Has Himalayan Glacier Melt Stopped?
Sign in

Has Himalayan glacier melt stopped?

print Print email Email
HR Executive

For the first time in its history, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — a panel of 2,500 of the best climate scientists in the world — accepted on Wednesday that it had made a huge goof-up in its fourth assessment report on climate change and withdrew its assertion that the Himalayan glaciers ran the risk of being wiped out by 2035.

The Nobel-prize winning body, however, attempted to soften the blow by couching its words. Its statement said: ‘‘It has come to our attention that (the statement on Himalayan glaciers) refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by IPCC procedures were not applied properly.’’

For one, the report is said to have borrowed from a 1996 Russian study by V M Kotlyakov and bungled on the glacier melt deadline predicted by it — the study set the deadline at 2350, while the IPCC made it 2035, perhaps due to a small typological error, but which in effect advanced the deadline by over 300 years!

What’s remarkable is that this deadline was hotly contested by the Indian government. The IPCC team, led by TERI chief R K Pachauri, brushed aside these objections and didn’t even care to double-check its facts, even though the conclusion of its findings meant as dramatic a development as the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers in the next 25 years.

IPCC’s lack of rigour also becomes clear from the fact that it shunned peer-reviewed science reports published in well-known journals, and instead lifted references from a report by WWF, an NGO, that supports strong action on climate change. It now transpires that WWF had picked up this alarmist view from a pop-science magazine, the New Scientist.