Glacial retreat paper contradicts its own data: Vandana Shiva

November 17th, 2009 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Ecologist Vandana Shiva Tuesday criticised a discussion paper on Himalayan glaciers released by the environment ministry last week, as its conclusions contradict the data mentioned in the report.
“While the data included in the report clearly suggest that the glaciers are retreating at a steady pace, the conclusion bluntly retorts that the situation has largely remained unchanged over the past ten years,” Shiva told reporters on the sidelines of the National Conference on Climate Change in the Himalayas, organised by Navdanya, the NGO conducting environment research, which she heads.

The paper “Himalayan Glaciers: A State of the Art Review of Glacial Studies, Glacial Retreat and Climate Change” was released by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh Nov 9.

It says that while most of the 9,500-odd glaciers in the Indian Himalayas are retreating, some like the Siachen glacier are advancing, while some like the Gangotri glacier have reduced their rate of retreat. Most of the glaciers in trouble are the small ones.

Former Geological Survey of India official V.K. Raina, who put the discussion paper together, said that while glaciers were retreating, “we cannot say if it is abnormal, because we don’t know what is normal”.

Shiva has held that that Raina, a glaciologist, had no business “talking about rising temperatures and larger issue of climate change, and misleading people.”

She added that many scientists are falling prey to “manipulative policies adopted by the government” and are losing credibility.

“Just like Nero fiddled while Rome was burning, so is the ministry of environment fiddling with climate change in India,” she quipped.

Shiva added that the government should ensure that the US corporate lobby is not successful in dismantling the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding instruments to tackle climate change.

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