An Australian scientist, who co-authoured the controversial climate change report, on Monday tried to defend the errors found in it, saying the discovery of the mistakes does not undermine the case of global warming.
According to Andy Pitman, co-director of University of NSW climate change research centre and key author of the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 reports, said: “As far as I understand it, there are two paragraphs that have been questioned in a 1600-page document.”
“We ought to be talking about the other 1599 pages that nobody has found any problems with,” he told ABC.
The prediction that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 has now been shown to be unfounded but Mr. Pitman said while the date may be wrong the outcome will be the same.
“It doesn’t say that the Himalayan glaciers are not vulnerable to climate change or are not melting or are not melting at an accelerated rate. It is the date of 2035 that is in error,” he said.
What is more worrying to Mr. Pitman is the revelation that IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri may have benefited from the errors by receiving funding for his research institute. “I have to admit that it looks extremely bad,” he said. “But looking bad and actually undermining the broad conclusions that are in the IPCC report are two very different things.”
This is yet another blow for climate scientists, still reeling from the “climategate” email scandal, and Mr. Pitman said it will give climate change sceptics ammunition to continue their attacks. “It’s clear that increased CO2 and other greenhouse gases are causing climate change but it certainly won’t stop sceptics using the information for their own purposes,” he said.
Mr. Pitman said he believed concerted efforts by sceptics to attack and misinform the community are working, likening them to the efforts of tobacco lobbyists who deny the health effects of smoking. “My personal view is that climate scientists are losing the fight with the sceptics,” he said. “They’re [the sceptics] doing a good job. I think they’re doing a superb job of misinforming and miscommunicating (to) the general public, the state and the federal governments. Most of the climate sceptics, particularly those that are wandering around publicly at the moment, don’t base their arguments on science.”