HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Misquoted, says man behind glacier goof up

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 20, 2010
First Published: 00:48 IST(20/1/2010) | Last Updated: 00:56 IST(20/1/2010)

The man blamed so far for the false alarm about the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 surfaced on Tuesday to say he never made such an exact assertion and, worse, he had been misquoted.


“On the basis of our research in 1999 I must have said that glaciers in the Central and Eastern Himalayas will lose mass during the next 40/ 50 years at their present rate of decline,” Hasnain told Hindustan Times.

But a date was put to this “approximation”, Hasnain said, by a journalist, Fred Pearce, who quoted him in an article in New Scientist, a respected London-based magazine.

Was Hasnain aware that he had been misquoted? If yes, did he seek a clarification?

Yes, he was aware of the misreporting. And no, he didn’t seek a clarification. “It was not a scientific journal, just a news report. Therefore, I did not ask for a clarification.”

The date of 2035 mentioned in the New Scientist was picked up by R.K. Pachauri-led Intergo-vernmental Panel on Climate Change to issue an alarm that set off international concern.

Global warming was killing the Himalayan glaciers, it was stated.

They were all wrong.

Hasnain said he was misquoted.

New Scientist blamed Hasnain. And IPCC, which went on to win a Nobel Prize with former US vice-president Al Gore, blamed New Scientist.

Hasnain says he was using a commonly used scientific tool of “approximation” — projections based on certain indicators — and that he was completely misread.

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