Scandals don’t dent climate science

Recent scandals over evidence in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 2007 have been used to cast doubt on the danger climate change presents.
Late last year a series of hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were used to launch what was branded “Climategate”.
In January a fresh scandal surfaced around the claim in the IPCC report that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. The evidence came from an interview by a leading Indian glaciologist, who admitted it was simply speculation. More accurate reports estimate the melting of Himalayan glaciers could take 300 years.
Yet no one can deny that the glaciers are melting, and at an increasing speed.
These scandals at best call into question a few lines in a 2600 page report. The process of drafting has been described by one Queensland Professor involved as “one of the most rigorous review processes I have ever experienced”. It has taken two years to find the first minor errors in it.
And none of this takes away from the practically universal consensus among the world’s climate scientists that we face dangerous climate change. What it does show is that sections of the media and business interests are determined to delay serious action by trying to cloud the debate.

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  1. A few other quick things to add:

    1. The media has been completely silent, where the IPCC has made mistakes in being too conservative about its predictions. For instance it conservatively predicted the Arctic might be completely ice free in summer by the end of the century, most science is now saying it will be somewhere between 2013 & 2030.

    2. Many of its predictions have been conservative, because of the enormous political pressure scientists in this area face. The IPCC science is two years or more behind current science, (much of which is more alarming) because of the rigourous nature of the peer review and slow political process.

    3. The current plague of climate deniers doesn’t come out of nowhere, see this recent article on Exxon Mobil funding of deniers

    but by and large the climate deniers, like those before them who claimed the world was flat, or that smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer, have lost the debate. We can ignore them for the most part, the debate we have to have is about what to do.


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