For the 2008 project, Tol co-wrote a paper along with Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University and two researchers from the Electric Power Research Institute, a US trade association. The two climate change proposals were ranked against numerous development and human welfare issues and came in 29th and 30th out of 30.
Long-term Lomborg critic KÃ¥re Fog took Tol, whose FUND computer-model was the basis for the simulation, to task about the study. Tol admitted that the study used a discount rate that fell gradually from 5% whereas all the competing proposals used a 3% rate. Tol excused himself by saying that re-writing the model to use the 3% discount rate was too difficult and that the other proposals should have used his rate, even though the project specifications dictated 3% and he has at other times successfully employed FUND with other rates. This inherent bias caused the bottom ranking.
Fog’s criticisms did not end there. Tol claims his research showed a net benefit from global warming until mid-century, after which the effects turn sharply negative. For this purpose, welfare effects were calculated in local economy terms, with deaths for example being costed at a certain multiple of local per-capita GDP. Thus a single European saved from winter influenza, probable – in actuarial terms – to be elderly and infirm, outweighed not one but many Africans dying – likely in the prime of life – due to global warming.
While empirically-based criticism is central to science, Tol has shown no zeal in his dealings with Lomborg or with Ian Plimer, another scientific fraud alongside whom Tol acts as scientific advisor for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a secretive pressure group opposed to fossil-fuel restrictions. Plimer often simply reverses the conclusions of papers cited when it suits his purposes, a fact he didn’t deny when it was put to him three times on ABC television. Astrophysicist Michael Ashley described his book Heaven and Earth as “scientifically worthless” in The Australian.