The chairman of the leading climate change watchdog was informed that claims about melting Himalayan glaciers were false before the Copenhagen summit, The Times has learnt.
Rajendra Pachauri was told that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 was wrong, but he waited two months to correct it. He failed to act despite learning that the claim had been refuted by several leading glaciologists. The IPCC’s report underpinned the proposals at Copenhagen for drastic cuts in global emissions.
Pachauri denies it, of course:
Asked whether he had deliberately kept silent about the error to avoid embarrassment at Copenhagen, he said: “That’s ridiculous. It never came to my attention before the Copenhagen summit. It wasn’t in the public sphere.”But there's a problem.
However, a prominent science journalist said that he had asked Dr Pachauri about the 2035 error last November. Pallava Bagla, who writes for Science journal, said he had asked Dr Pachauri about the error. He said that Dr Pachauri had replied: “I don’t have anything to add on glaciers.”
Not when there's a chance to lock in a lot of money. And Dr. Pachauri could make a lot of money.
So what does the evidence actually show?
The Himalayan glaciers are so thick and at such high altitude that most glaciologists believe they would take several hundred years to melt at the present rate. Some are growing and many show little sign of change.So what did Dr. Pachauri know, and when did he know it?
Mr Bagla said he had informed Dr Pachauri that Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario Trent University and a leading glaciologist, had dismissed the 2035 date as being wrong by at least 300 years. Professor Cogley believed the IPCC had misread the date in a 1996 report which said the glaciers could melt significantly by 2350.I guess nearly two months isn't so bad, even though we've been told that if we don't act now, the earth could be imperiled. But it's more likely that the delay gave a chance for the checks to clear.
Mr Pallava interviewed Dr Pachauri again this week for Science and asked him why he had decided to overlook the error before the Copenhagen summit. In the taped interview, Mr Pallava asked: “I pointed it out [the error] to you in several e-mails, several discussions, yet you decided to overlook it. Was that so that you did not want to destabilise what was happening in Copenhagen?”
Dr Pachauri replied: “Not at all, not at all. As it happens, we were all terribly preoccupied with a lot of events. We were working round the clock with several things that had to be done in Copenhagen. It was only when the story broke, I think in December, we decided to, well, early this month — as a matter of fact, I can give you the exact dates — early in January that we decided to go into it and we moved very fast."
The chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Rajendra Pachauri's Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to £310,000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion's share of a £2.5m EU grant funded by European taxpayers.
It means that EU taxpayers are funding research into a scientific claim about glaciers that any ice researcher should immediately recognise as bogus.
Pachauri may not get that money now. But the good news is that Osama bin Laden is aboard. Maybe he'll fund the research.