Has IPCC tossed Pachauri into the dustbin?

Rajendra K. Pachauri has been the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2002 which – in the judgment of some – may well be at least eleven years too many. Nonetheless, by the time he officially steps down, he will have been peddling porkies for the better part of twelve years (give or take a few months).

Pachauri is also known for peddling third-rate purple prose. See Chapters 64-68 of Donna Laframboise’s Into the Dustbin: Rajendra Pachauri, the Climate Report & the Nobel Peace Prize as well as Walter Russell Mead’s must read review. As Mead had cogently noted in this August 2010 review:

A family friendly website like this one is not the proper place to describe Pachauri’s portrait of Sanjay’s sex life. It is not a pretty picture; parts of the book read like the Memoirs of a Disgusting Old Goat — by the kind of Old Goat that doesn’t understand the concept of too much information.

The difficulty in reading [Pachauri’s] Return to Almora isn’t rendering judgment on a vacuous ninny like Sanjay. The libraries of world literature are rich, but there are few main characters as vain, as blind, as ludicrous and as lacking in self-awareness as Pachauri’s protagonist. The question is whether Pachauri understands what a fool he’s created: is Pachauri in on the joke or is he part of the joke? Is he mercilessly and cleverly exposing the absurdities and obsessions of a certain type of unreflective smoothie, or is he naively celebrating that success because he himself is so vain, so blind and so caught up in fame that he is as clueless as Sanjay?

But back to his porkies for a moment! The most recent one that I had noticed was his performance during the September Working Group 1 (WGI)/IPCC meeting in Stockholm before the participants moved their oh-so-transparent deliberations behind closed doors.

As I had observed, the most notable part of Pachauri’s presentation was the following porkie:

All of the InterAcademy Council (IAC)’s [2010] recommendations … have been implemented, with one exception which was not feasible for practical reasons.

Even in AR5: “The Movie”, Pachauri was given a mere (and mercifully brief) cameo role.

It may (or may not) be significant that, to date, there has been no submission of evidence from the IPCC to the U.K. Parliament’s Select Committee on Energy and Climate current “IPCC 5th Assessment Review“. Perhaps the IPCC’s collective nose was out of joint because – unlike, for example, Donna Laframboise and Dr. Judith Curry – they were not specifically invited to submit written evidence.

Then, again, perhaps they were invited but – for whatever reason – a decision was made to leave it to the dependable cheerleaders such as the U.K. Met Office or The Grantham Institute for Climate Change or even The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. The latter of the Granthams being the home of Bob <fast fingers & loose lipped> Ward.

Speaking of the Granthams … During yesterday’s hearing of oral evidence (see three-hour ‘Tube version here), it was amusing to note that at one point, Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, representing the first of the Granthams I mentioned above, sounded quite horrified at one of the MP’s assumption that there was a relationship between his organization and Ward’s!

If you don’t have time to watch the video, I would recommend Paul Matthews’ brief commentary and particularly Judith Curry’s extensive reportage. Although I would recommend skipping the now 400+ comments at Curry’s – far too many of which emanate from the angry keyboard of David Appell and other known thread-derailers and/or sneer ‘n smear artists. Observations and comments from others can be found at Anthony Watts’ WUWT and at Andrew Montford’s Bishop Hill.

As Curry noted in her very detailed (I don’t know how she does it!) commentary, Pachauri did receive a mention en passant:

[Richard] Lindzen: Previous panel says you can trace statements in the SPM to main report. That is probably true, although they allow the SPM to change the main document. 31 pages leaves a lot out. The issue is selection of statements. The omissions are significant.

Question: Are scientists protesting this?

Donna: Pachauri claimed that all references are from peer reviewed literature. This is clearly not true, but scientists did not step up and say this was incorrect. There aren’t a lot of checks and balances in the system, especially since the SPM engagement with policy makers happens behind closed door.

And speaking of mentions of Pachauri … I could be wrong, but it seems to me that during the past year, he’s been receiving fewer and fewer mentions by the month. Not the least of which is the, IMHO, very conspicuous absence of his name in the IPCC’s January 24 Media Advisory (pdf):

IPCC Working Group I to publish full report on 30 January 2014

GENEVA, Jan 24 – Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has now finalised its full report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, which will be published online on Thursday 30 January 2014.
[…The full report] has also been adjusted, as agreed, for consistency with the approved Summary for Policymakers, in accordance with IPCC procedures, and errors have been corrected.

Besides the report itself, the package to be published online on 30 January includes the first- and second-order drafts of the report, review comments by expert and government reviewers on the drafts, and the responses by the Working Group I author teams to those comments, as well as extensive additional material.
The IPCC will hold a dial-in press conference on Thursday 30 January 2014 at 14.30 CET (22.30 JST, 21.30 CST, 13.30 GMT, 08.30 EST) to present the full report. The speakers will be Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, and Renate Christ, Secretary of the IPCC. Media representatives wishing to take part in this press conference are invited to email the IPCC […] (emphasis added -hro)

Is it not just a little strange that at the official release of this most important report Pachauri will not be in attendance?! I suppose it’s possible (perhaps even highly plausible, considering his past performances) that Pachauri is pre-occupied with the production of another purple prose potboiler. Alternatively, perhaps he’ll be too busy with his latest venture [h/t DAmbler]:

Expansion plans: TERI, Deakin University

TNN Jan 27, 2014, 05.36AM IST

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) of India and Deakin University in Australia will undergo a major expansion.

Announcing the expansion, Jane den Hollander, vice-chancellor , Deakin University and Rajendra K Pachauri, director-general TERI, said that a new research centre would be set up. The TERI-Deakin Nano Biotechnology Research Centre (TDNBC ) would be housed in a new facility in Gual Pahari, Gurgaon.
[…] With almost equal investments from TERI and Deakin equating to around AU$ 10 million, the new infrastructure will be operational by 2015, with the capacity to accommodate the envisaged 100-plus researchers, including 50 PhD students, co-supervised by TERI and Deakin.

Pachauri and Hollander also announced the first presence of TERI in Australia. “At Deakin we are strongly committed to creating job opportunities through new partnerships between education, research and industry . Expanding our partnership with TERI in our home state of Victoria will enable us to develop the partnerships and scientific capacity that will benefit the people of India and Australia alike,” she said.

Fancy that, folks! No mention of Pachauri’s IPCC Chair hat – or of his (now former) faux Nobel Laureate status! Perhaps he has been tossed into the IPCC’s “dustbin” ;-)


2 thoughts on “Has IPCC tossed Pachauri into the dustbin?

  1. As well as working to expand TERI, Dr. Pachauri continues to travel the globe on the international (but non-IPCC) conference circuit – he’s due to speak at a renewable energy event in Amsterdam in early March.

    Just wondering who his successor might be, in due course; perhaps Thomas Stocker, who has become a lot more visible in the media over the last six months – a safe pair of hands, maybe?

    I can’t somehow imagine Stocker talking about “voodoo science” or expressing a wish to send sceptics on a one-way trip to outer space – and (as far as I can tell, but who knows!) he doesn’t have a single racy novel to his name.

    • Alex, I quite agree that we are highly unlikely to hear Stocker talking about “voodoo science” or other notable Pachauri inanities. Nonetheless, he does seem to share Pachauri’s “definition” of “non policy prescriptive”!

      And I don’t doubt for a moment that SimCli™ player “expert” Stocker – who had his fingers in many “task group” pies cooked up in “response” to the InterAcademy Council (IAC)’s 2010 review of the IPCC’s policies and procedures – may well be campaigning for “election” as the next IPCC Chair!

      As Marcel Crok mentioned in a recent post, Stocker did a jaw-dropping 180° turn:

      A few weeks ago I had the chance to talk for two hours with Thomas Stocker, the co-chair of the WGI report. […] The good news is that Stocker for any future IPCC report is in favor of making the whole process more public.[…]

      This from a SimCli™ devotee who not too long ago had declared:

      the Arhus Resolution (sic), it seems to me, had another motivation: open access to environmental data associated with damage, spills, pollution; the latter word is mentioned twice – ”climate” never. So to take this convention and turn it around appears to me like a perversion.

      One important point to consider is whether Arhus really applies to the IPCC activities. In no way are we involved in decision making. We assess and provide scientific information. The decision makers are elsewhere. More than ever need we be aware of this separation! [emphases added -hro]

      Amazing, eh?!

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