According to the Times Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, knew about the flaws in the Himalaya Glacier report well before the Copenhagen climate summit. The report was a major factor in formulating the summit’s proposals.

The report claimed that most of the Himalayan glaciers would have melted away by 2035. But according to most glaciologists, some glaciers are growing and others are probably maintaining their size.

Dr Pachauri had even called a report by the Indian government that the glaciers were not melting as “Voodoo science”.

The error in the IPCC report was, it seems, pointed out to Dr Pachouri last November by Pallava Bagla of the Science journal. The report had also been dismissed by a leading glaciologist Graham Cogley of Ontario Trent University.

The Times also covers two other stories that shows how little we really know about the environment. They really illustrate that calling the climate science ‘settled’, as those on the side of AGW would say, is mistaken.

The first is about a group of scientists from Manchester University who managed to locate four glaciers in the Prokletije mountains in 2009. They were following up on a Royal Geographical Society funded expedition in 2006, which resulted in the discovery of a glacier in Montehegro.

The Prokletije mountains, also known as the ‘Accursed Mountains’, are located in the West Balkans and are a subrange of the Dinaric Alps. They occupy the North of Albania, Kosovo and the East of Montenegro. They also have some of the highest peaks in the Dinaric Alps.

In the 2006 expedition Dr Hughes found a real glacier whilst researching features carved by ancient glaciers.

Last year he returned with Dr Blackford and a PhD student, Rose Wilkinson, and found four more glaciers in Albania. The glaciers are at the relatively low altitude of about 2,000 metres above sea level. The largest glacier is the size of about six football pitches.

In another story, the Renewable Fuels Agency the enforced use of biofuel in vehicles may be accelerating the destruction of rainforests. Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation fuel must contain 13% of biofuel by 2020. Last year over 1.3 million hectares of land, about twice the size of Devon, was used to grow last year’s requirement for 2.9% biofuel content.

the oil companies are required to report where the biofuel comes from, but a loophole in the rules allows them to report as ‘unknown’ where the land has recently been cleared. This means if the land was previously carbon-rich forest then clearing it for biofuel growing may actually release more carbon into the atmosphere instead of reducing it. This is especially true if palm oil is used.

So, we don’t know everything about the planet even with all our expeditions, satellites and aeroplanes. Then when we do know a something we put rules in place that may actually be detrimental to the planet, the law of unintended consequence. As they say, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. I would add to this “especially in the hands of the unscrupulous”.

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