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Errors in UN Climate Report Fuel Global Warming Debate

January 21, 2010 04:30 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Five errors in a U.N. climate panel report have called into question the credibility of the panel, prompting climate change skeptics to cry foul.

Section on Himalayan Glaciers Full of Mistakes

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The 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group affiliated with the United Nations, is “the world’s most authoritative report on global warming,” Seth Borenstein writes for the Associated Press. Unfortunately, a section of the report devoted to glaciers in the Himalayas was found to be full of mistakes, suggesting that these glaciers could melt by 2035, when the number was supposed to be 2350.

"The credibility of the IPCC depends on the thoroughness with which its procedures are adhered to," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, wrote to The Associated Press in an e-mail. "The procedures have been violated in this case. That must not be allowed to happen again because the credibility of climate change policy can only be based on credible science."

Still, the panel, other scientists and even “some critics of the IPCC” say that the errors don’t negate the fact that global warming is real and “without a doubt man-made and a threat,” Borenstein writes.

"What is happening now is comparable with the Titanic sinking more slowly than expected," de Boer said in his e-mail, according to Borenstein. "But that does not alter the inevitable consequences, unless rigorous action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is taken."

Background: Global warming dissent and agreement

To gain a better understanding of the often contradictory and confusing information and opinions on climate change, look to sources such as NPR, LiveScience and the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which have published numerous interviews with scientists and experts with different viewpoints on the subject.

In May 2004, when only “a few” scientists considered global warming to be “no big deal,” NPR interviewed three scientists that had conducted individual research on climate change, and had varied life experiences and backgrounds. Penn State University Glaciologist Richard Alley discusses his climate change “personal crusade,” while climatologist John Christy “argues that global warming isn't a problem worth worrying about.”

In July 2006, when opposition to manmade global warming gained a stronger voice, the journal LiveScience discussed the topic with experts, and published relevant commentary from other publications. Perhaps most telling is this comment by Naomi Oreskes of the University of California, San Diego, from a 2004 Washington Post editorial:

“Many people have the impression that there is significant scientific disagreement about global climate change. It’s time to lay that misapprehension to rest. There is a scientific consensus on the fact that Earth’s climate is heating up and human activities are part of the reason.”

In December 2008, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works reported on the most significant opposition to manmade global warming to date, “a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe” that oppose climate change claims made by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

A letter published in the Prince George Citizen includes quotes taken from a 2007 Washington Times interview with Reid Bryson, “the 87-year-old considered to be the father of scientific climatology,” who fiercely opposes manmade global warming theories.

Christopher Booker of the Daily Telegraph discusses what he feels are the three tide-turning occurrences of 2008 that combat claims of global warming, including unpredicted falling temperatures, and the collapse of a “scientific consensus” regarding manmade global warming.

Reference: Global warming and climate change

Visit findingDulcinea’s Global Warming and Climate Change Web Guide for a basic introduction to the topic, along with links to advanced scientific research, news and analysis.
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