With the missus out of the house for a while this evening, I am quite distracted by domestic duties (Can he successfully heat dinner in the oven? Will he burn the bread?), but these recent revelations in the news caught my eye and I thought them worth passing along. It looks as though the science of climate change is getting some more black eyes.
James Taranto of the WSJ highlights them in his Best of the Web feature today (see the “The Continuing Global-Warmist Crack-Up” section). It appears that in the Nobel Prize-winning 2007 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientist included a claim that the Himalayan glaciers will have completely melted by 2035. Trouble is that (1) the result was not peer-reviewed and (2) the scientist responsible, Dr. Murary Lal, admits that he included the statement purely for political purposes in an attempt to sway policymakers to take action.
Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC’s head, also admits that the same section (presumably the chapter on Asia) may have additional errors and he is currently meditating on what actions to take about those mistakes. Additionally, the claim in the IPCC’s report that increases in natural disasters, such as hurricanes and flooding, are due to global warming are now declared not to be based on peer-reviewed studies. In fact, the claim were based on an unpublished report that was withdrawn by its own authors because they felt there was not enough evidence to support the claim.
This is horribly sad to me. Global warming may be real and might even be human-caused. But it may not be. How is someone supposed to decide when the no one can tell when the science ends and the political advocating begins? How can “scientific” pronouncements be trusted to be science when the traditional rules of scientific integrity are seen as inconveniences that can be ignored?
Personally, I really do believe that — whether they should or not — these revelations reflect not only on climate science, but on the practice of science in general. Seeing scientists play so fast and loose in an area of such great concern and put personal desire over scientific integrity and the normal caution that serves the discipline so well is disheartening.
As usual, Taranto includes links in his piece to the news sources reporting on the matter (sorta fits the title “Best of the Web,” doesn’t it?). I’ve blogged a bit on all of this, too, as I feel the increasingly messy affair is giving black eyes to more than just climate science. Here are some of my comments in the past: