Sunday, January 31, 2010

Indian media support eroding

The Liberty News Central blog highlights an article on the front page of the Hindustan Times today (click to enlarge pic).

It is running a story on how Dr Pachauri's TERI was paid 5.6 million rupees (about £75,000) by the Indian Environment and Forest ministry to conduct IPCC meetings "to discuss the impact of climate change". Although relatively anodyne, the paper does raise the question of conflict of interest, provoking the ritual squawk of indignation from the good doctor.

"There is no conflict of interest," Pachauri says. "The first IPCC chairman, Prof Bert Bolin received substantial financial support from the government of Sweden for his functioning as chairman. The second chairman, Dr Robert Watson, was in the White House when he was elected chairman and then moved to the World Bank, where the bank not only paid his salary but also provided all support for his functioning."

Perhaps the difference is that Pachauri is head of a research institute which clearly benefits from talking up the "impact of climate change" – bidding for Indian government contracts on climate change issues - an institute which pays him an undisclosed salary, but one that is sufficient to support his extravagant lifestyle and his tenure in his £4.5 million house in Golf Links.

These issues, however, are not raised by The Hindustan Times but, says Gurmeet of LNC, the very fact that paper is raising such issues possibly signals the end of a long love affair with the good doctor. Given that most other media are hosting critical comment, that only leaves the Delhi television station NDTV on-side. Gurmeet wonders how much longer that will last.

With perhaps unconscious irony, the Hindustan Times cites in Pachauri's defence a gentleman by the name of Pradipto Ghosh, environment secretary at the time of allocation of these funds - and now a TERI fellow. A great number of current TERI fellows are former government officials, who go on to enjoy comfortable sinecures with the organisation they were so keen to fund while in office. But, of course, there is no conflict of interest.

Ghosh, a voluble defender of the faith, says there was nothing out of place in the allocation of funds. "TERI has been receiving funds from the ministry before and after my tenure," he states, as if that somehow made it better. But then Gosh has so much in common with Pauchauri - both being keen to develop the Indian carbon market - so it would be churlish also to accuse him of conflict of interest as well.

But the fact that the Hindustan Times carried a second article critical of Pachauri suggests that there is something amiss that even the loyal Mr Ghosh can't fix.


He doesn't give up

"The science of climate change is now well established. This is the result of painstaking work of over two decades carried out by thousands of scientists drawn from across the globe to assess every aspect of climate change for the benefit of humanity.

The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was produced in the year 2007, and highlighted, on the basis of careful observations extending over a long period of time, that 'warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.'"

An authored piece by R K Pachauri in The Hindu today. Given recent events, it assumes an almost comic aspect.


Glaciergate – still a long way from the truth

Evidence is building that IPCC claim that Himalayan glaciers were going to melt by 2035 was not only a deliberate fraud, but efforts were made to cover it up when the figure was challenged.

Some of the pieces of the jigsaw are already there in the public domain, starting with Ben Webster's piece in The Times on Saturday – which we analysed in this post. This made it clear that Rajendra Pachauri was appraised of what he now claims was a "mistake" by an Indian science journalist, last November.

But the story is taken further by Jonathan Leake in The Sunday Times today, under the heading: "Panel ignored warnings on glacier error". There, he reports that the leaders of the IPCC had known for weeks and probably months about the "error" and had even convened private conferences to discuss it.

Although he refers to the last of such conferences, which was hosted by TERI in Delhi last month (28 December), there is no mention of the fact that this was organised by the United Nations Environment Programme, the sponsoring body for the IPCC itself.

Although it was a pre-planned meeting, it turned rapidly into a crisis "workshop" of international glaciologists, which decided that, "the IPCC conclusion that the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 may have to be revised ... ", adding that: "there appears to be no scientific foundation for the IPCC's prediction for the year 2035."

Although Rajedra Pachauri is not listed as an attendee, his senior glaciologist, Syed Hasnain was there, and so was professor Murari Lal, one of the lead authors of the glaciers section of the IPCC report. In all, there were fifteen TERI personnel at the workshop, including Hasnain, and TERI University is cited as a collaborator in the production of the subsequent report (cover illustrated).

Given that the meeting was actually held in the TERI offices, with so many TERI personnel there, it is inconceivable that Pachauri – director general of TERI and chairman of the IPCC – was not appraised of its findings, especially given the importance of the issue.

Apart from the implications for the IPCC, what may of course have been preoccupying Pachauri was that, on 15 January, there was to be a high-profile launch of the collaborative programme on glacier research, funded by the Carnegie Corporation, at which the president of Iceland, Dr Ólafur Grímsson, was to be the star guest.

It takes little imagination to surmise that Pachauri would not want to be embroiled in a controversy over glaciers with such a prestigious event in the offing – especially, as we see from Carnegie grant statement that the research project was based on Hasnain's false claim that glaciers "will vanish within forty years as a result of global warming … resulting in widespread water shortages."

This brings us to Hansain himself, who was leader of the TERI glaciology team. Building on our work on the timeline of Hasnain's claims, Leake makes it abundantly clear that not only were Hasnain's claims false, but he knew them to be so.

In particular, as party to the Sagamatha study which was concluded in June 2004, Hasnain had signed up to the conclusions that suggestions the region's glaciers might soon melt "would seem unfounded".

That Hansain persisted in his false claims, right up until September 2009, and then sought to defend the IPCC claim in the face of Raina's report published in November 2009, is to say the very least, perverse – more so when the leader of the Sagarmatha survey, Gwyn Rees, had re-emphasised in May 2009 that, "It is unlikely that all glaciers will vanish by 2035!"

With Hasnain by then employed by Dr Pachauri's TERI, and reliant on grant-funded work from the Carnegie Corporation and the EU "High Noon" programme – which had been initiated on the basis of Hasnain's false 2035 claim – there is a very obvious motive for Dr Hasnain to keep the controversy out of the limelight.

Thus it was that only after the falsehood had been "outed" by Leake on 17 January, that Pachauri began to acknowledge that there was a problem, but then very grudgingly. Two days after the Leake report, all he would concede was: "Theoretically, let's say we slipped up on one number ...".

With Hasnain claiming he was "misquoted" – which was never the case - and Pachauri maintaining that the inclusion of the figure was a mistake, this has all the hallmarks of a clumsy cover-up which continues to this day.

Exposing the Pachauri lie is lead author professor Murari Lal who told the UNEP workshop back in December, "that it was wrong to assume, as has been done in sections of media that the year 2035 had crept in the report by mistake" (see inset, above right).

Yet even to this day, the IPCC is still talking about an "error", thus perpetrating the lie, and concealing from the public that false information was deliberately included in the IPCC report. "Glaciergate", it seems, still has a long way to go before we get to the truth.


Do as I say

The Mail on Sunday today is doing what it does best. It picks up the "the world's most powerful climate scientist" and tells us: "Controversial climate change boss uses car AND driver to travel one mile to office... (but he says YOU should use public transport)".

Thus the piece presents Pachauri for what he really is – a rank hypocrite. "You might expect Dr Rajendra Pachauri to be doing everything he can to reduce his own carbon footprint," observes the MoS. But he shows "no apparent inclination to cut global warming in his own back yard", having his personal chauffeur collect him from his £4.5million home (pictured top) in a 1.8-litre Toyota Corolla for the one-mile journey from home to his Delhi office (pictured below right).

Under normal circumstances, the affairs of a wealthy man are his own business, but these are not "normal circumstances." This is the man who told us that the Western lifestyle is unsustainable and who constantly evangelises that we must reduce our personal consumption, while building himself a multi-million portfolio on the back of the climate change industry.

The extent of this man's hypocrisy is further brought home as the MoS describes how, hours later, Pachauri's chauffeur picks him up from the luxury office of his environmental "charity" (pictured below left), ignoring his institute's own literature, which gives visitors tips on how to reduce pollution by using buses.

Such plebeian transport is not for the good doctor though. He is driven in style to an upmarket restaurant popular with expatriates and well-off tourists just half a mile from his luxurious family home.

The Pachauri family has, in fact, five cars – three for the personal used of the great doctor, including a token electric car, which is rarely used as it is not "big enough" to accommodate the great climate guru and his chauffeur.

As to his luxury home, from outward appearances it is pretty tatty, although it is fully equipped with electricity-guzzling air conditioning to keep the man cool while he saves the planet.

The Golf Links area in Central Delhi where Pachauri lives is named after the nearby Delhi Golf Course and is one of the most expensive residential areas in India. Every home in this gated community has its own security guard and it enjoys round-the-clock police patrols to protect its wealthy residents.

Dr Pachauri's neighbours include a former prime minister's son and senior Indian business leaders. Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, Britain's richest man with an estimated £10.8 billion fortune, owns a home in the same area.

Currently, homes of a similar size to Dr Pachauri’s are being advertised at prices of around £6 million. Explaining the area's sky-high property prices, the director of an international property broker told India's Economic Times: "This area has a certain snob value attached to it. Buying a house here means announcing to the world that one has arrived in life."

So, Rajendra has "arrived in life", living high off the hog in his $1000 suits. And this is the man who lectures us about adopting more modest life-styles, adding to our bills though his incessant scare-mongering, polluting the skies as he travels hundreds of thousands of miles around the world, first class, to solicit yet more money for his institute in the name of saving the planet.

And this is the man to whom Douglas Alexander wants to give another £10 million of our money, to enable TERI "to undertake efforts by which poverty can be addressed". Well, it's certainly addressing Dr R K Pachauri's poverty.


Amazongate in The Sunday Times

From Jonathan Leake in The Sunday Times we get an article headed: "UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim," - one of several on climate change in today's edition

It tells us that a "startling report" in the IPCC report claiming that that global warming might wipe out 40% of the Amazon rainforest "was based on an unsubstantiated claim by green campaigners who had little scientific expertise."

This is "Amazongate" writ large, where the IPCC launched the scare story that even a slight change in rainfall could see swathes of the rainforest rapidly replaced by savanna grassland – and the source turns out to be a report from WWF, an environmental pressure group, which was authored by two green activists.

They had based their "research" (Leake's quotations) on a study published in Nature which did not assess rainfall but in fact looked at the impact on the forest of human activity such as logging and burning. This weekend WWF said it was launching an internal inquiry into the study.

The detail is familiar to readers of this blog, and some might note a small addition at the end of the piece which says: "Research by Richard North", in what has been a fruitful partnership.

Crucially, Leake brings to the table the substance of an exchange with Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow at Leeds University who specialises in tropical forest ecology. This is the same Simon Lewis cited by the BBC's Roger Harrabin, who has him say: "The IPCC statement is basically correct but poorly written, and bizarrely referenced."

Leake, who had extensive communications with the man, however, presents a completely different picture. Lewis describes the section of Rowell and Moore's report predicting the potential destruction of large swathes of rainforest as "a mess".

In a direct quote, Lewis goes on to say: "The Nature paper is about the interactions of logging damage, fire and periodic droughts, all extremely important in understanding the vulnerability of Amazon forest to drought, but is not related to the vulnerability of these forests to reductions in rainfall." Then we get Lewis saying: "In my opinion the Rowell and Moore report should not have been cited; it contains no primary research data."

Compare and contrast this with The Sunday Telegraph view that the IPCC had "accurately represented" the Nature paper.

Leake is clearly unconvinced, reporting that this is the third time in as many weeks that serious doubts have been raised over the IPCC's conclusions on climate change. And this weekend Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, was fighting to keep his job after a barrage of criticism – which is why The Sunday Telegraph writes a 750-word piece about his new novel.

Even the WWF takes it more seriously, saying it prided itself on the accuracy of its reports, but is investigating the latest concerns. "We have a team of people looking at this internationally," says Keith Allott, its climate change campaigner.

Scientists such as Lewis are demanding that the IPCC ban the use of reports from pressure groups. Georg Kaser, a glaciologist who was a lead author on the last IPCC report, said: "Groups like WWF are not scientists and they are not professionally trained to manage data. They may have good intentions but it opens the way to mistakes."

And, in its own leader, headed, "Bad science needs good scrutiny", The Sunday Times makes a comparison between Dr Wakefield, who has recently been savaged by the GMC, and Dr Pachauri who "is still head of the IPCC, although he presided over the use of dodgy science in its reports and ignored legitimate criticism of that science."

"He should go," says the paper.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

And the "professionals" write?

"It can be revealed," write Richard Gray, science correspondent and Rebecca Lefort, in The Sunday Telegraph that the IPCC report made use of 16 non-peer reviewed WWF reports.

The strap line reads: "The United Nations' expert panel on climate change based claims about ice disappearing from the world's mountain tops on a student's dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine," and we are told that this "revelation will cause fresh embarrassment for the (sic) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which had to issue a humiliating apology earlier this month over inaccurate statements about global warming."

Superficially, this looks like good stuff. But it goes downhill fast. The intrepid pair go on to write:
One claim, which stated that coral reefs near mangrove forests contained up to 25 times more fish numbers than those without mangroves nearby, quoted a feature article on the WWF website. In fact the data contained within the WWF article originated from a paper published in 2004 in the respected journal Nature.
Then we get this:
In another example a WWF paper on forest fires was used to illustrate the impact of reduced rainfall in the Amazon rainforest, but the data was from another Nature paper published in 1999.
... which is followed by this:
When The Sunday Telegraph contacted the lead scientists behind the two papers in Nature, they expressed surprise that their research was not cited directly but said the IPCC had accurately represented their work.
Whaaaaaaaaaaa? What kind of hackwittery is this? Are they barking mad or just stupid? Or what? There we have "Amazongate" breaking out into the MSM, with Booker in the same newspaper writing:
This WWF report, it turned out, was co-authored by Andy Rowell, an anti-smoking and food safety campaigner who has worked for WWF and Greenpeace, and contributed pieces to Britain's two most committed environmentalist newspapers. Rowell and his co-author claimed their findings were based on an article in Nature. But the focus of that piece, it emerges, was not global warming at all but the effects of logging.
These children have missed the point completely. In this post and then this, we show that the assertions made by the WWF paper are not in any way supported by the Nature paper and actively misrepresent its findings.

But hey, Richard Gray and Rebecca Lefort are real journalists. They are the professionals. So they ring up the authors of the Nature papers who tell them the IPCC "had accurately represented their work". And that's what goes in the newspaper, contradicting Booker and missing a front-page story.

Meanwhile, Robert Mendick and Amrit Dhillon, hot on the trail of Pachauri – whom they describe as "the world's most powerful climate scientist" – write a 750-word news piece on his "racey (sic) romantic novel." They can't even spell "racy".

To cap it all, in a totally wasted opportunity, the paper writes a leader on it. And then they wonder why The Sunday Telegraph is haemorrhaging readers and losing money.


A couple of blogs

A humorous piece on Autonomous Mind which tells us: "Climate change deceit close to making the Pachauri extinct", is followed by Subrosa with: "Warming News for Climate Change Deniers".

Since the blogosphere is very much part of the story now (and always has been), I'll try to do a round-up of interesting climate-related blogs tomorrow.

Oh! And I nearly forgot - Fox News has done "Amazongate" big time, and was not afraid to link to EU Ref. The thing I enjoy most about this is that bloggers can now reach out to the world, without huge resources, and make an impact.


Amazongate: the final phase

The Booker column is up, with the headline: "Amazongate: new evidence of the IPCC's failures". This is the start of the final phase of the IPCC's meltdown.

Actually, the Amazon story only occupies one paragraph of the column, with the newspaper reacting to the building publicity by hyping it up in the headline. Booker actually addresses the wide-ranging failures of the IPCC, including a reference to Montford (of Bishop Hill fame) and his brilliant book The Hockey Stick Illusion. Buy it.

Booker concludes, of the IPCC that: "Bereft of scientific or moral authority, the most expensive show the world has ever seen may soon be nearing its end."

However, the BBC's Roger Harrabin is already swinging into damage-limitation mode on "Amazongate", quoting "Euro-sceptic blogger Richard North".

The hapless Harrabin is driven to play down the importance of this latest development, claiming that the inclusion of the WWF reference "is a blunder perhaps, but maybe of a different kind, because there is indeed plenty of published science warning about drought in the Amazon."

In so doing, he distorts the thrust of the Rowell Moore argument, which claims that "40% of Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation."

First of all, the figure is entirely unsubstantiated and secondly, although there is plenty of evidence that severe or prolonged drought can damage tracts of forest, there is no good (or any) evidence that a "slight reduction in precipitation" could have the drastic effect predicted.

Of special note, though, is Harrabin's choice of expert to back up his argument. He cites Dr Simon Lewis from Leeds University, who told him: "The IPCC statement is basically correct but poorly written, and bizarrely referenced." The full significance of this will not become apparent until my next post, so this is just a marker ... we will see Lewis in a different light.

Harrabin, though, is forced to concede that there are problems, stating: "It all points to the need for much greater transparency, though that will throw up issues of its own for a body striving to offer a coherent view to policymakers of an issue dominated by risk, uncertainty and values, rather that unambiguous science."

That this is the main problem is wishful thinking on his part. The IPCC is holed below the waterline, and our little BBC man is trying to stem the leaks with a paper tissue.

(Note – I'm starting a new forum thread, as below, and will shut down the others tomorrow, to give us all a fresh start.)


It ain't over

... until there's a "downfall" spoof. In years to come, historians and sociologists are going to puzzle over this genuine social phenomenon, where the clip has acquired an iconic status and has become a platform in its own right for topical comment. There will be many learned theses written on the subject - plus a government-sponsored conference or two, probably paid-for out of the aid budget.

The other sign that it's over, of course, it that Moonbat has lost it – Delingpole explains.


He's toast

The Times story (see previous post) is breaking out into the Indian media, being featured on Times Now TV under the headline: "Pachuri knew of climate blunder". There is a longer story in the Times of India.

"Another skeleton has tumbled out of the closet of IPCC Chairman, Rajendra Pachauri. A leading UK daily has reported that Pachauri was informed that claims about melting Himalayan glaciers were false before the Copenhagen summit," says Times Now. Pachauri, it then tells us, was asked about the glacial melt issue last November by a "science journalist."

Amusingly, it does not give the identity of the "science journalist". He is Pallava Bagla, who just happens to work for the rival NDTV station – which, oddly, does not seem to be running a story on its own scoop. Why are we not surprised?

Roger Sedjo, a Washington-based economist who was involved in the IPCC's 2nd, 3rd and 4th assessments between 1996 and 2007, has some damning observations for Outlook India magazine. "It's hard to imagine a mistake of that magnitude slipping through as a mistake rather than as an intentional effort to distort the debate," he says.

Amazing, he then says: "But I don't see how it reflects on Pachauri. He has responsibility for looking into what apparently was sloppiness. But unless this occurs on a regular basis at the IPCC, I find it hard to understand why he should step down." He is talking about the man who was not at all shy about taking the glory at the Nobel prize ceremony. No gain without pain, one might say.

And the video, a few days old now, suggests the damage to the IPCC has already been done.


The end is nigh

Less than a week after he claimed the IPCC's credibility had increased as a result of its handling of the "Glaciergate" scandal, Pachauri's own personal credibility lies in tatters as The Times accuses him of a direct lie.

This is about when he first became aware of the false claim over the melting glaciers, Pachauri's version on 22 January being that he had only known about it "for a few days" – i.e., after it had appeared in The Sunday Times.

However, Ben Webster writes that a prominent science journalist, Pallava Bagla – who works for the Science journal (and NDTV as its science correspondent) - claims that last November he had informed Pachauri that Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario Trent University and a leading glaciologist, had dismissed the 2035 date as being wrong by at least 300 years. Pachauri had replied: "I don't have anything to add on glaciers."

Bagla interviewed Dr Pachauri again this week and asked him why he had decided to overlook the error before the Copenhagen summit. In the taped interview, he asked: "I pointed it out [the error] to you in several e-mails, several discussions, yet you decided to overlook it. Was that so that you did not want to destabilise what was happening in Copenhagen?"

Dr Pachauri replied: "Not at all, not at all. As it happens, we were all terribly preoccupied with a lot of events. We were working round the clock with several things that had to be done in Copenhagen. It was only when the story broke, I think in December, we decided to, well, early this month — as a matter of fact, I can give you the exact dates — early in January that we decided to go into it and we moved very fast."

According to Pachauri, "... within three or four days, we were able to come up with a clear and a very honest and objective assessment of what had happened. So I think this presumption on your part or on the part of any others is totally wrong. We are certainly never — and I can say this categorically — ever going to do anything other than what is truthful and what upholds the veracity of science."

Without even Bagla's input, we know this to be lies. Apart from anything else, there was the crisis meeting under the aegis of UNEP - which we reported on Thursday – which concluded that the 2035 claim "does not appear to be based upon any scientific studies and therefore has no foundation".

Separately, we have Syed Hasnain, while stressing that he was not involved in drafting the IPCC report, claiming that he noticed some of the mistakes when he first read the relevant section in 2008.

That was also the year he joined TERI in Delhi, headed by Dr Pachauri. Then, he says, he realised that the 2035 prediction was based on an interview he gave to the New Scientist magazine in 1999. But, he claims, he did not tell Pachauri because he was not working for the IPCC and was busy with his own programmes.

"I was keeping quiet as I was working here," he said. "My job is not to point out mistakes. And you know the might of the IPCC. What about all the other glaciologists around the world who did not speak out?"

However, Hasnain's assertions contrast rather sharply with a video interview given by him to NDTV (see clip above) on 9 November 2009 – the day that the Raina report on glaciers was published, challenging the claims made in the IPCC report. Then, he is seen to be defending the 2035 figure, and allowing himself to be styled as "author of the original IPCC report".

According to The Guardian, V K Raina, formerly deputy director general of the Geological Survey of India, has joined calls for Pachauri's resignation.

The Guardian cites India's Economic Times from over a week ago, which criticised the IPCC for damaging its own credibility, noting that "it would now seem that Mr Pachauri's steadfast unwillingness to consider an alternate position could well have given climate sceptics a stronger footing."

But today, the Deccan Herald also weighs in, declaring: "The [glacier] incident reflects poorly on the professionalism and scientific rigour of the IPCC and has done damage to its credibility." The writing is not so much on the wall as obliterating it.

Adding to the graffiti, in yet another development, the popular Indian magazine Open rips apart global warming, labelling it: "The Hottest Hoax in the World." Indian blogger Gurmeet in Liberty News Central thinks this could be the most hard-hitting article in the Indian MSM on AGW fraud ever.

Given what is about to descend upon him on Sunday, by the time the Indian media have absorbed the detail, Pachauri will be history.


Friday, January 29, 2010

The Great Glacier Show – Part II

Continuing with the Pachauri-Hasnain "great glacier show", to which we introduced our avid readers yesterday, already we have seen significant developments which are set to make this a best selling saga.

In that first piece, we revealed that, to investigate fears of retreating glaciers in the Himalayas, raised largely by Syed Hasnain, the British government in 2001 funded a major field study code-named "Sagarmatha". We now learn that the sponsoring department, the Department For International Development (DFID), paid a cool (if you will forgive the use of that word) £315,277 of taxpayers' money for the work.

As we recall, that study, which reported in June 2004, found that the threat, that all of the region's glaciers may soon disappear, "would seem unfounded" and that "the catastrophic water shortages forecast by some experts are unlikely to happen for many decades, if at all." However, despite that, Syed Hasnain, continued to claim that the glaciers were shortly to disappear.

Not least, his claims appeared in the New Scientist on 8 May 2004, which stated thus:
THE great rivers of northern India and Pakistan will run strongly for the next 40 years and then die away, bringing flood followed by famine. That was the grim message last week from the first decade-by-decade forecast for the rivers that drain the huge glaciers of the Himalayas.

The problem is global warming, which has already increased glacier melting by up to 30 per cent. "But after 40 years, most of the glaciers will be wiped out and then we will have severe water problems," says Syed Iqbal Hasnain of Calicut University, Kerala, reporting the results of a three-year study by British, Indian and Nepalese researchers.

The study finds the biggest impact in Pakistan, where the Indus irrigates half the country's crops. Flows here could double before crashing to less than half current levels by the end of the century. But the declining flows predicted for the Ganges will also throw into disarray a vast Indian government scheme to avoid drought by diverting water from the country's glacier-fed northern rivers to the arid south.
What we now learn is that these wholly unsubstantiated claims were comprehensively rebutted by the lead scientist of the project, Gwyn Rees, in a letter to the New Scientist on 5 June 2004. Under the heading: "No floods, no famine," Rees wrote as follows:
As lead author of the report referred to in your article on glaciers in the Himalayas, I was shocked that the results of our three-year study could be so grossly misrepresented (8 May, p 7). As our report "An assessment of the potential impacts of deglaciation on the water resources of the Himalayas" concludes, the widespread perception that the region's glaciers will disappear within 40 years is ill-founded.

In many areas, water shortages are unlikely to happen for many decades - if at all. Some areas may benefit from increased water availability in the medium term. Catchments where glacial meltwater contributes significantly to the run-off, such as the upper Indus, appear to be most vulnerable to deglaciation. Eastern Himalayan catchments, benefiting from high summer monsoon precipitation, are less susceptible.

At no time did we suggest there would be a higher incidence of flooding, that famine would occur, or that an Indian government water-transfer scheme would be thrown "into disarray". The individual quoted in the article, though a member of our study team, clearly presented his personal view of the situation.
A clearer put-down of Hasnain's alarmism would be hard to find yet, as we record in our first piece, Hasnain continued making his baseless claims. And, in the next episode, we will see that he was still making the claims – or supporting them – into December 2009.

As it stands, therefore, the British government (i.e., British taxpayers) shelled out £315,277 to disprove Hasnain's claims. But, when WG II of the IPCC came to consider the issue of melting glaciers – funded by British taxpayers to the tune of £1,436,162 – it ignored the Sagarmatha report (which had also been written up in a per-reviewed journal) and went with Hasnain's not only baseless but also discredited claim.

The background to this, and subsequent developments, are now the subject of an ongoing investigation by The Sunday Times, the results of which will be published this weekend.


This is where our money goes

One of the abiding mysteries of our time is how the "climate groupies" manage to field their supporters in such large numbers at the succession of climate summits held throughout the world.

Well, part of the puzzle is solved, at least in respect of the Johannasburg Earth Summit in 2002. The British taxpayer, via the Department For International Development (DFID), spent £200,000:
To support preparatory activities, in particular at the national and regional levels, in a co-ordinated and reinforcing way, and to support the participation of major groups from DCs (developing countries) in regional and participatory processes and in the Rio event itself.
We also spent £120,000 on "Project Earth Summit 2002" to "create a multi-stakeholder movement around the world that will be preparing for Earth Summit 2002."

Not content with that, we also managed to dosh out on a "Workshop on Women as 'Sacred Custodians' of the Earth" to "explore the spiritual, religious and philosophical views concerning women and ecology and the policy implications of these belief systems." There is some small consolation, I suppose, that we only paid £10,000 for that little junket.

However, that pales into insignificance when compared with the amount of money we spent on "support for developing country participation at important international conferences, negotiations and seminars" – most of them, presumably, on climate change. That was an eye-watering £1,500,000, all at the taxpayers' expense.

You know, there are some people out there who think our development budget is spent on alleviating poverty and other such "good works". If they really knew how the money was spent, they would be sick to their stomachs. And this, incidentally, is the budget that David Cameron wants to ring-fence.


Bin Laden to chair IPCC?

Joining president Obama, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and, of course, the EU, R K Pachauri, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, warning of the dangers of climate change, is that star of stage and screen ... bring on the one and only Osama bin Laden.

In his latest video to the world, he has made a plea for "drastic solutions" to global warming, and "not solutions that partially reduce the effect of climate change."

He blames Western industrialised nations for hunger, desertification and floods across the globe and, needless to say, the al Qaida leader has called for the world to boycott US goods, blaming industrialised countries for global warming, saying the way to stop it was to bring "the wheels of the American economy" to a halt.

In that, at least, Obama is ahead of the game, and needs no advice from Bin Liner. With the help of the IPCC and Dr R K Pachauri, he is well advanced in his plans totally to destroy the US economy, alongside his Western allies such as Gordon Brown, who are doing their best to destroy their own.

Soon enough, we can expect an outbreak of world peace as the Western leaders stand proud amid the wreckage of the economies they have so willingly destroyed.

Meanwhile, while Bin Liner will emerge from his hiding place to be elected by acclamation as the new chairman of the IPCC, ready to take the cue from the WWF advertisement (pictured above - the caption reads: "The Tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11") and launch a new fleet of airliners on New York to complete the work of destruction.


About right

Englishman's Castle makes the obvious but necessary point about the Chilcot inquiry and the Blair extravaganza today. Briefly, I once thought that the inquiry was important - I was wrong, and should have stuck to my earlier analysis.

Blair, as we saw from the days when he was prime minister, is past master at constructing a superficially profound speech which, on detailed analysis, contains absolutely nothing. To précis one of his speeches is like letting the air out of a balloon – you have nothing left but a wrinkled piece of rubber.

Thus, today is just entertainment for the political classes who, having retreated from politics, have nothing better to do with their time. And, needless to say, the media will be in full flow, chasing after hot air in a self-indulgent orgy of navel-gazing.

Meanwhile, outside the politico-media bubble, the real world goes on.


Denial more dangerous than abortion

A recent attempt to show the Gore antidote, Not Evil Just Wrong in Colony High School in Wasilla, home town of Sarah Palin, met with some unexpected opposition.

Although al-Gore's An Inconvenient Truth had been shown many times, the school authorities insisted that any student who wanted to see the antidote had to have a permission slip from their parents.

To put this in perspective, not only was no such condition in place before screening An Inconvenient Truth, in Alaska, the State can arrange an abortion for a student without notifying their parents.

Nice to see that the authorities have their priorities right.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

The glacier show – a comedy in many parts

To investigate fears of retreating glaciers in the Himalayas, the British government in 2001 funded a major field study code-named "Sagarmatha". Reporting in June 2004, it found that the threat, that all of the region's glaciers may soon disappear, "would seem unfounded" and that "the catastrophic water shortages forecast by some experts are unlikely to happen for many decades, if at all."

Of the "experts" who were forecasting catastrophe, by far the most vocal was Dr Sayed Hasnain, the scientist currently at the centre of the "Galciergate" storm. Yet, days before the British government report was officially published, Hasnain was telling the media – including the New Scientist - that "... after 40 years, most of the glaciers will be wiped out and then we will have severe water problems."

This was despite the fact that Dr Hasnain had assisted the Sagarmatha team and was aware of its findings. And, when the IPCC Working Group II came to write up the section on Himalayan glaciers, it ignored the Sagarmatha report in preference to Dr Hasnain's alarmism – dating back to 1999 - despite it having been discredited by the more recent British study, which had been commissioned in response to that self-same alarmism.

Ironically, Working Group II was also funded by the British government (Defra) from a grant of £1,436,162, which included support for the chair of WGII, Professor Martin Parry, formerly a Met Office climate scientist and currently at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London.

A key figure in this drama, however, is Dr Syed Hasnain (pictured right) whose climate "activism" goes back to 1999 and the now infamous article in the Indian environmental magazine, Down to Earth which was published on 30 April 1999 and subsequently on the India environmental portal. Under the title "Glaciers beating retreat", it was here that there is the first public record of the claim that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035.

We know now that this was seen by environmental journalist Fred Pearce, who according to his own account telephoned Hasnain to check with him that he had not been misquoted and then incorporated the 2035 figure in his own article in the New Scientist on 5 June 1999. An abstract of the same report is to be found in the London Evening Standard on 3 June under the headline: "Glaciers to 'melt by 2035'."

That, though, was by no means the full extent of Dr Hasnain's contribution to climate alarmism that year. In August 1999, he was in Birmingham University, England, addressing an international meeting of the members of the World Meteorological Organisation's commission on snow and ice. His speech was trailed by The Times and, although this does not appear to be online, it is replicated elsewhere.

It is here that we have a claim that "Himalayan glaciers could vanish within 40 years because of global warming, according to new research" and a report that: "One of the researchers involved, Syed Hasnain, of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, said that studies indicated that the glaciers in the region could be gone by 2035."

Even then, Hasnain has not finished. He pops up on 5 November 1999 in the Christian Science Monitor in a piece entitled: "Glaciers in the Himalayas melting at rapid rate." Under the by-line of Robert Marquand we read:
"Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world," according to a study by the International Commission for Snow and Ice (ICSI). "If the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high."

"Even if the waters dry up over 60 to 100 years, that is an eco-disaster of stunning proportions," says Syed Iqbal Hasnain, the head of ICSI, and a leading professor of environment at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
We find Hasnain again on 31 March 2000, this time in The Independent, in a piece headed: "Meltdown in the mountains". The name of the author is of some interest – it is Fred Pearce, who wrote the New Scientist piece in June 1999. This time, less than a year later, we are told:
Mankind has hit the defrost button. By 2035 huge glaciers high in the mountains may no longer exist. Thousands of local people live in fear of drowning in the melt water. Can science do anything to help?

Glaciers cover around one-sixth of the Himalayas. Taken together with Tibet to the north and the Karakorum to the west, this region contains most of the surviving snow and ice outside the polar regions - thousands of cubic kilometres of frozen water, much of it dating back to the last ice age.

But each summer now, more ice and snow melts than is replenished by the monsoons. The glaciers are shrinking. The story of the extent of their demise has been slow to get out. Up here, far from roads and power lines and science labs, much of the information on the state of these glaciers has been anecdotal. But, as scientists begin to collate data, a picture is emerging of meltdown on the roof of the world.

Syed Hasnain of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi presented the most detailed survey yet to a meeting of glaciologists in Birmingham last August. His four-year study for the UN's International Commission on Snow and Ice concluded: "Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world. If the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by 2035 is very high."

It was a devastating and largely unexpected finding. Only five years ago, glaciologists on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that, even under pessimistic assumptions about global warming, the region's glaciers "should continue to exist into the 22nd century".

The melting of glaciers is emerging as one of the least ambiguous signs of climate change. Amid arcane arguments about the meaning of yearly fluctuations in the weather, it is hard to argue with the wholesale melting of some of the largest glaciers in the world. Mankind, it seems, has hit the defrost button. And while glaciers are thawing out from Peru to the Alps, from Kenya to New Guinea, nowhere is the meltdown faster than in the Himalayas.
For the next instalment, we have to wait until 13 April 2001, when Hasnain makes another guest appearance, this time in Frontline magazine, from The Hindu stable. There, we are told of the "Glacier meltdown", in a report which cites at length Syed Iqbal Hasnain of the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Then we get the "money quote":
It is not surprising, therefore, that a perceptible impact of global warming has been in evidence in the Himalayan glaciers over the last few decades. A 1999 report by the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology (WGHG) of the International Commission for Snow and Ice (ICSI), constituted in 1995, said: "Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high."
At this point, the British government has taken a hand, having commissioning the Sagarmatha survey, headed by two British scientists, Gwyn Rees and David Collins. Later, Rees is to tell an interviewer that, "having heard alarming predictions of Himalayan glaciers disappearing within the next 40 years," he teamed up with eminent glaciologists "to develop new forecasting techniques which will give us a better understanding of how glaciers are likely to respond as the climate changes."

One of those "eminent glaciologists" was, of course, Dr Syed Hasnain, and in June 2004 Rees and Collins reported that the threat, that all of the region's glaciers may soon disappear, "would seem unfounded" and that "the catastrophic water shortages forecast by some experts are unlikely to happen for many decades, if at all."

There is evidently pre-release publicity because, on 27 April 2004, the Indian Express reports on, "The Great Melt & the Great Thirst", telling us of the survey results, which come "... amid speculation that Himalayan glaciers will disappear over the next 40 years." Says S I Hasnain, Vice Chancellor, University of Calicut, "This information will be vital for policy-makers ... ". No timescale for glacier melting is given.

A day later, however, on 28 April 2004, Hasnain is talking to the Indo-Asian News Service (published in multiple outlets – of which one is linked). Its story is headed: "Glaciers Feeding Indian Rivers May be Wiped Out".

"Glaciers feeding the Ganga, Yamuna, Indus and the Brahmaputra rivers may be wiped out in 40 years," it tells us, with Hasnain saying: "... after 40 years, most of these glaciers will be wiped out and then we will have severe water problems."

And, interestingly, this is followed on 8 May 2004 by a news article – this time without a by-line – in the New Scientist. This, without naming it, refers to the Sagarmatha survey, telling us that "the great rivers of northern India and Pakistan will run strongly for the next 40 years and then die away, bringing flood followed by famine."

The problem is global warming, which has already increased glacier melting by up to 30 percent, said the report, continuing with:
"But after 40 years, most of the glaciers will be wiped out and then we will have severe water problems," says Syed Iqbal Hasnain of Calicut University, Kerala, reporting the results of a three-year study by British, Indian and Nepalese researchers.
This is then followed by another media report on 4 June 2004. Once again we see a reference to Syed Iqbal Hasnain, this time of the International Commission for Snow and Ice: "Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world. If the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high," he is cited as saying.

Things then seem to go quiet for a while, but the 2035 claim re-appears on 13 December 2006 in a piece headed: "Retreating Glaciers of the Himalayas - Global warming threatens life along the Ganges River".

Thus, we see in the report: The Working Group on Himalayas (WGHG) of the international commission for snow and ice, constituted in 1995, recently affirmed, "Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world, and if the present rate continues the likelihood of their disappearing by 2035 is very high." This is evidently recycled news.

Hasnain gets an outing though, two days later on 15 December 2006, yet again in Down to Earth magazine. In "Ice on a slide" we get the full works, the "likely to disappear by 2035.... ", glaciers wiped out in 40 years and a recycled Hasnain quote: "In about 40 years, most of these glaciers will be wiped out and then we will have severe water problems,' says, vice-chancellor of Calicut University, who now apparently led the Sagarmatha study.

By 15 July 2007 Hasnain is widening out his interests, arguing: "It is not just greenhouse gases which are leading to melting glaciers, but it is also increased human activity and development in the Himalayas." He develops this theme in the Financial Express on 9 June 2008. By that time, he is working for Dr Pachauri's TERI and he estimates "that Himalayan glaciers will be gone in 20-30 years."

He repeats that on 16 July 2008, predicting that "the Himalayan glaciers will be gone in 20-30 years because of climate change as well as the Asian Brown Cloud." And that would make many of the great rivers including the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus run dry by 2035.

Less than a month later, Hasnain is back in print, this time in a feature by ABC News on 8 August 2008. The river that rushes through the Lahaul-Spiti Valley is fed almost entirely by melt from the surrounding glaciers.

"I've never seen such a high water level in this river," says Syed Hasnain, a senior glaciologist at the Energy Resources Institute who has been visiting the Chhota Shigri glacier for 23 years. "This is 100 percent glacial melt," he adds, standing at the base of the glacier, yelling over the sound of the river. "After 40 years or 50 years, there won't be any flow in this river, and the entire valley will be dried up."

As the piece concludes, we get, in fine apocryphal style: "We are going to be doomed in the future," Hasnain says. The "entire global community will be affected. It's not only the region will be affected." A year later, on 15 April 2009, he is telling the New York Times that "Himalayan glaciers are expected to lose 75 percent of their ice by 2020."

By then, the Carnegie and EU grants are more or less in the bag and on 13-14 May 2009, Hasnain attends an EU-funded seminar. This is addressed by Gwyn Rees who tells his audience – Hasnain included – that it is "Unlikely that all glaciers will vanish by 2035!"

This is almost exactly ten years since Down to Earth published Hasnain's claim that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035, the very claim that Rees was subsequently able to refute, but is now embedded in the IPPC report.

Neither Rees nor Hasnain, in the intervening period, had changed their views. In fact, in September 2009, Hasnain is in the Canadian Globe and Mail where, as "one of India's leading glaciologists", he is said to believe "the Himalayas may be denuded of all snow and ice in as little as 20 years."

On 9 November, however, V K Raina, ex deputy director general of the Geological Survey of India was to publish his report on glaciers, challenging Hasnain's alarmism, now enbodied in the IPCC report. Hasnain is quick to defend the 2035 figure, allowing himself to be styled as "author of the original IPCC report" in Indian NDTV.

Despite the Raina report having been commissioned by Jairam Ramesh, the Indian minister of state for environment & forests, Dr R K Pachauri joins the fray and condemns it as "totally unsubstantiated scientific opinion". Then, in December, he was incautious enough to brand it "voodoo science". Hasnian, meanwhile, in an interview with the BBC, was still supporting the 2035 claim.

Shortly though, the "Glaciergate" storm was about to break, proving Rees was right all along. But Hasnain then is to deny that he ever used the 2035 figure, or made any timed predictions, telling his interviewers that he was not an "astrologer". And, while his view had, at that time, prevailed, so had that irony of the British taxpayer funding the study to knock it down and then to build it back up again.

Even yesterday, though, Hasnain was unrepentant, telling the South Asia Times that it is "ridiculous" to assume that the glaciers are not melting. This was matched by a piece in the Times of India headlined, "Himalayan glaciers here to stay". It told us:
The prediction that glaciers would melt by 2035 by Professor Syed Iqbal Hasnain may have landed the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chairman R K Pachauri in a tight spot, but data collected by glaciologists across the Himalayan region shows that such claims do not hold water, and the major rivers originating from the Himalayas would continue to flow for the years to come as the glaciers are going to stay.

Glaciologist Milap Chand Sharma from Jawaharlal Nehru University says after studying 27 glaciers in Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, he has found that the melting taking place is normal. His conclusion is based on study of the behaviour of glaciers from 1975 to 2008.

The Miyar glacier in Lahaul region covers an area of 27 square km. Since 1971, it has receded by just 150 meters. If it continues to melt at this pace, it would take around 3,000 years for it to melt completely, he added.
You really, really could not make this up. But then, we don't need to when we have Hasnain and Pachauri and their glacier show – a comedy in many parts - to entertain us all.


They can't stop lying

Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, writes in The Times today, of the "Glaciergate" scandal, that:
The more substantive mistake in the IPCC report that Himalayan glaciers were melting so fast that they would vanish by 2035 has been dealt with swiftly and clearly by the IPCC.
The "dealt with swiftly" line is clearly part of the warmist's damage limitation strategy – but it is also a lie. As we record in our previous piece a UNEP-sponsored meeting on 28/29 December had agreed that "The upshot is that the critics are correct ... there appears to be no scientific foundation for the IPCC's prediction for the year 2035."

Yet it was not until 20 January – over three weeks later – that the IPCC took any action, and then only after it had been "outed" by Johanthan Leake in The Sunday Times. Then, as Prof Murari Lal admits, the inclusion of the year 2035 had not "crept in the report by mistake." Ergo, it was deliberate. It was not a mistake.

Furthermore, a UK Met Office representative was present at the December meeting – Pope should have and most probably did know about it, and its conclusions. Yet she writes, we, the climate change "community", has a "communications problem".

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate," as The Captain said to Cool Hand Luke. Except we haven't – unless that's the Met Office term for lying.


Les derniers jours de Pachauri?

So asks the French blog Objectif Liberté, a question effectively answered in the affirmative by the Indian news agency DNA.

Previously a Pachauri supporter, it retails how the Indian government is distancing itself from one of its erstwhile favourite sons, with the news that the government is thinking again about appointing the good doctor to the prestige position of head of the prime minister's national solar mission.

This is the national programme which is leading the drive to produce 20,000 MW of solar electricity by 2022 and one that would have cemented Pachauri even more firmly in the halls of power – with plenty of opportunities to drive some lucrative consultancy business in the direction of his institute, TERI.

But "sources" are now saying that the embarrassment over Pachauri is so acute in Delhi's power corridors that he is no more on the list of hopefuls likely to head the unit. Until a few weeks ago, government sources say, he was leading the race and considered a shoe-in.

Pachauri's fall from grace seems roughly to coincide with a certain article in The Sunday Telegraph on 20 December. But his contemptuous treatment of environment minister Jairam Ramesh cannot have helped.

Ramesh is actually quoted by DNA, complaining: "I was dismissed for peddling voodoo science, but the ministry was right on the report on Himalayan glaciers." And it has now emerged that there was a crisis meeting held in New Delhi on 28/29 December, under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – one of the sponsoring bodies for the IPCC - to discuss the 2035 claim on glaciers.

Although the meeting was held at the TERI offices, Pachauri was not present in a group of glaciologists brought together from throughout the world, but Ramesh was. Dr Syed Hasnain was also present and the UK was represented by Dr Viju John of the Met Office's Hadley Centre.

At the meeting, Prof Murari Lal, one of the lead authors of Chapter 10 which made the 2035 claim, admitted it had been made on the basis of a report of the WWF report that had quoted Hasnain. But he dismissed media claims that the year 2035 had "crept in the report by mistake." However, Hasnain denied mentioning any such date "in his scientific papers".

The meeting decided that the rate of retreat stated by the IPCC "does not appear to be based upon any scientific studies and therefore has no foundation", concluding that: "The upshot is that the critics are correct ... there appears to be no scientific foundation for the IPCC's prediction for the year 2035."

Despite that, it took the IPCC until 20 January to issue a grudging statement, regretting "the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures" but making no admission that the claim had "no scientific foundation".

Yet, right up to the day before the statement, Pachauri was telling reporters: "We are looking at the issue and will be in a better position to comment on the report after examining all facts," with no hint that a statement was imminent – or that the issue had been settled nearly three weeks earlier.

That, of course, was after the "non-mistake" had been outed on 17 January by Jonathan Leake in The Sunday Times, raising the question of whether Pachauri had any intention of correcting the IPCC report.

It is possibly this reluctance to admit error, as much as anything, which has done the damage. Now, as Leake points out in the video above, the man lacks credibility.

Rubbing that in, the DNA report goes on to note: "A recent report in the British media had found that IPCC's prediction that 40% of the Amazon rainforests were threatened by climate change was not based on scientific knowledge, but documents compiled by a journalist," and then adds for good measure:
UK journalists have also alleged that since Pachauri became vice-chairman of IPCC in 1997, The Energy and Resource Institute has expanded its interest in every kind of renewable or sustainable technology along with the Tata Group to invest $1.5 billion in vast wind farms.
Nevertheless, Ramesh is currently saying that the Indian government is not demanding Pachauri's resignation. But it does not need to - the writing is already on the wall. Even UN spokesmen in New York, normally only too pleased to talk about "climate change" in their routine press conferences are avoiding the subject and refusing to answer questions.

The man is finished. It is only a matter of time before he is forced to walk.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monckton's finest hour

He's talking a great deal of tosh, but it sounds plausible. It's how you tell 'em.


Trust is vanishing

So says Diederik Samsom – the importance of which is conveyed by Klein Verzet who has obligingly supplied us with a translation from the Dutch.

Marc Morano tells us: "The statist cabal that has ruled the climate debate since the UN IPCC's inception in 1988 is now tumbling down before our eyes. The so-called 'gold-standard' of scientific review turns out to be counterfeit. Global warming is now undergoing the fastest ever collapse of any modern political movement."

He is, perhaps, a tad premature – but he is not wrong. The wall is crumbling – even Pachauri's most loyal supporters, such as Andrew Weaver, is bailing out.

More will follow, but then we have to confront the fact that most of the "global warming" legislation in the UK is of EU origin. We will be confronting an organisation that has built its reputation on a failed religion – and then it will start to get really interesting, especailly as the gravy train reaches down to the lowest levels.


And so say all of us

"Global warming is heading to the same dustbin of history as Y2K, SARS and swine flu – another manufactured scare peddled primarily to make vast profits for corrupt elitists at the expense of the general public. The entire fraud is collapsing under the weight of its own lies as new revelations of IPCC deception and bias emerge on an almost daily basis thanks to the sterling work of climate skeptics who have had their convictions vindicated."

This is from Prison Planet - and there is much more to come.

If the Conservatives had any political acumen, they would be looking for ways to bail out, and make political capital out of Gordon Brown's continued and expensive commitment to the global warming scam. So far, though, there is no sign of that other "true believer", David Cameron, getting the message. In response to an e-mail from one of our readers about "Climategate", this was received from his office:
Thank you very much for getting in touch with David Cameron about your concerns over the integrity of climate scientists at the IPCC. I apologise for the delay in replying but over the last couple of months there has been a huge increase in the number of e-mails David has received each day and it taking us a little longer than usual to reply to each one.

I can see that you feel recent allegations have cast doubt over the case for climate change, and the integrity of the science. However, our view is that public policy on climate change has been built over many years, with input from a wide variety of expert sources, and we do need to significantly reduce our carbon emissions.

It is always right to keep an open mind, and question scientific theories. But, those in favour of doing nothing on the basis of scientific scepticism need to show that the risks we run by not acting are small and manageable. Given all the information and evidence we now have, that is a very difficult case to make.

I will, of course, ensure that David is made aware if your concerns, but I am afraid we may have to agree to disagree on this issue.

Whatever your views are, we cannot afford not to go green. The UK economy is still dependent for more than 90 per cent of its energy needs on fossil fuels, which increasingly come from imports. With the era of cheap oil now well and truly over, our fossil fuel dependency is making us uncompetitive and vulnerable to geopolitical shocks.

We can build a secure, prosperous future, but only if we start the work of transforming our national energy infrastructure now, by increasing energy efficiency and reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Being at the cutting edge of new technologies in the energy industry is precisely the action that is needed to prevent the power cuts the Government is predicting by 2017, and it ensures that Britain's consumers and businesses are protected against the consequences of volatile and rising oil prices into the future.

We need to make the transition to a low carbon economy urgently, and I hope you'll agree that our plans for a Low Carbon Economy will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs, raise skills and improve Britain's competitiveness.

Thank you, once again, for taking the time and trouble to write.
The fascinating thing about this response is that it demonstrates that Cameron, whose only claim to fame is that he is a politician, isn't even very good at politics. Anyone with their political antennae attuned to the public mood would realise that this line is a sure-fire loser.

But Cameron – like Prince Charles and much of the establishment – is a true believer. He will go down with the ship, wondering where the iceberg came from, complaining of the injustice of it all. But a man like that is not safe to let near government, any more so than the present incumbent. No one, with any conscience, can vote for such a fool.

The sad thing is that the polticians in this country - and the poltical blogosphere, which follows their agenda - are (with some very notable and honourable exceptions) in a state of denial. We can see this from the lack of coverage on the British political blogosphere, compared with the likes of this from Small Dead Animals.

Having not followed the issues, and largely incapable of understanding them, and without a political lead from their champions - who are also all at sea - that tiny, self-regarding corner of the blogosphere is silent. The political classes have retreated from politics - one of the most important and vibrant political issues of the day - engrossing themselves in navel-gazing which is almost pitiful to watch.


Déjà vu all over again

More than half of the experts who advised the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare swine flu a "pandemic" are linked to drug-makers that have reaped huge profits from untested vaccines and flu drugs.

This is from the Institute of Science in Society which tells us that eleven of the 20 members of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) have profited from work done for the pharmaceutical industry or are linked to it through their universities. Many have declared interests in GlaxoSmithKline, the vaccine maker that stands to benefit the most from the pandemic.

At the height of the pandemic scare, UK's Chief Medical Officer warned of up to 65,000 deaths. The death toll now stands at 251; and the UK Government is now trying to offload up to £1 billion worth of unwanted swine flu vaccines.

Among the three UK experts with industrial links is Prof Sir Roy Anderson – of Foot and Mouth fame - rector of Imperial College, London, also non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline. He received £87,000 for six board meetings in 2008 and £29,000-worth of shares. Since the swine flu outbreak the shares have risen in value by more than 10 percent.

Earlier, we are told, a Danish newspaper revealed, through the Danish Freedom of Information Act, that Prof Juhani Eskola of SAGE and director of the Finnish research vaccine programme THL received nearly €6.3 million in 2009 for his research centre from GlaxoSmithKline, which was not declared on the WHO website. Seven other WHO experts have ties to the pharmaceutical industry, most of them not declared on the WHO website.

One member of SAGE, Dr. Albert Osterhaus at Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Netherlands, heads the European Scientists Fighting Influenza, and is financed by Baxter, Crucell, Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, MedImmune, Nobilon, Sanofi Pasteur, MSD, Glaxo SmithKline and Solvay. He was under investigation for gross conflict of interest, which dates back to the earlier bird flu scare.

And there we have another classic example of the nexus between "science", government and international organisations – especially the UN. Anyone who thinks the climate change industry is any different is in the land of the fairies. With global warming, as with any other scare, follow the money.