Indians go wacko

Asian ones that is, not red ones. And not all of them of course, only Minister for environment & forests Jairam Ramesh so far. The Torygraph says:

“There is a fine line between climate science and climate evangelism. I am for climate science. I think people misused [the] IPCC report, [the] IPCC doesn’t do the original research which is one of the weaknesses… they just take published literature and then they derive assessments, so we had goof-ups on Amazon forest, glaciers, snow peaks. “I respect the IPCC but India is a very large country and cannot depend only on [the] IPCC and so we have launched the Indian Network on Comprehensive Climate Change Assessment (INCCA),” he said.

He also, said (in essence disowning his earlier report, so clearly someone has stomped on him. But there is some bizarre revisionism elsewhere, with him saying “My ministry brought out a discussion paper on glaciers after it was found that major divergence of views existed between Indian scientists and the IPCC,”):

The UN panel’s claims of glacial meltdown by 2035 “was clearly out of place and didn’t have any scientific basis,” he said, while stressing the government remained concerned about the health of the Himalayan ice flows. “Most glaciers are melting, they are retreating, some glaciers, like the Siachen glacier, are advancing. But overall one can say incontrovertibly that the debris on our glaciers is very high the snow balance is very low. We have to be very cautious because of the water security particularly in north India which depends on the health of the Himalayan glaciers,” he added.

This is just politicking, and while it makes for some fun snarking there is precious little substance here. Someone will get a nice little empire out of managing the thing, and someone will have to produce some kind of output to stop the minister looking too stupid, but there will be nothing valuable produced by this project. I notice they say: The body, which he said will not rival the UN’s panel, will publish its own climate assessment in November this year. So (in the current absence of a sea ice bet) anyone care to put an anything on this? I take the side of: the report will be delayed, or if it appears on time will be an obviously valueless and hastily-cobbled together.

Any takers for the “it will be on time and clearly valuable” side?

ps: the actual setup seems to be at http://moef.nic.in/modules/others/?f=event, if you care.

pps: rather oddly, http://moef.nic.in/downloads/others/Final_Book.pdf says the thing was launched in 7/10/09. Did everyone just quietly ignore it for months?

Comments

  1. #1 carrot eater
    2010/02/05

    Why’s he so preoccupied with the fact that the IPCC doesn’t do original research? That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

    What’s his body going to do, hire a research staff now and do original work for publication in November?

  2. #2 outeast
    2010/02/05

    Well, I’ll bet that anything produced will be seized upon by the media and by certain other elements as incontrovertible evidence that the climate consensus is in tatters, and that this will happen regardless of what the INCAA actually finds. But something tells me you won’t go for that…

  3. #3 Kevin Davis
    2010/02/05

    Dr. Pauchari and the current IPCC simply can no longer be relied upon to conduct an impartial and thorough assessment of the science.

    [Dr P is just the figurehead; he doesn't do the assessment. As to the rest: I do hope you've noticed all the problems are WG II not WG I (and I do hope you know the difference) -W]

    Given what’s potentially at stake for the Indians, there’s nothing “whacko” about them attempting to do their own assessment. There’s not much point in debating whether they’ll succeed at it, as it would just be speculative either way. Let’s wait and see.

    [I think you'll find it is "wacko" not "whacko". And I'm not just debating - I'm offering to put my money where my mouth is. Are you?

    As to the point at issue: if you want to know about glacial retreat, you should be asking WG I not II -W]

  4. #4 bigcitylib
    2010/02/05

    Can’t see any harm in it, and if it means more scientific attention paid to the area and its AGW related problems, why not? I mean, if there are real scientists involved, would the Indian group’s conclusions be that different from the IPCC?

    Looking at some of the English/Indian news sources, the discussion seems to be fairly nuanced. Some outlets have defended Pachauri as being the subject of a Western smear job. Several more have noted that while the 2035 thing is embarrassing, its doesn’t change the overall situation re the glaciers in the area. Fairly level-headed stuff overall. And certaintly more intellectually mature than what’s been coming out of the US lately (and out of old Britain, too, unfortunately).

    PS. The whole “withdrawing from the IPCC” meme seems to be the result, once again, of crap reporting.

  5. #5 P. Lewis
    2010/02/05

    Wacko, whacko. Both acceptable.

  6. #6 P. Lewis
    2010/02/05

    Given the Indians want to throw money around at glaciers, wouldn’t some of it be better spent contributing to obtaining more data to feed into the WGMS?

  7. #7 Kevin Davis
    2010/02/05

    RE: #5– [redacted. Don't bother -W]

    RE: -W’s incline comments to #3–
    I’ll wager the weather will be fairly enjoyable six months from now, as judged by me. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. Are you willing to take that bet? It’s no more subjective than yours. Maybe we should take each other’s bets. I suspect the outcome will be a wash.

    [This is vague to the point of uselessness. What does "I suspect the outcome will be a wash" mean? If you've got an opinion on the likely outcome of the report, state it clearly and in actionable terms -W]

    Thanks largely to your blog, the difference between WGI and WGII has been made crystal clear. Keep up the good work. It’s really too bad you’re not a part of WGII. You probably wouldn’t tolerate a chairman who dismisses a legitimate correction as “voodoo science” without even considering it, as this would rightly call additional scrutiny to all other assessments.

    [You've got that wrong too. Many people have, the spetics have been doing a mixture of delinberate obfustication and just simply being confused. The report dismissed as voodoo wasn't a correction of the IPCC; it was just a bad report -W]

  8. #8 Evilchthon
    2010/02/05

    You have to understand that the Indians are taking out an insurance policy, that is all. Why would a nation want to be boxed in by restrictions smuggled in the guise of global climate gobbledygook? Make up your own stuff. Wave it in the face of the imploding Kirillovs – UK and the EU.

    Not unlike the EPA, which will use the IPCC as it deems fit.

    Regards

  9. #9 P. Lewis
    2010/02/05

    The two versions of wacko/whacko are given by the SOED and by Merriam Webster’s Collegiate, but there’s only one spelling of septic™.

    Silly Brit

  10. #10 Steve Bloom
    2010/02/05

    IIRC the Chinese have been after the Indians to agree to some sort of joint Himalayan scientific survey, and the Indians (I think Ramesh specifically) have resisted, I suspect because the Chinese scientists have been a little too forthright about conditions on their side, so one can hope that the report will highlight the need for more data and thus break through the resistance.

  11. #11 dhogaza
    2010/02/06

    Gavin Schmidt opines that it’s a good thing.

    I think I agree with him. One way to look at it is that India’s going to form its own independent scientific council to look into the issue and impacts, western countries do the same. The “withdrawal from the IPCC” bit seems to be bull. It’s possible, of course, that politics in India are so congruent with, say, Inhofe, that they’ll choose Watts’s soulmate to run the operation, but somehow, that’s doubtful. India’s not stupid. I think as much as anything it’s India trying to increase its presence at the table.

  12. #12 Mauri Pelto
    2010/02/06

    Your link to the oddly named final book is very interesting. Note the planned work on glaciers and the groups working on it, page 21. There are some very experienced glaciologists in India with a long record of good work Anil Kulkarni from the Indian Space Agency, Pratrap Singh, National Institute of Hydrology, and from those collaborating with GLIMS Umesh Haritashya. None of these individuals is mentioned but three mountaineering groups are and what the heck is Arete Glacier Water Consultants? This is not a good looking formula for a good assessment of Indian Himalayan Glaciers.

    [Ah, this is what we need, someone familiar with the actual subject on hand, rather than someone who was generally connected to the area a few years ago, like me. I think you re-inforce my theory that this is largely politicking, with a bit of gravy-train thrown in for those able to take advantage of it. The question then becomes, where will it all lead? Possibilities:

    * it becomes an embarassing failure, the Indian govt learns its lesson. Well, we could wish.
    * it is a brilliant success. The new institute promotes cooperation and harmony, and delivers valuable results within the amazingly short timeframe. Would be good, but unlikely.
    * nothing much happens. The whole thing gets stifled in bureacracy, a few people get their hands in the honey-pot, the Indian govt quietly forgets the idea. Probable.

    So the issue becomes, what happens to the honest Indian scientists who actually want to get on with glaciology? I'm not hopeful. This looks likely to steer money towards national chauvanism, and that is bad: it will promote fools who can write govt-friendly grant proposals at the expense of the competent scientist -W]

  13. #13 LSheffield
    2010/02/06

    W – I offer an alternative to “Asian ones that is, not red ones”:
    “Dot – not feather”

  14. #14 carrot eater
    2010/02/06

    The Indian Met bureau is declaring 2009 the warmest year in India on record, for whatever that’s worth. Along with a bunch of hemming and hawing about how attribution is difficult.

  15. #15 Lance
    2010/02/06

    “Red Indians” Really?

    Did you pat your mouth with your hand and yell “Woo! Woo! Woo!” when you wrote that?

    I’m not the sensitive type when it comes to racial language but here in America that remark would get you a cold stare even from the average “Red” neck.

  16. #16 Turboblocke
    2010/02/09

    The story that India is distancing itself from the IPCC seems to be a journalistic invention. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/08/india-ipcc-climate-data

    And the Indian PM gave a vote of confidence to Pachauri:
    http://www.dailynews.lk/2001/pix/PrintPage.asp?REF=/2010/02/06/wld04.asp