New Delhi: Rubbishing the claim by a government-backed study that melting of glaciers was not due to climate change, leading environmentalist R K Pachauri on Saturday dubbed it as "totally unsubstantiated scientific opinion" and flayed Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh for endorsing it.
Pachauri, the head of Nobel prize winner Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said it was universally acknowledged that glaciers were melting because of climate change and the same applied to Indian glaciers.
"Everywhere in the world, glaciers are melting due to climate change, the Arctic is melting because of climate change. What is so special about Indian glaciers?" Pachauri told an agency.
The study by former deputy director general of the
Geological Survey of India V K Raina has claimed that while
most glaciers are in the process of retreat, some Himalayan
glaciers, such as the Siachen glacier, are actually advancing
and some others are retreating at a rate lower than before,
such as the Gangotri glacier.
The study, which was released by Ramesh last week, also
claimed that climate change can't be cited as a reason for
melting of glaciers in the absence of conclusive scientific
evidence, a view that contradicts that of IPCC.
Questioning the basis of the study supported by the
Environment Ministry, Pachauri asked, "How can you come to the
conclusion that it is not climate change and something else?
You give the reasons first. I don't know why the minister is
supporting this one-man research."
Mincing no words in criticising the author of the report,
Pachauri said, "it is the observation of the entire scientific
community that glaciers are melting.
He alleged that the study has no references, no citations
and is a totally unsubstantiated scientific opinion.
IPCC is world's leading body for assessing climate change
and in its fourth assessment report in 2007, it said Himalayan
glaciers are retreating faster than in any other part of the
world, and if this continues, they are likely to disappear by
2035, or perhaps sooner.
He, however, welcomed Environment Ministry's move to
conduct more scientific research and study on glaciers.
"We do need more extensive measurement of the Himalayan
range and there are only two-three glaciologist in the
country. We need to strengthen this area," Pachauri added.
First Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009, 11:31