When it comes to the Himalayan glaciers, climatologists were making a melting mountain out of a global warming molehill. But now it appears they’re backtracking:

An influential United Nations panel is facing growing criticism about its practices after acknowledging doubts about a 2007 statement that Himalayan glaciers were retreating faster than those anywhere else and would entirely disappear by 2035, if not sooner.

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, said Monday that the U.N. body was studying how the 2007 report “derived” the information about glacier retreat, according to a spokesman at the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, where Dr. Pachauri is the director. Dr. Pachauri said glaciers were melting, but the 2035 date was in question, the spokesman said.

It was unlikely that these revelations about the IPCC report would overturn the scientific consensus on glacial retreat, but they raised questions for the IPCC about how the data on Himalayan glaciers were collected and reviewed.”

Previous claims were based on “speculation.” While this certainly doesn’t refute evidence that melting ice is occurring, it provides another example of questionable research. Although the ominous footage of ice shelves breaking into the ocean looks terrifying, the reality is we’re not headed towards a Manhattan-based shoreline as projected in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. For instance, the Antarctic summer from October to January of 2008 to 2009 was the smallest recorded in the satellite history. And for claims that man is causing the problem, climatologist Roy Spencer points out, “Many glaciers which have been monitored around the world for a long time have been retreating since the 1800’s, before humans could have been responsible. A few retreating glaciers are even revealing old tree stumps…how did those get there? Planted by skeptics?”

Manmade or not, there are problems associated with climate change, but there are even bigger problems associated with the policies designed to prevent a warmer world – most notably the aggregate GDP losses of $9.4 trillion, the job losses of 2.5 million and the impact of a few tenths of a degree that it will on the earth’s temperature. Climate change speculation can be pretty chilling when it comes with such significant economic costs.