Business, Finance & Economics

Can this man cool the planet?


Meet Rajendra Pachauri, climate change evangelist. His business card says he’s chair of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, the body that studies the impacts of climate change and determines the steps required to solve the problem. But Pachauri says that what gives him the most satisfaction is creating awareness of the problem he had dedicated himself to addressing.

“I think the most rewarding part of what I’m doing is the knowledge that the world is listening,” Pachauri said in an interview on the sidelines of recent IPCC talks in Venice, Italy. “I work 14 or 15 hours a day. I don’t have a Saturday; I don’t have a Sunday. I haven’t had a holiday in a long, long time. But it’s the adrenaline that keeps you going, the enthusiasm of what this whole mission is about.”

The IPCC’s choice to hold the talks in Venice was significant. The ancient city is slowly sinking into the sea, a process that will only speed up if sea levels rise from climate change, as the IPCC predicts. And Italy is home to one of the world’s largest and most vocal groups of climate change skeptics.

That makes it fertile ground for a figure like Pachauri, who in 2007 accepted, along with former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC.

Passport caught up with Pachauri in Venice, where the IPCC is designing the scope of its next assessment — the report that will reveal the extent to which climate change will doom civilization.

Passport: What is the IPCC seeking to accomplish in these Venice talks?

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