In a statement, the Nobel Prize winning outfit said the paragraph (in the working group two document in the fourth assessment report) “refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. “In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly,” it said.
While admitting that melting of the Himalayan glaciers is a reality in any case, the UN climate research added: “The IPCC regrets the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance.”
The retraction comes after glaciologists from India and abroad consistently showed over the last three months that available data on Himalayan glaciers is simply too inadequate to arrive at this astounding conclusion. While the Himalayas has 9,500 glaciers in total, data is available for 20- odd glaciers.
The erroneous dateline crept into the IPCC document because the organisation allowed use of “grey literature” (non peer-reviewed documents) like a report by the WWF which has reference to a June 1999 report published in British popular science magazine “New Scientist” in which Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain was quoted as saying most of the Himalayan glaciers will melt within the next 40-50 years.
Quoting Hasnain, formerly with Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, the magazine reported that a substantial number of Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035.
Though Hasnain, who later became the vice-chancellor of Calicut University, never issued a denial in the last 10 years, he now claims that a vilification campaign is on to discredit his years of diligent research on the glaciers of Himalayas. “Whatever got published in “New Scientist” was a journalistic assumption interpolated by the interviewer, over which I had no control. During the interview I presented the outcome of the findings on the basis of 20 years of my research till 1999,” he said.
“The statement I gave — on the basis of the results being found till then — was: ‘All the glaciers in the middle Himalayas are retreating…’”said the glaciologist.