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Kirill Ya. Kondratyev: Our Newest Scientific and Policy Advisor
Volume 7, Number 9: 3 March 2004

We are both proud and humbled to announce that in a letter dated 23 December 2003, Prof. Dr. Kirill Ya. Kondratyev of the Russian Academy of Sciences accepted our invitation to become a Scientific and Policy Advisor to the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

Kirill Kondratyev was born on 14 June 1920 some 300 km northwest of Moscow. He obtained his primary and secondary schooling in Leningrad, where in 1938 he registered at the University of Leningrad to study physics, mathematics and chemistry. In 1941, however, he had to interrupt his studies to join the Russian army, where he experienced the blockade of Leningrad, ensuing starvation, and being wounded three times on the front line before being released from active duty.

Returning to the University of Leningrad, Kirill graduated in atmospheric physics in 1946 and was appointed to the position of assistant professor in the Faculty of Physics. Subsequently, he was appointed to the posts of lecturer, research scientist, professor of atmospheric physics, chief of the Department of Atmospheric Physics, University Vice-Rector and Rector, as well as senior scientist and chief of the Department of Radiation Studies at the Main Geophysical Observatory. He was also on the staff of the Institute for Lake Research and the Research Centre for Ecological Safety; and he helped to create the Nansen International Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre.

Prof. Kondratyev is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the International Academy of Astronautics, the International Academy of Sciences "Leopoldina," the American Meteorological Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Lille (France), Athens (Greece) and Budapest (Hungary). Among the many prizes he has received are the USSR State Prize and the Twelfth International Meteorological Organization Prize. Scientific journals for which he serves as editorial advisor are the Proceedings of the Russian Geographic Society (Russia), Idojaras (Hungary), Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics (Austria), Atmosfera (Mexico), Il Nuovo Cimento C (Italy) and Sustainable Development (USA).

Most recently, Prof. Kondratyev served as a member of the International Programme Committee for the World Conference on Climate Change that was held in Moscow from 29 September to 3 October 2003, where he presented a paper entitled "Uncertainties of Global Climate Change Observations and Simulation Modeling." This presentation, along with two presentations by Prof. A. Illarionov, were influential in helping Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, begin to coalesce his views on the subject of climate change, which ongoing process should soon culminate with the decision of the Russian government to either ratify or reject the Kyoto Protocol.

With respect to the Conference and its conclusions, Prof. Kondratyev writes that "climate was changing always since the Earth was formed, is changing now, and will be changing in the future. The alternating warm and cold climatic cycles extend from tens, to many thousands, and even millions of years, and depend on variations in radiative and magnetic activity of the Sun, on the position of Earth in its orbit, and on the migration of the solar system across the arms of our galaxy. Since the formation of the oxygen atmosphere hundreds of millions of years ago, changes in its chemical composition have had rather minor influence on climate, with water being a dominant component of the atmosphere, responsible for about 98% of the 'greenhouse effect.' There were periods in the past when concentrations of carbon dioxide, a trace 'greenhouse gas' (which is not a pollutant, but a gas of life, building all living organisms) were about 10 to 20 times higher than now, and no catastrophic 'runaway' greenhouse effect occurred on the Earth, and glaciers were covering parts of continents and islands. As stated at the conference by Andrei Illarionov, the chief economic adviser of the Russian President, 'according to scientific data, in the past 400,000 years a dramatic rise of temperature on Earth occurred every 100,000 years, and this was not in the least linked with man's activity. In the past millennium considerable changes of temperature were observed also in the 11th, 14th and 17th centuries.' In the 11th century the air temperature around the North Atlantic Ocean, in Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and Antarctica was about 1.5C warmer than now. Still earlier, for a long time between 3500 to 6000 years ago, the period of the 'Holocene Warming' enjoyed temperature about 2C higher than now. Illarionov raised ten important questions shattering the shaky edifice of the man-made global warming hypothesis. His litany was followed by presentations of numerous Russian and foreign critics of this hypothesis. They did not receive satisfying answers from its proponents."

Continuing, Prof. Kondratyev asks the following question and provides his answer to it. "If there is nothing unusual in the current climate changes, why is such enormous attention being paid to climate problems in scientific literature, mass media and public opinion? Why are such great resources and the very future of our civilization put at the stake? The answer to this question is not at all simple. Besides science, it involves politics, business, industry, a lot of misanthrope ideology, enormous money, and group interests."

In concluding his brief report, Prof. Kondratyev says "Andrei Illarionov warned that 'the Kyoto Protocol will stymie economic growth; it will doom Russia to poverty, weakness and backwardness.' His words echoed the statement in 1998 by the great British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, that implementing restrictions in CO2 emissions would be 'ruining the world's industries and ? returning us all to the Dark Ages.' It is my opinion that the only people who would be affected by abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol would be several thousand people who made a living attending, in attractive places, conferences on global warming."

Well said! And welcome, Academician Kondratyev!

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso