Glacial Politics: The IPCC and Climate Change

A slow-moving storm is brewing over a recent apology from the IPCC due to  an erroneous climate prediction of Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035. As this story unfolds there are multiple perspectives for what caused the controversy:

Dr. Murari Lal used the claim to pressure governments into action.

Dr. Syed Hasnain, who was the source of this info, was misquoted and the IPCC process for disseminating information on climate change is driven more by political considerations than it is by scientific evidence.

Nevertheless, politics appears to be behind claims made by the IPCC as well as by critics of the process. Further, an important lesson from this case is that it exemplifies some of the problems policymakers face when trying to shape public policy based on scientific evidence. No matter how certain the politics may be around this issue, the uncertainty principle continues to be a major factor in developing policies that relate to climate change.


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