Cooler Heads Prevailing at IPCC

Published April 25, 2002

CHICAGO, IL April 25, 2002: Last Friday’s 76-49 vote to replace Robert Watson as chairman of the United Nation’s science advisory board on global warming with Rajendra Pachauri, an Indian economist and engineer, is good news for serious environmentalists, says James Taylor, editor of Environment & Climate News, a monthly publication of The Heartland Institute.

According to Taylor, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should be applauded for recognizing the need for a new chairman. “Watson represents an obsolete perspective on global warming that was increasingly at odds with sound science, economics, and global politics. He apparently thinks the debate is the same as when he was science advisor for President Clinton. It isn’t. Times have changed.”

Watson gained national prominence, and notoriety among scientists, in 1992 when he predicted an imminent ozone hole over the Northern Hemisphere. It never happened. As chairman of the IPCC, Watson oversaw production of the Third Assessment Report (TAR), which inflated the probable range of future warming by including models that exaggerate future growth of population and emissions and exclude the cooling effects of sulfate aerosols. Watson may have helped “leak” early drafts of the Summary for Policymakers to the Washington Post and other media outlets just before the November 2000 election in brazen effort to help the candidacy of Al Gore.

“Watson has repeatedly gone on record calling for drastic political and economic changes, even as the science behind the global warming threat has grown increasingly uncertain,” says Taylor. “Political leaders in the U.S. and around the world now recognize that the cost of significantly reducing emissions today would vastly exceed future benefits, indeed, if there would be any benefits at all.”

Most scientists now believe global climate change is a natural phenomenon and any human role is probably too small to isolate and measure. Environmental advocacy groups, many of them heavily dependent on the global warming “scare” to raise funds from governments and foundations or from direct mail, have been increasingly frantic in their attempts to keep the scare alive in the face of a growing scientific consensus.

While the IPCC attempts to get its house back in order, policymakers and environmental reporters would be well served to gather information on the climate change issue from the following experts:

Paul Georgia, Cooler Heads Coalition / Competitive Enterprise Institute (202) 331-1010 [email protected]

Dr. Jay Lehr, The Heartland Institute (740) 368-9393 [email protected]

Dr. Patrick Michaels, University of Virginia (804) 295-7462 [email protected]

Dr. S. Fred Singer, Science & Environmental Policy Project(703) 920-2744 [email protected]

Jerry Taylor, Cato Institute (202) 789-5240 [email protected]

For background on Robert Watson’s scare tactics, see Patrick Michaels, “Global Warming: Watson Indulges in Scare Tactics . . . Again,” Environment Climate News, March 2001.

For Web sites with extensive research and commentary on the climate change issue, see: