Here’s the latest on the global warming science front. The most recent development involves errors and lack of substantiation in the 2007 report of the UN climate change panel, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, and its headline-grabbing statement that it was very likely that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035, if not sooner. The IPCC now admits that the statement was “poorly substantiated” because it was not based on any consensus of scientists, but rather on a single, 1999 magazine interview of an Indian glaciologist. The Himalayan section of the report is riddled with other errors, including grossly misstating the actual size of the glaciers and the rate at which they have melted during recent time periods. (And this is a report that won the Nobel Peace Prize!)
Again, I don’t know what the actual objective scientific method — gathering confirmed data, testing and disproving hypotheses, and so forth — would reveal about global warming, and news stories like the one linked above just add to the quandary. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the whole area has been tremendously politicized and that the science has suffered as a result. If a leading report from a scientific body makes the sensational claim that the Himalayan glaciers will disappear in 25 years and that statement is not even vetted, and indeed the underlying data about the glaciers stated in the report is demonstrably wrong, what does that tell us about the credibility and rigor of global warming science?
Edited to Add: A story published today quotes one of the authors of the IPCC report as admitting that the information about the melting Himalayan glaciers was added solely to put political pressure on world leaders.