26 August 2009

The IPCC's Advocate in Chief

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, tries to have things both ways:
"As chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) I cannot take a position because we do not make recommendations," said Rajendra Pachauri when asked if he supported calls to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below 350 parts per million (ppm)."But as a human being I am fully supportive of that goal. What is happening, and what is likely to happen, convinces me that the world must be really ambitious and very determined at moving toward a 350 target"


  1. Oh my heavens!

    Atmospheric CO2 is approaching 0.04% of the atmosphere!

    The absolute worst case scenario from the IPCC suggests that by 2100 that figure might soar almost as high as 0.08% of the atmosphere.

    Quick! Somebody press the panic button! Somebody make a movie! The world is surely doomed!

    Or not:
    Atmospheric CO2 Over Time

    The above link was recently updated to put the IPCC absolute worst case scenario into proper perspective.

  2. Roger, perhaps you could make your point more clearly. It seems to me that Pachauri is entitled to have personal views, and whether or not he distinguishes them from the views of the IPCC (as he tries to do here) is for the governments constituting the IPCC to police.

    But why is that a matter of concern? I suppose that you would argue that the IPCC ought to strive to be an "honest broker" here and focus on offering options, not goals, but is what you would prefer within the mandates of the IPCC or of Pachauri?

    Or have I misunderstood you?cl

  3. The spanish government has a Commission for Climate Change. Mr. Pachauri was invited to belong to that official body of the government and he accepted. Mr.Pachauri already attended a couple of meetings being widely publicized by the government, "we hired an expert" they said.

    If I read IPCC statutes this seems to me a contradiction. Apparently IPCC senior officers cannot be engaged in the political arena of the U.N member states. But the body created by my government is fully dedicated to all kind of political actions regarding climate change. Odd, isn't it?


  4. I think would be interesting if each time someone is asked to speak, as a representative of a group (say the State Dept., or the Chamber of Commerce for example, even people hired as spokespeople) they were also asked their personal opinion and were freed up to give it, without fear of reprisal. It might make for interesting discourse. As it is, some are free, and some aren't, some are asked and some aren't, which gives us a kind of patchwork of opinion described in the press.