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India Ditches UN Climate Change Group 403

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the shoddy-work-breeds-contempt dept.
Several readers have told us that the Indian Government is moving to establish its own group to address the science of climate change since it "cannot rely" on the official United Nations panel. "The move is a severe blow to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) following the revelation parts of its 3000 page 2007 report on climate science was not subjected to peer review. A primary claim of the report was the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035, but the claim was not repeated in any peer-reviewed studies and rebuffed by scientists. India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh announced that the Indian government will established a separate National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology to monitor climate change in the region. 'There is a fine line between climate science and climate evangelism,' Ramesh said. 'I am for climate science.'"
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India Ditches UN Climate Change Group

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  • by ground.zero.612 (1563557) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:55PM (#31040036)
    I wish we had more people like that in government in the US.
    • I wish we had more people like that in government in the US.

      I think we have plenty of whores willing to ignore scientific advice and general interest to cater to powerful economic interests in the US government.

      In fact, we have a name for them: politicians.

  • India can not keep developing the way it has, and reduce impact on the Climate.
    How about the can complain when the water most people beth.sime and drink isn't dangerous.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is good news. I hope more countries follow their approach.

    In general, the UN is nothing but a scam. It has no accountability, and due to how it panders to politicians and their whims, it should have absolutely no involvement in science.

    Frankly, people are fed up with these supranational organizations that do nothing but cause problems. In this case, you have the UN hyping what is perhaps the biggest scientific fraud of all time. Then you have other organizations, like the WHO, hyping false "pandemics"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DavidR1991 (1047748)

      The WHO hyped up a potential pandemic to stop it becoming a pandemic. If you're informed about something (i.e. a disease) you can deal with it, inform others, get help etc. If you're in the dark, have zero information and have no idea what's afoot, the chances are you'll ignore any problems, unintentionally assist the spread of the disease and... bang. You have a catalyst. Keeping it hyped kept people vigilant

      • Other than a few posters in a few public restrooms, I don't know anyone that took any additional precautions during the swine flu scare. It was something that a small % of the population panicked about and bought masks, and everyone else went along just washing their hands like they usually do.
      • by Toonol (1057698)
        The WHO hyped up a potential pandemic to stop it becoming a pandemic.

        Much like politicians hype up the threat from Child Pornography and Terrorism. (I think slashdotters are roundly condemning that fearmongering in another thread right now.) Why does all our hard-learned cynicism go out the window when climate change is mentioned?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        David Caruso: I'll believe that this man was killed by swine flu... *puts on sunglasses* ...when pigs fly...
        The WHO: YEEEAAAAAAAAHH!!
    • by russotto (537200) on Friday February 05, 2010 @07:48PM (#31041242) Journal

      Then you have other organizations, like the WHO, hyping false "pandemics" again and again.

      If you mean swine flu, it DID become a pandemic. It was a lot less virulent than originally thought, but it's pandemic because of its spread. If you're going to bash WHO, at least do it for the right reasons.

    • by Xest (935314) on Friday February 05, 2010 @10:35PM (#31042550)

      "In general, the UN is nothing but a scam. It has no accountability"

      Er, you mean apart from to every country in the world, bar the only 2 that aren't?

      "and due to how it panders to politicians and their whims"

      Well yeah, that's generally the idea- an organisation that allows politicians from every country world wide to work together and find solutions that suit everyone, rather than people just going off on conflicting unilateral tangents. Who do you think the UN is supposed to pander to? some grand dictator? or the people? Oh wait, the people are represented by politicians... If your concern is that politicians in your country don't serve the people, then focus on that, because that's a national problem for your country, if your nations population aren't happy with their leadership then they must seek to replace it.

      "Frankly, people are fed up with these supranational organizations that do nothing but cause problems."

      Yeah, the fucking bastards, damn the International Civil Aviation Organization for ensuring aircraft can communicate in the countries they travel between and don't collide, curse the International Maritime Organization for allowing the same benefits to ships and assisting navigation at sea, screw the Universal Postal Union for ensuring that post can be sent between countries and reach it's destination okay and fuck the International Telecommunication Union for assigning things like country codes so that people in different countries don't have different numbers making international phone systems incompatible.

      Wait what's that? You didn't realise it does these things, or simply chose to conveniently ignore them?

      I'm first to criticise some UN departments, particularly the likes of the WHO, but tarring the whole of the UN with the same old brush is shows a stunning display of ignorance. The UN has a massive remit, and you don't hear about large parts of it precisely because it does do those things that don't make it into the news so damn well- it runs important global systems and standards transparently enough that people don't even notice it's doing the job just fine. The UN provides a massive benefit to the world despite it's flaws.

      I sincerely believe the UN needs major overhauls in some areas- WIPO, WTO, WHO certainly (the head of the WHO, Chan, needs to be sacked ASAP for her incompetence over swine flu), but the idea of getting rid of the UN as a whole including the above departments and the likes of UNESCO is really dumb. Sure you could say disband the UN and continue to run these organisations separately, but that's really just wasteful- why have countries require separate signups to the likes of the postal, aviation, telecomms, maritime and so forth when they need to be part of them all anyway and they work just fine under the UN?

      Clearly the UN isn't a scam and is a fundamental organisation for an increasingly connected world, the real solution is to simply fix the UN, rather than shoot it down altogether. Hold up departments that work as examples of how it should be done, and reform those that don't work, sacking he people responsible for such failings.

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by emudoug42 (977380) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:01PM (#31040112)
    Yeah, well I'm gonna make my own climate change group! With blackjack! And hookers! Actually, forget the climate change group...
    • by Rei (128717)

      Reminds me of this: [youtube.com]

      Man: Of course, since the Green House Gases are still building up, it takes more & more ice each time. Thus solving the problem once and for all.
      Suzy: But...
      Man: ONCE AND FOR ALL!

      The sad thing is that some people with platform are basically proposing this approach [realclimate.org].

  • Inconclusiveness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swanzilla (1458281) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:02PM (#31040126) Homepage

    'There is a fine line between climate science and climate evangelism,' Ramesh said. 'I am for climate science.'

    That was nicely worded. The line is not very fine in many cases, however. The biggest difference between a climate evangelist (read: Al Gore) and a scientist is the presence of uncertainty in reporting the state of the climate. It is hard to be preachy when data remains inconclusive.

    • by raddan (519638) *
      I'm all for there being more scientists paid to seriously look at the problem. The thing that we have to be wary about is India just saying that they're going to do this, and really, just generating a bunch of contrarian bunk so that they can continue to operate as-is, regardless of what the real data says. Given that the announcement is coming from a politician, I am skeptical. But another, independent climate group? I can only see that as a good thing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ron Bennett (14590)

      Speaking of "climate evangelist", there are many on Slashdot.

      Questioning global warming / climate change is a near sure way to get modded down.

      Many don't want to believe that the environment is far bigger than us - not to say humans don't influence it, because we do, but much of the effect is from outside forces outside of human control, in particular, the Sun.

      How else does one explain global warming / cooling periods in the past long before modern civilization?

      Or more immediate, how come, according to some

      • Wow, that was fast - already modded down.

        Well that basically reiterates my point.

        Ron

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

        How else does one explain global warming / cooling periods in the past long before modern civilization?

        Are you seriously trying to use the "climates change through the natural course of events therefor man's activities can not change the climate" argument?

        Or more immediate, how come, according to some reports, Mars may getting warmer!

        Wow. Mars is getting warmer and there are no men on Mars. Ergo, the full extent of global warming on Earth has nothing to do with man.

        Apparently you really are that naive. And then you whine about getting modded down - have you ever considered that you aren't being modded down for heresy but rather just for failing logic 101?

      • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday February 05, 2010 @07:57PM (#31041314)

        "How could that be ... unless it's likely the Sun doing it - and if so, that would likely explain much of the warming* here on Earth."

        How come the current year is tied for the warmest on records while we're in a deep solar minimum?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Questioning global warming / climate change is a near sure way to get modded down.

        He says, in a comment modded to +5.

        Taking the pose of the Bold Rebel Speaking Truth To Power is in fact a sure way to get modded up, on just about any topic. Of course it doesn't matter if it has any relation to reality. Just start your comment out with "I'll get modded down for this, but ..." or "This may not be politically correct of me, but ..." and a bunch of Rugged Individualists Exactly Like You will be there to reward

    • by geekoid (135745)

      But the paper he based this on isn't per reviewed.

      The data isn't inconclusive.

    • by quanticle (843097) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:35PM (#31040522) Homepage

      It certainty of the data depends on the question you're trying to answer. Is the earth warming? Absolutely. We have numerous bits of evidence from ice cores, tree rings, and soil samples that confirm that the earth's climate is warmer now than it was before. Is mankind causing this warming? There is more uncertainty here, but signs are increasingly pointing towards the affirmative.

      The real question is, "Does the cost of adaptation outweigh the cost of going carbon free?" Humanity is the most adaptable species on the planet. It may very well be the case that the cost of adapting to climate change outweighs the cost of stopping climate change.

      Besides, even if prevention is conclusively proven to be more cost efficient, I'm not sure that we have a choice anymore. Most climate scientists say that the Earth is headed for a 4 C rise in temperature, regardless of what humans do at this point. To put that into context, 4 C was the worst case scenario being considered during the 1990s. So, even while the scientists argue about what's causing global warming, I think its worthwhile that we as a nation figure out how to deal with global warming. There will be significant changes in rainfall and temperature patterns. If we do some advance planning now (like not subsidizing building in low lying areas, or encouraging agriculture in places that are going to dry out), we can make the future significantly more comfortable, regardless of whether global warming is our fault or not.

      • Worst case (Score:3, Insightful)

        US acquires Canada, lets Mexico manage the 'former' US states of the southwest

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mpe (36238)
        It certainty of the data depends on the question you're trying to answer. Is the earth warming? Absolutely. We have numerous bits of evidence from ice cores, tree rings, and soil samples that confirm that the earth's climate is warmer now than it was before.

        Depending which "before" you choose... A different choice and you can state that "The Earth's climate is cooler now than it was before."

        Most climate scientists say that the Earth is headed for a 4 C rise in temperature, regardless of what humans do a
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      But you do a serious disservice to your cause when you quote opinions from a single, unreliable, non-peer reviews source, or when you throw out original source data and only publish your "massaged" results. In fact, it makes it look like you have started out with a preconceived notion of what the results should be, then cherry-picked the data to match your predicted results. Although the scientific method does involve making a hypothesis and then testing it, it requires the tests be fair (and reproducible).
    • No, its very easy to be preachy when the data remains inconclusive. You just change the data.
      See Al Gore.
  • How is this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zero_out (1705074) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:05PM (#31040162)
    I'm sure that most countries, at least most relatively developed ones (and I consider India as such), already have their own group investigating climate change. Besides, I don't see any mention from the article that India is actually "ditching" the UN group. It's just establishing its own group, rather than relying 100% on the UN group to base their national policies and laws upon.
  • Inaccurate (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gudeldar (705128) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:07PM (#31040198)

    It doesn't appear as though India is pulling out of the IPCC at all. They are just sending a representative (or "minder" depending on how you look at it).

    http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/82542/India/India's+IPCC+'tracker'+soon.html [intoday.in]
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/PM-expresses-confidence-in-IPCCs-work-lauds-Pachauris-leadership/articleshow/5540596.cms [indiatimes.com]

  • 1) Publishing is usually the beginning of peer review. SO finding a discrepency isn't uncommon
    2) The person who made that statement was an Indian Scientist. SO the irony of thise story is rich.
    3) is doesn't invalidate the peer reviewed papers, or the overall conclusion.

    Here is a good write up:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527434.300-debate-heats-up-over-ipcc-melting-glaciers-claim.html [newscientist.com]

    Be sure to follow the read more link.

    Yes, yes, most people want some sort of black and white answer. There isn't one, and if you are truly interested you will
    read about this is reputable journal. That way you have a chance to see all the facts that lead up to this.

  • > ...fine line between climate science and climate evangelism...

    More of an enormous gulf, IMHO.

  • There's a fat, bold, impossible to miss, line between climate science and climate evangelism; the IPCC clambered over it a long time ago.
    • by Zordak (123132)

      I'm not aware that the IPCC was ever on the other side of it. I don't think I've ever heard any climatologists saying "There may be something to investigate here." From the start, it's been "OH NOES! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE! WE NEED MORE SOCIALISM NOW!!! BECAUSE WE HAVE COMPUTER MODELS! AND COMPUTER MODELS ARE INFALLIBLE! LIKE THE POPE!"

      Al Gore and the UN have never been on the side of science. They have an axe to grind.

    • To give them the benefit of the doubt, it's a much finer line when you don't know the difference between a scientist and a fortune teller.
  • by adosch (1397357) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:31PM (#31040498)

    A primary claim of the report was the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035, but the claim was not repeated in any peer-reviewed studies and rebuffed by scientists.

    Who would blame India for not having faith and carrying out their out climate study with an in-house panel? Did the IPCC not botch the initial rreport [sistertoldjah.com] because someone did the School of Office Space decimal point shift in the math dealing with the melting factor of the Himalayan glaciers? I guess some counties feel that if they want something done right, they'll do it themselves. Cant' fault India for that.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:41PM (#31040582) Journal

    Take Russia. It also regularly disputes AGW claims.

    At the same time, it coincidentally happens to be a major oil exporter, and world largest natural gas exporter. Its economy to a large extent depends on worldwide demand for those resources - oil alone accounts for 40% of all exports.

    Internally, most (~65%) power is generated by coal and gas plants. The USSR had a long-term program for replacing those with hydro and nuclear, for resource conservation and environmental reasons, but that only got 1/3 way through - and Russia cannot afford to proceed with that anymore, and is actually struggling [wikipedia.org] to maintain the Soviet legacy.

    Oh yes, also, if AGW models are actually correct, then Russia will benefit in many ways. One is that warming up Siberia will create large new swaths of habitable lands. Another is that same changes, as well as melting of ice in the Arctic, will provide for much easier access to extremely rich natural resource deposits which are currently very hard (and in many cases economically unfeasible) to develop.

    That's quite enough dots to connect them.

    Now, I wrote about Russia, because I actually wrote about it - but are China and India any different? At the very least, they all still heavily rely on fossil fuels to power their industrialization, and cannot afford to stop there no matter the consequences. And - surprise! - China historically had been dismissive of AGW. I don't know much about past India stance on this, but it would seem that them joining the club would be expected, purely for political reasons.

    • by hkmwbz (531650)

      Take Russia. It also regularly disputes AGW claims.

      Really? Got a couple of recent examples?

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:56PM (#31040744) Journal
    The reason is that we NEED others to check the work. Look, I have little doubt that this is occurring. BUT, this really needs to be checked.
  • by Lost Race (681080) on Friday February 05, 2010 @07:02PM (#31040796)

    "Global warming" is not the problem. "Climate change" or whatever they're calling it this week is not the problem. Deglaciation is not the problem.

    The problem is the billions of tons of ancient fossil carbon we're removing from the ground and adding to the atmosphere. All the climate / ocean / ecology effects are symptoms of that problem. That problem doesn't need "more study" or evangelism or scientific consensus, it's a simple obvious fact that anybody with high school education (even a politician or a capitalist) can understand. It's been obvious for decades, since long before "global warming" started getting any traction in public discourse.

    The possible effects of the problem range from trivial and insignificant, to serious hardships of various sorts (well publicized by Gore et al), to utter catastrophe. The chances of serious hardship are high enough that we can't afford to dick around with study after study after study of complex chaotic systems trying build a model that can predict exactly, precisely, what is absolutely guaranteed to happen over the next 100 years. The chances of utter catastrophe, while still really unknown and probably very small, are still enough that we should ask ourselves why the fuck we're playing russian roulette with the whole world, when all we have to do is Stop. Putting. So. Much. Carbon. Into. The. Atmosphere.

    I guess this attitude makes me an "evangelist" since I'm not advocating that we go full bore status quo until we're absolutely, positively, 100% certain with no doubt whatsoever what precise effects all this new CO2 will have in the long term. The problem is simple, the solution is obvious, the consequences are uncertain but why fuck around when the stakes are so high? How exactly are we benefiting by continuing to burn more and more and more petroleum and coal every year, mindlessly jerking around the delicately balanced ecosystem that keeps us alive?

    • by Lost Race (681080)

      Minor edit: "we can't afford to wait while we dick around with study after study"

      I'm not suggesting that we abandon climatology, just that we don't need to wait for that science to start producing incontrovertible results before we start taking action. Climatology tells us what the consequences of large scale sustained CO2 release might be; the fact of rising CO2 level in the atmosphere is well-established and easily understood.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The problem isn't simple at all, since we don't even know that there IS a problem here. You're suggesting cutting off a patients arm because he has an odd rash on his little finger; no idea what it is, what it's going to do, or whether it'll do anything, but since it *might* kill him, let's lop off the arm.

      Yes, we're removing large amounts of fossil carbon and releasing it into the atmosphere, but how is that necessarily a problem? Does this CO2 have an effect on climate? Well, we just don't know. The group
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Except that the fossil fuels we are digging up and burning were ALL once part of the atmosphere. Fossil fuels are made up of dead plants, algae, critters, and other sorts of swamp muck after it's been stewing for a sufficient timeframe. These chemicals are in oil because they were once absorbed by plant life, from the atmosphere. The Earth, as an ecosystem, thrives on the carbon we're dumping into the air. The more carbon, the more plantlife thrives. It's becoming healthier in that respect. The carbon
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by proslack (797189)
        It isn't that simple. Plants don't just convert co2 into o2 through photosynthesis, they also respire, which releases co2. Besides, the fluxes involved will not significantly be affected by "thriving plantlife" (sic), especially seeing that we (humans) are currently cutting down biota faster than it grows (deforestation). Temperature is a moot point anyway; the real problem, to me, is ocean acidification i.e. the largest scale titration of the oceans. Sea water pH is decreasing, and will continue to decreas
  • is trying to get more money from the west - after it failed in Copenhagen.

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