Meltdown at the IPCC: Key claim about Himalayan glaciers to be retracted?

It hasn’t been a great last few months for global warming alarmists. First came ClimgateGate, and now this (via Tim Blair):

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.

Professor Murari Lal, who oversaw the chapter on glaciers in the IPCC report, said he would recommend that the claim about glaciers be dropped: “If Hasnain says officially that he never asserted this, or that it is a wrong presumption, than I will recommend that the assertion about Himalayan glaciers be removed from future IPCC assessments.”

The IPCC’s reliance on Hasnain’s 1999 interview has been highlighted by Fred Pearce, the journalist who carried out the original interview for the New Scientist. Pearce said he rang Hasnain in India in 1999 after spotting his claims in an Indian magazine. Pearce said: “Hasnain told me then that he was bringing a report containing those numbers to Britain. The report had not been peer reviewed or formally published in a scientific journal and it had no formal status so I reported his work on that basis.

“Since then I have obtained a copy and it does not say what Hasnain said. In other words it does not mention 2035 as a date by which any Himalayan glaciers will melt. However, he did make clear that his comments related only to part of the Himalayan glaciers. not the whole massif.”

Ed Morrissey tries to make sense of it all:

So the IPCC read the interview in which Hasnain speculated — with no scientific evidence whatsoever — that a portion of the Himalayan glaciers would melt at some indeterminate time, and concluded that the entirety of the massif would evaporate by 2035. They never even bothered to wait for Hasnain’s report to see exactly what he claimed, and why. Instead, they just inflated the unsubstantiated speculation with a zeppelin of greenhouse-gas hyperbole and stated categorically that the entire glacial structure in the Himalayas would be gone in a quarter-century.

This is what passes for science at the UN. This is what passes for science at the IPCC. It’s also what passed for science at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.

And AGW hysterics like to call skeptics deniers, in what is clearly the most obvious case of projection on the global stage.

Read more links and commentary on this via man-made climate change “denier” Noel Sheppard, who sums up with this:

After all, this glacial melt claim is pivotal to climate alarmism. If it is retracted, and the IPCC admits that it unscientifically based its conclusion on one article in one journal, not only would this undermine its own credibility as a scientific organization, but it would remove one of the great threats alarmists like Nobel Laureate Al Gore use to scare people into believing this myth.

No matter how you slice it, coming only two months after ClimateGate first unfolded, it is quite clear the wheels are falling off the manmade global warming bus.

Ain’t it grand?

Yep, but it’d be even more grand if the MSM spent the time on stories like this that it did on big “issues” like the Tiger Woods affair drama. As it stands, the MSM, like the Goracles of the world, have a lot of time and $$ invested in making people believe that global warming is man-made. The change in their reporting is not going to come easy.

Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.

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