Thursday, February 01, 2007

Del. global warming skeptic stands pat
State climatologist on opposite side of governor in court case
By JEFF MONTGOMERY, The News Journal

Posted Thursday, February 1, 2007
Delaware's state climatologist has found himself in the middle of a political squall after taking skeptical stands on global warming and climate change -- in one case directly contradicting the state's own policy.

David R. Legates, a University of Delaware geography professor, co-wrote a "friend of the court" brief that opposed Delaware's position in a multi-state U.S. Supreme Court case.

In the appeal, state regulators argued that carbon dioxide from new cars should be regulated because of evidence the gas was contributing to rising global temperatures, climate shifts and changes in the environment. The Bush administration and industry critics opposed the demand, saying the dire warnings are unproven.

Enter Legates, a Ph.D. climatologist who received the title of state climatologist in 2005 from Daniel Leathers, now the head of the University of Delaware's geography department.

Legates joined a group of scientists late last year in urging the court to reject the state claims, in a brief filed by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute.

"It is simply impossible to conclude that the net effect of greenhouse gases endangers human health and welfare," the brief said.

The institute has sued the government in the past to block some fuel economy standards for automobiles.

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