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Panel linked warming, disasters without proof

india Updated: Jan 25, 2010 01:35 IST

Days after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted to goofing up on Himalayan glaci-ers, it said it was reviewing earli-er finding blaming global warming for increase in number of natural disasters such as floods and droughts.

In short: the panel could have got this wrong too.

“We are reassessing the evidence and will publish a report on natural disasters and extreme weather with the latest findings,” IPCC vice-chairperson Jean-Pascal van Ypersele told a London weekly Sunday Times.

In another report, the same paper said Pachauri’s company Tata Energy and Resources Institutes won grants based on “bogus claims” about disappearing Himalayan Glaciers.

The IPCC’s claim blaming global warming for natural disas-ters was based on an unpubli-shed report not subjected to scientific review, said the paper. And the authors withdrew the report saying the evidence was too weak.

But this was good enough for the panel, which is headed R.K. Pachauri. And if it was good enough for the IPCC, its report published in 2007 was good enough for all world leaders who accepted it as fact.

The severity of floods in And-hra Pradesh in September 2009 and hurricane Katrina in the US were blamed on global warming. At the Copenhagen climate summit, the African and other least developed nations sought US $ 100 billion dollars aid by 2020 on the basis of the IPCC claim.

Now, the IPCC is not so sure.

The paper, on which the IPCC had based its claim, was finally published in 2008 with a caveat: “We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses.”

But the IPCC neither issued a clarification nor modified its own report.

Sunday Times also said that at least two experts who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts — but they were ignored.

The IPCC had last week expressed regrets for claiming that most of the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.

The bogus claim was based on a news article published in a magazine in 1999. It was again without evidence, based on a quote from a glaciologist who now works at a Delhi-based non-profit organisation headed by Pachauri.