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Washington, DC: Controversy continues to swirl around French President Nicolas Sarkozy's possible appointment of renowned geophysicist and former socialist party leader Dr. Claude Allegre - France's most outspoken global warming skeptic -- as the new super-ministry of industry and innovation.

Just one day after news reports revealed Sarkozy is close to appointing Allegre to a high government post, Allegre has fired back at critics upset that he has embraced a skeptical view of man-made global warming fears.

"We are not in the Soviet Union, we can contest a scientific thesis," Allegre retorted, according to a May 28, 2009 article in Nature's blog. (See: Claude Allegre back in French government? - May 28, 2009)

Nature's Blog Excerpt: Allegre has responded to such criticisms by saying that he recognizes the reality of climate change but had doubts as to its causes "given that the climate is a complex phenomenon," and was worried that the challenges facing the planet might lead to decreases in economic growth and threaten the free market. Questioned by the newspaper Le Monde, Allegre said: "I've nothing to say. I'm in my lab writing a scientific article," describing the current controversy as nothing more than "agitation." "We are not in the Soviet Union," he added with respect to his opinions on climate change, "we can contest a scientific thesis." [End Nature Blog excerpt]

Climate Depot reported on May 27, 2009 about Allegre's unique past.

Climate Depot Excerpt: Skeptical Scientist Who Mocked Gore's Nobel Prize as 'Political Gimmick' May Be Appointed to French Super-Ministry Post - Reversed View of Warming To Become Skeptic - Ridiculed Gore's Film as 'Nonsense'

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's appears ready to appoint renowned geophysicist and former socialist party leader Dr. Claude Allegre - France's most outspoken global warming skeptic -- as the new super-ministry of industry and innovation.

If Allegre, who has mocked former Vice President Al Gore's Nobel Prize as "a political gimmick," is chosen for the appointment, it would send political earthquakes through Europe and the rest of the world. Allegre is a former believer in man-made global warming who reversed his views in recent years to become one of the most vocal dissenters of man-made global warming fears. Climate Depot first reported on Allegre's possible appointment to a government post on April 16, 2009. (See also: Sarkozy in climate row over reshuffle - Financial Times - May 27, 2009)

Allegre, a former French Socialist Party leader and a member of both the French and U.S. Academies of Science, was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, but he now says the cause of climate change is "unknown." Allegre has authored more than 100 scientific articles, written 11 books, and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States.

Allegre's possible appointment has 'drawn strong protests' from environmentalists, the Financial Times reported on May 27, 2009.

"Putting him in charge of scientific research would be tantamount to 'giving the finger to scientists', said Nicolas Hulot, France's best-known environmental activist," told the Financial Times.

But Allegre hit back at his environmental critics and accused them of "lies and distortions" about his record and beliefs. "As a scientist and citizen, I, unlike others, do not want environmentalism to accentuate the crisis or make the least well-off suffer more," Allegre said according to the May 27 Financial Times article.

Called Gore's Nobel Prize 'Political Gimmick'

Allegre was one of 1500 scientists who signed a November 18, 1992, letter titled "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" in which the scientists warned that global warming's "potential risks are very great." But in 2006, Allegre declared that global warming hysteria is motivated by money. "The ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" he explained. (LINK)

Allegre mocked former Vice President Al Gore's Nobel Prize in 2007, calling it "a political gimmick." Allegre said on October 14, 2007, "The amount of nonsense in Al Gore's film! It's all politics; it's designed to intervene in American politics. It's scandalous." (Link)

For complete Climate Depot report on Allegre see here.