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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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May 16, 2010

In the The Message from the Glaciers at the New York Review of Books Orville Schell addresses the Fourth Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) erroneous claim that there was a “likelihood” that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035, “and perhaps sooner”.

This has fuelled the climate change deniers--the anti-science crowd---who claim that the evidence that the climate is warming just isn't there; that the seas are not rising; the ice is not shrinking; the polar bears are not vanishing; and there has been no significant climate warming since 1995.

Schell says though the IPCC's error embarrassed the report’s author it has not altered the reality that many glaciers in the Mt Everest/Himalayan region are, in fact, rapidly receding.

MtEverest1921.jpgGeorge H. L. Mallory/Royal Geographical Society, Mount Everest and the Main Rongbuk Glacier in 1921

Nor does the error scientifically invalidate the panel’s overall conclusion that because “more than one-sixth of the world’s population live in glacier- or snowmelt-fed river basins and will be affected by the seasonal shifts in stream flow,” a serious downstream problem is unfolding.

MtEverest2007.jpg David Breashears, Mount Everest and the Main Rongbuk Glacier, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 2007

It is in the region of Asia’s ten major rivers—the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Irrawaddy, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Amu Darya, and Tarim—among huge modern-day populations of Asia, that the melting of the Greater Himalayas’ glaciers will have the most significant impact during the coming decades and centuries.

The political reality is that the anti-science crowd, who deny that global warming is real and is principally caused by human fossil fuel use, don’t really want any meaningful action in the form of aggressively deploying clean energy technologies. They are happy with increased temperatures because these conservatives cannot abide the solution to global warming-strong government regulations and a government-led effort to accelerate clean energy technologies into the market.

They have a deep dislike for mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gases and are engaged in winning a battle in an ideological war.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:25 PM | | Comments (1)


The reality of climate change will not stop the Rudd Government from attacking the Greens and blaming them for the failure of their poor emissions trading scheme (the CPRS) to pass the Senate.

This is Bob Carr in The Australian :

we would be pricing carbon today were it not for the Greens. Who can nominate an act of bastardry to compare? Green? Brown, surely.


The Greens were always to be excluded according to Paul Daley