| Pachauri in Delhi. Picture by Prem Singh
New Delhi, Oct. 12: Cricket-loving energy economist Rajendra Pachauri and former US Vice-President Al Gore will walk into Oslo City Hall this December 10 to receive the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize announced today.
The Nobel Committee said it was awarding Gore and the Inter-governmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), a UN agency chaired by Pachauri, for their efforts to build and spread knowledge about man-made climate change and lay the foundation for steps to counteract the change.
“The credit for the prize goes to all scientists working with the IPCC and all governments who worked with us. I’m just their representative,” Pachauri, 67, said. “This (the Nobel) should help climate change move to the forefront of the global agenda.”
Pachauri had started off as a railway engineer in the 1960s, when he helped the country make the transition from the soot-belching steam engines to diesel locomotives. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2001.
Like most Indians, he has had a lifelong passion for cricket and despite his age and busy schedule, regularly plays corporate cricket matches. Pachauri is a vegetarian, partly from his religious beliefs and partly because of the impact meat production has on the environment.
His growing involvement with environment issues led him to the helm of the two-decade-old IPCC, which evaluates the science of climate change and produces reports on impacts and possible mitigation steps to stir governments into corrective action.
An IPCC report had earlier this year predicted glacier meltdown in the Himalayas that could leave India thirsting for water within decades. The report said it was more than 90 per cent likely that human activities were the main cause of global warming in the past 50 years.
Hundreds of authors worldwide have written and reviewed the IPCC reports without payment, the panel said today.
Gore, 59, has been one of the most visible campaigners for action against climate change and has worked with celebrity artistes to organise Live Earth — synchronised worldwide concerts — to raise awareness. He starred in the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which highlights the risks of global warming.
Pachauri and Gore have known each other for the past two decades. The winners of the $1.5-million (Rs 6-crore) prize were picked from 181 candidates.
“There is reason to celebrate now, just as there was reason to celebrate when he (Pachauri) was appointed IPCC chairman,” said J. Srinivasan, atmospheric scientist at IISc, Bangalore, and lead author of an IPCC report.
Gore’s critics said the award was unjustified. “Gore doesn’t understand the science behind climate change or deliberately misrepresents it,” said Joseph Bast of Chicago’s Heartland Institute.