What if there really are people exploiting the anthropogenic global warming panic purely for personal gain? A lot has happened in the climate change debate in the two months since the Climategate files were first revealed to the world. Oddly, the latest news hasn’t been making the papers in the U.S., but it sure has been in London.
One thing that has become clear is that the science in the IPCC reports was suspiciously slanted. Last weekend one of the IPCC principals, Dr. Murari Lal, admitted that they had introduced 2035 as the year the Himalayan glaciers would disappear — even though they knew it was questionable — in order to have more political impact:
Dr. Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr. Lal, the coordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: “It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action. It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.”
But why? Are they simply true believers who feel that the risk of anthropogenic global warming is so great that skewing the science would be justified? As scientists, that would be bad enough. But there’s another explanation. Could it be that the skewing of the results is not just being done by true believers, but instead by cynical manipulators intent on their own gain?
It’s the “second story” of Climategate.
It’s been considered here at Pajamas Media in the past, but there is much new evidence now, much of it focusing on Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, and The Energy Research Institute (TERI), his putative employer. TERI is an offshoot of Tata Group, the oldest — and one of the most respected — of Indian industrial firms. This was a lot more obvious before TERI changed its name, when it was the Tata Energy Research Institute, but the organization is the same.
What’s new is that we’re starting to uncover real connections. First, there’s the “slip” that led to the IPCC AR4 report claiming that the Himalayan glaciers could be gone by 2035. We now know that’s not true. It was based on a World Wildlife Fund report, not peer-reviewed, which was itself based on a New Scientist article. The New Scientist article was quoting Dr. Syed Hasnain.
Again, this was bad enough. The actual report was not good science, and the IPCC was forced to withdraw it. (Look for plenty more of these withdrawals to come: non-reviewed documents from the WWF and similar groups were cited in the IPCC report dozens of times.) And it had to have been personally embarrassing for Dr. Pachauri — days before, he had categorized the complaints about the glacier data to be “voodoo science.”
The truly scandalous part about this whole story becomes evident when we ask who benefits from these mistakes. The 2035 date got into the IPCC report, as Dr. Lal claims, because it gave the report more political impact. The 2035 date showed up pretty often, though, in TERI materials.
Like grant applications.
It was quoted in a presentation to the European Union; that presentation led to a grant of several million Euros. TERI got a big share. It showed up in a grant application to the Carnegie Corporation that turned into a $500,000 grant.
And it turns out that Dr. Hasnain had joined TERI in the meantime.
The usual defense of people like Dr. Pachauri is that they “aren’t getting rich” from their jobs as scientists. But that’s not the way it works. As the head of IPCC and TERI, Dr. Pachauri travels the world (first class, at that; UN organizations always send senior people first class) while maintaining residences in London and India.
As a board member of several large companies, he’s entitled to first class travel and five-star accommodations from them as well. Even if, as he claims, all the revenue and honoraria go to TERI instead of directly to himself, one can live pretty well on a Western-scale salary when your home is in India and your residences and travel are covered by your company.
One of the ongoing puzzles as we learn more about the inner workings of the climate cartel is to what extent the people involved are true believers, and to what extent they’re “merely” cynical manipulators. As more and more information emerges about the IPCC process and about the way the results have been manipulated, it’s going to be hard to tell who’s who.