A publication providing succinct biographical sketches of environmental scientists, economists, "experts," and activists released by The National Center for Public Policy Research.

Environmental Scientist: Richard Elliot Benedick

Richard Elliot Benedick is President of the Committee for The National Institute for the Environment, an organization that seeks government funding for a new, ostensibly independent, scientific agency -- The National Institute for the Environment. The NIE's key mission is to improve "the scientific basis for environmental decision-making" by insulating science from politics. While insulating science from the political process may be a laudable goal, the NIE would be unlikely to achieve it, given Benedick's dedication to a decidedly left-of-center political agenda. He was, for example, the U.S.'s chief negotiator of the Montreal Protocol, the international agreement banning chlorofuorocarbons (CFCs), manufactured chemicals commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners that have been blamed for destroying the ozone layer. The U.S. ultimately signed the agreement despite the absence of firm evidence at the time that CFCs had any impact whatsoever the ozone layer (see Benedick quote below). Further, even if there had been evidence of ozone damage due to CFCs, such damage would not have been sufficient to justify the total ban of CFC production, given the tremendous costs. Recent evidence suggests that thinning of the ozone layers has little impact on human health as ozone does not block UV-A rays that are believed to be responsible for malignant melanoma, a deadly form of cancer.

Benedick has also served a Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the 1992 U.N. "Earth Summit," where the Global Climate Change Treaty was adopted, and as Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994. In addition, Benedick serves as a Senior Fellow at the World Wildlife Fund, and honorary fellow of the population control group, Population Reference Bureau.

Mr. Benedick received his Bachelor's degree from Columbia, a Masters in Economics from Columbia and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard. He was also an Evans Fellow in Metaphysical Poetry at Oxford. A career diplomat, Benedick has no formal science training. He is author of Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Saving the Planet, Harvard University Press, 1991.

Selected Benedick Quotes

"A global climate treaty must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the greenhouse effect." - Richard Benedick quoted by Dixy Lee Ray in her book Trashing the Planet (1990)

"Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of the [Montreal Protocol] treaty was its imposition of short-term economic costs to protect human health and the environment against unproved future dangers... dangers that rested on scientific theories, rather than on firm data. At the time of the negotiations and signing, no measurable evidence of [ozone] damage existed." - Richard Benedick in his book Ozone Diplomacy (1991)

"...the world's governments acted just in time to address the critical problem of ozone layer depletion when they enacted the historic Montreal Protocol in 1987." - Richard Benedick writing for the Earth Times, October 24, 1993

"Don't worry about the blandness of the final [Global Climate] treaty, because it has hidden teeth that will develop in the right circumstances." - Richard Benedick quoted by The New York Times, June 14, 1992

Version Date: February 21, 1996

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