Living On The Edge: The Controversy Over 'Himalayan Glacier'. Part - I

. 1/27/10

The highly serious issue of climate change and global warming has taken a beating with vital research figures on climate change being distorted and 'falsified'. With contentions over important timelines -- like the melting of the Himalayas -- being disputed, scientific studies that contradict each other are losing credibility.

The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has now admitted its goof-up on the 'deadline' on the melting of the Himalayan glaciers.

The panel, headed by Rajendra K Pachauri, had claimed that the Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035, causing a lively furore . "The clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly," said IPCC in a statement on its website, accepting the error.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said such forecasts were alarmist and without scientific basis.

He also took a dig at the comments made by IPCC chairman R K Pachauri, who had dubbed the Union environment ministry's report, which stated that global warming is not the only reason for glaciers melting, as 'voodoo science'.

Pachauri now faces an embarrassing situation.

Stressing on enhancing scientific capability, Jairam Ramesh said that the most important lesson that India must learn from the whole episode is that there is no substitute for domestic scientific capability.

This is the second time that the world has been proved wrong on its views on climate change and India, the minister said. "The first time was when the United States government estimated in the early 1990s that wet paddy cultivation in Indian fields produced yearly 38 million tonne of methane gas and that this was the second most preponderance for emission of greenhouses gases.

"But it was later established by the India's leading agro-scientist A P Mitra, who challenged the US administration's estimates and found that the emission was four million tonnes per annum on average," Ramesh said, adding the second time was on the 'glacier melting' issue.

"What it shows is that there is no substitute for indigenous study, monitoring and modelling. That is why we have set up a network of scientists and researchers to carry out researches based on our local requirements and conditions," the minister added.

In the picture Himalayan Glacier.

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