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Climate chairman clarifies his media strategy

By James Dacey

In an act bearing a striking resemblance to a U-turn, Rajendra K Pachauri – the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – has sent a second letter to his associated scientists to clarify the panel’s stance on dealing with the media.

Pachauri moved quickly

Pachauri triggered a furore last week when a leak revealed a letter he had sent to members of the working groups on the upcoming IPCC 5th assessment report, which advises them to “keep a distance from the media” if asked about IPCC work.

This notion of climate scientists working in isolation was strongly criticised by several high profile bloggers, including University of South Carolina geographer Edward Carr, a member of the adaptation working group. Carr accused the IPCC of having a “bunker mentality” and said that the only way the organization can avoid future damaging episodes like “Climategate” is to operate with “complete openness”.

However, Carr has since revealed that Pachauri has now sent a second letter in an attempt to clear up the situation. Carr has published an extract from this letter on his blog

“In my letter, I cautioned you to ‘keep a distance from the media’ if asked about your work for the IPCC. This was a poor choice of words on my part and not reflective of IPCC policy. My only intent was to advise new authors not to speak ‘on behalf of the IPCC’ because we are an intergovernmental body consisting of 194 states.”

The clarifying letter seems to have washed with Carr who describes it as “articulate, clear and eminently reasonable – everything the original letter was not”.

The fifth assessment report is due to be published in 2013 and 2014 and follows on from the fourth assessment released in 2007.

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One comment to Climate chairman clarifies his media strategy

  1. Thank you, James, for keeping us informed on this unfolding drama.
    I hope that my “state” will withdraw so Dr. Pachauri will only have to worry about representing the 193 states remaining.
    What a sad, sad state of affairs for world governments and for the scientific community!
    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel


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