The public image of climate change science has been weakened by a number of revelations of mistakes and exaggerations in recent months.
Constructing a case against the climate consensus
The public image of climate change science has been weakened by a number of revelations of mistakes and exaggerations in recent months. Error on Himalayan glaciers The 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is frequently invoked to demonstrate the scientific consensus on climate change, claimed that the probability of Himalayan glaciers "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high". The Indian government has disputed the claim that the glaciers are melting at all, and, even with significant warming, the glaciers are not likely to melt for several hundred years, several climate experts say. The IPCC has apologised for the error. IPCC's use of biased information sources The 2007 report also said that as much as 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest could disappear with even slight changes in rainfall. The claim was traced to a 2000 report by the WWF, an environmentalist group. Critics say the IPCC should not use reports from pressure groups, and that the WWF itself misrepresented a study in a scientific journal that was the source of the research. The WWF has launched an internal inquiry. Leading scientist agrees that 'from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically significant global warming' In an interview with the BBC this month, Dr Phil Jones, a former director of the renowned Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said he agreed with the above statement. His answer appeared to undermine claims that warming of the planet had worsened in recent years, and was seized upon by climate sceptics. But Dr Jones's technical answer, defenders said, was that the period was too short for a dependable measurement of warming, which fluctuates year by year. Leaked e-mails that show a "conspiracy" to manipulate global warming data E-mails stolen from East Anglia and other academic institutions were published online in November. Among the thousands of pages of technical correspondence, sceptics say they have found evidence that leading scientists, including Dr Jones, colluded to prevent critics from accessing climate data and talked about how to present data in a way that emphasised rapid climate change. Most infamously, critics cite a 1999 e-mail from Dr Jones in which he says he has just completed "a trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures since 1961. Dr Jones says his e-mail was completely misunderstood, and he was referring to a procedure in which he reconciled two separate data sets on global temperatures.