M A I N   N E W S

Govt rallies behind Pachauri but adds a rider
MoEF scientist to go with him for panel meets
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 4
A day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurates the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS), organised by IPCC chief RK Pachauri-led The Energy Research Institute (TERI), Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh came out in clear and unequivocal support of the embattled Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chairman.

UN, too, backs IPCC chief

New Delhi: UN's climate chief Yvo de Boer said holding Pachauri responsible for the goof-up in the UN body's report on Himalayan glaciers would be “senseless”. Equating Pachauri with a “tall tree which collects a lot of winds,” de Boer, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said, “He (Pachauri) is a very respected international scientist and is leading the IPCC in a very dedicated way. I hope he does not resign.”

“Past is past. The Government of India is backing RK Pachauri 100 per cent as the IPCC chairman, starting at the highest level,” Ramesh said, indirectly referring to the Prime Minister as he spoke of “unwavering” support for the IPCC chairman from the highest echelon of the country.

Interestingly when the “Himalayan blunder” of the IPCC on Indian glaciers was uncovered, Ramesh had voiced his reservations on the IPCC and even taken a dig at the Pachauri for using the phrase “voodoo science” when the Environment Ministry came out with VK Raina’s report on the Himalayan glaciers.

“We had issued a report (by scientist VK Raina) that the glaciers have not retreated abnormally. That time we were dismissed, saying it was based on voodoo science,” Ramesh had said. But the government’s support for Pachauri appears to be coming with a rider. Henceforth, a scientist from the MoEF will accompany Pachauri in the IPCC bureau meetings. Ramesh said this would give India a foothold in the IPCC bureau, of which, incidentally it is not a member.

“The IPCC chairman has agreed that in all bureau meetings of the panel, an MoEF scientist will accompany him. He is empowered to take a representative of the country with him. So far he has not, for whatever reasons,” he said. The Environment Minister however hastened to add that the intention of the government was not to send a “policeman” along with the IPCC chief but to ensure that India’s presence was registered at the meetings of the important forum. “The most vulnerable country to climate change is India. If there are scientific discussions on India, it is very important that we should know,” he said.

Ramesh also defended the government’s annual support of around Rs 57 lakh to the IPCC chairman. “This has not happened for the first time. The previous chairman of the IPCC was supported by his government. The American chairman of the IPCC was funded by the World Bank. It is a gesture of support and respect from the Government of India. It is an institutional support to maintain the IPCC office in Delhi and give the IPCC chairman some freedom.”

Meanwhile, leaders from various regions of the world will gather here for the DSDS — the first major global meeting after the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009. The theme of the three-day meet is ‘Beyond Copenhagen: new pathways to sustainable development’.



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