As the United Nations weathers a media beating over its falsified exaggeration of Himalayan glacier melt, new reports are adding fuel to the fire pointing out other blatant errors espoused by the international body.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a comprehensive climate report in 2007 — the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) — that included the Himalayan snafu as well as a dire warning that more than half of The Netherlands is below sea level. It also exaggerated claims about global warming destroying the Amazon rainforest.
According to Fox News, Dutch environment ministry spokesman Trimo Vallaart points out that only 26 percent of his country is below sea level, a far cry from the 55 percent reported in AR4. Vallaart explained IPCC researchers exaggerated the amount by adding the 29 percent of land supposedly threatened by river flooding. He also pointed out that though the Dutch office for environmental planning is an IPCC partner and has the correct figures, the mistake has gone uncorrected.
Vallaart's office is planning to review AR4 for other possible errors. Vallaart criticized the IPCC for leaving politicians with the burden of checking the accuracy of its data, as governments worldwide have based their environmental policies on IPCC assessment reports. And IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri has come under fire for accepting millions of dollars in grants to research the effects of Himalayan glacier melt.
In the midst of the Himalayan and Dutch debacles, The Times of London revealed yet another AR4 error: the claim that global warming is poised to destroy 40 percent of the Amazon jungle. The source of this claim was a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) document published in 2000 stating that even small reductions in rainfall made up to 40 percent of the Brazilian rainforest extremely susceptible to fire. Following suit with its Himalayan claims, the IPCC exaggerated once again to include the entire Amazon in the WWF assertion and implied that the trees would be killed primarily by the reduction in rainfall, not by fires caused by dry conditions. AR4 concluded that vast areas of the jungle would soon likely be replaced by grasslands. The Times reported that WWF is investigating the matter, but it also quoted a lead IPCC glaciologist: "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."
IPCC lies are not the only question marks dangling around climate-change science. Record low temperatures have overwhelmed much of North America in recent weeks. This weekend a blizzard has buried the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic states under record-breaking snowfall, leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity and grinding Washington, D.C., to a standstill. The governors of Pennsylvania and Virginia declared states of emergency in advance of the storm. Accuweather.com reports numerous records broken during Friday and Saturday's snowfall.
Farther south, Florida is also reeling from the effects of cold temperatures. January's cold snap left ocean waters full of dead fish, which, according to The Miami Herald, were found in numbers "too large to even venture a guess" from the southwest coast to the Florida keys. South Florida averages 68 F in January, but USA Today reported record lows of 36 in Miami and 42 at Key West last month. Miami Today News says farmers in Miami-Dade County alone have already lost $268 million in sales this year and could lose more depending on the effect of this winter's weather on crops due for harvest in summer and fall. It will be hard to sell them on EPA's plans to regulate carbon emissions in the name of a cooler Earth, or on cap-and-trade legislation waiting action in the Senate this spring.
From the look of things, the only warming giving cause for alarm is coming from IPCC pants on fire.
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