Dec. 12, 2007 | How dire is the climate situation? Consider what Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the United Nations' prestigious Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said last month: "If there's no action before 2012, that's too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment." Pachauri has the distinction, or misfortune, of being both an engineer and an economist, two professions not known for overheated rhetoric.These damned scientists who put scientific fact ahead of political hubris. Geez. How do they think they are going to get promoted by the Bush elite if they keep spewing the truth about global warming and the oil companies that feed it? At least we have real climate scientists like Jim Inhofe, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Crichton who can counter their scientific facts with fluff that the American people can understand.
In fact, far from being an alarmist, Pachauri was specifically chosen as IPCC chair in 2002 after the Bush administration waged a successful campaign to have him replace the outspoken Dr. Robert Watson, who was opposed by fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil. So why is a normally low-key scientist getting more desperate in his efforts to spur the planet to action?