Fact and Fiction at the IPCC

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri is chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). And he has just released a brand new book. No, it isn’t a sequel to his 1976 Dynamics of Electrical Energy Supply and Demand: An Economic Analysis. It’s a novel, titled Return to Almora. It’s about an Indian climate expert in his sixties who travels around India, Peru, and the United States, making passionate love to women all along the way.

Yes, that’s right: Dr. Pachauri’s first novel is largely about sex; or, as The Daily Telegraph puts it, it’s about “a lot of sex – with a lot of women.”

Return to Almora’s publication comes at an interesting time for Dr. Pachuari. On January 20th, Pachauri was forced to publically apologize for a 2007 IPCC report which erroneously claimed that Himalayan glaciers would melt completely by 2035.

This week, The Sunday Telegraph revealed that the same IPCC report cites only two sources for its claims about the disappearance of mountain ice in the Andes and Alps. One source is an anecdotal article from a popular mountaineer magazine; the other is a Swiss geography student’s dissertation. Now Dr. Pachauri is being blasted in the press for permitting scholastic misconduct. He is also facing calls for his resignation.

Of course, in light of the release of Return to Almora, one can understand how Dr. Pachauri might be confused by the sudden fervent demand for factual accuracy. After all, novelists are encouraged to take creative license in their work—to expand upon the known and sacrifice truth to beauty.

Judging from Return to Almora’s first sex scene—which occurs on page 16, and which features a nubile “May” telling climate scientist “Sanjay” he is “absolutely superb after meditation”—I’d say it’s safe to assume Dr. Rajendra Pachauri has grown accustomed to embellishing fact with a little bit of fantasy.