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Himalayan glacier flub is tip of the iceberg for UN climate panel

February 11, 2010

The Himalayan glacier flub is just the tip of the iceberg for the United Nations’ beleaguered Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The UN organization that produces reports it considers “the gold standard of climate science” put out an eye-opening statement last week admitting that its last 3000-page report has errors after having downplayed the problems. 

Any such human endeavour can never be completely errorfree, but IPCC assessments are as close to this goal as the international community of scientists and governments can accomplish.  The members of the IPCC (who are the world’s national governments), its elected leadership, and the thousands of scientists who contribute to each report are continually working to improve all aspects of future reports

The Wall Street Journal picks up the story.

“This has not increased the credibility of the IPCC,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist who is co-chairing one of the main sections of the IPCC’s next big climate-change report, due out in 2013 and 2014. “There is some room for improvement.”

Scientists and other experts involved in the IPCC say most of the information assembled and reported by the organization is valid. They say the revelations don’t impugn the IPCC’s main conclusions: that climate change is largely due to man-made greenhouse-gas emissions and that it could have dangerous consequences. But though they say each revelation itself is small, they worry that the continuing string of them is damaging the IPCC’s credibility—not just with experts who question the premise of human-induced climate change, but with the public at large.

In the wake of Climate Gate, Glacier Gate and declining U.S. voter support for climate change legislation, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke propsed creating a new national climate agency out of NOAA modeled after the National Weather Service.   

That fair and balanced environmental news source, Clean Skies News, has more on the proposed agency that will provide climate change forecasts for businesses and farmers.  

Skeptical mainstream news media outlets like Business Week, included recent poll results on climate change in their coverage.

A poll last month from Yale and George Mason universities found that U.S. concern about global warming has “dropped sharply.” Of those people questioned, 50 percent are somewhat or very worried about global warming, down from 63 percent in the fall of 2008, according to the survey.

Locke also announced that NOAA has launched www.climate.gov as the administration’s portal for climate science and services.

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