Glaciergate "Faulty Communication" Explanation Makes Things Even Worse For The IPCC

Andy Revkin has just published on dotEarth a James Kanter article titled “Explanation Offered for Error in U.N. Climate Report“. Apparently,

Faulty communication allowed an unsubstantiated estimate of the melting rate of Himalayan glaciers to make it into the landmark 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a senior scientist and panel official said Monday. […] The official, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a vice chairman of the climate change panel, said that a glaciologist, Georg Kaser at the University of Innsbruck, in Austria, had sought to correct the information about the glaciers before it was published by the panel but that the correction came too late and never reached the people who could fix the statement.

This “explanation” obviously explains very little and simply opens up a series of new questions:

  • Why didn’t Dr Kaser think it worthwhile to voice his concerns in any form (public, or private) after the publication of the IPCC report in 2007?
  • What made Dr Kaser place more importance on his colleagues potentially ill feelings about being criticized, than on scientific truth?
  • And if a relatively well-known published scientist such as Dr Kaser finds himself forced into some kind of self-censorship and reluctance to speak out, how poisonous, impermeable to criticism and ultimately anti-scientific has the world of the IPCC become?

Words of wisdom to the big cheeses at the IPCC: please stop digging!

Major Omission in 'Exaggerated' Glacier Warning's New York Times/IHT Article

(just sent to letters@iht.com)

Dear Editors

There is a major omission in Elisabeth Rosenthal’s article “U.N. Panel’s Glacier Warning Is Criticized as Exaggerated” (International Herald Tribune, paper edition, 20 Jan; New York Times, 18 Jan).

Ms Rosenthal mentions the scientist at the center of the controversy involving the IPCC, Dr. Syed Hasnain, and the fact that Dr Hasnain is “currently a fellow at the TERI research institute in Delhi“. However, there is no hint whatsoever of the fact that the Head of the IPCC, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, is also the Head of TERI.

Dr Hasnain received his fellowship at TERI after making his “exaggerated” remarks. And in the past weeks, Dr Pachauri has been a very outspoken critic of anybody merely suggesting that Dr Hasnain’s estimates for Himalayan glacier melting were an exaggeration.

This means most of your readers will have no idea of the potential major conflicts of interest involving Dr Pachauri, including using Dr Hasnain’s estimates as incorporated in the latest IPCC report in order to raise funds for TERI.

I consider this a major faux-pas on the part of your Newspaper, of whom I have been a proud reader for more than 25 years now. It is a particularly odd one, considering that all Ms Rosenthal had to do was mention the name of Dr Pachauri as Head of both the IPCC and TERI.

Please do issue a correction as soon as possible.

AGW Belief Has Eaten My Newspaper!

(Letter sent to the International Herald Tribune)

> From: Maurizio Morabito
> To: letters@iht.com
> Cc: Subs@iht.com
> Sent: Thu, November 26, 2009 9:39:16 AM
> Subject: Missing pages in my IHT newspaper

Dear Editors

I wish to report a case of missing pages in the IHT I have received for the past couple of days.

Aa I am sure you know very well, the revelations about the ‘scientific’ practices at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia have been causing disconcert and not just among so-called skeptics.

The internal computing code notes about a futile multi-year quest to replicate their own results looks especially worthy of a good journalistic investigation. Could it really be true, that the multi-billion-dollar climate-change bandwagon might be based on computational practices that would have made Enron’s Ken Lay proud?

That’s why I am sure you have been dedicating many pages to the topic and I have just been unlucky as those pages were not included so far in my paper.

So please send them along. I know you have published a piece by NYT’s Andy Revkin a couple of days ago. That is the same Revkin that appears to be treated as a credulous media tool in a couple of the leaked emails, so forgive me if I skip his future contributions if any (as they will be the product either of personal anger or further credulosity).

Please do not betray the trust of this longtime subscriber. I really cannot believe the naysayers claiming you have been silent on this topic because afraid of the legal implications of those emails and other documents among the leaks.

Regards

Maurizio Morabito

A New Maximum For Climate Hubris

What should one wisely think upon discovering that 200-year-old remarks sound as if uttered today?

  • within the last 40 or 50 years there has been a very great observable change of climate
  • a change in our climate … is taking place very sensibly
  • men are led into numberless errors by drawing general conclusions from particular facts

Why, one might start considering the possibility that a lot of the climate debate is as relevant and as important today as a discussion about the relaxation of costumes, the good old days and the decline in University exam standards (=something more or less in the news since the times of Cato the Censor some 23 centuries ago).

But of course…no, now it is different! Now “we have satellites monitoring high-latitude snow cover, thinning sea ice and deep-layered atmospheric temperature increases, coupled with ground observations revealing the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro (85 percent ice loss since 1912) and many other glaciers“.

In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of humility, not always with the lack of knowledge

Sheer Sobriety And Seriousness Are Needed For Climate Fix

In his quest to find how to ‘change any minds‘ about the need for a ‘climate fix‘, Tom Zeller Jr repeats the tired mantras of climate campaigners such as former US Vice president Al Gore (‘Sheer will is needed for climate fix‘, NYT, Nov 16, 2009), including an alleged lack of ‘capacity to respond quickly‘ to dangers that are not ‘tangible in the here and now‘, and the general inability to pass laws anywhere on a carbon tax.

I have a more profane explanation.

Precisely because ‘virtually every Pavlovian trigger discovered in the human brain is now pulled by advertisers‘ (in the words of Mr Gore), people have grown smarter and more skeptical to concocted gimmicks such as those incredibly mentioned by Mr Zeller, i.e. the cat video with fake subtitles and the Maldives Government’s antics scuba-diving in the latest gear to submerged desks (one hopes they found a way for the manufacturers to pay for the publicity).

The cause for a serious analysis and management of climate change is further undermined by the constant barrage of absurdly bad news, once again taking up a prominent space in Mr Zeller’s article: climate change causing mental health problems, women faring worse than men, golf participation plummeting. Who in their right mind could ever believe that everything and anything will be negatively affected by climate change?

The desire of too many to rethorically batter the general public into climate submission by including evermore far-fetched and scary statements however flimsy the evidence and surreal the claim, can only harden the public’s resistance to do anything at all, not just about purported disasters of the year 2100 but also concerning those of 2010.

Unless and until the likes of Mr Zeller, let alone the average climate crusader, get such a simple point, I am afraid it is going to be plenty of fruitless talking, grand posturing and ridiculous feline videos for a long long time. And minds will keep changing, yes, but in the sense of turning away from climate action.