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'Pachauri colluded with US to keep Iranian out of IPCC'

Rajendra Pachauri, chief of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, agreed to play along with the US in its bid to prevent the election of an Iranian to co-chair a climate group, says a leaked state department cable. Yashwant Raj reports.

world Updated: Dec 07, 2010 10:44 IST
Yashwant Raj

Rajendra Pachauri, chief of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, agreed to play along with the US in its bid to prevent the election of an Iranian to co-chair a climate group, says a leaked state department cable released on Monday.

"USDEL contacted IPC chairman Dr Rajendra Pachauri (please protect-sic), who agreed to work on this issue to avoid the potential for disruption to one of the organization's three working groups," said the cable on September 2, 2008.

The Iranian, a government scientist called Mostafa Jafari, was nominated by his country to co-chair an IPCC working group that assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change.

The other person nominated to co-chair this group was an American - Stanford professor Christopher Field - coming in as a candidate of developed countries. Jafari was to represent developing countries.

The US was clearly uncomfortable sharing a position with an Iranian, though it did agree Jafari was a good candidate. "Jafari is a highly qualified scientist with research ties to the UK and Japana," the cable said.

But there will be problems.

"(Co-chair positions) require close collaboration and often travel to or extended residencies in each others, countries. Having US and Iranian co-chairs would be problematic and potentially at odds with overall US policy towards Iran."

US missions were asked in the cable to oppose Jafari's candidacy and lobby for an alternative; it had suggested a few names, calling them leading candidates.

Pachauri, who was not facing any of the controversies that came to dog him later, agreed with the US and agreed to prevent Jafari's election, according to the cable.

IPCC Working Group Two, which assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change and the options for adaptation.