GlacierGate: follow the money

The industrial engineer who heads up the IPCC was doing rather well:

What has now come to light, however, is that the scientist from whom this claim originated, Dr Syed 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 is director-general. Furthermore, the claim – now disowned by Dr Pachauri as chairman of the IPCC – has helped TERI to win a substantial share of a $500,000 grant from one of America’s leading charities, along with a share in a three million euro research study funded by the EU.

Let’s see, the remarkable claim that the Himalayan glaciers might melt in the next few decades doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but it wound up directing millions to Dr. Pachauri’s institute.  Humm, how could this have happened?  Did people think the IPCC was citing a respected, peer-reviewed study?  The Telegraph again provides the information:

Until now it has been generally reported that the IPCC based its offending paragraph on an interview Dr Hasnain gave to the New Scientist in June 1999. This was a time when global warming researchers were busy making ever more extravagant claims in the run-up to the IPCC’s 2001 report. It was in that year that Dr Michael Mann in America launched on the world his famous “hockey stick” graph, purporting to show that temperatures had risen faster in the late 20th century than ever before in the Earth’s history. The graph was made the centrepiece of the IPCC’s 2001 report, though it has since been comprehensively discredited.

In fact Dr Hasnain had first made his own controversial claim two months earlier, in a much longer interview with an Indian environmental magazine, Down to Earth, in April 1999. It was the wording of this interview which the IPCC was to quote almost exactly in its 2007 report.

Clearly the IPCC was aware that to cite a little Indian magazine as the reference for such a startling prediction would hardly seem sound scientific practice. But it discovered that Dr Hasnain’s slightly later interview with New Scientist had been quoted in a 2005 report by the environmental campaigning group WWF. So it was this, rather oddly, which the IPCC cited as its authority – even though the words it quoted were taken directly from the earlier interview.

Ah, so maybe it just slipped by, and no one paid much attention to this rather remarkable claim.  It could happen.  Oh, wait:

But even before the 2007 report was published, it now emerges, the offending claim was challenged, not least by a leading Austrian glaciologist, Dr Georg Kaser, a lead author on the 2007 report. He described Dr Hasnain’s prediction of glaciers disappearing by 2035 as “so wrong that it is not even worth dismissing”.

Conveniently, Dr. Kaser’s challenge was insufficient to keep the “Himalayan glaciers melting!” claim out of the IPCC report.  So TERI, and Dr. Pachauri, were able to persuade concerned foundations to part with cold cash on the basis of the IPCC’s reputation.

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1 Comment

  1. Glaciergate–A relatively tame Hitler parody video

    Glaciergate: Hitler’s Last Straw

    Reply

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