Anthony and I are on the same page today. See Anthony here.
Many CA readers have followed Richard North‘s recent blog posts on Pachauri, whose recent travails have been also covered by Bishop Hill, Pielke Jr., James Delingpole , Andrew Bolt, to name but a few.
Pachauri’s travails were prominent in an excellent Times feature story.
Pachauri’s recent travails have included the failure of the vaunted IPCC WG2 peer review process to correct a claim that Himalayan glaciers would disappear in 2035.
The glacier claim proved to be based on a 2005 World Wildlife Fund pamphlet, which in turn was based on a 1999 New Scientist interview with Indian scientist Syed Hasnain (see his joint interview with Richard North).
Pachauri blamed WG2 co-chairs, Martin Parry (now of the Grantham Institute) and Osvaldo Canziani for failing to pick up the error.
Dr Pachauri said that the IPCC’s report was the responsibility of the panel’s former co-chairs, British scientist Dr Martin Parry and Argentine meteorologist Dr Osvaldo Canziani.
“I don’t want to blame them, but typically the working group reports are managed by the co-chairs. Of course, the chair is there to facilitate things, but we have substantial amounts of delegation,” Dr Pachauri said.
“Frankly, it was a stupid error. But no one brought it to my attention,” he added.
High Noon sponsored a conference in New Delhi, India on May 13 and 14, 2009 (see here).
A keynote presentation entitled the “Road to High Noon” included the following graphic (also linked in Anthony’s article) as authority for the claim that “Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate”
The EU High Noon webpage also relied on the WWF article directly, citing it as authority as follows:
Future decline in glacier runoff will affect both mountain villages as small glaciers disappear and the four – five hundred million inhabitants of the entire Ganga basin as spring and autumn flows in particular decline, at differing timescales. Reviews from the region suggest that the timescales are short, may be the 2040s (World Wildlife Fund 2005) or the 2050s (Xu Jianchu and others 2007), although monsoon precipitation in the Indian and Nepal Himalaya appears to stave off glacier reduction in the central and eastern Himalaya by comparison with the Karakoram in the west (Rees & Collins 2006)….
Climate change will be another factor adding to the stress (WWF, 2005).
So IPCC is not the only organization using WWF pamphlets as authority.
EU High Noon did as well.
Nor were the IPCC WG2 reviewers the only climate scientists to overlook the lack of support for these particular IPCC assertions. The High Noon conference had a lengthy list of presentations (online here) and, in a quick survey, none of the presentations appears to have taken issue with IPCC claims.
In resisting calls for his resignation, Pachauri denied that TERI benefited financially from the inadequate due diligence:
Pachauri also dismissed speculation that the think tank he heads in India – The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) had benefited from the alarmist statement that Himalayan glaciers may disappear by 2035. “TERI is not involved in this mistake,” Pachauri said.
On May 19, 2009, the European Union announced a $4.5 million (3 million euro) project to study retreat of Himalaya glaciers, with TERI being one of the institutions.
The EU has earmarked 3 million Euros (approximately INR 19.5 crores) for this 3 years project, bringing together leading research institutions in Europe: Netherlands, UK and Switzerland, and India: TERI, IIT-Delhi & Kharagpur. The participation of Japan in this project is adding an international dimension.
TERI also recently announced participation in a glacier program involving Iceland and Ohio State. Representing TERI in the project was Syed Hasnain … the source of the original 2035 claim. The Ohio State representatives were not named (Lonnie Thompson is the director of the Byrd Center.)
Update: Looking back to December blogs (I recall noticing this at the time, but was otherwise occupied here), it seems that the story of IPCC problems was first raised on Dec 1, 2009 in a guest post at Pielke Sr here , crediting Graham Cogley for spotting the problem.
Then at BBC on Dec 5, where the IPCC WG2 author denied any problem:
Murari Lal, a climate expert who was one of the leading authors of the 2007 IPCC report, denied it had its facts wrong about melting Himalayan glaciers.