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Thursday 26 August 2010

Climate Climbdown

Today has brought news that an independent review of his finances has cleared Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of financial wrongdoing. The review, undertaken by KPMG, has concluded that Pachauri, who has been accused of abusing his position as head of the IPCC, has been scrupulously honest and has not been making the millions of pounds that had been suggested. He does not even get a salary as head of the IPCC.

There need not, of course, have been any need for the review, had the Maily Telegraph bothered to fact check the article they published back on December 20 last year, by Richard North and (yes, it’s him again) Christopher Booker, which made the initial and wholly untrue allegations for the first time. The article has been removed from the Telegraph website.

Moreover, the Telegraph has apologised for publishing the article. This is as a result of Pachauri being forced to resort to legal means in order to get a retraction from the paper: the costs of the action, presumably to be borne by the Telegraph, have apparently run into six figures. Resorting to law may seem a tad strong, until it is realised that Pachauri had approached the paper and requested a retraction, only to have his request repeatedly declined.

Even so, as Guardian man George Monbiot has said, the smears against Pachauri will doubtless continue. Richard North continues to insist that he was right, despite the legal setback, and more than likely the closing of the entry door into mainstream journalism. Christopher Booker is still, on occasion, whining about climate change, while the Telegraph’s wayward sneer merchant James Delingpole keeps up his attack on global warming, although the nastiest of his abuse appears to have been excised from his blog there.

The thought that we might discuss and debate the subject of man made climate change in a rational and reasonable way, without invention, smears and downright dishonesty, does not, for some, seem to enter.

[UPDATE: This post has also featured on Liberal Conspiracy, in a slightly edited form. My thanks as ever to Sunny Hundal]

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