Former ESRI economist describes climate change report as ‘too alarmist’

Controversial academic Richard Tol asked that his name be removed from the summary

Prof Richard Tol: has said some of the positives of climate change have been left out of the report or downplayed. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Prof Richard Tol: has said some of the positives of climate change have been left out of the report or downplayed. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

Richard Tol has described the findings of IPCC as “too alarmist”. He was one of 70 authors of the draft UN report published yesterday.

Last week he asked that his name be removed from the summary but not from the chapter of which he is one of the lead authors – the chapter on key economic sectors and services.

Prof Tol, a professor at the University of Sussex and at the economics of climate change section in Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, has said some of the positives of climate change have been left out of the report or downplayed. He said farmers have always found ways to adapt.

“It underplays the opportunities. It does not sufficiently emphasise that with adaptation and development these risks are manageable.”

He disagreed with the contention in the summary that the world’s population would grow 14 per cent per decade, with crop yields falling 2 per cent in the same timeframe.

He said the summary did not reflect what was in the report, namely that technological change would more than compensate for the effects of climate change by pushing up crop yields by between 10 and 20 per cent per decade.

Another lead author Dr Rachel Warren disputed Prof Tol’s conclusions.

“A large proportion of the models used to assess the impact on agriculture actually do account for the farmers to adjust planting and harvesting dates.”