Sunday, February 7, 2010

Climate Change: Cooking the Books, African Edition

Last September, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri,  Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC), Director General of the Energy and Resources Institute, and Director of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute, addressed dignitaries attending the UN Summit on Climate Change. 

Pachauri emphasized that he spoke "in the voice of the world’s scientific community" when he claimed that global warming will likely produce widespread thirst and starvation in Africa in a mere 10 years:
In Africa, by 2020, between 75 and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to water stress due to climate change, and in some countries yields from rainfed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. [Hat tip: David Brewer]
Wow. Up to 250 million people will suffer from lack of water due to global warming in only 10 years? That's disturbing.

But wait! Oops! It turns out that the man the UK Telegraph called "the world's most powerful climate scientist" has again neglected to check his references:
Pachauri’s recent claim of an imminent potential 50% reduction in yields from rain-fed African agriculture comes from misrepresenting an IPCC WGII suggestion that itself is based on an un-peer reviewed paper which quotes unnamed studies that may themselves only reflect the existing fact that North African crop yields drop by 50% in drought years. [Hat tip: David Brewer]
The un-peer reviewed paper on which Pachauri based this claim was issued by a lobby group, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, which suggested, on no particular evidence, that Africa faced the risk, "linked to climate change," of "deficient yields from rain-based agriculture of up to 50 per cent during the 2000–2020 period.”

One problem with Pachauri's claim is that, although North African crop yields can be cut in half by drought, no reputable studies have suggested that global warming will plunge Africa into a permanent (or even temporary) state of drought. (Interestingly, greenhouse warming wouldn’t be expected to increase high temperatures near the equator so much as to moderate low temperatures in the temperate zones and the poles. Hat tip to crosspatch.)

Pachauri is not doing too well lately in his previously wildly successful Department of Extravagant Global Warming Doomsday Prognostications. The dust has not settled on the IPCC's claim that the Amazon rainforest "might be wiped out by global warming because they are extremely susceptible to even modest decreases in rainfall."
The sole source for that claim, reports The Sunday Times of London, was a magazine article written by a pair of climate activists, one of whom worked for the WWF [World Wildlife Fund]. One scientist contacted by the Times, a specialist in tropical forest ecology, called the article “a mess.”
And the dust is still swirling over Pachauri's absent-minded-professor failure to check the references on the IPCC's absurd claim that the Himalayan glaciers will melt in the next 25 years, which was based on a copy of a copy of a typo of a copy of a single estimate by one researcher who projected glacier melt in 325 years. Three hundred and twenty-five years, not twenty-five years.

Of course, failure to check references is not the kind of forgetfulness that plagues your typical head-in-the-clouds scholar, who is much more likely to be guilty of forgetting to match his or her socks than to be excoriated for presenting for public acceptance a rumor pulled straight out of a global-warming alarmist's tin-foil hat.

Is it too much to imagine that the IPCC could afford a fact checker or two? Or, alternatively, could Pachauri be benefiting by his wild prognostications? A head honcho of the UN? Hmmm.
On May 19, 2009, the European Union announced a $4.5 million (3 million euro) project to study retreat of Himalaya glaciers, with TERI being one of the institutions.
And what is TERI, one of the chief recipients of this largesse? TERI is The Energy and Resources Institute, a think tank in India headed by none other than Pachauri himself. No conflict of interest there, obviously.

It should be noted that Pachauri has categorically stated that “TERI is not involved in this [Himalayan glacier] mistake.”

And if you believe that, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri has a bridge over the River Ganges to sell you, paid for with your tax dollars.


  1. I always wondered why the top eggheads refused even basic scrutiny of all their data and how they turned "peer review" from an staple of science to a catch-word for esoteric behavior.

    Climategate has shown why.

  2. Yes, it looks like the eggheads sitting at the top of the Climate Tower have been quite aware that a modicum of scrutiny would promptly reveal that they are not really the top eggheads. Ouch.

    Now it remains to be seen how academia will resist the climate crooks' smearing of the reputation of all researchers, most painfully the reputations of those with high research standards.

    Penn State's non-inquiry investigation into Michael Mann's scientific shape-shifting, with their "What, Us Worry?" conclusions doesn't bode well. But Humpty Dumpty will come crashing down, eventually. It's in the nature of things.

  3. I'm adding this to the September HoF