IPCC Chair Fully Exonerated

Remember those allegations that IPCC Chair, Rajendra Pachauri, had been making a fortune through his ties to the carbon trading industry? The story originated in the UK’s Sunday Telegraph in a piece last December written by Christopher Booker and Richard North (remember those names) titled “Questions over business deals of UN climate change guru Dr Rajendra Pachauri.”

Well, back when the “Pachauri as crook” meme was being parroted by the Globe and Mail, I remember thinking, “Oh well. Even climate scientists can cave in to greed.” See, pessimist that I am, I just assume everyone in a position of power or influence is on some level crooked. So, the idea that Pachauri was getting kick backs or something didn’t seem like a stretch.

There was a problem with that, though. Turns out, Booker and North got the story completely wrong.

In an effort to clear his name and force the Telegraph to print a retraction, Pachauri opened up his books and the books of the charity he works for, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). As reported in the Guardian, the investigation by ginormous accounting firm KPMG found that not only has Pachauri not been earning any money from carbon trading firms, he’s been absolutely scrupulous with his finances. His salary from TERI totals £45,000 and he donates many of his consulting fees and awards — money he’s entitled to keep — to his employers.

And as for his IPCC position, in their piece, Booker and North wonder provocatively what additional income Pachauri earns for holding such a prestigious post. If they’d asked, they’d have found out the salary he accepts for being IPCC chair is exactly £0 ($0 Can).

Anyway, looks like my pessimism was misplaced. Pachauri is an innocent man who’s reputation is being trashed by the usual gang of science deniers.

I feel like a right nob for being on some level duped by this smear campaign.

There’s more to read on Pachauri’s exoneration and I’d recommend going to George Monbiot’s blog right now and reading what he has to say on the subject. DeSmog Blog has a few choice words on offer as well. (Update: You can read KPMG’s findings on the Guardian‘s website here.)

It’s worth noting that when the aspersions against Pachauri were being thrown around, the Globe and Mail saw fit to put the story, with picture, in the top spot on their website. (I don’t read the paper version so I’ve no idea how prominent the story was in there.)

Well, news of Pachauri’s exoneration is a day old and I have yet to see any above-the-fold online coverage at the G&M. (No surprise, the National Post and CBC also seem silent on the subject.)

So, once again, when climate scientists and campaigners are being slandered, it’s big news. When the slanders are exposed as fabrications, the mainstream media takes little notice.

The Guardian, at least, is a refreshing exception.

And as for the “journalists” who started this whole hullabaloo, Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker and EUReferendum blogger Dr Richard North, I’m left wondering what skeletons would be dug up if they were subjected to the same level of scrutiny as Pachauri has been.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.