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Climate Change - Pachauri Vindicated From Smears

30 Aug 2010

Dr. R. K. Pachauiri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been the subject of a long and nasty smear campaign. The campaign was initiated by an article authored by Richard North and Christopher Brooker and published in the Sunday Telegraph (now removed but available here). The article alleged that Pachauri has been “making a fortune from his links with ‘carbon trading’ companies” and that Pachauri had amassed what “must run into millions of dollars” while working for other organisations. He was accused of a serious conflict of interest with his IPCC role. These accusations spread like wildfire and were repeated ad nauseam by mainstream media and around the blogosphere (not least on our own irisheconomy.ie).

The “disclosures” were used – among other things - to support calls for Pachauri’s resignation and (bizarrely) as part of an argument “to reduce the overly generous but not very effective subsidies on renewable energy and energy efficiency” in this country!

An outraged Pachauri reacted furiously to the accusations and demanded an immediate retraction, but to no avail. As a last resort he hired KPMG to audit his financial records and those of TERI, the Indian environmental charity of which Pachauri is Director-General.

The KPMG report found that any money paid to Pachauri went not to him but to TERI: he received only his annual salary, which is £45,000. Pachauri, it was found, even transferred a lifetime achievement award he was given by the Environment Partnership Summit of £2,800 to TERI, money that he would have been perfectly entitled to keep. Given that Pachauri is paid exactly zero for his work as Chairman of the IPCC, what emerges is a picture of an honorable, scrupulously honest, if somewhat poorly paid individual.

The KPMG report concludes that: “No evidence was found that indicated personal fiduciary benefits accruing to Pachauri from his various advisory roles that would have led to a conflict of interest”.

I cannot say that I am surprised that Dr. Pachauri has been vindicated. IIEA invited Dr. Pachauri to Dublin in 2007, and organized his itinerary, as well as covering his very modest expenses. His integrity, honesty and modesty were much in evidence on that occasion.

Goerge Monbiot’s excellent blog summarises events more fully.

The Telegraph’s mealy-mouthed subsequent retraction (see North’s reaction) has gone unremarked on irisheconomy.ie and the other media who were complicit in spreading the original falsehoods.

It follows hot on the heals the retraction by the Sunday Times of their own disgracefully disingenuous article entitled UN Climate Panel Shamed by Bogus Rainforest Claim which stated that the claim that global warming could wipe out 40% of rainforests was based on an unsubstantiated evidence by environmental campaigners. The claim has now been retracted following an official 31 page complaint by one of the scientists involved.

As an independent forum, the Institute does not express any opinions of its own. The views expressed in the article are the sole responsibility of the author.

Comments 1-2 of 2

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lorcan says: 16 Sep 2010 16:41

Thanks for highlighting this. There's a whole other post to be written about irisheconomy.ie but as for the proposals to reform the IPCC, at first glance they seem to be an attempt to increase accountability but at the expense of independence so I'm not sure they're a good idea?

Joseph Curtin says: 31 Aug 2010 12:32

Excellent report by IAC on modernising IPCC available here: http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/report/Executive%20Summary%20and%20Front%20Matter.pdf Establishing an Executive Committee and an Exec Director seem sensible. Most damaging finding for AR4 is in relation to WG2 where it was fund that "authors reported high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence".

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