UN Facing Heat Over Melting Glacier

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Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and director general of the Energy and Resources Institute in New Dehli, India, said this week the U.N. body was studying how its 2007 report to the United Nations derived information that led to its famous conclusion: the glaciers will melt by 2035.

The IPCC issued a statement offering regret for the poorly vetted statements. “The Chair, Vice-Chairs, and Co-chairs of the IPCC regret the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures,” the statement says, though it does not issue a full retraction or reprinting the report.

In 2007 the simply titled AR4 claimed “glaciers in the Himalayas 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.”

When the report was released, Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh questioned the findings of the 2007 report during a news conference.

“They are indeed receding and the rate is cause for great concern” said Ramesh, he also suggested the IPCC’s 2035 forecast was not based on an iota of scientific research.

The IPCC report had indicated that the total area of Himalayan glaciers would shrink from 500,000 square kilometres to 100,000 square kilometres within 25 years. The study cited a 2005 report by the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF study cited a 1999 article in New Scientist magazine who quoted another expert, who speculated Himalayan glaciers could disappear within forty years.

The speculative comments were not peer reviewed, and other reports indicated the glaciers are not retreating abnormally.

  • Mark Spowart

    A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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