RK Pachauri became the head of the United Nations’ intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) in 2002 after India put him up as its official candidate. But after seven years and many bloopers by the IPCC, New Delhi now seems to be distancing itself from its once favourite climate ambassador.
Sources say that the embarrassment over Pachauri is so acute in Delhi’s power corridors that he is no more on the list of hopefuls likely to head the prime minister’s national solar mission. Until a few weeks ago, government sources say, Pachauri was leading the race to head the mission to produce 20,000 MW electricity by 2022.
What is assured for now is the fact that the Centre is formally distancing itself from Pachauri. The government of India had nominated Pachauri’s name for the post of IPCC chairman in March 2002 through its permanent mission in the US. But now, the government is not ready to comment on the recent controversies that have surrounded the climate expert.
Environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh said: “I was dismissed for peddling voodoo science, but the ministry was right on the report on Himalayan glaciers. The claims of IPCC don’t have an iota of scientific evidence.” Ramesh, however, said the government was not demanding Pachauri’s resignation.
A recent report in the British media had found that IPCC’s prediction that 40% of the Amazon rainforests were threatened by climate change was not based on scientific knowledge, but documents compiled by a journalist.
It was not the first time that news reports written by journalists have been picked up by IPCC to make crucial predictions on the effects of climate change. In a similar situation a few days ago, the British media had found that the crucial report that predicted that all 9,500 Himalayan glaciers would vanish by 2035 was again not based on any scientific data but only an interview of glaciologist Syed Hasnain.
In yet another expose, British journalists also found that the report of IPCC linking extreme climate conditions to climate change was again not based on scientific backing.
UK journalists have also alleged that since Pachauri became vice-chairman of IPCC in 1997, The Energy and Resource Institute has expanded its interest in every kind of renewable or sustainable technology along with the Tata Group to invest $1.5 billion in vast wind farms.