Climategate: Why those Russian 'experts' might not have our best interests at heart
1. Who are these Russian ‘experts’?
Will Stewart didn’t properly answer this question in his Daily Express story, but just read what his Daily Mail version of the article says. The headline is slightly different, for a start: “Met Office ‘manipulated climate change figures’ says Russian think tank linked to President Putin.”
So, it’s a think tank rather than a reputable body of Russian scientists. The Global Development Network informs us that it’s an “independent, non-governmental, non-political and non-commercial organisation” founded in 1994. And it was founded, Stewart reports, by “a former adviser to Vladimir Putin”, a man called Andrey Illarionov.
Let’s hear a bit more about Andrey Illarionov, shall we? Well, according to his Wikipedia entry he’s a Russian libertarian economist and a former economic policy advisor to Putin. But he’s also one of Russia’s leading climate change sceptics: he was a highly critical of the Kyoto Protocol and even submitted a paper to the 2003 World Climate Change Conference entitled “Anthropogenic Factors in Global Warming: Some Questions” (all ten questions were answered by climatologists). In a BBC interview with Jeremy Paxman in 2004, he said: “No link has been established between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change”.
It’s overwhelmingly clear, then: the Russian “experts” are no such thing. They represent a think tank founded by a former adviser to Putin who is a libertarian and a well known manmade global warming sceptic. All of this is fine, of course, unless you’re trying to present his views as particularly ground-breaking (Climategate “goes SERIAL”, “just got much, much bigger” etc etc).
So, Putin’s old colleague reckons global warming isn’t manmade – but he’s always thought this, most likely for fairly predictable reasons i.e. it was his job to safeguard Russia’s oil and gas-dependent economy. His think tank issues a statement saying as much, based on a misunderstanding of how the Hadley Centre selects its data. The release is translated from Russian into English and is leapt upon by a few bloggers and two newspapers, all of whom have given a classically biased account of the story.
No, Russian economists loyal to Vladimir Putin don’t have our best interests at heart. And no, this doesn’t disprove the fact that manmade greenhouse gases are causing global warming. Next?
Comments to the article
Chestnut on Dec 18th, 2009 at 4:36 pm
Will, you are presenting yourself as a complete idiot, alleginig that Illarionov is a loyal economist of Putin — he is one of the most adamant critics of the current Russian regime (look up his blog, for example)
За получение награды, данной неведомым мне Chestnut в комментариях к статье в Дейли Телеграф, и процитированной в заголовке этого поста, борется, похоже, не только Will Heaven.