Are the IPCC’s Global Warming Forecasts based on Faulty Economics?

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Date(s) - 11/19/200412:00 pm - 1:30 pm


David Henderson: Thank you Myron and thank you Jeff. It is an honor and a pleasure to be here today. Thank you for inviting me, and for giving me a chance to put before you a few thoughts on the whole IPCC process. These are the thoughts of a partnership which has become notorious in climate change circles, the partnership of Ian Castles and me, in which I am the junior partner alphabetically and the senior partner in terms of age, while as co-authors we are equals.

Over the past two years Castles and I have put forward, elaborated and defended a joint critique. The main single target of this critique has been the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), which forms the starting point of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In relation to the SRES, our main single criticism and our initial single criticism was over their use of market exchange rates rather than purchasing power parity rates in converting one country’s currency into another, in measuring differences in GDP and in GDP per head. However, our critique goes beyond the emissions scenarios. It extends to the economic and statistical work of the IPCC as a whole, including the emissions scenarios, and it also goes beyond this particular, rather technical, but quite important issue of the choice of exchange rates and translating GDP in one country into that of another.”


Professor David Henderson is currently Visiting Professor at the Westminster Business School in London. He was chief economist at the OECD in Paris from 1984 to 1992, has held senior positions at the World Bank and the British government and was professor of economics at Oxford University. Among Professor Henderson’s many publications are Misguided Virtue, Anti-Liberalism 2000, The Changing Fortunes of Economic Liberalism, and Innocence and Design: the Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (the BBC’s Reith Lectures in 1985).

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