Is the climate changing?
After making a Himalayan error and then underestimating the height of Holland, the IPCC is under fire with questions over the quality of the UN body's work. This added to other scandals like ‘climategate’ has left the door wide open for climate sceptics to gain ground. ENVIRONMENT examines the myths and realities of global warming.
Following the chaos of Copenhagen followed by mistakes in the reports from the IPCC more and more people are wondering about the credibility of the systems and scientists that ware warning the world about climate change.
Go back three years and Rajendra Pachauri is the man of the moment, the President of the IPCC has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the work the group did on researching and informing the public about climate change.
But two years after receiving the prestigious prize, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper published an article accusing Pachauri of making his fortune from his links with 'carbon trading" companies. Less than a month later came stories highlighting mistakes in IPCC texts. For many of the scientists working with the IPCC, the attacks were well planned and come primarily from American lobbies. "These attacks come essentially from the United States...American lobby's are strong in terms of communication and media power and their using this to counterattack climate change and its true that we're surprised because we're not used to being attacked in such an open and violent way," notes Stéphane Hallegate who works with Meteo France and collaborates with the UN body. However Mr Hallegate points out that there is another opposition which isn't financed by companies one he says that is based on ideology. People he notes are starting to get tired of governments tells them what they can and cannot do, what car to drive, what kind of lights to have in their home. This is leading to a general sense of climate fatigue.
In France philosopher Elisabeth Badinter raises temperatures with her new book which claims that many of the ecological solutions being proposed are anti feminist. Having to feed children organic vegetables and wash re-usable nappies creates extra housework she points out and says that this will largely fall onto women’s laps.
Environmentalists have responded angrily to Badinter's charge that they're anti feminist with one organisation, the women's green group Vertes de Rage sending the philosopher an open letter: "Saying that saving the planet, and being eco-friendly, forces women to stay at home and leave the professional world is an outrageous slur and shows an intellectual dishonesty based on an obvious misunderstanding of the philosophical values of the green movement and its followers in the modern world."
And while the battle between feminists and ecologists continues, advertising laws around the world are cracking down on greenwashing, where companies promote small environmental improvements as massive advances.
British advertising authorities banned specific ads by oil companies Shell and BP after both claimed to be moving 'beyond petroleum' while investing heavily in carbon intensive oil extraction from Canada's tar sands.