Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The lead bureaucrat for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is calling scientists at the India Ministry of Environment and Forests “arrogant” for producing a 60-page study of Himalayan glaciers concluding there is insufficient evidence to say global warming is causing a retreat of Himalayan glaciers. Now who’s being arrogant?

The report, “Himalayan Glaciers, A State-of-Art Review of Glacial Studies, Glacial Retreat, and Climate Change,” analyzes 150 years of glacier data throughout the Himalayan Mountains. It is authored by the deputy director general of the Geological Survey of India, a doctoral scientist who has been studying Himalayan glaciers for decades.

The U.N.’s Climate Change Panel (IPCC), by comparison, is a group of scientists and nonscientists chosen by the U.N. political arms. Among its lead authors are staffers from Environmental Defense and Greenpeace. Though IPCC claims humans are probably causing a significant rise in global temperature, even within IPCC there is substantial disagreement that gets swept under the rug.

Prior to the release of IPCC’s latest report, for example, IPCC participants submitted literally thousands of criticisms of the findings and suggested corrections that the relative handful of IPCC lead authors (including Environmental Defense and Greenpeace staffers) rejected or chose to ignore.

Still more damning, IPCC lead bureaucrat Raj Pachauri recently teamed up with renewable power lobbyist and former Clinton administration chief of staff John D. Podesta to write an editorial calling for U.S. taxpayers to hand over money to nations such as China and India to pay for “energy efficiency goals” and “low-carbon technologies.” Can you imagine the outrage from environmental activist groups if the head of IPCC teamed up with Karl Rove or some other Bush administration adviser to say coal and oil do not threaten the world with a global warming crisis? IPCC would lose all credibility as an objective body.

The same standards must apply when the head of IPCC teams up with Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff to claim a global warming crisis from which Mr. Podesta’s lobbyist clients stand to make a pile of money.

The fact that the head of IPCC teamed up with Mr. Rove’s Clinton administration counterpart to advocate spending U.S. taxpayer dollars on projects for which Mr. Podesta currently lobbies demonstrates political partisanship and is a blatant conflict of interest.

It seems the United Nations would prefer to hide the truth and cut off all further scientific research instead of facing the embarrassment of having to retract its ridiculous assertion that Himalayan glaciers may disappear in the next 25 years. Perhaps the United Nations really believes nonscientists and staffers from alarmist environmental organizations are better qualified to report on Himalayan glaciers than actual scientists who have been studying the glaciers for decades.

Above all, perhaps the United Nations feels threatened that a lack of alarm over global warming will dry up funding for a monolithic bureaucracy whose very existence depends on the public believing in a man-made global warming crisis.

Beyond question, the India Ministry of Environment and Forests and the deputy director general of the Geological Survey of India are qualified to study Himalayan glaciers and should be taken seriously.

Also beyond question, they are completely justified in publishing their scientific findings, even if these findings prove inconvenient for the U.N. bureaucracy and its allied environmental activists.

What is arrogant beyond measure is for the bureaucrat heading IPCC to try to silence genuine scientists who have studied a pressing public issue and published their objective scientific findings.

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute.

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