Dr Rajendra K Pachauri has been the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2002. The IPCC is a United Nations body charged with summarising the academic literature on climate change. The IPCC is not allowed to give policy advice. Dr Pachauri has freely advised all and sundry about climate policy, as is his right as the citizen of a democratic country. The media has often reported Pachauri’s personal views as the scientific findings of the IPCC. Pachauri has done too little against that.
The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC reported a number on glaciers on the Himalayas that was wrong. This has now come to light. Instead of admitting error (and a minor one), Pachauri again declared that the IPCC is infallible and even denounced (in no uncertain terms) a recent study on Himalayan glaciers for disagreeing with the IPCC. UPDATE: OUCH
Such blunders reveal why the Bush administration so keenly supported Pachauri. It does not stop there.
Since he was appointed IPCC chair, Pachauri has taken up a raft of advisory positions, almost exclusively with companies that stand to benefit from climate policy. This is against the conflict of interest policies of the two mother organisations of the IPCC (which, astonishingly, does not have such a policy itself). Pachauri’s mother organisation, TERI, also appears to have benefitted from Pachauri’s side jobs. [UPDATE: Forgot to include this link, which suggests that Pachauri has made a habit of these things.]
To top it all off, Pachauri is a director of a charity, TERI Europe, whose accounts are being revisited after Richard North uncovered irregularities.
All this is blowing another major hole in the credibility of climate research.
Adding this to the failed negotations at Copenhagen, I doubt that Europe will strenghten its emissions targets. As the Netherlands has now joined the queue of countries that report difficulties in meeting the renewables target, we may even see less stringent climate policy.
UPDATE: The Irish Times was quick to publish my op-ed on this and related matters.