NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 28, 2010

If we're serious about restoring science to its rightful place, the head of the U.N.'s panel on climate change should step down.  Evidence shows he quarterbacked a deliberate and premeditated fraud, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD). 

The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been forced to back off its now-discredited claim that the Himalayan glaciers would soon disappear.  But it's not true, the panel's vice chairman, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, told the BBC, that it was simply a "human mistake." 

  • The panel's chairman, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, who was forced to admit the claim had no basis in observable scientific fact, said its inclusion was merely a "poor application" of IPCC procedures, acting as if the original source of the claim, Indian scientist Dr. Syed Hasnain, was a total stranger.
  • In fact, as Christopher Booker of the London Telegraph points out, Dr. 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 was director-general."

So after the 2007 assessment that included Hasnain's claim, Pachauri was impressed enough to hire him as an employee.  Pachauri should have been familiar with both his work and the fact the claim had not been peer-reviewed, and aware that it had been challenged by reputable geologists, says IBD. 

Before the 2007 report was published, Hasnain's claim was challenged by another of its lead authors, Austrian glaciologist Dr. Georg Kaser.  He described Hasnain's prediction of glaciers vanishing by 2035 as "so wrong that it is not even worth dismissing."

So why was it included in the 2007 IPCC assessment?  In an interview with the London Daily Mail on Sunday, Dr. Murari Lal, the coordinating lead author of the chapter on Asia, gave a disturbing answer, says IBD.  "It related to several countries in the region and their water sources," he said.  "We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policymakers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action." 

In other words, the motive was political, not scientific, in contradiction to the IPCC mission statement that says its role is "to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socioeconomic information -- the IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy." 

Source: Editorial, "United Nations' Climate Chief Must Go," Investor's Business Daily, January 28, 2010.

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