| Dr. Pachuri to Yale Climate Center
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Dr. Pachuri to Yale Climate Center

Dr. Pachuri to Yale Climate Center

Chief of Climate Panel to LeadYaleCenter

By ANDREW C. REVKINTanushree Punwani/ReutersRajendra Pachauri celebrating word that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 2002, will become the head of the new Yale Climate and Energy Institute, the university announced today. [UPDATE, 9:30 p.m.: Yale filled me in on the origins and financing of the climate and energy institute.]

The university said that Dr. Pachauri will work half-time at Yale. He will keep his positions as head of an Indian research group focused on energy and the environment and chairman of the climate panel, which is beginning work on its fifth assessment of climate change since 1988. Dr. Pachauri became chairman of the panel in 2002. He has been credited by many climate scientists with efficiently overseeing the hundreds of scientists and reviewers who in 2007 produced a set of phonebook-size reports distilling the latest research on the causes and consequences of climate change.

In recent years, Dr. Pachauri has been a target of some writers, scientists and research groups who challnge the consensus on global warming or who oppose actions to make big cuts in greenhouse gases.

But in 2002, industry lobbyists were pushing the Bush administration to seek Dr. Pachauri as a replacement for Robert Watson, the previous chairman of the I.P.C.C., who was seen by them as too much of an advocate for emissions cuts.

At the time, there were hints, as in a New York Times story in 2002, that the industry effort to back Dr. Pachauri, an engineer and economist, might backfire:

Some panel scientists said Mr. Bush might end up regretting the choice, noting that Dr. Pachauri has repeatedly criticized the president for not acting more aggressively to cut emissions in the United States, which is the largest source of heat-trapping gases.

A Yale news release has more background on plans for the institute, which the school calls Y.C.E.I.:

YCEI will provide seed grants, support postgraduate study, sponsor conferences and workshops, and foster interdisciplinary research spanning from basic atmospheric science to public policy. Nearly 100 Yale scientists, engineers, physicians, social scientists and policy experts have joined together to launch the enterprise.

Initial projects will focus on a diverse array of topics. Examples include forecasting climate variability and its impacts on water supplies, studying the spread of infectious diseases, searching for microbial-based alternative fuels, and the science and economics of carbon sequestration.

Long term, YCEI will support research and outreach, international collaboration, partnerships with business and industry, and green design efforts that can be implemented and tested within Yale and the surrounding region.

The conference in Copenhagen was organized by the Danish government as a way to prod countries toward an agreement with climate-treaty negotiations convene there in December. At the meeting, according to the Associated Press, scientists summarized some recent findings on rising sea level and other issues that some experts say are exceeding earlier projections.

In the wire story, Dr. Pachauri said scientists can analyze the dangers associated with global warming, but that it’s up to politicians to respond and act. “I am afraid that it is something that involves value judgment on the part of policy makers, and I am afraid that they shied away from it,” he told the conference, according to the story. “It is time to take action.”

(Courtesy NY Times)


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