Sunday, January 17, 2010

Its the end of the world! Oh, what? Never mind.

The TimesOnline:

World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown

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."
So, in order for something, anything, to be accepted as scientific evidence it merely has to support the conclusions that scientists want to reach.  Gee, that seems about like a pretty low standard to me. 

We have long held that scientist are a breed of altruistic detectives following the evidence to wherever it leads.  We are learning that instead they follow whatever folly leads to the next grant  "Skeptic" has become a dirty word in the climate scientists and their supporters but science, good science, needs skepticism.  Nothing is more damaging to true scientific research than certainty.  Skepticism allows the inclusion of dissenting evidence while certainty leads to excluding evidence that is contrary to expected conclusion. 

If the Global Warming scam has taught us anything, it is that good science needs skeptics.

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