Let's nip this in the bud — the Himalayan glaciers are still melting.
The Manufactured Doubt industry is working overtime this week, pushing the story that climate change is a hoax because the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change erroneously included the statement that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035 in a report.
A few mainstream news outlets and the entire gaggle of climate change denial blogs have picked up on the IPCC's retraction of a prediction that the Himalayan glaciers would completely melt away by 2035. Deniers are crowing that this proves that the IPCC has no credibility and that the entire body of scientific work showing that global warming is happening has no value.
Once again, the climate change deniers are lying. Well, some of them, the smarter ones (the paid
), are lying, the rest believe whatever the liars tell them (the played
). Here's the straight story on this.
The Himalayan glaciers are still melting and are on an overall decline in size. We've found that new ice has formed in parts of the glaciers while other areas have lost area. Overall though, year by year, the glaciers get smaller as they melt away.
The claim that they would be entirely gone by 2035 was included in a 2007 IPCC report and was sourced from a news story written by Fred Pearce, a journalist with a history of writing link-baiting climate change skeptic articles. The scientist who Pearce attributed the 2035 prediction to says that he was misquoted and told Hindustan Times,
"On the basis of our research in 1999, I must have said that glaciers in the Central and Eastern Himalayas will lose mass during the next 40/50 years at their present rate of decline."
He did not say that they would be gone by 2035.
The fact that the IPCC included a made-up quote from a news story written by a climate change denier does not cast any doubt upon the overwhelmingly large body of scientific work showing that global warming is happening and that it happening because of all the greenhouse gas we've been pumping into the atmosphere.
This is just more fear, uncertainty and doubt being manufactured by the professional doubt mongers funded by Big CO2.
Scientists admit when they make mistakes and correct them. That's one important way science moves forward. Climate contrarians often cherry-pick minor points like this one then inflate their importance to attack the broader science.
The rare times contrarians have proven scientists wrong, scientists have corrected the error and gone back to work
. When scientists prove contrarians wrong — which happens all the time in and out of the scientific literature — contrarians tend to ignore them and move on to other points.
Because climate contrarians cannot account for the overwhelming evidence that heat-trapping emissions from human activity are driving global warming, they have resorted to conspiracy theories and attacks on scientists to try to explain away reality. Climate contrarians likely will use this small error to try to undermine confidence in the IPCC and climate science generally. They also will use it to attack [R.K.] Pachauri personally. It is incumbent upon journalists to resist giving these attacks more credence than they deserve and avoid confusing the public about the real threat of global warming.
(I added the bold for emphasis).