Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why Did IPCC's Yuri Izrael Speak at the Anti-IPCC Conference In New York?

The Heartland Institute pulled off a PR coup when they signed up one of the leaders of the UN’s climate panel IPCC, Yuri A. Izrael, as a speaker at a conference that was heavily anti-IPCC, and anti-Al Gore. He was billed as “the most influential scientific advisor” for Vladimir Putin by the conservative think-tank, but this was false according to Mr. Izrael himself.

Yuri A. Izrael, vice-president of IPCC. Photo: Hans Sandberg

Yuri Izael opened his presentation by making to corrections: The first was the title to his speech, which was not the title given in the program - ”Future Climate Is No Reason For Alarm” – but the more cautious ”Optimal Way of Maintenance of Present Day Climate”. The second was his title. ”I’m not advisor to president Vladimir Putin. I gave him advise as a scientist when he asked me, but I have never been his official advisor.”

”I am director of the Research Institute of Global Climate and Ecology at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. We were organized twenty years ago,” he said.

Rather than blasting IPCC and denying the climate change, he reaffirmed them, although he does disagree with the majority when it comes to how much impact humans have had on the climate change.
”For the last decades, one of the most acute environmental problems is the problem of climate warming. Actually, for the last century the mean global temperature has risen by approximately 0.74 degrees Celsius.”

He also stated that the world community responded to this by signing the UN Framework Convention on the Climate Change in 1992 and the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, calling for stabilization and gradual reduction of the carbon dioxide emissions. 

President Putin and the Russian government signed the Kyoto Protocol in late 2004, despite advice to the contrary from the Russian Academy of Science.

Yuri Izrael said that he felt that the politicians rush ahead too fast, and should have waited for more conclusive scientific evidence. 

In his presentation, he discussed how large global warming we could accept, and actions necessary to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Then he went on to a discussion of alternative methods for fighting global warming, including a Russian research project, which includes spraying sulfate aerosol in the stratosphere.

”Enhancement of natural sulfate aerosol layer in stratosphere could relatively quickly correct solar radiation,” he said referring to research done 35 years ago by a Russian scientist.
Professor Budyko then discovered a two-year reduction in solar radiation at the Earth’s surface following the 1912 eruption of the volcano Katmai in Alaska.
"This points to the possibility of scattering solar radiation by artificial means," Yuri Izrael said.

After the session, I had a chanced to ask Yuri Izrael about his participating in a heavily politicized conference that could be seen as an anti-Al Gore conference?
”This conference? I think that this is an interesting conference, and I’m glad to be here,” he answered.

Are you here to make a statement that you siding with skeptics in the debate?
”No, I don’t want to. I’m not critical of Albert Gore, because he received the Noble Prize, but I have a lot of questions about his text and his work. When it comes to the IPCC, they have done a lot of mistakes over twenty years, but on the balance, the IPCC, which included thousand people, is very good. They always want to find the balance between people on the left and the right,” he said.

But there is a political agenda behind this conference. Are you aware of that?

”What political agenda?” he answered seemingly confused.

There is a conservative political agenda, and there are a lot of right-wing groups at this conference.

”I don’t know. I always take a scientific position. You should always say the truth. Science is science and politics is politics,” he said.

Do you feel that we need to act to slow down climate change?

”We need to act, but we first need a good scientific basis.”

Which makes me wonder if professor Yuri Izrael had been misled by the conference’s official name:
”The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change,” when it’s real title should have been ”The 2008 International Conference on Why There Is No Climate Change, and Even If It Is, It doesn’t matter!”

Our green future according to the Heartland Institute.

Hans Sandberg

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