* Author pulls out of 70-strong team writing climate summary
* UN panel says document cannot mirror views of every author
* Report is guide for governments cutting greenhouse gases
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent
OSLO, March 27 One of the 70 authors of a draft
U.N. report on climate change said he had pulled out of the
writing team because it was "alarmist" about the threat.
Richard Tol told Reuters he disagreed with some findings of
the summary to be issued in Japan on March 31.
"The drafts became too alarmist," the Dutch professor of
economics at Sussex University in England said by telephone from
Yokohama, Japan, where governments and scientists are meeting to
edit and approve the report.
But he acknowledged some other authors "strongly disagree
The final draft says warming will disrupt food supplies,
slow economic growth, and may already be causing irreversible
damage to coral reefs and the Arctic.
"The report is a product of the scientific community and not
of any individual author," the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) said in a statement. "The report does not
comprehensively represent the views of any individual."
It said Tol notified it in September that he was withdrawing
from the team writing the summary. He had been invited to Japan
to help the drafting and is also the coordinating lead author of
a sub-chapter about economics.
Tol, who has sometimes been at odds with other scientists in
the past by pointing to possible benefits from global warming,
had not made his pullout widely known until now.
The report will help governments prepare a deal to cut
rising greenhouse gas emissions, mainly by shifting from fossil
fuels to renewable energies, at a summit in Paris in late 2015.
RISK AND OPPORTUNITY
Tol said the IPCC emphasised the risks of climate change far
more than the opportunities to adapt. A Reuters count shows the
final draft has 139 mentions of "risk" and 8 of "opportunity".
Tol said farmers, for instance, could grow new crops if the
climate in their region became hotter, wetter or drier. "They
will adapt. Farmers are not stupid," he said.
He said the report played down possible economic benefits of
low levels of warming. Less cold winters may mean fewer deaths
among the elderly, and crops may grow better in some regions.
"It is pretty damn obvious that there are positive impacts
of climate change, even though we are not always allowed to talk
about them," he said. But he said temperatures were set to rise
to levels this century that would be damaging overall.
Another expert criticised Tol, saying his IPCC chapter
exaggerated possible benefits.
"Of the 19 studies he surveyed only one shows net positive
benefits from warming. And it's the one he wrote," said Bob
Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham
Research Unit on Climate Change and the Environment at the
London School of Economics.
The IPCC summary says warming of 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5
Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times will reduce world
economic income by between 0.2 and 2.0 percent a year.
Among rare examples of past dissent within the IPCC, Richard
Landsea, a U.S. meteorologist, pulled out of the last report
published in 2007, accusing the IPCC of overstating evidence
that global warming was aggravating Atlantic hurricanes.
(Reporting by Alister Doyle; editing by Andrew Roche)