Ben has an article over at Spiked-Online today,
For the furore around ‘Glaciergate’, we didn’t actually need to know that Himalayan glacial retreat was exaggerated to know that the disaster story it seemingly produced was pseudo-scientific bunk. The plots of such disaster stories are written well before any evidence of looming doom emerges from ‘science’. What really underpins the climate change panic is the way in which politicians have justified their own impotence by appealing to catastophe.
The article cements many of the ideas we’ve been working on here, about the way in which ‘politics is prior’ to ‘the science’ in the climate debate.
You perhaps conceded the ‘scientific’ point that a billion people rely on Himalayan glacial melt for their water supplies so as not to distract from your main points – politics is prior, adaptive capacity deliberately ignored, politicians seeking moral authority in crisis. These are fundamental aspects of the Establishment’s approach to climate change and they need wider exposure but in this instance their importance is dwarfed by the Himalayan melt canard. In densely populated regions of South Asia, the contribution of glacial melt to river flows mostly coincides with the monsoon, when water is plentiful. It makes a tiny contribution to dry-season flows.
A lot of studies say otherwise because they assume that the scale and timing of glacial melt contributions to dry-season flows calculated for small mountain tributaries apply to the bigger rivers downstream on the plain. (For good measure, some also quietly add snowmelt contributions.) This error is not confined to NGO and government reports. I think it was in the IPCC’s AR4; it has certainly appeared in subsequent peer-reviewed literature (including a 2008 study co-authored by the world’s most famous glaciologist).
Why? Probably because politics is prior. As you say in your latest blogpost, some people are too eager to take their ‘science’ from wherever it can be found to support the presupposition of catastrophe.