The controversy focuses on a reference in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark 2007 report that said the chances of Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high.”
“The IPCC claim that glaciers will vanish by 2035 was not based on an iota of scientific evidence,” minister Jairam Ramesh told the Hindustan Times.
“The IPCC has to do a lot of answering on how it reached the 2035 figure, which created such a scare.”
On Monday, the IPCC’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, told AFP that the panel would review the 2035 figure.
Ramesh said he felt “vindicated” after repeatedly challenging the IPCC’s work on glaciers. He believes there is no “conclusive scientific evidence” linking global warming to the melting of glaciers.
In November, Ramesh backed a study by Indian scientists which supported his view, prompting Pachauri to label his support “arrogant.”
The Nobel-winning IPCC is already under attack over hacked email exchanges which skeptics say reflected attempts to skew the evidence for global warming.
The new row has boosted climate skeptics, who have questioned scientific evidence behind global warming in the past and are on a roll after a scandal last month dubbed “climategate.”
Emails from scientists at Britain’s University of East Anglia, a top centre for climate research, were leaked and seized on by sceptics as evidence that experts twisted data in order to dramatise global warming.
Ramesh conceded to the Hindustan Times that “most glaciers are in a poor state,” but said they were receding at different rates and a few were even advancing.