This was posted at TechPulse360 by Mark Boslet this morning.
Scalding critiques of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report run hotter than Ronald Reagan’s temper when confronting a Vietnam War peace demonstration.
Mistakes, these right wing critics, claim, undermine the entire U.N.-sponsored study, Al Gore’s Nobel Prize and the entire body of scientific evidence supporting global warming.
Return to the do-nothing policies of the Bush years, they scream.
It is shocking the force that several rather trivial errors have in undermining a massive three-volume report totaling more than 3,000 pages. Welcome to the nonsense of the climate change debate (or rather non-debate).
It was the IPCC report that forcefully told the world the burning of fossil fuels was warming the globe and action had to be taken. The study was immediately assailed as over reaching. Now right-wingers and Republicans are feasting on several errors that have come to light, including an incorrect date for the melting of the Himalayan glaciers. It was said to be 2035, but it more probably later.
Another incorrect statement describes the Netherlands as more than 50 percent under sea level. A final comes because the IPCC relied on non-scientific source to claim that 40 percent of the Amazon rain forest will become to savanna if the warming trend from CO2 accumulation is not reversed.
None of these mistakes should have appeared in the scholarly work, people from both sides of the aisle agree. But they are relatively minor points considering the scope of the work, according to climate scientists interviewed about the controversy.
“I’m not surprised that a report which involves three massive volumes (each over 1000 pages of smallish print), written by over 450 lead authors and 800 contributing authors (and reviewed by 2,500 expert experts who submitted 90,000 review comments on the draft document) (could) have a few errors in it,” says Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Professor and Director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia.
“When you compare it to the gross errors of fact which are promulgated by people claiming that climate change is not occurring, these few errors in an otherwise very watertight document are relatively insignificant,” he says.
Presenting errors like these should be a major concern for the IPCC, Hoegh-Guldberg wrote in an e-mail. But do they justify throwing out the rest of the work? “Of course not.”