February 7, 2010

CHURCHVILLE, VA—India is setting up its own climate research unit because it no longer trusts the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I’ve been predicting such a move for years—partly due to the IPCC’s biased science, but more because India simply cannot afford to curtail its desperately needed and energy-powered economic growth. India’s government’s stability depends on expanding prosperity for the all of its people. That means more energy, and over half of India’s electricity comes from coal.  
Carried to its extreme, the global warming scare would pressure India to give up the nitrogen fertilizer that feeds nearly half its population—and even slaughter its 200 million sacred cows, which daily produce huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane. Either would cause widespread rioting.
The warming alarmists have predicted awful things for India unless fossil fuels are curbed, including submergence of its coastal lands, lack of water for irrigation, increased cyclone activity, and forced shifts in rice production that would threaten hunger for millions.
I predict the new Indian research unit will find that the IPCC’s data and conclusions have been deliberately and massively misleading and the scares wildly overstated, while actual temperature changes have been small and non-threatening. We recently finished the third sharp increase in global temperature since 1850, including one from 1860–1880, and another from 1910–1914. All ended in coolings, not runaway warmings.
Other emerging countries have been willing to let the Western societies sacrifice themselves to the IPCC’s man-made warming dogma—and even hoped for some of those big “carbon guilt payments” the West has talked about. But it’s clear now that the West won’t be making big carbon payments to the Third World.
The breaking point for India came when the IPCC’s 2007 report announced that India’s Himalayan glaciers were melting faster than the world’s other glaciers, and might be completely gone by 2035—or sooner. Worse, the report claimed that the billions of people who depend on Himalayan snowmelt would no longer get adequate drinking and irrigation water from the Indus and Ganges Rivers. That could have triggered a major refugee problem for neighboring countries, or beyond.
India didn’t believe it, and assigned their top glaciologist, V.K. Raina, to assemble a new assessment from satellite data and laborious on-site measurements. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh announced a few weeks ago that Raina and his teams had found the IPCC was wrong. “There is no conclusive scientific evidence to link global warming with what is happening in the Himalayan glaciers,” which Ramesh pointed out are at much higher altitudes than most of the world’s other glaciers. He added that though some glaciers are receding, they were doing so at a rate “not historically alarming.” He further noted that India’s rivers actually depend primarily on the monsoons. .
In a remarkable finding, the Raina report claims the Ganotri glacier, the main source of the River Ganges, actually receded faster before 1978, and is today “practically at a standstill.” Newspapers warned that the Siachin glacier in Kashmir had shrunk as much as 50 percent—but Raina reports that those claims are simply wrong, that the big glacier has “not shown any remarkable retreat in the last 50 years.” 
The IPCC Chairman, India-born Rajendra Pachauri, dismissed the Indian response as “voodoo science,” But the flimsy basis for the IPCC claim has now been revealed, and the IPCC has had to issue an apology. Since then, additional IPCC claims have been found to lack scientific support.
My prediction: The Indian science panel will hasten the end for the IPCC’s once-dominant view of man-made climate change.
DENNIS T. AVERY is a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He is an environmental economist and was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 24421 or email to