By Randeep Ramesh
A leading climate scientist today accused the Indian environment ministry of “arrogance” after the release of a government report claiming that there is no evidence climate change has caused “abnormal” shrinking of Himalayan glaciers.
Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister, released the controversial report in Delhi, saying it would “challenge the conventional wisdom” about melting ice in the mountains.
Two years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN agency which evaluates the risk from global warming, warned the glaciers were receding faster than in any other part of the world and could “disappear altogether by 2035 if not sooner.”
Today Ramesh denied any such risk existed: “There is no conclusive scientific evidence to link global warming with what is happening in the Himalayan glaciers.” The minister added although some glaciers are receding they were doing so at a rate that was not “historically alarming.”
However, Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, told the Guardian: “We have a very clear idea of what is happening. I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”
Ramesh said he was prepared to take on “the doomsday scenarios of Al Gore and the IPCC.”
“My concern is that this comes from western scientists â€¦ it is high time India makes an investment in understanding what is happening in the Himalayan ecosystem,” he added.
The government report, entitled Himalayan glaciers (pdf), looks at 150 years’ worth of data gathered from the Geological Survey of India from 25 glaciers. It claims to be the first comprehensive study on the region.
Vijay Kumar Raina, the geologist who authored the report, admitted that some “Himalayan glaciers are retreating. But it is nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to suggest as some have said that they will disappear.”
Why is it that all the news about global warmingÂ is coming out of the UK these days?