By Axel Bojanowski
The dispute over the UN climate report escalates: The renowned environmental economist Richard Tol resigns in protest of formulations in the new World Climate Report. The report is drifting toward alarmism, he complained indignantly. A colleague reproaches him.
Hamburg - In Yokohama, Japan negotiate scientists and politicians over the last version of the world climate report, the second part on Mondayto be published . Now there is controversy. The renowned environmental economist Richard Tol of the University of Sussex in the UK leaves the group , which is to summarize the environmental report, under protest: he will resign as the author of the summary of the Climate Report, Tol confirmed to SPIEGEL ONLINE. The summary of the UN report "drifts toward alarmism," says the researcher.
The second part of the UN climate report should present the knowledge about the likely consequences of global warming. The good 30-page summary is particularly controversial; in Yokohama wrestle the delegates of the UN IPCC currently around each word. The focus is on the economic impact of the expected climate change.Key terms from the draft of the report had been repaid for the final version, criticized Tol.The draft of the IPCC report had stated, for example, climate risks could be "managed" with adaptation measures, however, was needed substantial social effort. "This finding has disappeared in the draft report, in favor of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse," says Tol.
A "stupid statement" in the report, the finding that people are at risk in war zones, particularly by climate change. "But I guess that people in Syria chemical weapons more fear than the warming," says Tol.
Another IPCC researchers criticized the resignation: Tol's critique had come too late, after the review process, said Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, a reviewer for the IPCC reports, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. Tol had also want to prove positive effects of warming, but it risks ignored. Tol disagrees: material do not be late filed, but was merely shifted to another of a chapter. All risks are taken into account.Both researchers have been arguing for years about the economic consequences of climate change. Ward tends to be pessimistic scenarios, such as the Stern Report of the British government adviser Nicholas Stern of 2006, which speculated that climate change could eat up a fifth of global economic output . Tol has repeatedly criticized the assumptions.
In the secret draft of the new UN climate report, which SPIEGEL ONLINE, the assumptions are revised sharply downward. The IPCC predicts, therefore, only one-tenth of the economic losses, the fears of the Stern Report. In the summary of the climate report, however, too much risk are emphasized Tols opinion still. "This is a missed opportunity," says Tol.