Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pachauri: "There are no doubts about the extent of man-made climate change"

The other day, I heard on German radio news that IPCC Chairman Pachauri would have said on COP-15 "Es gibt keinen Zweifel am Ausmaß des menschgemachten Klimawandels" --

Certainly, he would not have used German language, but anyway: I have inquired at IPCC if that would be correct, and if a quote "There are no doubts about the extent of man-made climate change" may be attributed to Pachauri. This was now confirmed by an assistent to Dr. Pachauri. -- I guess it means there are no doubts on, for instance, sea level rise, hurricance formation, fate of ice sheets, and other controversial issues.

Has anybody elses heard Dr. Pachauri saying this line; maybe with a qualifier?


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's worth asking at Pachauri's blog:


I have just done it. Lets see ...

Hans von Storch said...

Any response so far, plazamoyua?

I heard one interpretation - which was, that the extent would be related the systems (cryosphere, health, soils ...) affected by man-made climate change; would not be my interepretation, but maybe my understanding of English is too limited.

Anonymous said...

None, 12 hours after the question was posted. I'll let you know, if it happens.

Anna said...

Hi! This is a bit off topic, but it does concern Pachauri: As you might be aware, Lord Monckton has written a guest post at Watts up with that, strongly critizising Pachauri's speech at Copenhagen.

Lord Monckton found some pure lies, some very misleading conclusions and some very dubious claims in the speech.

Would it be possible for you at this blog to give your opinions on this, or preferably, to answer the question "is Lord Monckton right or not, and why?"

I really do appreciate your blog, and I think that a new blog by climate scientists is desperately needed, since RealClimate is seriously biased and some of the sceptic blogs are a bit too hasty to jump to conclusions at times.

Richard Tol said...


Lord Monckton is not the most reliable person. He complains, for instance, about Pachauri's claim that emissions went up by 70% between 1970 and 2004. Industrial CO2 went up from 13.8 mln tCO2 to 26.6 mln tCO2. Other emissions did not increase quite as fast, but 70% is more likely to be an understatement than an overstatement.

On other points, Monckton's right. The 100 mln people displaced by sea level rise by 2100 is the sum over the century, not the annual number. And it is the number you would get if no new dikes were build.

Both Pachauri and Monckton are badly informed.

Reiner Grundmann said...

The would-be quarrell between the two (I say say would-be as Monckton usually gets ignored by the IPCC establishment) is interesting for a variety of reasons, part of which have to do with the post-colonial situation. Mockton describes the audience atmosphere before Pachauri's speech as follows:
"In the Grand Ceremonial Hall of the University of Copenhagen, a splendid Nordic classical space overlooking the Church of our Lady in the heart of the old city, rows of repellent, blue plastic chairs surrounded the podium from which no less a personage than Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, was to speak.

I had arrived in good time to take my seat among the dignitaries in the front row. Rapidly, the room filled with enthusiastic Greenies and enviro-zombs waiting to hear the latest from ye Holy Bookes of Ipecac, yea verily."
As Pachauri sat close to him, before making his speech, Monckton handed him his pamphlet (see here

Monckton, who is a Lord but not a scientist, ends his blog entry on Wattsupwiththat with the line that "it is time for the Railroad Engineer Pachauri to get back to his signal-box."

Wikipedia, which Monckton abhors, has the following interesting detail about the 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley:
"Monckton has been an advocate of Euroscepticism for many years; as he put it in a 2007 interview, he would "leave the European Union, close down 90 per cent of government services and shift power away from the atheistic, humanistic government and into the hands of families and individuals."

I guess you call this trivia.

Anton said...


Ad hominem only. Therefore of no value.

Anna said...

Thank you for your answers!

One little point: Monckton actually says: "2. Pachauri said that greenhouse gases had increased by 70% between 1970 and 2004. This figure was simply nonsense".

Since I didnt hear the speech, I can't tell whether Pachuari spoke about the emissions or about the concentration of gases, and that is important when trying to decide who is right. Do you know this?

In my point of view it doesnt matter who is a lord and who is a railroad engineer, I just want people to tell the truth.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Telling the truth may be difficult if no one knows it. What we are likely to get in such controversies is data and interpretation. Sometimes both are contested (as in the hockey stick). Here the underlying temp. record seems not in dispute but the interpretation (about growth rates) is. Neither Monckton nor Pachauri make it clear that they have a value preference in the face of incertainty. Both pretend that the science could tell us what to do. Pachauri thinks the world will end in desaster if we do not make massive carbon cuts, Monckton thinks he sees a "conspiracy to defraud taxpayers".

Both positions are hiding behind the science. But it is an illusion that *one day* we will have incontrovertible evidence. What we get instead is an escalation of knowledge claims, just like in an arms race.
We need to make decisions as in any other policy field, in the face of incomplete and uncertain knowledge.

Richard Tol said...


"We need to make decisions [...] in the face of incomplete and uncertain knowledge." Very true. But we should also use the best available knowledge. Neither Monckton nor Pachauri is particularly knowledgeable, and one occasionally gets the impression that they sometimes omit particular information.

Anonymous said...

Just one point:

I am not sure you are talking about the same thing.

* "Pachauri said that greenhouse gases had increased by 70% between 1970 and 2004."

is not the same as:

* "He complains, for instance, about Pachauri's claim that emissions went up by 70% between 1970 and 2004."

I dont think so. Greenhouse gases increase is not emisions increase. 70% increase in emisions is not 70% increase in GHG (unless you take out the main GHG, water vapour, and even so)

I would agree with the idea of none of them being particulary credible. But, since one of them is lying in this debate, I find it interesting to know who is lying, and how. And yes, I would say that "greenhouse gases had increased by 70% between 1970 and 2004" is, indeed, pure nonsense.

What I don't know is wether Monckton's quote of Pachauri is correct.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Have a look at Pachauri's Powerpoint presentation, it clearly speaks about a rise of GHG concentrations from 1970 to 2004 (slide 4)


Reiner Grundmann said...

In his speech, Pachauri says that from 1970-2004 "we had an increase of 70% in greenhouse gas emissions"
The webcast is here (quote at 13:50)

So it seems that he has it both ways. Which makes you wonder: was there a slip of tongue during the speech? Or was there an error when compiling the slides? In case, it seems a clarification is in order.

Richard Tol said...

I'll grant this point to Lord Monckton then

Anna said...

Perhaps both gentlemen are prone to cherry-picking, but I really would like to be able to expect a higher level of accuracy coming from the head of the IPCC.