One of the most common rejoinders, especially from a particular lefty named David K, is that this may be messy and ugly, but the science is still good, and no paper or conclusion will have to be withdrawn.
Looks like that argument just fell by the wayside:
A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers
by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the
United Nations body that issued it.
Two years ago the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to
incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global
warming. A central claim was the world's glaciers were melting so fast that
those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.
In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have
admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular
science journal, published eight years before the IPCC's 2007 report.
also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone
interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at
Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was "speculation" and was not
supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most
serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to
ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate
So, the IPCC, in the most important document on AGW, one supported by "thousands of scientists" and the "scientific consensus", one written and peer reviewed by the top scientists in the field of AGW, a document designed to force a radical change in the economies of the world and transfer immense quantities of wealth, contains a section that relies on no science, but instead a pop science article based on a telephone interview.
I'm betting that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Update 2/22/09: Predictably, David K rejected my example above. Well here is another example, one that explicitly states that a study published in one of the top journals in the field has been withdrawn:
Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise
due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings.
study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, one of the top journals in
its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007
report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It used
data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between
7cm and 82cm by the end of the century.