A Plea From a Policy Maker

June 9th, 2009

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark explains to the scientific community what he needs from them leading up to the Copenhagen climate conference later this year (PDF):

But understand me correctly; at the end of the day, here in Copenhagen, we have—as politicians—to make the final decision, and to decide on exact figures, I hope. And this is a reason why I would give you the piece of advice, not to provide us with too many moving targets, because it is already a very, very complicated process. And I need your assistance to push this process in the right direction, and in that respect, I need fixed targets and certain figures, and not too many considerations on uncertainty and risk and things like that.

The problem, of course, is not that a politician would offer such advice, rather it is that many scientists have decided to follow it.

2 Responses to “A Plea From a Policy Maker”

  1. Benny Peiser Says:

    It is instructing to note that the exact opposite approach is being adopted by the Japanese government. Here, Prime Minister Taro Aso appears poised to go completely against the demands by climate scientists, green campaigners and UN officials.

    According to Japanese media reports, Taro Aso will announce tomorrow that Japan’s mid-term emissions reduction target (by 2020) is going to be — wait for it — 1% below its Kyoto target (-6% by 2012 compared to 1990 levels).

    To understand why Prime Minister Aso seems to be going against the explicit recommendations by his scientific advisors, his environment minister, the green lobby and the entire UN bureaucracy, one only has to turn to his website and read who he consulted first and foremost yesterday before deciding what he thinks to be in Japan’s best interest:

    Prime Minister Taro Aso held a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office with representatives of labor union and industrial organizations to discuss a mid-term target for addressing global warming. The Prime Minister first met with Mr. Tsuyoshi Takagi, President of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO), and then with Mr. Junro Naito, President of the Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers’ Unions, and Mr. Hiroyuki Nagumo, President of the Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Worker’s Unions of Japan (Denryoku Soren), which was followed by a meeting with Mr. Fujio Mitarai, Chairman of the Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Mr. Tadashi Okamura, Chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), Mr. Tsunehisa Katsumata, Chairman of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), and Mr. Akio Mimura, Representative Director and Chairman of Nippon Steel Corporation. The Prime Minister exchanged views with them on a 2020 mid-term reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions.

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  3. maxlybbert Says:

    For some reason the Danish Prime Minister’s request reminds me of the Charles Babbage quote (referring to his computer): “On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”