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Pachauri Meets The Youth In Copenhagen

By Marianne de Nazareth

14 December, 2009

Copenhagen: At a specially convened meeting of a hall full of young people from around the world in the Bella center, Dr. RK Pachauri said he was happy to be among the youth of the world. “ What gives me hope and joy about the outcome of Climate change is the youth. If there is any section of human society which can bring about a change, it is the youth. It is a cliché to say Climate Change will be felt by you future generation alone - it is also already felt by us. This comment is made by me not on scientific studies, but on actual experience. Climate change is all around us today.”

He went on to speak about the supposed leak in emails. “The IPCC being the supreme body of science we have made a lot of enemies. It was a private set of communication which was illegally stolen and circulated to cause trouble just before COP15. Everything we publish in the IPCC is after a lot of research and expertly reviewed. This was probably found as a threat to a section of people and that is the reason for the so called ‘leak’.”

When asked by the youth if he was worried if COP15 ended with no politically binding agreement he said,” What would be useful is that developed countries collectively agree on the reduction of GHG by 2020. Plus they must provide finance for facilitation of adaptation and mitigation along with technology transfer to make it happen. 115 world leaders arriving is a huge statement of the extent of awareness about Climate change that has spread across the world. We might not get that politically binding agreement but the door is open to something being signed a year down the road.”

In response to a question of water becoming a problem with Climate Change occurring across the globe he said,” I would like to quote Mahatma Gandhi here and say that intelligent societies build in a system of checks and balances. We must anticipate the problem and this is an area where our decision makers have to step in.”

Regarding the point made that Lord Monckton has spread the word about Climate skepticism, Pachauri said “ you have denialists even today about the world being round. There is a group called the Flat Earth Society so what’s new about skeptics?” he asked.

The youth were concerned that Pachauri along with other scientists played no role in the Climate change negotiations. “ Science has already played its role,” he said, “ by putting out the 4th IPCC Assessment (AR4) report . We are here to help, but the negotiations are becoming solely political and science hardly plays a role in it all. Ideally there should be interaction between scientists and politicians but science seems to have been totally forgotten in the process.”

Concerns were raised by the youth about Nuclear Energy and they asked his opinion on it. “ I don’t see a problem with Nuclear energy, it is clean but it’s waste has to be safely cleaned up and disposed off. As a PHd student in North Carolina university, I remember grafitti on the lift wall. Someone had written ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste’ and a smart aleck had written below that, ‘ And waste is a terrible thing to mind’. I see this in the context of nuclear energy.”

As a closing remark he urged the youth,” Please do not rest when you go home. Whatever are the strengths of your beliefs, go home and spread it. It is in your hands to arrest climate change in each of your countries. ”

He left the hall to a standing ovation from the youth who had come from all over the world to hear him speak.



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