catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Will Garnaut and Rudd retract?

The Rudd government’s White Paper into the CPRS at page 2-3 contains this statement now know to be false.

Melting of the Himalayan glaciers. These glaciers feed several of the most important rivers in Asia, which underpin the livelihoods of some of the most populous nations. Decreased freshwater availability could affect more than a billion people in Asia by 2050.

While the government has a disclaimer on the paper, nonetheless the greatest moral issue of our time can’t be based on a lie.

It seems the Garnaut Report also swallowed the Himalayan glacier story. At page 99

After the polar regions, the Himalayas are home to the largest glacial areas. Together, the Himalayan glaciers feed seven of the most important rivers in Asia—the Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra, Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and Huang. These glaciers are receding faster than any other glaciers around the world, and some estimates project that they may disappear altogether by 2035 (WWF Nepal Program 2005).
Rivers fed from glaciers are projected to experience increased streamflows over the next few decades as a result of glacial melt, followed by a subsequent decline and greater instability of inflows as glaciers begin to disappear altogether, leaving only seasonal precipitation to feed rivers (WWF Nepal Program 2005). Glacial retreat can also result in catastrophic discharges of water from meltwater
lakes, known as glacial lake outburst floods, which can cause considerable destruction and flooding downstream.

But wait, there’s more (at page 147)

The melting of the Himalayan and Tibetan plateau glaciers illustrates the complex nexus of climate change, economic security and geopolitics. Well over a billion people are dependent on the flow of the area’s rivers for much of their food and water needs, as well as transportation and energy from hydroelectricity. Initially, flows may increase, as glacial runoff accelerates, causing extensive flooding. Within a few decades, however, water levels are expected to decline, jeopardising food production and causing widespread water and power shortages.

Sounds terrible. Thankfully we now know that isn’t true. Actually we know a bit more; Walter Russell Mead uses the F-word.

One of the most alarming predictions of the IPCC, the scientific panel that is considered the world’s most authoritative source of information on global warming, turns out to be a total fraud

He says heads should roll. Yes, I think so.
(HT: Noodle)

Written by Sinclair Davidson

January 19, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

53 Responses

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  1. It seems that a lot of questionable stuff has just been gathered together in order to bolster the argument, with very little fact checking and backup. Quoting activist groups as a source should have been a red flag in the first place. It is not as though they are disinterested.

    I fully expect the next outcry will be over the epidemiology of malaria and climate change.

    Garnaut’s tome is full of such fluff. The famous kangaroo farming proposal was based on a single paper (In some sort of environmental papers- so no peer review) that just used a spreadsheet substitution of kangaroos for cattle to reduce emissions by the required amount. Viability of the proposal was not a consideration.


    January 19, 2010 at 11:27 pm

  2. Does anyone know how much Garnaut received for his study? Any estimates?


    January 19, 2010 at 11:33 pm

  3. FFS, the plan for Garnaut’s own house was based on a lie.


    January 19, 2010 at 11:42 pm

  4. Sinclair: doesn’t logic suggest that the statement in the White Paper, which talks about glacier melt decreasing water supply by 2050 must be based on something other than the wrong claim in the IPCC report that Himalayan glaciers will all melt by 2035?

    Some Googling turns up a Nature article from 2005, for example, that states (in discussing the Himalayan region, which is called HKH below):

    “The few analytical studies that exist for the region suggest both a regression of the maximum spring stream-flow period in the annual cycle by about 30 days (ref. 47) and an increase in glacier melt runoff
    by 33–38% (ref. 48). These numbers seem consistent with what is being observed and bear striking similarities to the stream-flow results from the western USA. The huge inconsistency, however,
    occurs in the impacts on local water supplies. In the western USA, model-predicted impacts are already being seen in the hydrological cycle. The models suggest that the impacts will appear as a long-term
    trend in snow amount and runoff. But in the HKH region, there may (for the next several decades) appear to be normal, even increased, amounts of available melt water to satisfy dry season needs. The
    shortage, when it comes, will likely arrive much more abruptly in time; with water systems going from plenty to want in perhaps a few decades or less.”

    This article is clearly not referring to the “rogue” statement by the one Indian glaciologist that led to the error in the IPCC report, yet it says that water supply may become a sudden problem in area fed by Himalayan glaciers “within several decades”. Seems to me that’s in the ballpark of water supply problems may start in 2050.

    I don’t have time to continue my googling just now, but I would say that it’s definitely not clear that the the White Paper quote is “false” and is “based on a lie” just because of the error about 2035 in the IPCC report, as embarrassing as that is admittedly is.

    steve from brisbane

    January 20, 2010 at 1:48 am

  5. Steve:

    Try and focus on the point of the thread for a change instead of trying to tell us what you know by googling the desired result.

    The story on the glaciers is more than just important. It’s really fucking important for a number of reasons. We don’t really know now what is honest and what isn’t in the IPPC report now. We don’t know what’s been cooked up.

    This has extremely important bearings on how we arrange our affairs and the type of policies we should initiate to deal with AGW.

    No amount of fucking googling by you is going to change the fact that there will be a retraction on what was a important element in people’s perceptions about climate change and the ramifications- melting glaciers in a hurry.

    This is also not to leave aside the fact that the Chairman of the IPCC is increasingly being exposed as a freaking crook.

    This is serious shit, which is why I keep saying the entire senior ranks of this science needs to be cleared and an audit process started particularly on reports that are being used to influence economic matters.

    This is not a signal for you to go skulking around google to find another Indian scientist that thinks the glaciers will melt next week.

    Do you understand the significance of this stuff?


    January 20, 2010 at 1:59 am

  6. Glaciergate proves definitively that the sole purpose of the IPCC process was to find and present “evidence” of catastrophic warming. In other words, it wasn’t science. It was propaganda.


    January 20, 2010 at 2:13 am

  7. Steve – the White Paper references the IPCC for that claim.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 20, 2010 at 7:46 am

  8. Did John Howard ever come out as say “I’ve mislead everyone over WMDs?” Not as far as I recall and I think a retraction on this is about as likely. Both were reliant on what was regarded as the best information at the time, even if badly wrong in both cases.

    Steve Edney

    January 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

  9. Steve: Howard should have apologised and in my view should have resigned. Taking your country to war on grounds that turn out to be false, even if you believed those grounds are sound, is about as serious a mistake as a head of government can make.

    For the record Rudd and Garnaut should acknowledge the mistake. Not resignable though.

    I mentioned earlier that JQ has pointed out that peer review just means checking that the footnotes do refer to what they are supposed to refer to. So, can we stop talking about peer review as if it was an endorsement of truth?

    Ken Nielsen

    January 20, 2010 at 9:41 am

  10. My apologies, my paraphrase of JQ was not entirely accurate. This is what he wrote
    “The problem is unlikely to be picked up unless someone looks at the claim, thinks it is wrong,and checks back through the chain of citations. This isn’t part of the typical peer review process – if you check the intiial citation, and it seems to check out, you rarely follow much further.”

    If true, it does mean that peer review means little.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

  11. Steve, why are you running interference for Garnaut? If I were you I’d tip-toeing out of the room very quietly.


    January 20, 2010 at 9:49 am

  12. we know inland glaciers are melting fast. other studies have shown this is happening in the Himalayas but at this stage we cannot be too definite on that.

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 20, 2010 at 9:55 am

  13. C’mon Homer, at least admit the 2035 claim was nonsense and its publication by IPCC a serious breach of quality control.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 20, 2010 at 9:57 am

  14. I meant Steve of B, BTW. The only time I’ve ever shortened his name and you have to go and comment as I’m writing, Steve, have you no shame?


    January 20, 2010 at 10:03 am

  15. Well BBB,
    I suppose if weather isn’t climate, you can say glaciers aren’t climate too. Pretty soon nothing will be climate.

    We only know what is reported and what we have read. You need to read more widely, including reports noting the advance of glaciers.


    January 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

  16. “we know inland glaciers are melting fast.”

    Not for the Himalayas, no we don’t.

    “other studies have shown this is happening in the Himalayas but at this stage we cannot be too definite on that”

    Name one.

    Name one that doesn’t reference Hasnain’s speculation.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 20, 2010 at 10:13 am

  17. I went looking for some more references, and (without having time to do too many links now) found a reference to water supply problems in the IPCC Chapter 10 citing Stern’s 2007 Report, which in turn seemed to be citing the Nature report I mentioned above.

    The point is, one mistake in Chapter 10 does not invalidate the fact that science papers have claimed that the water supply to India and other countries with river flows from Himalayan sources will be adversely affected by glacier melt, and this could affect a hell of a lot of people.

    It also makes common sense, as I have said on a previous thread, that you would not have to wait til the last bit of Himalayan glacier ice had melted for the effects to start.

    In fact, the only mistake those Garnaut extracts make is to cite the 2035 figure; the other stuff he says is in the Nature article I extracted above.

    It is a gigantic over-reaction to say the Garnaut comments (and the White Paper) are all completely wrong because of the 2035 error.

    steve from brisbane

    January 20, 2010 at 10:42 am

  18. “It is a gigantic over-reaction to say the Garnaut comments (and the White Paper) are all completely wrong because of the 2035 error.”

    I don’t believe anyone here is saying that. Most agree that it is a blow to IPCC’s credibility and we vary on how serious that blow is.
    And Garnaut was a political paper, not a scientific one as IPCC claims to be. I doubt that anyone relies on Garnaut for the science. The economists can say how good his economics were.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 20, 2010 at 10:49 am

  19. Steve – they didn’t reference any of those things. Unlike you they didn’t bother google at all. Can you imagine, they didn’t even bother to google? The White Paper references the IPCC, Garnaut references WWF.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 20, 2010 at 10:50 am

  20. You’re right Steve. On e mistake doesn’t invalidate. However judging form the crooked Chairman’s behavior after it was learned that one part was wrong and his consequent reaction in defending it, the IPCC report has basically be rendered unreliable.

    2500 eminent scientists missed it? What else have they missed.


    The only thing that is melting fast is your brain. Serious, the moment you declared that you were an AGW aficionado the fucking sky has fallen on it.


    January 20, 2010 at 10:50 am

  21. Garnaut references WWF.



    January 20, 2010 at 10:51 am

  22. Sinclair, I have admitted frequently that it is a very embarrassing mistake.

    But can’t you admit to exaggeration in your post? Despite what Ken says, I can’t read your post as other than saying that everything Garnaut and the White Paper says about the water supply problems with glacier melt is wrong, because of the 2035 mistake.

    steve from brisbane

    January 20, 2010 at 11:03 am

  23. Steve:

    The idiot based his economic report on parts of the IPCC that specifically alluding to the dangers of not acting “fast”… glacial melt. Like Stern he also deliberately applied a distorted discount rate to exaggerate things. Garnuat is part of the problem rather than the solution.

    Now you accusing Sinclair of exaggeration? Are you delusional?

    The thread was based on the exaggerations contained in the report and your accusing others of the same fault?


    January 20, 2010 at 11:11 am

  24. Did John Howard ever come out as say “I’ve mislead everyone over WMDs?”

    LOL. Warmenists are in trouble so they wheel out John Howard. He didn’t “mislead” everyone over WMDs. With Kevin Rudd and Kim Beazley and the world’s entire intelligence community, he believed Saddam had WMD.


    January 20, 2010 at 11:13 am

  25. I have admitted frequently that it is a very embarrassing mistake.

    So Kevin Rudd should resign for saying “the science is settled” – a proven lie.


    January 20, 2010 at 11:17 am

  26. 2500 eminent scientists missed it? What else have they missed.

    Its worse than that, JC, if you can believe it:

    A top scientist said Monday he had warned in 2006 that a prediction of catastrophic loss of Himalayan glaciers, published months later by the UN’s Nobel-winning climate panel, was badly wrong.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said in 2007 it was “very likely” that the glaciers, which supply water to more than a billion people across Asia, would vanish by 2035 if global warming trends continued.

    “This number is not just a little bit wrong, but far out of any order of magnitude,” said Georg Kaser, an expert in tropical glaciology at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

    “It is so wrong that it is not even worth discussing,” he told AFP in an interview.

    Quite, but when you have major newspapers touting what he regards as “so wrong that it is not even worth discussing”, you’d think a letter to the newspaper or a call to the appropriate journalist to correct what is so obviously wrong might be worthwhile wouldn’t you. And he ends the interview by saying:

    “If it had not been the focus of so much public opinion, we would have said ‘we will do better next time.’ It is clear now that Working Group II has to be restructured,” he said.

    You lazy sod.


    January 20, 2010 at 11:32 am

  27. Steve – what they have said is wrong. They quoted sources that are known to have been wrong. This was reported on the front page of the Australian on Monday, reported in the features section yesterday and then again today. It was reported in the UK Sunday Times and even the New Scientist (the original source of the whole kafuffle) is calling for an explanation. If you want to make an argument about ‘moral issues’ you have to get it right. We also discover that the head of the IPCC and the guy who originally fed the story to the New Scientist have been raising money on the basis of these false claims. If corporations behaved like this, people would go to jail.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 20, 2010 at 11:32 am

  28. The other thing I recall is the Chris Landsea, the world authority on Atlantic hurricane history was forced to resign from the IPCC because there were attempts to include alarmist predictions in the IPCC about Hurricanes that simply wasn’t true.

    Here’s his opening para from his resignation letter.

    Dear colleagues,

    After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw fromparticipating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panelon Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because Ihave come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having becomepoliticized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCCleadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns.

    The senior ranks of this area of science needs to be cleaned out.


    January 20, 2010 at 11:34 am

  29. Here’s what we now know:

    The glacier stuff is lies.
    The hurricane stuff is lies.
    The cyclone stuff is lies.
    The hockey stick is lies.
    The sea level stuff of Flannery/Williams is lies.
    The ‘Barrier Reef is dying’ stuff is lies.
    The polar bear extinction stuff is lies.
    Garnaut’s hail storms from hell stuff is lies.


    January 20, 2010 at 11:38 am

  30. “If it had not been the focus of so much public opinion, we would have said ‘we will do better next time.’ It is clear now that Working Group II has to be restructured,” he said.

    You lazy sod.

    “We will do better next time”? How about there won’t be next with you around, you fucker, because you’re fired.

    We just had a meeting where it was expected the world to commit to trillions of dollars in mitigation and this sack of shit is telling us they’ll do better next time.

    How fucked up are these people?

    I keep saying that the senior ranks of this science needs to be cleaned out asap.


    January 20, 2010 at 11:40 am

  31. entropy

    How easy would it be to farm kangaroos? I imagine the fencing costs would be exorbitant, and the aesthetics bleak.

    Peter Patton

    January 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm

  32. “How fucked up are these people?”

    says Dave Curry/S Brid/Pessimist/Ra/Joseph Clark/Joe Cambria and JC


    January 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

  33. Rogette:

    Loaded up on the venom overnight, rog?

    Do you really have anything to say about the thread or is just trolling all that’s left?


    January 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

  34. “Scientist” Tim Lambert finally gets around to spinning analysing Glaciergate. He says it’s all a “beat up” over “relatively obscure errors” (like the glaciers we said were melting fast and would flood the earth aren’t melting fast and won’t flood the earth), slams Ian Plimer.


    January 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm

  35. rog,

    What have you got against Joseph Clark?

    I’ve already told you he is a real person, and he isn’t JC.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm

  36. Lambert is blaming Plimer for the glacier fraud? LOl.

    Obscure errors? lol

    The only obscure error is seeing him wear normal sized clothing instead of shopping at kiddies KMart.


    January 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm

  37. “the sole purpose of the IPCC process was to find and present “evidence” of catastrophic warming”

    I guess there’s a grain truth in that, or at least that they didn’t try too hard to double-check dubious stuff that fit the conclusions of other evidence. This episode is a shameful mistake, an indictment of their peer-review process, and suggests a wide-ranging audit (as JC suggested) of other outlier hypotheses is necessary.

    “nonetheless the greatest moral issue of our time can’t be based on a lie.”

    It isn’t. This is the common fallacy beloved of ‘sceptics’ – one fact disproves the whole shebang.

    The prediction of Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035 is highly likely to be very wrong. I don’t see how you can call it a ‘lie’ – it’s not possible to lie about the future because it hasn’t happened yet.

    And as Steve has noted, there’s plenty of other “glacier stuff” that isn’t wrong (and/or unlikely to be wrong in the future) that gives us more than enough to worry about.


    January 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

  38. Warmenists are hiding behind the “mistake” figleaf – that seems to be the approved talking point defence. Very well. So they admit that the science isn’t “settled.”

    That was a lie.


    January 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

  39. Quiggin also says its a beat up, and JC, anyone who says different is delusional (Quiggin’s favourite word)
    Computer scientist Lambert clearly doesn’t have enough work to do – it’s just 1’s and 0’s after all.


    January 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm

  40. Why do I bother engaging you on this, CL, but to state what one would have thought is obvious over again: the true meaning of someone who says “climate science is settled” is “it is settled enough to take action” (both because science as a whole is never 100% “settled”, and the IPCC itself talks of probabilities in climate predictions.)

    It is ridiculously facile to argue that a mistake in one claim relating to the year in which a consequence of AGW may happen means that it was (or is) a lie to say that the science is settled enough to take action.

    You are a parody of logical and reasonable argument on this topic.

    steve from brisbane

    January 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

  41. the true meaning of someone who says “climate science is settled” is “it is settled enough to take action

    Steve of B, ‘The science’ is not ‘settled’, not in the slightest. The claim of catastrophic climate change is at best plausible; and granting its plausibility allows you to introduce and depend upon the precautionary principle as cause for action. If ‘the science was settled’ the precautionary principle would be moot.

    The credibility of the IPCC is diminishing by the day.


    January 20, 2010 at 2:48 pm

  42. I suppose that by “settled enough to take action” Steve of B is saying exactly that. It seems to me that the claims of catastrophic change are not sufficiently plausible to justify the AGW solutions being pushed.


    January 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm

  43. Pedro, you might be interested in the following:

    It says that if climate sensitivity is at the low-end of the IPCC model-based estimates, which are at the high-end of the observation-base estimates, then we can continue BAU for another 35 years in terms of CO2 emissions before we lock-in a 2 C increase in global average temperature.

    There is simple no cause for pretending we are on the threshold of an climatological abyss or that this is the great moral challenge of our time.


    January 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

  44. …the true meaning of someone who says “climate science is settled” is “it is settled enough to take action”…

    LOL. The warmenist slogans and talking points are being watered down faster than any glacier. The “science is settled” now means “settled enough.”


    January 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

  45. pedro – that is indeed the argument. and it’s a political issue, not a scientific one: what choices are politicians going to make in the light of the way they see the scientific advice?

    It seems to me quite clear now that no government will inflict the pain necessary to significantly reduce GHGs. You can say they should, you can say they must but they ain’t gonna do it.
    And certainly a government like Australia’s will not demand such a sacrifice on its own. No government would.
    We will see more and more posturing and tricks to pretend something is happening> politically, all a head of government needs to do is say “I did my best while I was in charge”.
    That is why I have pretty well lost interest in the subject.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm

  46. Methinks Steve of B would settle for anything as cause for action.

    Speaking of probability estimates and the IPCC, Lief Svalgaard asks the following:

    I would have expected the 90% IPCC ‘confidence’ bracket to be symmetric around the ‘Best Estimate’ and thus to include the ‘observation-based estimates’, including zero rise.

    To which he later adds:

    You never know with these graphs that are designed to bring across an opinion rather than a fact.

    Indeed. From the above link.


    January 20, 2010 at 3:17 pm

  47. db & pedro: I understand your positions, which are basically to disagree with the degree of probabilities the IPCC has assigned to temperature increases. DB, you in particular are capable of engaging on the science.

    The problem I have with CL is his oft-repeated claim that it all a giant fraud or hoax, and all scientists and advocates for action are telling lies. For a person who was (like me) very annoyed at the way the Left threw around the “lies and deception” allegation against nearly everything the Howard or Bush government ever did, it’s disappointing to see that he is now just a imitation of them, equally without substance.

    steve from brisbane

    January 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

  48. CL does this to goad people into madness; it generally works.


    January 20, 2010 at 3:22 pm

  49. Steve,

    Everyone is fallible but the IPCC ARs should not be riddled with mistakes. Even if you are accomodative of this, it is an even bigger stretch to use it as a parameter for policy.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm

  50. Mark, ever heard of the world glacier monitoring service.

    Check it out and See what is happening.

    yes inland glaciers are declining and they are in the Himalayas.

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 20, 2010 at 5:30 pm

  51. Butters,

    So what? Using Hasnain’s wildly inaccurate prediction is really bad research with potentially terrible consequences for living standards globally.

    Please, produce some credible evidence that glaciers are retreating not only retreating but retreating at alarmingly fast rates.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm

  52. Homer, there will be glaciers in the Himalayas when you’re children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children walk the earth so there’s no need to worry.


    January 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm

  53. Venom JC?

    I agree, maybe I should stop quoting you


    January 20, 2010 at 8:56 pm

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