A climate scientist who became embroiled in the 'Climategate' scandal has been awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours List.
Professor Bob Watson of the University of East Anglia, who is also the chief scientific adviser at Defra, has been handed one of the highest honours an individual can receive.
The controversial figure blamed the media for exaggerating the leak of the 'Climategate' emails, which appeared to show climate data had been manipulated.
Prof Watson, who is also the director of strategic development at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, was the chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) until 2002 when he was voted out of his position after publicly criticising the environmental policies of President George Bush.
He was also accused of leaking information to pursue a “personal agenda”.
The award-winning atmospheric chemist had previously worked as chief scientist at the World Bank and environmental adviser to the Clinton administration. He has played a key role in chairing or co-chairing major international scientific assessments which have provided the scientific basis for informed national and international environmental policies.
The professor has consistently warned that there will be a significant rise in global temperatures unless there is a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions. In December 2009 he said: "If we stayed on the road of the last decade or two, we would be much more on the high emissions scenario of the IPCC and that plausibly could take us up by 6C."
He has also been highly critical of the media role in reporting climate science and denounced sceptics, once saying: "Those that have opposed a deal on climate, which would include elements of the fossil fuel industry, have clearly made making a 2C target much, much harder, if not impossible. They've clearly put the world at risk of far more adverse effects of climate change."
In the wake of the 'Climategate' scandal, he described: "The sceptics have clearly seized upon this as an incident that they can use to their own ends in trying to disrupt the Copenhagen agreements."
On receiving news of his knighthood, Bob said: "I am delighted and humbled by this honour, which implicitly recognises the value of scientific knowledge in national and international environmental policy formulation.
“Of all the honours I have received this is very special, not only to me but also to my family and friends."
UEA Vice-Chancellor Prof Edward Acton said: "I would like to offer my warmest congratulations on this latest public recognition of one of our very finest scientists. Bob Watson has made, and continues to make, an enormous contribution to the globally important field of climate science - a field in which this university is committed to playing a leading role."
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