Spotlight on Alumni: EWC Alumnus Leads Nobel Peace Prize Winning Organization

IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri (center) with IPCC Working Group III Co-Chairs Ogunlade Davidson from Sierra Leone (left) and Bert Metz from The Netherlands. Photo courtesy of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).



The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on October 12 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chaired by East-West Center Alumnus Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. This award, jointly shared with former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, was “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change,” according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Pachauri, originally from Nainital, India, served as a Visiting Senior Fellow with the East-West Center’s (EWC) Resource Systems Institute in 1982 and received EWC participant awards (1981-83) for his contribution to the APESC IV and A/P Energy Studies Consultative Group meetings. In response to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, he stated, “This is an honor that goes to all the scientists and authors who have contributed to the work of the IPCC, which alone has resulted in  . . . the remarkable effectiveness of the message that it contains." In an interview with a Nobel organization representative, Pauchari commented, “. . .the result so far has been . . . an enormous amount of awareness and understanding of everything related to climate change.  Not only among the public, but I would say also the world leaders; and therefore there’s every reason to hope that there will be some action now on this front.”

The IPCC will release its much anticipated Fourth Assessment Report "Climate Change 2007” (AR4) in November 2007. This report is the culmination of six years of work involving more than 3,750 experts from over 130 countries.  These IPCC assessments are based on peer-reviewed scientific and technical literature, and their reports are written by international teams of experts representing differing scientific perspectives. Pachauri explained, “The IPCC’s strength lies in the processes and procedures that it follows. Most important is its ability of carrying out rigorous scientific assessment, which undergoes the scrutiny of government representatives and therefore is accepted by governments. There is no other body in the world that is able to meet these twin objectives simultaneously."

EWC Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Toufiq Siddiqi also participated on this collaborative panel for several years, serving on a peer-review Working Group, which published the 1995 report “Radiative Forcing of Climate Change” and as the lead author of a report in the 2000 publication, “Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer.” Siddiqi commented, “During his 5-year tenure as Chair of IPCC, Dr. Pachauri has done a remarkable job of mobilizing the global scientific community, and bringing to the world's attention to the fact that there is enormous scientific consensus that human activities are contributing substantially to global climate change.” The IPCC reports identify the expected impacts on the world, and the steps that can be taken to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, and eventually lead to a more stable climate.
Pachauri's initial interaction with the EWC was in his role as Director of the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), when he co-sponsored several reports and workshops that were a part of the program on "The Environmental Dimensions of Energy Policies" coordinated by Siddiqi. He also participated in the major EWC Workshop on Climate Change in 1989, and conducted an EWC field study with the APO-RSI Seminar on Energy Sector Performance in 1987. Pachauri continues to serve as Director-General of TERI, which is now called The Energy and Resources Institute.