Press Esc to close
Saturday 29 August 2015
News updated at 12:44 PM IST
Weather
Max: 27.6°C
Min : 19.4°C
In Bengaluru
Sunny day

Voodoo science?

Last updated: 23 January, 2010

'The IPCC has damaged its own reputation.'


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had no option but to express regret over its claim, made in a report it released in 2007, that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035, after it came to light recently that the claim was based on speculation. The retraction is fine but the controversy has done no credit to the IPCC, the premier UN agency which has an important role in climate change policy formulation. It has received the Nobel Prize for its work and advocacy. It is surprising that a body with such credentials would base its claim, by its own admission, on “poorly substantiated estimates” and forgo “clear and well-established standards” of evidence. It now turns out that a news story that appeared in the journal ‘New Scientist’, based on an interview with a researcher, was the source of the IPCC claim. The article had not been peer reviewed, nor its content verified against research findings.

The incident reflects poorly on the professionalism and scientific rigour of the IPCC and has done damage to its credibility. When India’s environment ministry had challenged the IPCC claim, the UN body’s chair, Rajendra Pachauri, had dubbed Indian glaciologists’ opinion as ‘voodoo science.’ The description unfortunately suits the IPCC’s claim. Doubts have now been raised about the IPCC’s claim on the rise of sea levels also. The IPCC has made good contribution to increasing global awareness on climate change issues. But when it makes alarmist and sensational claims, it is harming the cause it is campaigning for. Some months ago there were charges that scientists had cooked up data to make the impact of global warming look more serious than it is. Such controversies are used as weapons by those who deny or doubt the role of global warming in climate change. The threat to glaciers from global warming is real. Those who espouse and support corrective action for this should desist from cavalier and irresponsible ways.

The IPCC has also attracted adverse attention with some recent media reports questioning the business interests and financial dealings of its chief. Pachauri has denied any conflict of interest in his positions and the charge of any wrongdoing. It is for the UN body and its chief to ensure that it does not lower its moral and professional standing by any further lapses or errors. Its actions and processes should be guided by the best standards of scientific research and ethical conduct.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Ex-servicemen celebrate Raksha Bandhan even as they continue their...

Ex-servicemen celebrate Raksha Bandhan even as they continue their...

Priest of Kumkum Swaminarayan temple gives final touch to a...

Priest of Kumkum Swaminarayan temple gives final touch to a...

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi paying obeisance at Hazratbal Shrine, in Srinagar...

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi paying obeisance at Hazratbal Shrine, in Srinagar...

Sand artist Manas Sahoo makes a sand art on the eve of Raksha Bandhan with a message...

Sand artist Manas Sahoo makes a sand art on the eve of Raksha Bandhan with a message...

A woman tying Rakhi to army soldiers on eve of Raksha Bandhan festival in Surat on Friday.

A woman tying Rakhi to army soldiers on eve of Raksha Bandhan festival in Surat on Friday.

Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor with fashion designer Manish Malhotra at his show...

Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor with fashion designer Manish Malhotra at his show...

Students celebrate Onam festival by making floral rangoli ‘pookalam’ at a public school...

Students celebrate Onam festival by making floral rangoli ‘pookalam’ at a public school...

Devotees watch a procession during Kumbh Mela or the Pitcher Festival in Trimbakeshwar...

Devotees watch a procession during Kumbh Mela or the Pitcher Festival in Trimbakeshwar...

Activists of Left Front affiliated peasants organisation break police barricades...

Activists of Left Front affiliated peasants organisation break police barricades...

Boys stand near the charred vehicles after the incidents of violence following the Patel...

Boys stand near the charred vehicles after the incidents of violence following the Patel...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523