Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

Will Rajendra Pachauri Be Held Accountable by Green Activists?

The environmental movement routinely demands accountability from third parties. When will it acknowledge the creepy sexual misconduct of one of its leaders?

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Environmental activists like to talk about accountability. The Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, for example, recently published a report called Holding Corporations Accountable for Damaging the Climate. Last month, the American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) ran an entirely unscientific – and therefore utterly meaningless – online poll that asked: Do you think courts should be able to hold states accountable for climate change?

The website of Friends of the Earth Europe is advocating the adoption of a legal “framework for corporate accountability” to address “environmental crimes” worldwide. Here in Canada, a non-profit called the Centre for Research on Globalization talks about Holding the Silent killers of Environmental Destruction Accountable.

I therefore await with bated breath the press conferences, Twitter campaigns, and noisy demonstrations in which these same individuals, organizations, and media outlets demand that Rajendra Pachauri be held accountable for his crimes against women. Pachauri’s personal website, RKPachauri.org, has long proclaimed that his name is “synonymous with climate change and the environment.” Not only did he lead the world’s most important climate body – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – for 13 years, his website further tells us he is:

Internationally recognised as a leading global thinker and leader of research, the more so since sharing the podium with Al Gore to receive the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC…he finds himself catapulted into a third unnamed role as international statesman promoting climate change awareness. [bold added]

When a 74-year-old global thinker, leader, and statesman whose very name is synonymous with climate change and the environment is declared guilty of flagrant sexual harassment of a 29-year-old female subordinate, you’d think calls for him to be held accountable would be deafening. Particularly from folks in the ‘I demand accountability’ business.

But perhaps the green movement has missed the latest developments. Here, therefore, are some current headlines to bring it up to date:

Earlier this week, Pachauri lost another skirmish in court. His legal team tried to argue that newspapers, merely by reporting the conclusions of the Internal Complaints Committee investigation at the New Delhi-based institute Pachauri leads, were breaking the law. A panel of judges had little patience for that suggestion. According to the Economic Times, in an exchange with Pachauri’s lawyer, one of the judges declared: “when a person has got a finding in her favour that she has been harassed, justice is secured.” Preventing the media from telling people about that justice makes little sense.

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Donna Laframboise is a Canadian investigative journalist and author of the 2013 book, Into the Dustbin: Rajendra Pachauri, the Climate Report & the Nobel Peace Prize. See Amazon.com, Amazon India, and other Amazon stores.

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