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Himalayan Glaciers Get a 300 Year Reprieve.

Himalayan Glaciers Get a 300 Year Reprieve.

Like many (thankfully), I am deeply, deeply concerned about the impending impact of climate change, a Sword of Damocles that hangs over hundreds of millions of people and thousands of species. But sometimes backing the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is a little like being a supporter of the Chicago Cubs or the Chudley Cannons. Nobel prize or not, the IPCC seems to be their own worst enemy, and determined to test our resolve.

For those of you who are not familiar with the IPCC , it is “the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences.”

After a series of stolen emails (aka ‘climategate’) revealed an immaturity more suited to a prepubescent facebook crowd than a team of the world’s smartest climate scientists, the IPCC has now revealed that the Himalayan glaciers will in fact not be dissapearing by 2035, as they reported in the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report on Climate Change, and what they really meant to say was that they may be gone by 2350 (whoops!). What’s worse, the transposed number was reportedly sourced from a 1999 article in New Scientist, rather than peer reviewed research.

There is such an overwhelming amount of evidence in support of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that this is really of little consequence. And mistakes do happen, even for groups of hundreds of scientists working collaboratively. But this still pretty scary: The Himalayas hold the planet’s largest body of ice outside the polar caps — this is no small ice shelf we’re  talking about. And the world’s governments are relying on the IPCC findings to justify putting in place major changes that will affect virtually every aspect of the world’s economy.

Historically, I would characterize climate science as an obscure field, populated by wonks and number jockeys who would prefer to quietly build computer models, leaving some ex-jock weatherman to get all the credit on television. Basically the Peter Parker’s of the science world. But like Parker with his accidental Spiderman powers, they have suddenly been thrown into the limelight — unwilling superheroes. As Parker’s Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Climate change is no longer an academic exercise, and it’s time for the IPCC to start doing better.

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Photo copyright http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilker/ / CC BY 2.0

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112 comments

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6:32PM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

Thanks.

5:44PM PST on Mar 2, 2010

Climate change is concerning.

11:42AM PST on Mar 1, 2010

glaciers are increasing in size? decreasing in size? what is a fact is that americans are getting more dumb by the minute. Our society ,that holds nothing dear except money and vanity is making sure of that,and with banners flying and trumpets blaring we march in lock step backwards comfortable in our delusions of greatness and a god blessing us as we poison everything we touch,spout values we dont have, wage phony wars and hate each other.All brought to you in an unrealistic, provocative haze by beer,hamburger and erectile dysfuction commercials. You figure the rest out.

12:36PM PST on Feb 24, 2010

Luckily this has blow over, SOME. But we just have to keep pushing and letting people know that the problem IS there

1:17PM PST on Feb 12, 2010

good story

6:21AM PST on Feb 12, 2010

thanks for sharing

8:31AM PST on Feb 8, 2010

thank you

12:46PM PST on Feb 7, 2010

thanks

7:28AM PST on Feb 2, 2010

thanks for sharing

5:16AM PST on Feb 2, 2010

Actually the glaciers are increasing in size, but it makes for good press.
IPCC=Chicken Little, fear mongering and stealing your tax dollars.
Global Warming is a fraud to steal money and get power

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