date: Thu, 04 Apr 2002 14:49:31 +0100
from: Phil Jones <p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: Fwd: NYTimes.com Article: Dispute Arises Over a Push to Change Cli
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>From: Tim Barnett <tbarnett-ulatXYZxyzd.edu>
>Subject: NYTimes.com Article: Dispute Arises Over a Push to Change Cli
> mate Panel
>fyi...........this is what happens to true believers in the U.S. these
>>>Dispute Arises Over a Push to Change Climate Panel
>>>April 2, 2002
>>>By ANDREW C. REVKIN
>>>After a year of urging from energy industry lobbyists, the
>>>Bush administration is seeking the ouster of an American
>>>scientist who for nearly six years has directed an
>>>international panel of hundreds of experts assessing global
>>>warming, several government officials have said.
>>>The specialist, Dr. Robert T. Watson, chief scientist of
>>>the World Bank, is highly regarded as an atmospheric
>>>chemist by many climate experts. He has held the unpaid
>>>position of chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on
>>>Climate Change since the fall of 1996. Now his term is
>>>expiring and the State Department has chosen not to
>>>renominate him to head the panel, which is run under the
>>>auspices of the United Nations and the World Meteorological
>>>Dr. Watson is an outspoken advocate of the idea that human
>>>actions - mainly burning oil and coal - are contributing to
>>>global warming and must be changed to avert environmental
>>>Last night, a State Department official said the
>>>administration was leaning toward endorsing a scientist
>>>from India, which along with other developing countries has
>>>been eager for a stronger role in the climate assessments.
>>>But many influential climate experts say they have written
>>>to the department supporting Dr. Watson.
>>>One of those letters was sent last month by Dr. Ralph J.
>>>Cicerone, an atmospheric scientist who is chancellor of the
>>>University of California, Irvine, and chairman of a
>>>National Academy of Sciences panel that assessed the
>>>international panel's climate analyses last year at the
>>>behest of the White House.
>>>In an e-mail message sent to the State Department, Dr.
>>>Cicerone urged the administration not to withdraw its
>>>support for Dr. Watson and, if it did, at least to replace
>>>him with another atmospheric scientist.
>>>Otherwise, "such a change would greatly reduce the emphasis
>>>on science in I.P.C.C.," he said, referring to the climate
>>>panel. He also said it would be "very, very difficult to
>>>find anyone better than Watson."
>>>But energy industry lobbyists and some Republican elected
>>>officials have criticized Dr. Watson as biased and focused
>>>on building a scientific argument to justify cutting the
>>>use of coal and oil. In a letter to the White House a year
>>>ago, for example, Dr. Arthur G. Randol III, senior
>>>environmental adviser for ExxonMobil, said Dr. Watson used
>>>leaks of drafts of his panel's climate reports to further
>>>his "personal agenda."
>>>"Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the U.S.?"
>>>read the letter. A copy was given to The New York Times by
>>>the Natural Resources Defense Council, a private
>>>environmental group. Dr. Randol did not respond yesterday
>>>to requests for comment. But White House officials said his
>>>letter had no bearing on decisions about the panel.
>>>The only other significant candidate nominated for panel
>>>chairman is Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, an Indian engineer
>>>and economist who is now one of five vice chairmen. He is
>>>highly regarded, but many scientists said his lack of
>>>grounding in atmospheric science made him an unsuitable
>>>Nevertheless several lobbyists for energy companies and
>>>auto manufacturers are scheduled to meet with senior State
>>>Department officials this afternoon, when they are expected
>>>to press the administration to endorse Dr. Pachauri.
>>>One of the lobbyists said that in a two-man race, it was
>>>necessary for industry to make a choice - and that the
>>>choice should not be Dr. Watson.
>>>The panel's assessments of climate change underpinned
>>>negotiations leading to two climate treaties, the latest of
>>>them the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for cuts in emissions
>>>of heat-trapping gases. President Bush rejected it a year
>>>The panel's findings have been criticized as overly dire by
>>>energy industry officials and a few scientists. But many
>>>other experts have endorsed them, including the panel
>>>convened by the National Academy of Sciences.
>>>Campaigners at private environmental groups yesterday
>>>attacked the efforts to replace Dr. Watson.
>>>Some climate panel scientists said that other countries
>>>were planning to push for Dr. Watson to remain, and that it
>>>might be possible to craft a compromise in which the two
>>>scientists served as co-chairmen.
>>>In an interview, Dr. Watson said the most important thing
>>>was to keep the panel from becoming divided into factions.
>>>"We've always worked well by consensus," he said. "I would
>>>hope it does not come down to a divisive vote."
Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk