pachauri-the-real-story-behind-the-Glaciergate-scandal.html

    The guy who made the claim and therefore knew full well that it was unsubstantiated has been employed by IPCC chairman – Patchuri for the last two years! What’s even more appalling they both used this fradulent claim to win huge grants:
    “What has now come to light, however, is that the scientist from whom this claim originated, Dr Syed Hasnain, has for the past two years been working as a senior employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which Dr Pachauri is director-general. Furthermore, the claim – now disowned by Dr Pachauri as chairman of the IPCC – has helped TERI to win a substantial share of a $500,000 grant from one of America’s leading charities, along with a share in a three million euro research study funded by the EU.”
    “Even more damaging now, however, will be the revelation that the source of that offending prediction was the man whom Dr Pachauri himself has been employing for two years as the head of his glaciology unit at TERI – and that TERI has won a share in two major research contracts based on a scare over the melting of Himalayan glaciers prominently promoted by the IPCC, using words drawn directly from Dr Hasnain.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7062667/Pachauri-the-real-story-behind-the-Glaciergate-scandal.html

    And it’s not just one error, it’s just the most glaring one, there are others for example IPCC included unsubstantiated claim that rapidly rising costs from events such as floods and hurricanes were linked to climate change:
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Global-Warming/Now-UN-climate-panel-under-fire-on-global-warming/articleshow/5495825.cms

    There are also plenty of other locations in the report where WWF is the only source cited and other mistakes:
    “But what is particularly bizarre about the Chapter 8 reference is that, not only is it [WWF], a study of Nepal, India and China is used to support assertions relating to “the Himalayas, Greenland, the European Alps, the Andes, Cordillera and East Africa.”
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/the-scandal-deepens-%E2%80%93-ipcc-ar4-riddled-with-non-peer-reviewed-wwf-papers.html
    http://nofrakkingconsensus.blogspot.com/2010/01/more-dodgy-citations-in-nobel-winning.html
    http://www.anorak.co.uk/237343/media/global-warming/glaciergate-the-resignation-of-rajendra-pachauri-bbc-bias.html

    It is obvious that IPCC is not about science but about politics and green money grab.
    Their credibility is zero.

  40. gillt

    Bradley: “I find these points pretty convincing, especially about the need to improve the IPCC review process.”

    Agreed. There’s always room for improvement. Since the denialists won’t be involved in that process, make yourself useful by giving those hard-working, blue-collar scientists a round of applause for the vast majority of good research they contributed to the report.

    Bradley: “But the claim that the report “for the most part was well reviewed and is highly accurate” is less than an unequivocal endorsement. “For the most part” leaves a lot of wiggle room to acknowledge more errors.”

    For the most part evolution by natural selection and genetic drift explains the diversity of life on this planet.

    For the most part means that in its entirety a few errors in one small section of the report does not make the entire report or the conclusions reached by the IPCC incorrect or even suspect.

  41. Another Pro AGW Blog

    Today the WSJ wrote, “U.K. authorities said the British university at the center of a controversy over hacked emails on climate-change research broke the law by failing to comply with requests for raw data,”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704194504575031022338013284.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    But hey, laws don’t matter right? I mean who cares about those things called laws?

    I wonder how the IPCC will fare here with the $500,000 that TERI got from Carnegie…….

  42. Sean

    Please don’t waste your time “debating” with Bilbo. His only tools are foul language and fabrications.

    In a previous “debate” on this blog he literally fabricated a quote from scratch to support his claim that climate change “deniers” also deny the link between smoking and cancer.

    I asked him to provide a link to the quote and all I got was a barrage of insults.

    When I demonstrated through a google search that he definitely fabricated the quote he went silent and moved onto this page.

    You can read all about it here:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/12/09/how-the-global-warming-story-changed-disastrously-due-to-climategate/

  43. gillt

    For the most part means that in its entirety a few errors in one small section of the report does not make the entire report or the conclusions reached by the IPCC incorrect or even suspect.

    If your version of events were correct — that the IPCC itself discovered and corrected the error on its own without prodding from critics — I’d agree with you.

    But in reality, the IPCC chief slagged critics as practicing “voodoo science” and tried to pretend nothing was wrong, nothing to see here, move along. And the IPCC only retracted the bogus claim after widespread negative publicity made the claim untenable. Such dissembling and misleading may not bother you, but it sure bothers me.

  44. bilbo

    Thanks for promoting my trollitude, Sean! I’m honoured.

    I’m also tickled pink that you don’t reference the 5 to 6 different commenters who came to my defence and provided clear evidence to your silly “quote fabrication” argument. The reason I didn’t respond this time is that you dredge up a months-old thread any time I threaten your weak brand of climate skepticism, and we’ve been over this on at least 4 different threads now, and you get smacked around by people other than me every time. You lost – get over it.

    Now, if you would please point us to what oh-so-terrible language I’ve used on this thread?

  45. That Nature study discussed earlier in the week is now released. From Science Daily

    A new estimate of the feedback between temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has been derived from a comprehensive comparison of temperature and CO2 records spanning the past millennium.

    The result, which is based on more than 200,000 individual comparisons, implies that the amplification of current global warming by carbon-cycle feedback will be significantly less than recent work has suggested.

  46. Milton

    A note to Sean:

    If the only way you can convince people you’ve won an argument is to tell them you have at the top of your lungs….then you probably didn’t win it to begin with.

    This would be one of those cases.

  47. Phillip Jr.

    Sean = troll

    ….like most of the other skeptics here. A skeptic is not the person to go to for well-reasoned argument.

  48. ThosThos

    I don’t defend the mistakes on glaciers in the IPCC Report. People make mistakes; in the open world of science they are discovered, publicised and corrected. Yet, to a sceptic there is something sinister about this openness. It is obviously part of a conspiracy to tell the truth – something utterly alien to sceptics. However, one should not be churlish. We should thank the sceptics for pressing this, and other, mistakes in IPCC. This ensures that the corrections to the mistakes reach the widest possible audience, and that something will be done to help the people affected before the reduction in the size of these glaciers become critical. Promoting awareness of global warming can only benefit from this sort of publicity. Who knows, IPCC might even get effective leadership at last!

  49. People make mistakes; in the open world of science they are discovered, publicised and corrected. Yet, to a sceptic there is something sinister about this openness. It is obviously part of a conspiracy to tell the truth – something utterly alien to sceptics.

    Even Chris Mooney doesn’t agree with your laughable characterization of the IPCC as some paragon of openness:

    ‘The content was indefensible; a quick retraction should have occurred. But instead, there was wagon-circling and defensiveness and hence, we have yet another scandal on our hands.”

  50. Dougetit

    Way to go Chris Mooney!

    You are one to be respected! You have begun to see the light!

    No further coment but to leave my fellow posters with this..

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=01&fd=27&fy=1980&sm=01&sd=27&sy=2009

  51. moptop

    If the only way you can convince people you’ve won an argument is to tell them you have at the top of your lungs….then you probably didn’t win it to begin with.

    There are more than a couple regulars on this site who might benefit from that little nugget of wisdom, Milton.

  52. Sean

    Bilbo, you fabricated a comment that you claimed had been made by a climate chage “denier” on this blog.

    The quote appears no where on this blog excpet in your comment “quoting” the previous comment.

    Except,t here is no previous comment. It doesn’t exist. You made it up.

    Here it is, just as you drafted it and “quoted” it:

    “Stop your selfrighteous preaching, bilbo. The tobacco industry has been just as demonized by ’scientists’ as the fossil fuel industry with these ’scientists’ false allegations about smoking causing cancer. There’s a lot of money available if you’re a scientist perpetrating a hoax in either field.”

    If you want to try to defend yourself from the charge of fabrication, all you would have to do is provide a link showing where the “comment” appeared.

    But you won’t because you can’t.

  53. Chloride

    Bilbo is the ideal hypocrite who, when it supports his case, will constantly point to months old evidence in other threads but when others use it as evidence, declare it to be a sign of “weakness”. Bravo Baggins.

  54. Adeist

    Is one mistake only “one” mistake?

    You’ve got the original statement by Hasnain, the science journalist repeating it, the WWF repeating that, the IPCC making the statement, the IPCC using WWF as a source, the IPCC not tracing the source to its origin, the IPCC not checking the primary literature, or indeed looking at some numbers on glacier sizes and recession rates and doing a bit of basic arithmetic, you’ve got the the lead authors who are collating the works of authors, and indeed authors generally checking one another’s work, you’ve got the – thousands? – of reviewers who were all given the entire document in several drafts, and all supposed to check all of it, and when a couple of reviewers did query it (the Japanese did) the author team was supposed to respond to those comments and should have checked it, and the lead author should have checked that all review comments had been properly responded to, and then when published, glaciologists and other scientists, relying on it for grant proposals and public outreach, should have noticed it, and the error evaded all these multiple layers of checks for *years*.

    For the simple reason that the process above – what was *supposed* to happen and what everybody says did happen, was not what happened.

    People trust the experts. And a scientist in a different field will trust the expertise of the specialists. So what was happening was everybody was skimming over the bits they weren’t sure on and thinking it was OK because somebody else surely had already checked it. Surely nobody would put such a dramatic and startling headline statement in unless there was good evidence for it, so it got a pass. Every single time. And each time it was missed was a separate mistake.

    The problem is not that one single mistake. The glaciers issue is important and politically very significant, but not in this case critical to the edifice. (Although it *is* possible for even a single error to invalidate an entire theory.) The problem is what it tells you about the IPCC process. It is telling you that some, and for all you know most of the document is effectively unchecked.

    Which is fine until you start taking it as an authority on the grounds of its thorough peer-review standards and checking procedures – as being a consensus of thousands of scientists. One guy can miss it. But how can those thousands *all* make the *same* mistake, one after another?

    That’s why arguments from authority, and consensus, are foreign to real science.

  55. Another Pro AGW Blog

    If Pachauri steps down, it will have to be reported in the national main stream media (one would hope).

    Instead, he’ll stay on in disgrace and will further taint the IPCC’s future reports.

    It’s a pickle no doubt about it.

    In the end, this is a very traditional European manner of governance that US people find very unpalatable. It’d downright: monarchlike, top down, obscure, arrogant, distasteful, non democratic and just plain corrupt.

    Keep at it UN, every day we find more problems on why the UN should NEVER assume the role of global governance:

    – oil for food corruption
    – WHO corruption (with the whole H1N1 fiasco)
    – World bank corruption

    and now

    – IPCC corruption

    We the people are watching

  56. Mr. Xyz

    This spoof of climate science may be of interest:

    http://climaterealists.com/?id=4960

  57. bilbo

    A link especially for my troll-buddy, Sean:

    Sean’s required reading

    Apparently Sean also failed to grasp the irony of Milton’s statement, which directly preceded his. Oh, and he missed that the issue he’s trying to dredge up has already been settled….and he lost.

  58. Sean

    I read the link. You fabricated a quote. The point would be “settled” and I would have “lost” if you showed that you did not fabricate a quote. But you can’t because you did fabricate it. I proved that you fabricated it by searching for the quote and the only place it appears is where you made it up. Anyone else can do the same search and see the same thing. That makes you a liar. I guess you enjoy lying, but no problem. I enjoy catching people out on their lies.

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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