BRUSSELS skeptics of the seriousness of global
warming complained on Wednesday of not being heard by the
public or policy makers while warning governments to take a
second look at the scientific consensus on climate change.
Scientists who doubt the scope and cause of climate change
have trouble getting funding and academic posts unless they
conform to an "alarmist scenario," said Roger Helmer, a British
member of the European Parliament, at a panel discussion on
appropriate responses to rising global temperatures.
"If global warming is happening, we can then ask: is it
accelerating and is it likely to be catastrophic?" he said.
"Many people think not."
European Union leaders agreed in March to try to cut
greenhouse gas emissions by at least a fifth compared with 1990
levels by 2020 and as much as 30 percent if other
industrialized and emerging countries joined in.
The EU pledge came shortly before the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which groups 2,500 scientists
and is considered the world authority on the issue, said all
regions of the planet would suffer from a sharp warming.
David Henderson, an economist at the Westminster Business
School in London and former head of the Economics and
Statistics Department at the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development, the OECD, said governments had
given the IPCC a monopoly on climate advice.
"The very idea of creating a single would-be authoritative
fount of wisdom is itself dubious," he said, urging countries
to seek a more balanced approach than the IPCC and to stop
pursuing programs to urgently reduce carbon emissions.
"In this area of policy it's high time for governments to
think again," he said.
Mahi Sideridou, climate policy director at environmental
group Greenpeace, rejected criticism of the IPCC.
"Saying that the IPCC is not balanced is probably the most
ridiculous claim that anybody can make," she said, stressing
the group's reports were based on scientific consensus.
The IPCC findings are approved unanimously by more than 100
governments and will guide policy on issues such as extending
the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, the main U.N. plan for capping
greenhouse gas emissions, beyond 2012.
Benny Peiser, a professor at Liverpool John Moores
University, questioned the methods used by climate scientists.
He said many were recognizing that using computer modeling to
predict an "inherently unpredictable future" was illogical.
"Today's scientific consensus very often turns out to be
tomorrow's redundant theory," he said. He said that scientific
journals refused to take papers from scientists who doubted
Most scientists say climate change will cause seas to rise,
glaciers to melt and storms to intensify, potentially leading
to more natural disasters around the world.