No Time to Put Climate Science on Ice

NAIROBI – The science of climate change has been on the defensive in recent weeks, owing to an error that dramatically overstated the rate at which the Himalayan glaciers could disappear. Some in the media, and those who are skeptical about climate change, are currently having a field day, parsing every comma and cough in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 assessment.

Some strident voices are even dismissing climate change as a hoax on a par with the Y2K computer bug. As a result, the public has become increasingly bewildered as the unremitting questioning of the IPCC and its chair assumes almost witch-hunting proportions in some quarters.

The time has really come for a reality check. It is quite right to pinpoint errors, make corrections, and check and re-check sources for accuracy and credibility. It is also right that the IPCC has acknowledged the need for ever more stringent and transparent quality-control procedures to minimize any such risks in future reports.

But let us also put aside the myth that the science of climate change is holed below the water line and is sinking fast on a sea of falsehoods.