On Monday, the left-leaning propagandist website, The Wire, published an article by senior journalist Prem Shankar Jha that eulogised ex TERI Chief and alleged molester, RK Pachauri, and attempted at image-makeover.
The article began by highlighting how only 10 Indians have received the much-coveted Nobel Prize and RK Pachauri happened to be one of them. The ex-TERI Chief was the Chairman of the UN’s IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) for 13 years during which the organisation received the prize. In an article originally published in 2018, the news portal, however, argued that “the Nobel prizewinners” need not be exalted too much. This article by Jha does that exact thing.
Prem Shankar Jha wrote at length about the impact of IPCC’s “Fourth Assessment Report” that shook the world out of its “complacency” about climate change. The columnist also hailed the report, compiled under the watch of Pachauri, as the “gold standard” against which “humanity’s continuing delinquency” ought to be measured. In an attempt to unabashedly glorify the late scientist, Jha conveniently avoided mention of the errors in the said report committed by Pachauri himself.
The IPCC came under the scanner in 2010 for making an outlandish claim in its 2007 report that “Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 due to global warming.” There was no proper peer-review done before putting out that finding. It was, in fact, taken from a media interview by glaciologist S I Hasnain. RK Pachauri refused to resign as the IPCC’s chief but regretted the controversial finding in the Fourth Assessment Report as a “human error.”
The journalist then stressed on the “comprehensiveness, clarity, and credibility” of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment. He emphasised on the large team of scientists and experts to substantiate the “full proof” nature of the report. The report was criticised for over-reliance on the “output of computer climate models” over that of “hard observational science.”
The contentious report failed to address two key issues – the level to which our planet will warm due to human greenhouse gas emissions, and the effectiveness of climate models in projecting global warming. CATO Institute, an American libertarian think tank, observed in its Op-ed, “Whoever legislates or promulgates climate policies based upon the new report will be putting his political career in very serious jeopardy.”
Despite severe flaws and questions surrounding the credibility of both the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Report, The Wire columnist minced no words in hailing RK Pachauri as the “catalyst” that motivated world governments to minimise the “threat of climate change” and “actively” looking for measures to reduce fossil-fuel use.
The Wire report also failed to address how RK Pachauri as the TERI Chief was also a member of boards of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) that heavily contribute to greenhouse gases.
TERI had secured business contracts from ONGC in March 2008 during his tenure where he was in a position to make decisions for both the companies. Pachauri was accused of “conflict of interest” but he dismissed all such claims.
The article that attempted to whitewash his image, following Pachauri’s demise, also failed to address the sexual harassment case against him. A young female researcher who worked under Pachauri had accused him of making sexual advancements towards her. This prompted his resignation from the post of TERI chief.
A 1400-page charge sheet was filed against Pachauri by the Delhi Police in 2016 and the Saket Court formally directed to frame charges against the internationally acclaimed climate activist in 2018.
The article by The Wire columnist seems to absolve Pachauri of all allegations of misconduct by portraying him only as an “undisputable crusader of climate change”. As such, the article is intellectually dishonest and superfluous, to say the least.