Of climate change bosses and climate change bullies

During the month of June, Donna Laframboise has highlighted some very telling comments from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chair, Rajendra K. Pachauri, including (but not limited to):

Pachauri’s Cause

We have been so drunk with this desire to produce and consume more and more whatever the cost to the environment that we’re on a totally unsustainable path. I am not going to rest easy until I have articulated in every possible forum the need to bring about major structural changes in economic growth and development. That’s the real issue. Climate change is just a part of it. [bold added]

Well, Pachauri certainly lived up to his commitment to “[articulate] in every possible forum” when he recently increased his carbon-footprint by flying into my backyard (Vancouver, BC) in order to address a group of (presumably receptive, considering the standing ovation he received) university students and declared (many times):

“We have to ensure that there is a price on carbon“

But I digress … Donna also points out:

The IPCC as UN Funding Mechanism

According to Pachauri, the IPCC exists primarily to support a United Nations initiative:

The UNFCCC is our main customer, if I could label them as such, and our interaction with them enriches the relevance of our work and ensures that the audience that we are trying to address is receptive to our outputs.

So let’s take a look at how the IPCC’s “main customer” views the work of the IPCC these days. The UNFCCC (United Nations Framework on Climate Change) held a meeting in Bonn from June 6 to June 17. OK, OK, so they took a break on Sunday, June 12. But, prior to this meeting, as I had noted previously, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC was telling all who would listen that:

The world will be watching closely to see further progress in Bonn so that the climate change process can once again meet the deadline for critical new decisions in Durban.

Whatever Figueres’ agenda might have been for the progress of this “climate change process”, it probably was not helped by the controversy that ensued following the June 14 release of the IPCC WG III’s “Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation”.

Considering Pachauri’s revelation regarding the IPCC’s “main customer”, one might wonder why this “main customer” included only three mentions of the work of the IPCC in its “Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012–2013” while there were 24 mentions of “mechanisms“.

Here’s what this document had to say about the IPCC:

[p. 12] 28. [Mitigation, Data and Analysis programme], MDA will provide support for the implementation of the work programme for the revision of the “Guidelines for the preparation of national communications by Parties included in Annex I to the Convention, Part I: UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories” (UNFCCC Annex I reporting guidelines) and the use of the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines. The revised guidelines are expected to become mandatory for Annex I Parties reporting as of 2015 and therefore they will form part of the overall measurement, reporting and review system under the Convention after 2015.

[p. 13} 31. MDA will maintain and enhance information sharing in relation to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries through the REDD web platform5. The programme will also maintain and enhance the sharing of information, experiences and lessons learned on the use of the IPCC guidance and guidelines through an interactive discussion forum on the REDD web platform.

[p. 23] 60. The programme will continue to liaise and work with the World Meteorological Organization, the Global Climate Observing System, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems, the Global Terrestrial Observing System and other relevant organizations on implementing relevant mandates to enhance systematic observation for addressing climate change. It will support the organization of regular research dialogues at SBSTA sessions and will enhance its efforts to increase the flow of scientific information into the Convention process, in particular from the IPCC.[ emphases added -hro]

The UNFCCC certainly seems to be far more concerned with “mechanisms” (financial [9 explicit mentions] and others) than it is with anything that might derive from the “scientific” assessments of the IPCC.

Meanwhile, back on (US) planet climate change bullies …

Former US Vice-President Al Gore was given yet another platform for a hypocritical fact-free rant in Rolling Stone magazine.

In response, historian and author Walter Russell Mead has written a cogent (and very much a read the whole thing) article [h/t CRS,Dr.P.H. via WUWT], in which he observes:

The Failure of Al Gore: Part One

It must be as perplexing to his many admirers as it is frustrating to himself that a man of Vice President Gore’s many talents, great skills and strong beliefs is one of the most consistent losers in American politics.


Once out of office, he assumed the leadership of the global green movement, steering that movement into a tsunami of defeat that, when the debris is finally cleared away, will loom as one of the greatest failures of civil society in all time.

Gore has the Midas touch in reverse; objects of great value (Nobel prizes, Oscars) turn dull and leaden at his touch. Few celebrity cause leaders have had more or better publicity than Gore has had for his climate advocacy. Hailed by the world press, lionized by the entertainment community and the Global Assemblage of the Great and the Good as incarnated in the Nobel Peace Prize committee, he has nevertheless seen the movement he led flounder from one inglorious defeat to the next. The most recent, failed global climate meeting passed almost unnoticed last week in Bonn; the world has turned its eyes away from the expiring anguish of the Copenhagen agenda.

The state of the global green movement is shambolic. The Kyoto Protocol is withering on the vine; it will almost certainly die with no successor in place.


The plunge from the brink of victory to the pit of defeat must be as unpleasant as it is familiar to the winner of the 2000 popular vote; in his latest essay in Rolling Stone he gives his own best analysis of why he keeps losing. Few American politicians could write an essay this eloquent or this clear. Few people in the world can command this kind of attention for their thoughts. Even so, the results of all this talent and effort are exactly the opposite of what the former vice president would wish; the essay illuminates his shortcomings more than his strengths and makes crystal clear that if global climate policy is going to change, then Al Gore must get out of the way.


A fawning establishment press spares the former vice president the vitriol and schadenfreude it pours over the preachers and priests whose personal conduct compromised the core tenets of their mission; Gore is not mocked as others have been. This gentle treatment hurts both Gore and the greens; he does not know just how disabling, how crippling the gap between conduct and message truly is. The greens do not know that his presence as the visible head of the movement helps ensure its political failure.

Consider how Gore looks to the skeptics. The peril is imminent, he says. It is desperate. The hands of the clock point to twelve. The seas rise, the coral dies, the fires burn and the great droughts have already begun. The hounds of Hell have slipped the huntsman’s leash and even now they rush upon us, mouths agape and fangs afoam.

But grave as that danger is, Al Gore can consume more carbon than whole villages in the developing world […]


[Mead concludes]:

Add to this that the Vice President persists in partisanship — taking pot shots not simply at Republicans and conservatives who disagree with him on climate issues, but mocking and scorning precisely the values and views of the people he (ostensibly) hopes to persuade — and he presents the inescapable impression among skeptics that he is not serious.

If Al Gore really wants to understand why the global green movement has tanked, he should start by taking a long hard look in the mirror. Gaia, too, can be betrayed by a kiss.

Seems to me that the bosses are being let down, while the bullies are diminishing themselves.


One thought on “Of climate change bosses and climate change bullies

  1. Yes, they’re all hell-bent on getting those lovely financial artery-tap mechanisms in place, aren’t they? But the main blood donor, Congress, is tugging hard at the IV, and I don’t think the IPCC and UN are going to be able to keep the tape attached much longer.

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