CNN on Tuesday highlighted the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change use of a unsubstantiated claim about the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 to put pressure on politicians across the globe. Meteorologist Rob Marciano thought the “snafu” on the part of the IPCC was “inexcusable,” while anchor Rick Sanchez put the panel and its head on his “List You Don’t Want to Be On.”
Marciano brought up the week-old story during a segment 49 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour. He played a sound bite from climatologist Jim White, who was attending the annual Steamboat Springs Weather Summit in Colorado (Marciano was on-location in Steamboat Springs). The CNN meteorologist voiced his agreement with White, who blasted the IPCC’s exaggeration:
MARCIANO: All right, one of many things we’re talking about out here later today [at the 21st annual Weather Summit in Steamboat Springs, Colorado]- we’re going to talk about climate, some of the- some top climate scientists are out here, and I got to talk to one of them yesterday, Jim White, and asked him about the IPCC report- you know, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There was a bit of snafu the past week or so, where they said that the glaciers in Himalayas we’re going to be gone by 2035. Well, that ended up being bad science, and this is what Jim had to say about that.
JIM WHITE, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: Too much is riding on the fact that we get it right as scientists. I know that they got it right in their scientific literature, all right? It was just put down wrong in the IPCC report. But that itself is inexcusable.
MARCIANO: It is inexcusable, and it’s hurting the credibility somewhat of that Nobel Prize-winning organization, and it’s frustrating climate scientists here certainly in the U.S.
Just over eight hours later, near the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour, Sanchez singled out IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri during his “List You Don’t Want to Be on” segment on his Rick’s List program:
SANCHEZ: And here we go- time now for the ‘List You Don’t Want to Be On.’ It’s a tricky name to pronounce, but it’s an important story. He is Rajendra Pachauri. He is not just a global warming expert. He is in charge of the United Nations panel on climate change. He signed off on a memo that said the Himalayan glaciers will melt by the year 2035. Really? That soon? Just 25 years from now, you say?
If the global warming opponents needed more ammunition, he just gave it to them, by overreaching. Pachauri’s group has since apologized. Oops.
The CNN anchor fairly moderated a debate on the issue of climate change weeks earlier on the December 3, 2009 edition of his program, during the height of CNN’s coverage of the ClimateGate scandal.
On January 18, Chris Hastings and Jonathan Leake of The Australian reported that “[t]he peak UN body on climate change has been dealt another humiliating blow to its credibility after it was revealed a central claim of one of its benchmark reports - that most of the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 because of global warming - was based on a ‘speculative’ claim by an obscure Indian scientist.” Almost a week later, the Daily Mail from the UK revealed that “[t]he scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders. Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research....Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.’”