With other academics hotly challenging his input into the ongoing debate about the likely effects of climate change, Professor Richard Tol tells Channel 4 News: "I'm an independent counsel".

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On Monday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a landmark seven-year analysis of the global scientific consensus on the impact of climate change.

The findings were alarming, concluding we now live in an era of man-made climate change.

However, the report's impact was undermined by claims that one researcher asked to have their named removed from the report.

That researcher was Richard Tol, a Dutch professor of the economics of climate change, who dissented against the report and accused it of being "alarmist".

"It is pretty damn obvious that there are positive impacts of climate change, even though we are not always allowed to talk about them," Professor Tol stated earlier this week.

He claimed the report played down economic benefits of low levels of global warming, such as milder winters leading to fewer deaths among the elderly, and crops potentially growing better in some regions.

In a piece for the Financial Times he stated: "The idea that climate change poses an existential threat to humankind is laughable."

But Professor Tol now stands accused of inserting misleading data into the report, which could give the impression the economic impacts of climate change are not as bad as many other academics believe.

Bob Ward, of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the LSE, has published what he claims is a detailed account of Professor Tol's input to the IPCC report, pledging "I will continue my efforts to have the errors in Professor Tol's work corrected as a service to researchers, policy-makers and the public."

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Speaking on Channel 4 News Mr Ward said "in his part of the [IPCC] report, he states that we can't be certain at low levels of warming whether net impacts of climate change might be positive or negative, but when you actually look at the data - there's 20 data points - there's just one study that suggests significant positive net impact from global warming, and that single study is one that Professor Tol himself produced in 2002."

I'm an independent adviser, an honest counsel Professor Richard Tol

Professor Tol said he was surprised by Mr Ward's statements, saying "there were indeed a few errors in an earlier draft, but they have been corrected". He added "my estimate is not the only one that shows positives, but there are in fact a number of others."

But Mr Ward insisted that there is only one study that shows net positive impacts.

When asked by Mr Ward "how many of those 20 show significant net positive impacts?", Professor Tol replied: "actually that is not something the IPCC can pronounce about, because that is information that is yet to be published in the peer-reviewed literature", adding that a number show no significance whatever, and that a good deal of global warming is necessary to make many impacts - whether positive or negative - "significantly different from zero".

Asked why he did not just sue Mr Ward for reputational damage, Professor Tol said such action would be a very drastic step for academia: "I wish that Mr Ward would simply stick to the facts that he knows."

Challenged over his work on the Advisory Council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation - a think-tank launched by Lord Lawson that takes a sceptical view of climate change - Professor Tol denied that he "had an agenda", saying "I'm an adviser to a great number of organisations, and the Global Warming Foundation is one... I'm also an adviser to the Dutch government and the UK government, and to the US government."

"Lord Lawson should speak for himself - I'm an independent adviser, an honest counsel: I give him the same messages as I'm giving here to you now".

On Monday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a landmark seven-year analysis of the global scientific consensus on the impact of climate change.

The findings were alarming, concluding we now live in an era of man-made climate change.

However, the report's impact was undermined by claims that one researcher asked to have their named removed from the report.

That researcher was Richard Tol, a Dutch professor of the economics of climate change, who dissented against the report and accused it of being "alarmist".

"It is pretty damn obvious that there are positive impacts of climate change, even though we are not always allowed to talk about them," Professor Tol stated earlier this week.

He claimed the report played down economic benefits of low levels of global warming, such as milder winters leading to fewer deaths among the elderly, and crops potentially growing better in some regions.

In a piece for the Financial Times he stated: "The idea that climate change poses an existential threat to humankind is laughable."

But Professor Tol now stands accused of inserting misleading data into the report, which could give the impression the economic impacts of climate change are not as bad as many other academics believe.

Bob Ward, of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the LSE, has published a detailed account of Professor Tol's input to the IPCC report, pledging "I will continue my efforts to have the errors in Professor Tol's work corrected as a service to researchers, policy-makers and the public."

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