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Spare us the scares
The Times Of India<, India Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bjorn Lomborg
If the IPCC is to do to its job properly, it must own up to all of its missteps and clean house. Nobody expects it to be infallible. But neither should we tolerate its attempts to scare policy-makers rather than inform them, writes Bjorn Lomberg in The Times Of India.
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A shift in global public opinion is occurring with respect to climate change. The process picked up momentum late last year, after hackers leaked thousands of e-mails from a top British research facility showing that some of the world’s most influential climatologists had been trying to disguise flaws in their work. More recently, the UN’s respected advisory group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has been deeply embarrassed by the revelation that some alarming predictions contained in an influential report that it released in 2007 have little or no scientific basis.

Although none of these lapses provides any reason to doubt that global warming is real, is man-made , and will create problems for us, these challenges to the IPCC are taking their toll. Indeed, recent surveys show that the public is growing steadily less trusting of the scientific consensus on global warming.

The biggest headlines about IPCC errors concern a claim about melting Himalayan glaciers that it made in its 2007 report on the likely impacts of climate change. When the Indian government suggested last year that the Himalayan glaciers were in better shape than the IPCC claimed, the IPCC chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, dismissed India’s objections as being based on "voodoo science".


Climate evangelism is an apt description of what the IPCC has been up to, for it has exaggerated some of the ramifications of climate change in order to make politicians take note.



Elsewhere in the 2007 assessment, Working Group II claimed that "up to 40 per cent of the Amazonian forests" were at imminent risk of being destroyed by global warming. The basis for this claim was a single report from the World Wildlife Fund that itself cited only one study, which didn’t even look at climate change, but rather at the impact of human activities like logging and burning.

In similar fashion, Working Group II claimed that "by 2020, in some [African] countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 per cent." Much quoted since, this alarming statistic turns out to have been based on a single, unreferenced bullet-point from a report by an environmental think tank.


If the IPCC is to do to its job properly, it must own up to all of its missteps and clean house. Nobody expects it to be infallible. But neither should we tolerate its attempts to scare policy-makers rather than inform them.

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This article was published in the The Times Of India< on Saturday, February 27, 2010. Please read the original article here.
Authors :
Dr Bjorn Lomborg, is Adjunct Professor, at the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Denmark
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Tags- Find more articles on - climate change | IPCC | Jairam Ramesh | Rajendra Pachauri

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