April 03, 2008

Climate Change in Media: HT Reaches New Low

Two recent articles in Hindustan Times challenging human induced climate change raise questions about credibility of its reporting and integrity of its correspondent. It also raises a question for serious environmentalists on how to respond to such reports. (view updates)

Two days ago (Apr 1, 2008) Hindustan Times carried an article titled Climate change not as big a problem: report. Lest anyone should think it as an April Fool's joke, it was a completely serious piece based on real events. Today (Apr 3, 2008), the same correspondent published a report titled: 'Sun too causes global warming.'

Both articles are highly misleading, contain factual inaccuracies and at the very least deliberately hide widely known facts that counter its argument to paint a biased picture. In the following paragraphs, I will attempt to highlight the key issues raised by each of the stories.

Climate change not as big a problem: report [1]
by Chetan Chauhan | Page 14, HT New Delhi, Apr 1, 2008 | 353 words

Opening excerpt:
An international civil society report has debunked the claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, saying there is no evidence available to show loss of human life directly due to climate change.

The report of the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change [CSCCC], to be released in India on Tuesday, says there is no evidence to suggest climate change has caused an increase in diseases.

Highly Misleading

By pitting CSCCC [2] directly against IPCC [3], the article creates the impression that both organisations are of similar stature. Nothing could be further from the truth. IPCC is a Noble prize winning United Nations body made up of hundreds of scientists and governmental representatives while CSCCC is merely a coalition of so-called global "think tanks" - corporate lobbyists funded by big oil corporations, the likes of ExxonMobil, to further their interests.

The HT article makes no mention of the background of CSCCC - who comprises the coalition and how are they funded. Unlike IPCC, which was formed two decades ago, CSCCC was only organised a little more than an year back [4] by International Policy Network (IPN) which is a well known recipient of Exxon funding. IPN has received $390,000 from Exxon [5]. Several other members of the coalition have also been a beneficiary.

Paul Reiter, the expert cited in the article, for example, sits on the "Scientific and Economic Advisory Council" [6] of an organization called the "Annapolis Centre." What is Annapolis Centre? It's a US based "think tank" [7] that has pocketed $793,575 from ExxonMobil and has been very active in playing down the human contribution to global warming.

Reiter doesn't have anything too substantiative in his research papers [8] published in scientific peer reviewed journals to back his claims of lack of relationship between disease and climate change. It's unclear how many other claims of CSCCC report are backed by research in peer reviewed journals.

Yet, here's a newspaper that reaches out to a country of one billion, publishing unsubstantiated "research" of corporate lobbyists that have a direct financial interest in sensationalising their so-called findings; and pits them against a neutral, highly conservative group of scientists and government representatives whose work is completely based on pure scientific research published in peer-reviewed journals.

'Sun too causes global warming' [9]
by Chetan Chauhan | Page 17, HT New Delhi, Apr 3, 2008 | 327 words

Opening excerpt:
FRESH RESEARCH by Danish Space Research Centre can possibly give a new twist to the controversy whether Green House Gas emissions is the major contributor for global warming. The Center's research based on climate date [sic] of 150 years shows that varying activity of the Sun is the most systematic contributor to natural climate variations.

Completely Inaccurate

The article falsely states that new research claiming sun as the cause of global warming has now emerged and that it may alter the widely held belief in man-made global warming. Global warming skeptics have been arguing sun as the cause for several decades. In fact Danish Space Research Centre's (DNSC) Galactic Cosmic Ray theory itself is over 11 years old. [10] So it's absolutely false to imply that this is a new discovery that somehow challenges man made global warming.

Not only is it old research, it has also been debunked several times (see here, here, here, here and here). In July last year the prestigious Royal Society of UK published a study concluding that the Sun's output cannot be causing modern-day climate change. [11] To quote BBC News on it: Mike Lockwood's analysis appears to have put a large, probably fatal nail in this intriguing and elegant [Galactic Cosmic Ray] hypothesis. He said: "It might even have had a significant effect on pre-industrial climate; but you cannot apply it to what we're seeing now, because we're in a completely different ball game."

Mysteriously, the HT article quotes Deepak Lal, former Indian Foreign Service officer in support of the Galactic Cosmic Ray theory. How is Lal related with the Danish Space Research Centre is not mentioned in the article. I looked up his background. Among other things, Lal is the author of a little known book on globalisation called "In Praise of Empires." [12] More interestingly however, he is a Senior Fellow at the CATO institute. [13] What is CATO institute? You guessed it -- a US "think tank" funded by ExxonMobil. It has received $110,000 from Exxon. [14]

Questions about journalistic ethics and accountability

The two articles raise serious questions. Why did the Hindustan Times publish misleading, inaccurate, unsubstantiated and biased reports on climate change. Did the correspondent receive an incentive for publishing these from outside or is there an organisation wide effort to discredit opinion against climate change?

Those of us who understand the severity of this planetary emergency have watched every mention of this issue in mainstream Indian media with interest over the last year. Most of us can also recall a time prior to the release of the IPCC report when climate change was conspicuously absent from Indian media. The Stern report for example, which was hailed as a landmark event in UK (released at the end of Oct 2006), never found a mention in India's two main newspaper for months. This conspiracy of silence was broken only when the crescendo of international reporting on the issue reached mile-high by the time the IPCC report came out (Feb 2007).

Poor reporting is worse than no reporting. In this particular instance, it's hard to accept that this came out simply as a result of ignorance. Chetan Chauhan has been covering environmental issues for HT for some time and it's hard to imagine someone at that position being incapable of making a distinction between CSCCC and IPCC or being unable to conduct simple background checks through web searches prior to writing.

A bigger question for those of us who see through such reporting is: how do we address this problem. How do we respond to such reports to bring the truth to public attention. And how do we make the media accountable for what it writes or does not write.

On my part I plan to follow this post with a formal complaint to the Press Council of India unless HT issues a well-placed corrective article in the following days.


Notes and Links

This entry is also posted on Green-India mailing list and copied to the following:
    Chetan Chauhan, HT correspondent and writer of said articles
    Vir Sanghvi, Editorial Director Hindustan Times
    Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, Director-General TERI
    Sunita Narain, Director Centre for Science and Environment
    Malini Mehra, Founder & Director Centre for Social Markets

References:

1 HT April 1, 2008: Climate change not as big a problem: report

2 Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change [2] (CSCCC) website

3 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Wikipedia

4 The CSCCC is organised by IPN according to this Wikipedia entry.

5 International Policy Network fact sheet on ExxonMobilSecrets.org

6 Paul Reiter on Science and Economic Advisory Council of The Annapolis Center

7 The Annapolis Center fact sheet on ExxonMobilSecrets.org

8 Reiter's research background on DeSmogBlog

9 HT, April 3, 2008: Sun too causes global warming

10 DNSC 1997 research papers on sun-Climate connection [PDF] and cosmic ray flux and global cloud cover [PDF]

11 BBC News on Royal Society study: 'No Sun link' to climate change

12 Deepak Lal's In Praise of Empires

13 Deepak Lal at CATO

14 CATO fact sheet on ExxonSecrets.org


UPDATE 5-Apr 2008: IPCC Chairman, Dr. R. K. Pachauri Writes Back

Words of encouragement and support have poured in from several quarters via various channels. Including one from Noble Laureate and IPCC chairman, Dr R. K. Pachauri himself. Dr Pachauri graciously took out time to reply to my email. My sincere thanks to everyone once again. I've compiled all responses - received via email or on Green-India group - as comments on this page. Read Dr. Pachauri's response. Note: timestamps on these comments may not be valid.


UPDATE 5-Apr 2008 [2]: CSM Issues Press Release

Centre for Social Markets (CSM) headed by Ms Malini Mehra, which last month served as adviser to Al Gore's climate project in India, has issued a press release against the climate change misinformation campaign in the media. It discusses the launch of "Civil Society Report on Climate Change" in India by deputy chairman of planning commission - Montek Singh Ahluwalia.


UPDATE 9-Apr 2008: TreeHugger picks up this story

TreeHugger.com - the US based popular green blog, which has a daily reach of around 200 million (that's as much as Hindustantimes.com), has published a detailed story based on this entry calling it a "complete, excruciatingly well-referenced analysis which elegantly dismantles the erroneous arguments put forth in both [HT] pieces." The TreeHugger post quotes widely from this blog and its author. Thank you TreeHugger!


UPDATE 1-May 2008: Malini Mehra writes in HT

Founder and CEO of Centre for Social Markets, Ms. Malini Mehra wrote an oped piece in Hindustan Times, published on Earth Day, flaying the two HT reports calling threat from climate change exaggerated and unfounded. an excerpt:
Having failed to win the argument in the West, the climate deniers are now moving into India and China. They see our country as a soft-touch for their propaganda and easy to hoodwink through arguments pitting poverty against development. What they do not realise is that there is a domestic movement brewing in India for positive action on climate change.
Complete article can be found here.


UPDATE 11-May 2008: Frontline Magazine writes on this issue

Well known political analyst, journalist and activist Praful Bidwai penned a column in Frontline magazine (Apr 26 - May 09) on this issue. Opening excerpt follows:
Falling back on pseudo-science?
Indian policymakers are clutching at straws to duck their responsibility to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

AS Indian policymakers come under growing pressure from global scientific and political communities on climate change, they are increasingly resorting to disingenuous, devious or downright specious arguments to avoid taking purposive action to cap and reduce the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are rising 3.5 times faster than the world average.

The detailed article calls the CSCCC report flimsy and "an exercise in charlatanry and sophistry." It also references this blog post as containing "some interesting facts" on the issue. Complete article can be read here.


UPDATE 20-May 2008: The Unsuitablog cites this post while parodying CSCCC with a game called "follow the links."


UPDATE 03-June 2008: Filed a formal complaint with the Press Council of India along with related evidence.

18 Comments so far      

Anonymous C S Azad (on Green-India):

The matter should be brought in to notice of editor, HT and PCI immediately.

5 April 2008 at 11:02:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

The message has already reached the editor of Hindustan Times. The rules of Press Council of India demand that any complaint be first brought to the notice of the editor before filing. Therefore I will give HT a chance to issue a retraction or correction before approaching PCI.

5 April 2008 at 11:03:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Anonymous Malini Mehra (via email):

Thank you very much for your email. Important that you have circulated this – I am very grateful for your work.

We have also taken a close interest in recent reporting supporting climate deniars.

While diversity is necessary and healthy in a democracy, we know the tactics of climate deniars and it is clear that they are now moving into India.

CSM has been following the recent activities of the Liberty Institute in India and was present at the event on 2nd April.

We are doing an international press release about this story today, and are also submitting an article to the HT for publication early next week.

5 April 2008 at 11:04:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

I'm extremely glad that CSM is pursuing this issue with such zeal. Many thanks for that. The Indian media is attempting to project climate change as a controversial issue when as you know, there is absolutely no question or serious disagreement in any serious scientific institution.

In fact, every scientific study that has come out since the release of IPCC fourth assessment's first report in Feb 2007 has highlighted that their worst projections are coming true. IPCC's synthesis report released close to the end of last year acknowledges this and issues a much more urgent message.

We must not let a few people with vested interests influence the urgent need for action. It is therefore very heartening that CSM is moving so quickly to expose such people. I've received support from several quarters including Dr. Pachauri himself and I plan to pursue this to its logical conclusion.

5 April 2008 at 11:05:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Anonymous R. K. Pachauri (via email):

Thank you for your email of 3 April 2008.

It was just a couple of days ago in London that I was speaking to a highly respected journalist, and he asked why the skeptics had become suddenly quiet. I responded by saying that in my view it is only the lull before the storm because they must be organizing themselves to strike at the IPCC. Indeed, this is precisely what has happened. All of us, of course, have to keep our cool and stick to truth and scientific facts in dealing with the agents of some vested interests who want no action on climate change.

5 April 2008 at 11:07:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

(message sent to Dr. Pachauri via email)

Many thanks for kindly responding to my email. I hope you would not mind that I've taken the liberty to share your message with others gathering around this issue.

I'm in complete agreement with you. I think the attacks, by people with vested interests, on the scientific consensus of climate change will continue and might even get stronger as they get desperate to gain traction. The media and the public in the West is beginning to get more alert to their strategies and I suspect this is why they are diverting their attention to India now. Unfortunately, the press and the public here is not as aware. Hopefully, organisations such as CSM and others will change that.

I also agree that their arguments must be countered with truth and science. I sincerely hope that IPCC or others in the scientific community will soon issue a detailed rebuttal to the report of civil society coalition.

5 April 2008 at 11:08:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Anonymous Nagraj Rao (on Green-India):

Thanks a lot Mr Manu for bringing this to our notice.

5 April 2008 at 11:09:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Anonymous Malini Mehra (via email):

Having largely been routed in Western countries and exposed for what they are, these groups are now seeking to enter into countries such as India and China. They think we are a soft touch for this kind of propaganda but we will show them that there is a movement building in India for a serious and pro-active agenda on climate change – and will counter this vigorously.

If our own political leaders in their wisdom ally themselves with such vested interests, they will face a challenge from us. This what we intend to do on this issue with Dr Ahluwalia’s questionable decision to give credence to this report.

5 April 2008 at 16:22:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger express -o:

This is a democratic country and everyone has a right to voice their opinion.

17 April 2008 at 15:07:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

Huh? These weren't opinion pieces. These were NEWS REPORTS. When facts are misrepresented and twisted to appear as NEWS, there's something seriously wrong somewhere.

17 April 2008 at 15:42:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger express -o:

The news was voicing the opinion of a group of people and they have a right to be heard - as much as you or me.

17 April 2008 at 15:55:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

Yes, but the reports were framed deliberately (or as a result of incompetence of the lowest order) to *discredit* evidence and institutions much more authoritative than those reported. At the same time it gave highly disproportionate importance to sources and facts that were questionable.

Ordinary people do not have a clue who is behind the IPCC is and who are the people behind CSCCC. When they read news reports saying that there is new evidence or claim (which is actually fabricated and comes from people who would gain from its publicity) disputing what they were previously told about global warming (which was based on real science and from highly authoritative sources) then they will naturally tend to change their opinion. This is akin to perpetrating falsehoods, it's not journalism.

Lets assume for a moment that reporters can't be expected to understand the science of climate change but it was their responsibility in this case to reveal how authoritative is the source, whether or not it has a bias and how accurate are its claims.

You don't ask your sabziwala (vegetable vendor) which company's stock to buy. The two HT reports are analogous to publishing stock tips from a sabziwala on the front page of a financial paper. Representing his claims as fact and a possible scoop without revealing that they, in fact, come from a sabziwala. You could argue that this individual has a "right to be heard." Sure he does - he can shout as much as he wants from his shop. But the day you elevate him to front page news, either deliberately or through ignorance, you are not dealing in journalism.

The resulting story may sound something like this: "A new report from 'Fresh Tamatar Stock Brokers' claims Infosys will fall. The agency's spokesman suggests stocking up on fresh tomatoes as a possible measure to ward against the falling stock price." This is exactly how ridiculous the two HT reports sounded to people who understand the severity of the climate change problem.

17 April 2008 at 18:14:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger express -o:

First thing, I am myself working in the field of climate change, so I know that some scientists have opinions not exactly corrosponding to that of the IPCC and that included Indians too. For instance IPCC says -90% climate change is due to anthropogenic causes. According to K. Krishna Kumar, IITM, member of scientific advisory commitee to the cabinet- “difficult to clearly delineate the characteristics of climate change associated with natural and anthropogenic forcings due to complex interactions within the climate system.” . The source is "http://www.iisc.ernet.in/currsci/feb102006/334.pdf"
2nd thing, I am not really a HT fan but I understand enough to know that there is no propoganda behind this report. Responsible journalism does not mean parroting a particular opinion or idolizing a particular organization. Also for your reference: I did a random search and numerous articles in Hindustan times popped up, which cite the IPCC and warn of climate change impacts; Significantly more than these 2 articles you are referring to. Does that mean the IPCC had hired HT previously and now HT has switched sides? ;) We ahould be reasonable about criticizing a particular institution and questioning the freedom of the Press. For reference SOME OF the articles that cite IPCC in HT are given below (links):
This is not the exhaustive list. there are hundreds of these:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=31470686-8f45-49d5-9a34-d7a77fa551f3&ParentID=879ee093-a0c0-45b4-a2ad-1782e2aea2c4&&Headline=Leadership+lacking+from+rich+countries+on+climate+change%3a+IPCC+chief
http://httabloid.com/news/181_1962822,00040003.htm
www.hindustantimes.in/Redir.aspx?ID=07c08f5a-cd27-4c6c-907f-a12c19b8c14b
www.edugreen.teri.res.in/explore/climate/bite.htm

Also, if among these 400 articles, there are 2 opposing views, it can not be termed as 'propoganda'. I would term it the right to information. Again the duty of the press is to bring different views to light, as they should be.

17 April 2008 at 18:48:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

"express -o" said: "[...] I am myself working in the field of climate change [...]"

If you want that statement to have any credibility, please comment using your real name rather than an anonymous identity. Particularly since the rest of that sentence doesn't generate much trust in your claim (see below).

"express -o" said: "[...] so I know that some scientists have opinions not exactly corrosponding to that of the IPCC [...]"

I doubt a person working in the field of climate science would say that. This statement is completely false with no truth in it whatsoever. Sure you may find some individual dissenting scientist here and there but I challenge you to substantiate that with papers published in peer reviewed scientific journals or statements issued by internationally reputed scientific bodies.

On my part, I'd like you to consider what Wikipedia has to say on Scientific opinion on climate change. The first para itself directly contradicts your above statement:

"National and international science academies and professional societies have assessed the current scientific opinion on climate change, in particular recent global warming. These assessments have largely followed or endorsed the IPCC position that "[...] most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."

Wikipedia lists opinion aggregated from a vast number of scientific bodies out of which the number of...

Concurring organizations = 31
Noncommittal organizations = 2
Dissenting organizations = 0

Let me publish here the entire list of scientific organisations that concur with the above view:

1 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007
2 Joint science academies’ statement 2007
3 Joint science academies’ statement 2005
4 Joint science academies’ statement 2001
5 InterAcademy Council
6 European Academy of Sciences and Arts
7 Network of African Science Academies
8 National Research Council (US)
9 American Meteorological Society
10 Royal Meteorological Society (UK)
11 World Meteorological Organization
12 American Geophysical Union
13 American Institute of Physics
14 American Astronomical Society
15 American Physical Society
16 Federal Climate Change Science Program, 2006
17 American Association for the Advancement of Science
18 Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London
19 American Quaternary Association
20 Geological Society of America
21 American Chemical Society
22 Federation of American Scientists
23 Engineers Australia (The Institution of Engineers Australia)
24 Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
25 Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
26 Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
27 European Geosciences Union
28 International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
29 International Union of Geological Sciences
30 International Council for Science
31 European Science Foundation

You may read the precise statements issued by each of those organisations supporting the above view on the Wikipedia entry.

"express -o" said: "According to K. Krishna Kumar, IITM, member of scientific advisory commitee to the cabinet- “difficult to clearly delineate the characteristics of climate change associated with natural and anthropogenic forcings due to complex interactions within the climate system.”"

This is amusing. You take an incomplete statement out of a scientific paper and show it to support your view. If you read the first part of that statement, it clearly endorses human impact on climate.

"HUMAN activities since the beginning of the industrial revolution have led to unprecedented changes in the chemical composition of the earth’s atmosphere. We now have credible evidence to show that such changes have the potential to influence earth’s climate, though it is difficult to [...]"

It should also be noted that this paper cites IPCC's Third assessment released in the year 2001 and not the Fourth Assessment released in Feb 2007. It's an old article that predates IPCC's latest findings.

"express -o" said: "I am not really a HT fan but [...] there is no propoganda behind this report."

Please show a statement in my post where I have accused HT of spreading a propaganda. I have taken issue only with these two reports. In the last section, I have suggested that there may be a propaganda (conspiracy of silence) but nowhere did I out and out accuse them of such. Nor is it my intention.

I've been following HT reports on the issue for a long time. In fact, I once even contributed to it albeit indirectly. See this HT report and my message on Green-India predating it by two days. (I had sent a copy of this message to HT correspondent who got back to me asking for more references which I provided). So yes, am well aware that there has been coverage on it over the past year.

Does that give them a right to publish anything now? I don't think so. Once again, my problem is only with these specific articles. This may or may not be an organisational effort. This may or may not be an act of one individual. This may or may not have be a case of ignorance. All that is beside the point.

The point remains the same as mentioned in the second para: Both articles are highly misleading, contain factual inaccuracies and at the very least deliberately hide widely known facts that counter its argument to paint a biased picture. What's the reason behind this is conjecture. I can only point to what it is.

"express -o" said: "Responsible journalism does not mean parroting a particular opinion or idolizing a particular organization [...] there are 2 opposing views [...] the duty of the press is to bring different views to light [...]"

First of all, as already shown above, there is NO other view. There is no controversy in the scientific circles about man made global warming. There is no debate science.

Second, I have no issue if newspapers wish to quote dissenting opinion of a body of questionable origin AS LONG AS THEY MENTION ITS QUESTIONABLE ORIGINS! I have a big problem with misrepresenting that baseless opinion as authoritative while at the same time discrediting a seriously authoritative source.

As I said, if you really want to quote a sabziwala for stock tips, at least mention that it's coming from a sabziwala. Don't misrepresent him as an expert by comparing his statements with those of George Soros.

"The latest findings from 'Fresh Tamatar Stock Brokers' agency have debunked predictions from George Soros, who's quite bullish on IT stocks, saying there is no evidence available in last month's tomato crop to show that."

17 April 2008 at 23:39:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger express -o:

I dont think I want to waste my time any more on this post. So here is the last entry and then the 'tomato- wallahs' (!) can take over

1. No offense, but by reading this entry of urs.. I get the feeling that you are a lay-person and can not really be supposed to have a great level of understanding on the intricacies of the issue involved. That is perfectly all right. That is why you keep citing wikipedia !! WIKIPEDIA !

2nd: As for disclosing or not disclosing my identity, that is my personal choice. I had not created my blog to generate publicity anyway. I just came across it and felt like expressing my opinion.

3rd: This was just one example. If you probe deeper, there is much uncertainty about the extent to which anthropogenic activities effect climate change. The debate is in the ratio. IPCC says 90% , and many prominent Indian scientists are still uncertain abbout the ratio and feel that more research is needed to determine whether climate change is due to natural or anthropogenic causes. It is very subtle, on the surface it may surprise you , but if you really research you will find many evidences of this uncertainty worldwide.That includes Krishna Kumar.. who says again , as you quote:
"HUMAN activities since the beginning of the industrial revolution have led to unprecedented changes in the chemical composition of the earth’s atmosphere. (Agreed) We now have credible evidence to show that such changes have the potential to influence earth’s climate, though it is difficult to [...]"...did ou read Difficult to ..did you read after that !! No scientist ,who is actually working in the field would say definite anthropogenic or 100% anthropogenic my friend. That is something Dr. prodipto ghosh says :
(I hope you know who Dr. Prodipto Ghosh is)
“Further, natural climate variability was commonly mistaken for anthropogenic climate change.”

source: http://www.sustainabledevelopment.in/events/press_release.htm

I can cite 100s of other sources, But if a persn is determined not to be convinced and keeps want to be coming back to tomatoes for some weird reason (:P) , .....
...tHts perfectly fine with me too ! You have a right to ur opinion

See reason my friend, probe deeper, you will find hundreds of Russian scientists who believe in the natural (cyclic) theory. They believe earth goes through natural cycles of warming and cooling.

May not be necessarily correct. But why take chances with our planet? Hence mitigation.

I do not necessarily believe any point of view ; But I belive both should be heard.

As for the HT article, if a research institution comes up with a finding, and a newspaper reports it, why the brouhaha?

They have a right to be heard, and it is not misrepresentation is what I maintain, and i think so do all free thinking people.

I doubt if even Dr. Pachauri would have so much objection to a newspaper doing its job !

ok..Adieu :)

18 April 2008 at 12:09:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

I kind of suspected you'd criticise Wikipedia which is why I cited list of all organisations and programs concurring with IPCC's conclusions (which you conveniently ignored). Wikipedia only acts as an aggregator of the existing scientific opinion. You're welcome to make edits to that page if you believe the list is incomplete and see how long the edit last. No offense, but it seems you have a fairly low understanding of how Wikipedia works.

As to my being a lay-person in climate science, your assessment is correct but I wish all lay people in the world had as much "lay understanding" of climate change and energy issues as I do. =)

I have no problem with anonymous commentors as long as they are civil and can carry a debate without getting into personal attacks. I should commend you for civility. Thank you for that. The reason I asked you to reveal your identity is because you cited your supposed background in climate science to support your case.

IPCC actually wanted to say 99.9% but the Chinese didn't let them. This again underlines the inherent structure of IPCC - their pronouncements will always be conservative because for every scientist in their panel, there is a government representative rigorously questioning every sentence written, every evidence cited.

It's no surprise therefore that every new study that has come out post IPCC fourth assessment has shown their models are in fact quite conservative. New research shows IPCC's worst case scenarios to be coming true.

I'd like to know who are these "prominent Indian scientists who are still uncertain" about the ratio post IPCC 4th assessment and whether this uncertainty that you claim is expressed in private circles or have they published this research in peer reviewed journals. Since you do not wish to comment again, please feel free to email me such sources. You will find my email in the left bar.

Instead of nitpicking the percentage, perhaps these scientists should attend more international conferences. I'd like them to meet Dr. James Hansen, NASA's top climate scientist, who a few days ago issued yet another call to fight climate change - this time with a plan. They should also meet the 35 NOAA scientists who are flying through the Arctic as I write, to understand why the sea ice is melting at a rate so much faster than predicted. They won't have a lot of space to cover as "only five large ice shelves remain in Arctic Canada, covering less than a
tenth of the area than they did a century ago" according to Trent University research released two days ago.

And yes, I've come across Dr. Prodipto Ghosh and his likes in the govt in the past. I'm not determined not to be convinced, I think that's the case with you.

Despite your claimed background, you've essentially failed to come up with any credible source to back your story that goes against the face of current scientific opinion on climate change.

Why do you continue to believe that the subziwala has a right to be heard in a financial paper in order to sell more tomatoes without the paper revealing he's a sabziwala? These are not research institutions - they are cronies of big oil. I thought I had established that in my post quite convincingly. Please feel free to read it again.

18 April 2008 at 15:18:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

Those who debate the scientific uncertainty regarding effect of anthropogenic activities on climate change, I'd like to ask them whether they have considered the ethical and moral implications of this question?

In a passionate call to scientists and policymakers, Donald Brown at IPCC asks:

"What are the ethical and moral dimensions of scientific uncertainly? Why is no one articulating the scientific uncertainty as a moral issue? Clearly, all across the world if you do dangerous behavior, it is criminal to do very dangerous behavior and you can't use as a defense that you didn't know for sure it was going to happen. It is criminal to do very dangerous behavior. Once you have enough evidence. Once science says there's a rational risk, it is a moral issue."

Don Brown's complete talk from which the above snippet is taken is available on this site as video and transcript.

18 April 2008 at 15:48:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Anonymous Alcyon:

Great stuff here! So the climate change deniers are setting up shop in India now? Wow! This is one breed that refuses to die, even after all the work done by thousands of scientists the world over! Science being what it is, there is always bound to be areas of uncertainty. NO true scientist worth his salt would make a final pronouncement when he is still working on getting the facts right and a greater understanding. That doesn't mean that the knowledge that has been gleaned to date should not be shared, nor that the reasonable conclusions and predictions and warnings should be kept wrapped up until all issues are sorted out. Exploiting this cautious approach of the true scientists, there are all kinds of pseudo scientists (for hire) that are ready to make authoritative statements and claims.
Just at a time when the public denials are dying down in America, they are now showing up in India? I must write about this in my own blog!
For those who are genuinely trying to make sense of this situation in the face of uncertainty, there is a great video series on youtube, put together by a science teacher in Oregon - check it out:
http://highintel.com/content/how-it-all-ends

27 April 2008 at 13:21:00 GMT+5:30 link  

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