Skip to content

‘Disgraced’ boss of climate change panel faces heat over ‘shoddy’ work

Britain’s foremost magazine of weekly political and social commentary, The Spectator, wonders editorially how Rajendra Pachauri keeps his job.

Who, you might ask, is Rajendra Pachauri?

Well, he’s chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose reports on global warming influence governments (and journalists) around the world — and whose science in recent months has “been exposed as shoddy pieces of work which would have disgraced an undergraduate thesis.”

In any other business, The Speccy says, Pachauri would have long ago been bounced. Yet he remains on the job, secure until his term expires in 2014, while calling his critics “arrogant” and viewing dissident opinions as “voodoo science.”

By any rational criteria, the IPCC has been discredited — especially its celebrated claim that by 2035 Himalayan glaciers will all, or mostly, have melted. The Spectator goes a step further and suggests the 2035 claim was taken from speculation in a climbing magazine where the author mistyped the year 2350 as 2035.

Essentially, the IPCC is not devoted to non-partisan science, but to political manipulation and acceptable dogma. In Britain, both the Conservative and Labour parties mindlessly accept IPCC reports, and use them as a basis for policies that The Speccy says “could be hugely damaging to the British economy.”

Regardless, Britain is now committed to cutting carbon emissions by 80% over the coming years, even if the carbon fear is unwarranted.

If there is no dispute over climate change, there is a hell of a lot of dispute over whether it is man-made — that SUVs and irresponsible use of energy and greenhouses gases are endangering the earth. (As a frivolous aside, it could be noted that the alleged menace of methane gases is mostly cattle breaking wind, but as yet there’s no effort to persuade cows to change their diet).

There’s been growing reaction against the IPCC ever since the scandal at the University of East Anglia — where leaked e-mails showed scientific reports disagreeing with, or skeptical of, establishment views on climate change — were crushed, discarded, reviled.

As The Spectator points out, there are such huge sums of money available to those doing research on the negative effects of climate change, that it’s a magnet for every sort of individual — with or without a scientific or meteorological background.

Dr. Pachauri’s background is as a railway engineer.

In 2006, when he was Britain’s environment secretary, David Miliband declared “the scientific debate on climate change is now closed.” End of argument, end of considered alternatives. To The Spectator this was “rather like a 15th century pope attempting to close down the scientific debate on the movement of planetary bodies.”

If you go on Google, you can find all sorts of viewpoints, pro and con, on global warming and climate change. It’s incontrovertible that climate changes cyclically and constantly — and that no one fully understands it.

What common sense and the series of recent natural disasters should indicate is that anything man does is so petty and puny compared to what nature can wreak on occasion, that it should make us more humble instead of more arrogant.

But the Dr. Pachauris of the world are on the cutting edge of political correctness. One cannot escape the conclusion that climate change activism is yet another ploy to distribute wealth and establish a new elite that brooks neither dissent nor contradiction.

Toronto Sun, 20 September 2010