Pachauri: "Skeptics are flat earthers"

From the Chicago Tribune, August 3, 2008


By Michael Hawthorne

Story link: Blunt answers about risks of global warming

Note: Photo changed to this one at 4:40PM PST 8/3/08 due to previous one inviting negative comments about Pachauri’s personal appearance. – Anthony

Rajendra Pachauri isn’t nearly as famous as Al Gore, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with an international panel on climate change that Pachauri, an Indian scientist and economist, has led since 2002. But as chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Pachauri has an urgent message for world leaders about the perils of global warming. He talked to the Tribune recently while he was in town to meet with Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago civic leaders. An edited transcript follows.


Q: What do you think about the small but vocal group of doubters still out there

Pachauri Answer: There is, even today, a Flat Earth Society that meets every year to say the Earth is flat. The science about climate change is very clear. There really is no room for doubt at this point.

Q: What have you done personally to shrink your carbon footprint?

A: I’ve become a vegetarian. I try to minimize the use of cars. Where I’ve failed is my impact with regard to air travel. I tell people I was born a Hindu who believes in reincarnation. It will take me the next six lives to neutralize my carbon footprint. There’s no way I can do it in one lifetime


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Im sorry but he looks like the Geico Caveman!
They are all still flat out wrong!

As one of ‘a small but vocal group’ I say ‘ostrich’ !


How about some facts to support your position. The AGW story was hard to support ten years ago, but now impossible to defend. To call to your support ‘Flat Earthers’ as a rebuttal to facts seems quite a reach.

Steven Hill

shaking head, that’s about all I can say…..nothing
I love the part about it’s all the USA’s fault. I seem to recall that we followed Europe in the Industrial Revolution.

M White

Glad to see it’ll be at least least six generations before the world comes to an end.
Check out the sea ice at the north pole May 6th 1986

Now UN officials are resorting to name-calling. But they still run from any debate.

John McLondon

Well, he is the Bush Administration’s pick for the post (may be under the advice of some with oil interests), to replace Robert Watson, whom the administration did not like. Imagine how it would be if Watson is still there.

Pierre Gosselin

“There’s no way I can do it in one lifetime!”
Yet, he expects everyone else to abstain from carbon. These arrogant bureaucrats think reducing carbon emissions is for little unimportant people only. High priests like Gore and Pachauri, through their holiness and righteousness, are exempt


“It will take me the next six lives to neutralize my carbon footprint.”
No disrespect intended, but wouldn’t he have to come back as a plant to neutralize his carbon footprint?

David Gladstone

It seems more and more evident that the UN and other international agencies are under someone’s thumb and cannot be trusted; I don’t believe in giving up one iota of sovereignty to these corrupt organizations led by morons!


and this is the person who is head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
How can he make this statement with a straight face
Q: Some scientists think your panel’s conclusions are too conservative and underestimate the risks we face. Is it too late to act?
A: The fact that the impacts of climate change are turning out to be more serious than we expected shows how important it is to act soon. If we do nothing, things are going to get so much worse. We should do something about climate change with a sense of urgency.

M. Jeff

What we’ve all been waiting for, a realistic cost-effective solution to the AGW problem.
… It will take me the next six lives to neutralize my carbon footprint. There’s no way I can do it in one lifetime! …

So much for the “wisdom of India”.

Michael Alexis

My understanding of karma and reincarnation is that it’s all pretty tit-for-tat. Eat a cow, get reincarnated as a cow that gets eaten. I wonder what you need to be born as to work out all those carbon offsets. A tree? Phytoplankton? Al Gore?

Leon Brozyna

That photo alone makes me squeamish. Having a post about Gore or Hansen is bad enough, but a third rate non-entity? It’s almost as though The Astronomical Journal were to devote an issue to discussing the values that astrology could impart to the science of astronomy. Just thinking such thoughts makes me feel unclean.

IMHO, Flat Earth and Reincarnation belong to the same category.

A.S.A. Another Salaried Activist.
The wiki has him down as “an economist and environmental scientist ” possibly hoping that further scrutiny will be avoided. He has zero “environmental” qualifications (MS in Industrial Engineering in 1972, a PhD in Industrial Engineering and a PhD in Economics). So he is just like our Al. Well, maybe not.
I do not partake of, or condone, ridicule of a person’s chosen religion (I have a Hindu daughter amongst my diverse offspring) but must point out the parallels between believing in reincarnation or CO2=warming or, indeed, a flat Earth.
Activists, especially, do not thoroughly investigate claims or think innovatively (in general) and in so doing become prey for those who …ahem, twist the facts around the agenda rather than vice versa. A lot of quackery gets through to the public awareness in just this way.

Werner Weber

In the seventies, I lived in the US. At that time, Richard Daley was Mayor of Chicago. It was the time when Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. Wasn’t he last seen somewhere near Chicago? I remember that Daley organized a big wedding for his son, with a lot of (old) Daley’s friends participating.
When Kennedy was elected, Daley also had been Mayor of Chicago. Kennedy took Illinois, a decisive vote. Chicago results which came in after the (Republican) rest of the state, made the difference. There is a conspiracy theory that Kennedy disappointed Daley’s friends and had to pay a final price for it.
Now we know why Pachauri visited present day Daley. He probably asked present day Daley to ask his friends to do him a favor. GOING AFTER THE FLAT EARTHERS!!!


“What do you think about the small but vocal group of doubters still out there ?”
Mr. Michael Hawthorne is actually not aware, that the group of doubters is huge and growing.


Sadly for Mr. Pachauri, it seems more likely that the alarmist positions will be regarded like the Piltdown man.
An elaborate hoax, that many choose to go along with because it serves their agenda.


He must be offsetting some of that carbon footprint by avoiding barbers.
Luckily, I was born in America and believe in neither the perils of global warming nor reincarnation.

David L. Hagen

Dogmatic orthodoxy exhibiting a closed mind. Contrary evidence no longer makes any impression.

George Bruce

Well, there you have it. Some guy who believes in reincarnation thinks we are all kooks.


Wow, great guy.

Mike Bryant

What a great idea. I am now a Hindu and will expiate my climate sins in my subsequent lives.

steven mosher

6 reincarnations? Ok. Start today and get one out of the way, Rajendra.
Do the future a favor.

Steve in SC

Where does this cat’s money come from?

steven mosher

sorry a mosh pit moment

Tom in Florida

Pachauri: ” I tell people I was born a Hindu who believes in reincarnation”
Talk about flat earthers! His beliefs are his beliefs but as a scientist how can he slam the door on more scientific investigation of climate change? I see he is also an “economist” so that may explain it. Never met an economist who was right more than 50% of the time.

steven mosher

If I can’t be carbon neutral what will I do? . I know, I’ll be reincarnated and
send you a check next month.


A true scientist would not dismiss a flat earther’s criticism but would rather demonstrate the roundness of the earth empirically. The implication that any matter is not open to question is anti scientific, and in the case of our Hindu friend, possibly religeous.

bill allen

It didn’t say where the questions came from, but they sounded like they came from greenpeace. When is anyone in the MSM going to do the job of a journalist and ask the tough questions?

Steve Moore

“There’s no way I can do it in one lifetime!”
That is the best cop-out line I’ve ever heard. “Can’t do anything now; I’ll fix it in my next life.”
That’s as good as my all-purpose excuse: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Captain Obviousness

Wait, so are we now allowed to reduce our carbon footprint retroactively from our reincarnated future selves??? And if so, how do I get in on the market of selling carbon credits to entities that do not yet exist?

Ron McCarley

Maybe in his next life he’ll wind up in Siberia or Antarctica, and be in a unique state of bliss.

Jim Black

As the science continues to mount up against AGW (i.e. latest Aqua satellite data supporting “negative” feedback and GISS, UAH, RSS, Hadley data showing no warming since 1998 and a trend towards cooling), I see “doubters” getting rounder and rounder, and Pachauri, Gore, Hansen, et al getting flatter and flatter.
If Monckton’s paper, recently submitted to APS debate forum (Physics and Society), and which is aligned with Aqua data, proves the IPCC over-stated CO2 effects on climate sensitivity, AGW just dives deeper into doo-doo.
If the science of AGW is so settled, according to IPCC and Gore, why has APS opened up debate on Monckton’s paper? Between Monckton and Aqua, AGW could be headed for the deep six.
Prof. Deming testimony and “Hockey Stick” debunking prove the real “flat earthers” (AGWers) have something other than global temperatures in their deck of crumbling cards. Why did they have to “get rid of” the medieval warm period and little ice age?

Mike C

Now that the Earth is cooling and he is about to become unemployed, he can always audition for the next sequel to Planet of the Apes.

Bruce Cobb

The good news for pachauri with regard to needing 6 lives to neutralize his carbon footprint is that there is absolutely no need to, in this lifetime or any other, since the whole concept of “carbon footprint” is a huge fraud. The bad news of course is that by perpetuating that fraud and spreading lies and disinformation it will no doubt be very damaging to his karma. Further, the AGW lies he is perpetuating is creating economic hardship, which will only be getting worse, particularly for the poor, ultimately causing many deaths worldwide. That, unfortunately for pachauri could take a thousand lifetimes to atone for.


Many thanks for this blog.
R. Pachaury, a good specialist of hundreds sects of India talk about only one of ours.
R. Pachaury, all but climatologist talk us about minimization of use of cars.
Thanks to the former head of TERI of Tata group,
to the former member of :
Board of Trustees of the Indian Oil Corporation (1999-2003)
Board of Directors of GAIL (India) Ltd (2003-2004) a gas company
National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (2002-2005)

Adrian S

It would be nice to have a proper debate on AGW without name calling on both sides. I would love to see a 3 hr documentary special , where each side is given the same time to state their cases, and barristers are allowed to cross examine, the case then goes before a jury. Although this could only answer a simple question, it would stop experts and those who promote them from hiding behind name calling and allow the public to concentrate on the real hard issues of whether this is real, a danger, or no problemo!
I think both side should be given a proper opportunity to state thier cases without name calling or slurs.

It doesn’t surprise me one iota they ran this article. The Chicago Tribune has been in a tail spin for a number of years and this is but one small example of its readeship level… if it even reaches that high.
The Trib has lost most of its readership, advertising, and what little stature it ever had. It has cut back on staff, paper size, and distribution. It is simply a rag in the truest sense of the word. They have to give the paper away (at Starbucks, etc) in order to show any movement, and have been caught fudging their sales figures on several occasions.
It was recently sold to Sam Zell, and he has proceeded to peddle its pieces like so much confetti.
It is simply one of the biggest rags in the Nation, bar none!
Jack Koenig, Editor
The Mysterious Climate Project

Timo van Druten

First of all, it is only an edited transcript so we do not exactly know what Pachauri actually said. But if the transcript of Pachauri’s statement is genuine, I would like to comment as follows.
He doesn’t really answer the question, but only implies something. He can always say that his answer is taken out of context. He acts as a real politician and not as a scientist. His statement can be ignored as we usually ignore many statements of politicians.
Further, he doesn’t understand the position of many “skeptics” because he doesn’t listen to and communicate with them. His unwillingness to debate or force others to debate the science of climate change with the vocal group of “doubters” is a shame for the position of the IPCC and other intergovernmental bodies. His comparison of “skeptics” with Flat Earthers is ungentlemanly for somebody with his social standing and raises the question whether he and the IPCC are driven in a corner!

What an embarrassment.

Patrick Henry

Can’t he do carbon trading in return for absolving his bad plane travel karma? Gore could make a killing jumping on that opportunity.

Richard deSousa

What a hypocritical bureaucrat… his very own country is spewing CO2 like there’s no tomorrow yet he expects the rest of the world to go on a CO2 diet. A pox on his progeny.

Tom Klein

Please give this guy as much publicity as you can. He is the perfect poster boy for dumb and hypocritical alarmism.

Hoi Polloi

“I’ve become a vegetarian. I try to minimize the use of cars. Where I’ve failed is my impact with regard to air travel. I tell people I was born a Hindu who believes in reincarnation. It will take me the next six lives to neutralize my carbon footprint. There’s no way I can do it in one lifetime!”
It’s now official, IPCC is ruled by vegetarian green enviromentalists. A scary thought.
“You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you.” (Leon Trotsky)

George Patch

I just want to say I’m proud to hang out with all you “flat earth” folk.
Didn’t Al Gore use this same analogy recently? It looks like everyone got their talking points memo. This really is political!

Parchesi wants to engage Americans in a battle of insulting ad hominem attacks? Doesn’t he know what “don’t bait the bear” means?
When it comes to derogatory vitriol, nobody can hold a candle to me and my good buddy neighbors. We hold back out of pity for poor [snip]; he is way way out of his league.
Reply: First insult left in, second removed due to racist overtones~charles the moderator.

Mike Bryant

Off Topic:
Anyone seen Mauna Loa? Mauna Loa takes BIG stumble…