Global Warming Shakeup in Moscow

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Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273


Washington, D.C., October 9, 2003—Events at a recent scientific conference in Moscow represent an important and dramatic change in the worldwide debate over global warming.  Several distinguished scientists who spoke at the World Climate Change Conference in Moscow last week shattered claims that the science is settled and any consensus that the Kyoto Protocol would serve any useful purpose.


“This is the most important development in the public debate over global warming since President Bush’s decision that the United States wouldn’t ratify the Kyoto treaty,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute president Fred L. Smith, Jr.  “Major scientific voices from both Russia and the U.S. emphasized the uncertainties underlying the theory that man is causing catastrophic global warming.  The challenge now is to address these scientific uncertainties while continuing to improve global economic and environmental conditions.” 


CEI has long contended that the science on global warming is not settled, that the Kyoto global warming treaty would cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars each year, and that it would provide no benefits of any kind.


Among the scientists at the conference who were strongly critical of the theory of catastrophic global warming and the Kyoto Protocol were Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief science advisor, Yuri Izrael, who described Kyoto as based on “bad science”, and the head of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Kirill Kondratiev, who described the theory of rapid, catastrophic global warming as “inaccurate… and contrary to the opinions held by most scientists.”


Izrael and Kondratiev were joined by, among others, climatologist Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said predictions of imminent climate disaster were “a symbol of our divorce from nature and its processes… our grandchildren will look back and wonder how we retreated to the Middle Ages, substituting belief for calculation.” 


Senior Putin economic advisor Andrei Illarionov also contributed his opinions to the conference, telling reporters that the Kyoto treaty would be ineffective at reaching its goals, was based on flawed science, and would be too expensive for the Russian economy.  Without Russia’s ratification, it is unlikely that the Kyoto Protocol would ever come into force.