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WikiLeaks: More U.S. Climate Shenanigans

Rajendra Pachauri denies helping Washington block Iranian scientist from senior post on intergovernmental climate body

by Damian Carrington,

Dec 6, 2010

The cable was sent two days before the end of the IPCC plenary at which the appointments were made, at the end of the day on which (pdf). It predicted: "Based on experience at prior IPCC plenaries, events ... will likely unfold unpredictably and rapidly, necessitating a rapid and flexible USG [US government] response."

In the event, Field was elected alongside an Argentinian candidate as co-chairs of the second of the three working groups that write the IPCC's influential reports. Jafari was appointed in June 2010 to a far more junior position, as one of 15 (pdf), due to be published in 2014. He had already served as a lead author for the previous IPCC report, which was published in 2007 and is credited with convincing the world's governments that human activities were very likely to be causing global warming. The report helped win the IPCC that year's Nobel peace prize alongside former US vice-president Al Gore.

The state department was aware of the sensitivity of its delegation's efforts, ordering their missions not to contact their host countries' diplomats "until such a call is received" as "USdel will be interacting directly with host-country expert delegations in Geneva, and premature contacts ... could be highly counterproductive".

It had also considered withdrawing its candidate, Field, but concluded that "having a US co-chair at the IPCC significantly bolsters US interests on climate change, a key foreign policy issue". Furthermore, withdrawal "would effectively give Iran a veto over future US nominees in UN bodies".

Pachauri's spokesperson said he had no direct or indirect role in the appointment. "Maintaining regular contact with the member governments of the IPCC to ensure the smooth running of the organization is an important part of Dr Pachauri's role as chairman, but the nomination of candidates to chair working groups are made by country representatives and Dr Pachauri has no role whatsoever, formally or informally, in that process."

The state department had also applied pressure on countries around the world to support Field. On 15 August 2008, a recounted a meeting at which US officials "urged" senior Brazilian climate change officials to back him. The Brazilians said they "would give the nomination full and careful consideration" while adding they had two candidates of their own running for IPCC positions. The US official told them the US government would give these careful consideration.

On the same day, and asked for backing for its candidate. During August, the US also received support from at least five other nations: Macedonia, Bulgaria, Austria, Serbia and Uzbekistan.

The revelations come during a major UN summit on climate change in Cancún, Mexico. A global treaty is not expected to be agreed, with many countries blaming a lack of firm action on greenhouse gas emissions in the US as a major factor for the lack of progress since the failed Copenhagen summit a year ago.

See Also

Wikileaks: How U.S. Manipulated Climate Accord

U.S. Call to Preserve Copenhagen Accord Puts Climate Conference on Edge

Obama's Copenhagen Pact Unravels

Obama Going to Copenhagen with 2020 Greenhouse Gas Target

Republished with permission.

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