Press Esc to close
Wednesday 24 August 2016
News updated at 9:42 PM IST
Weather
Max: 30.6°C
Min : 20.9°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 The article had not been peer reviewed, nor its content verified against research findings.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
Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha at a press conference to promote her upcoming film in Jaipur...

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha at a press conference to promote her upcoming film in Jaipur...

A view of submerged temples in the flood waters of River Yamuna in Allahabad...

A view of submerged temples in the flood waters of River Yamuna in Allahabad...

Nuns distribute relief material to flood hit peoples at a camp in Allahabad...

Nuns distribute relief material to flood hit peoples at a camp in Allahabad...

A sand art of Lord Krishna made by Sand Artist Sudarshan Patnaik ahead of Krishna Janmashtami...

A sand art of Lord Krishna made by Sand Artist Sudarshan Patnaik ahead of Krishna Janmashtami...

A child dresses as lord Krishna for a school function ahead of Janmashtami, in Bikaner...

A child dresses as lord Krishna for a school function ahead of Janmashtami, in Bikaner...

The launch of Entrepreneurship Summit at IT Decode Park in Hyderabad...

The launch of Entrepreneurship Summit at IT Decode Park in Hyderabad...

Horses undergoing exercise and training by handlers at Race Course in Bengaluru...

Horses undergoing exercise and training by handlers at Race Course in Bengaluru...

A child plays in front of idols of Lord Ganesha ahead of Ganesh festival ...

A child plays in front of idols of Lord Ganesha ahead of Ganesh festival ...

Hyundai Motors India unveils the all new Elantra...

Hyundai Motors India unveils the all new Elantra...

Priests perform Gaja Pooja in Manakula Vinayagar temple, dedicated to the god Ganesha...

Priests perform Gaja Pooja in Manakula Vinayagar temple, dedicated to the god Ganesha...

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