One of Paul Wolfowitz’s two handpicked deputies, Juan José Daboub, tried to water down references to climate change in one of the World Bank’s main environmental strategy papers, the bank’s chief scientist Robert Watson told the Financial Times.  In Dr. Watson, Daboub picked the wrong person to try to get around in Cooney-izing climate change text in an official report. 

The Financial Times reported on April 25:

…Mr Daboub, a conservative former finance minister from El Salvador, was brought into the bank by Mr Wolfowitz. He is already under fire for allegedly trying to take out references to family planning in the bank’s Madagascar country assistance strategy and reduce its prominence in its new health sector strategy….

Robert Watson, the chief scientist, said Mr Daboub tried to dilute references to climate change in the Clean Energy Investment Framework, a key strategy paper presented to the bank’s shareholder governments at its annual meeting in Singapore last September.

“He tried to water it down. He tried to take out references to climate change,” Mr Watson said. Two other officials confirmed this account.

The chief scientist said Mr Daboub, who oversees the sustainable development division of the bank, tried to take out some references to climate change completely and, in other cases, replaced it with the phrases “climate risk” and “climate variability”, which convey greater uncertainty over the human impact on climate.

Mr Watson said: “My inference was that the words ‘climate change’ to him implied human-induced climate change and he still thought it was a theory and was not proved yet.”

He said that went completely against established bank policy.

“We have always felt that climate change is a very serious environmental issue and very serious development issue,” Mr Watson said….

Mr Watson said he and other top managers in his division “pushed back” and insisted on some references to climate change in the paper. Mr Daboub finally conceded sufficiently to make the final strategy paper credible….

The blog Think Progress noted:

Juan José Daboub, a strong advocate of the Iraq war, was rewarded with a managing director post when Paul Wolfowitz took over the World Bank. In that role, Daboub appears to have been Wolfowitz’s designate to drive the conservative agenda.

Daboub has started to come under heavy criticism from the Bank’s executive directors for pushing a hard-right agenda that stands in stark contrast to many of the Bank’s long-standing policies. In addition to his efforts to undermine family planning policies, Bank scientists are now disclosing that Daboub also tried to eliminate references to climate change in official reports….

Daboub’s efforts at the Bank bear a striking similarity to efforts by Philip Cooney, the former chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality….

Bob Watson has played an eminent role in the climate science community.  Before going to the World Bank he chaired the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the 2001 assessment.  He was later pushed out of his IPCC position with the help of the Bush administration and at the urging on an ExxonMobil operative.  Earlier, Dr. Watson co-chaired the IPCC 1995 working group report on climate change impacts, and also co-chaired authoritative international scientific assessments of stratospheric ozone depletion.  He was a NASA scientist, then served as environmental director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the first Clinton-Gore term.  There he was a key White House liaison to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, now called the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). 

Watson pushed back on Da-boub, with some effectiveness—AND was willing to talk to the press about it ON THE RECORD, essentially blowing the whistle on a high-level political official.  This, needless to say, earns the Climate Science Watch seal of approval.