In 2007, Dr Rajendra Kumar Pachauri shared Nobel Prize as chairman of IPCC the International Panel on Climate Change a UN body established to look after global climate changes. This was the greatest day in the life of Dr. Pachauri, who rose to such a pinnacle of success, coming from a middle class family of India. In the year 2007 India, too, was proud of such an achievement by an Indian citizen, particularly in the field of climate change. But within less than 3 years IPCC and its Indian Chairman started getting criticized all over the world. How this rise and fall in such a short span happened?
Pachauri had early education in Lucknow. As he was very studious and encouraged by his parents he attained distinction in his studies and got PhD in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University and another PhD in Economics, by the age of 30 years only. His thesis for PhD in Economics was related to electricity demand as he was from childhood aware that India had severe shortage of electricity particularly in the villages. In his own words “I went on the oil, renewable energy, environmental effects then climate change.”
Did Pachauri commit Himalayan blunder in publishing without concrete proof, as a scientist concerned with climate change that by 2035 Himalayan glaciers will be no more. It implied that Ganga, Yamuna, besides Ravi, Satluj, Beas, Sindh and Jehlum will dry up and north India and Pakistan will turn into deserts worst than that of northern Rajasthan. It would be same for Tibet region and parts of Southern China. How could Pachauri, to an extent a noble laureate in climate change, come to such a drastic conclusion? Still, despite strictures all over the world, Pachauri is trying to justify his stand. Though as chairman of IPCC, he says he is not responsible for omissions and commissions in the documents on climate change presented to UN. Who else is responsible?
A French mathematician has made it clear as to what is science- “Science is facts, just as houses are made pf stones, so is science made of facts, but a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science”. As a scientist Pachauri should have carefully analyzed the facts collected over a number of years and given a ‘scientific’ assessment about glaciers fast melting as well as other scientific conclusions:
Pachauri admitted that he had been informed in Nov 2009 by Pallavi Bagla in an interview with Science magazine, of the basic error in IPCC report on Himalayan glaciers. IPCC seems to have misused a Russian Scientists report that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2,350, i.e., more than 340 years from now. But IPCC took it as 2035, i.e. within 25 years. Obviously this was a Himalayan blunder as Pachauri and IPCC were wrong in their assessment by more than 300 years, as pointed out by Prof Grahman Gogley of Ontario Trent University.
Another criticism of IPCC came from Holland. According to Dutch authorities only 26% of the country is below sea level while IPCC has stated in its 2007 report that 56% of Holland is below sea level. Accordingly Dutch government has asked the UN climate change Panel to “explain” this inaccurate claim by IPCC. This mistake may further cause embarrassment to IPCC and Pachauri because it has already committed a “Himalayan blunder” by reporting that Himalayan Glaciers will melt by 2035, thus drying India, Pakistan and China (Tibetan) rivers within 25 years from now.
Yet another fault in IPCC assessment has been highlighted by Sunday Times London on 7th Feb 2010 by Robert Watson chief scientist at Defra who was head of governmental Panel on climate change from 1997 to 2002. The IPCC claim was that rain fed crops production in North Africa will go down to 50 percent, because of global warming, by the year 2020. It has been said by other scientist that there is nothing in IPCC report to substantiate this claim. A British Government senior scientist has ‘warned’ the UN climate change Panel to tackle this blunder of IPCC and its chairman Pachauri.
In spite of Indian Governments and PM’s half hearted support for Pachauri the fact remains, as pointed out by Jennifer L Morgan director, climate and Energy Programme, Washington DC that “The IPCC” mistakenly published a figure that was not drawn from peer reviewed literature, disregarding its stringent review process. Any misstep in the IPCC process is therefore of concern and must be remedied. But it does not challenge the basis of climate change science or evidence of global warming that is already visible across the globe.”