Thursday, March 25th, 2010
By Barun Mitra
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted for the first time last month that it is facing a crisis of confidence. But the IPCC’s failings go far beyond the recent spate of errors identified in its reports. The problem began with the global political climate that led to the formation of the IPCC two decades ago.
Contrary to popular perception, the IPCC is not a scientific organization. It does no research of its own. Composed of scientists nominated by different governments, its key function is to collate evidence of human-induced climate change, not just changes in climate.
It is hardly surprising that with such an inherently biased objective the scientists lost their objectivity. Many of them went on a crusade to support the political goal of proving anthropogenic global warming. Concerns about scientific objectivity and critical discourse were thrown overboard.
Why did political masters set such a nonscientific mandate for their scientists at the IPCC? Because over the past half century, governments have often ridden the green bandwagon to justify public-sector expansion.