Climate change

Nobel laureate at ICC briefing presses for greater business input to IPCC

  • 14 December 2007

Rajendra Pachauri, who collected the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of a UN panel of climate scientists that shared the award with former US Vice President Al Gore, called on business to become more involved in the panel’s work at an ICC business briefing during the UN climate change conference here today.

Mr Pachauri was accompanied by Renata Christ, Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Mr Pachauri’s participation was a highlight in the series of briefing sessions ICC had organized each morning for all business and industry participants during the UN conference, which began on 3 December and was scheduled to end today.

ICC has a long history of organizing morning briefings at UN summits in order to coordinate the overall business interventions.

Mr Pachauri began his address by recognizing the steadfast involvement of business in IPCC work and thanked the business community for its contributions over the years. He then called for an even larger amount of input from business in the future.

With discussions at the conference at a stalemate over a Bali Roadmap that would pave the way toward reducing greenhouse gases, Mr Pachauri encouraged participants to believe there was hope to reversing the deteriorating state of the global environment.

“We have a whole range of mitigating scenarios in the IPCC’s fourth assessment report,” Mr Pachauri said. “Their cost to the global economy by 2013 would not exceed 3 percent of the annual GDP. In global terms, this is not a lot. And this estimate is based on existing technology. In the coming years, if we have the right incentives and disincentives, we could come up with new technologies to tackle the problem.”

A discussion period following Mr Pachauri’s address included an exchange of ideas on how business could help the IPCC to get its information and messages out to the public and to specific groups, perhaps by organizing seminars.

When asked how business should respond to people who continue to disagree with the IPCC’s conclusion that human activity has been responsible for global warming, Mr Pachauri told participants to refer those skeptics to the IPCC reports, particularly the Synthesis Report, which contain scientific data supporting the conclusion.

“I do not dismay at these attitudes,” Mr Pachauri said. “We are dealing with new knowledge. Not everyone accepts new knowledge right away.”

He added: “We need all hands on deck. This is an issue where we would hope we would have a lot of partners to make this work.”

The IPCC is a scientific intergovernmental body set up by the World Meteorological Organization and by the United Nations Environment Programme. It provides the decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change. Its role is to assess the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.