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IPCC head stands to make
money from CO2 mediation

 

Two British journalists have revealed an extensive paper trail that suggests that Rajendra Pachauri, current head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), may have extensive conflicts of interest and in fact stands to gain materially from the signing and enforcement of any greenhouse-gas (GHG) remediation treaty.

Christopher Booker and Richard North published their findings in The Sunday Telegraph (London) yesterday after following up on a confrontation that Pachauri had at the recently-concluded Fifteenth Conference of Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen with two prominent "climate skeptics": Senator Stephen Fielding of Australia and Christopher, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

In that confrontation, Lord Monckton and Senator Fielding handed Pachauri an "open letter" under Lord Monckton's by-line, questioning the accuracy of a key graph used in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) and of several other graphs, and the integrity of the IPCC's peer-review process. But this letter also gave details of Pachauri's many and varied business interests, some going back to 1981, and how they stand to profit from a global emissions-trading scheme.

At the heart of the issue is The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), originally named Tata Energy and Resources Institute when it was founded in 1974 by India's Tata Group. According to Booker and North, the Tata Group is the largest closely-held business concern in India, and is in multiple industries, including steelmaking, automotive, energy, chemical, telecommunications, and insurance. Pachauri became director of TERI in 1981 and director-general in 2001--a post he continues to hold today, though he has been a ranking official in the IPCC since 1997, when he became vice-chairman.

Incidentally, no real warrant exists to suppose that TERI and Tata Group are no longer connected merely because the "T" in "TERI" has changed its meaning. As a TERI spokesman said at the time of the name change (as cited by Booker and North in the Telegraph article, and by Lord Monckton):

We have not severed our past relationship with the Tatas. It[the name change] is only for convenience.

The Tata Group stands to profit materially in a variety of ways from proposed carbon-remediation treaties that were under discussion at COP-15 (and presumably will be under consideration at COP-16 in Mexico City next year). Carbon-emission credits is an obvious mechanism. Another is the sale of insurance to persons or entities that believe that they  might be at some risk from anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

The Telegraph article also discusses at length TERI's USA unit, of which Pachauri serves as president. TERI-NA has an extensive list of sponsors and partners. They include two oil firms (Amoco and Oman Oil), Lockheed-Martin, Monsanto, the US Energy Department, the EPA, four UN offices, and multiple educational and research institutions. These associations alone suggest that if Exxon-Mobil was in fact instrumental in removing Watson in favor of Pachauri, they probably might wish they hadn't.

Of greater interest is the involvement of the Tata Group as the owners of Britain's Corus Steel. Recently, Corus Steel closed a steel mill in Redcar, UK, at a cost of 1700 jobs. This closing will entitle Corus to £1.2 billion in CO2 emissions credits, which it can now sell. At the same time, Tata has opened a steel mill in India's Orissa state, that will have exactly the productive capacity of the shuttered British plant. Booker and North mention that Tata used its political muscle to "displace hundreds of thousands of poor tribal villagers" in Orissa and Jarkhand states. Perhaps the new steel mill in Orissa is one of the reasons for that displacement.

But the supreme irony of this story might be something that the Telegraph and Lord Monckton apparently both missed: how Pachauri gained such a position of authority at the UN that he could use, apparently, to great personal gain. Pachauri became chairman of the IPCC on April 19, 2002, displacing then-Chairman Robert Watson (now at the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). At the time the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) considered this the result of heavy lobbying by the administration of George W. Bush, who was then President of the United States, and issued a Sound Science Initiative (SSI) Alert to organize a letters-to-the-editor campaign in protest. (A copy of this SSI Alert is contained in CRU Archive File No. 1019513684.txt, Mike Hulme to Phil Jones, dated 22 April 2002.) Both the UCS and Debora McKenzie of the magazine New Scientist directly accused the Exxon-Mobil group, and particularly Randy Randol, described as Exxon-Mobil's chief environmental lobbyist.

Whether Exxon-Mobil has any relationship with the Tata Group is not clear. But that several AGW alarmists familiar with the Watson-Pachauri IPCC succession affair admitted, and in some cases protested, Pachauri's lack of credentials as a climate scientist seem especially ironic today, given that Booker and North recall that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) once hailed Pachauri as "the world's top climate scientist." In fact, Mike Hulme, in the above-referenced e-mail, said this to Phil Jones of the East Anglia CRU by way of apology for Pachauri's displacement of Watson:

Why should not an Indian scientist chair IPCC?  One could argue the CC issue is more important for the South[ern Hemisphere] than for the North[ern].  Watson has perhaps thrown his weight about too much in the past.  The science is well covered by Susan Solomon in WGI, so why not get an engineer/economist since many of the issues now raised by CC are more to do with energy and money, than natural science.

How Hulme would have known that Watson had developed a reputation for being arrogant or pompous, would perhaps require a direct comment from Hulme himself. But Hulme, and even the UCS and other persons outraged at Watson's ouster, might have missed an even more essential point: that Pachauri might have been planning for many years, at least since becoming vice-chairman of the IPCC, to maneuver Watson out of his way so that he could gain direct control of global policymaking in an area in which he was and is heavily invested. In 2002 he perhaps succeeded, taking advantage of hostility toward Watson on the part of the American government. Why Pachauri did not directly support Watson as chairman in the face of the American opposition becomes very difficult to explain, given that both men have expressed similar positions on the AGW question throughout their careers. Perhaps the essential difference between Watson and Pachauri was that Watson was and remains one of the few true believers in AGW, while Pachauri might believe more in the money-making opportunity than in any "pure" environmental principle.