I don’t know whether the climate is warming – though the weather, in my part of the world, is certainly not. True, I doubt the ability of even the most sophisticated models to replicate with any accuracy the massively complex systems that drive the earth’s climate.
But the fun I had with Climategate had nothing to do with that, and everything to do with a basic principle of freedom.
If an elite attains great authority by means of esoteric knowledge – magic, religion, dialectical materialism – it will exploit this authority to its material advantage. Put slightly differently: power, wielded in an opaque or abstruse manner, will inevitably lead to corruption.
Behold the man: Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and thus high priest of a mighty and esoteric sect.
I admit to following Pachauri’s curiously distempered statements since long before Climategate. My favorite was when he said this about Bjorn Lomborg, the eponymous skeptical environmentalist and one of my intellectual heroes: “What is the difference between Lomborg’s view of humanity and Hitler’s? . . . If you accept Lomborg’s way of thinking, then maybe what Hitler did was right.”
That struck me as a solid scholarly refutation of a man who had written a book with 2,930 citations in it.
Alas, it now turns out Pachauri is not only a savior of the earth – he has saved, and made, a great deal of money along the way. An article in the Telegraph by Richard North (chief blogger of EU Referendum, which has much on the subject as well) and Christopher Booker detail the Pachauri shell game:
Initially, when Dr Pachauri took over the running of TERI in the 1980s, his interests centred on the oil and coal industries, which may now seem odd for a man who has since become best known for his opposition to fossil fuels. He was, for instance, a director until 2003 of India Oil, the country’s largest commercial enterprise, and until this year remained as a director of the National Thermal Power Generating Corporation, its largest electricity producer.
In 2005, he set up GloriOil, a Texas firm specialising in technology which allows the last remaining reserves to be extracted from oilfields otherwise at the end of their useful life.
However, since Pachauri became a vice-chairman of the IPCC in 1997, TERI has vastly expanded its interest in every kind of renewable or sustainable technology, in many of which the various divisions of the Tata Group have also become heavily involved, such as its project to invest $1.5 billion (£930 million) in vast wind farms.
In sum: “Dr Pachauri has established an astonishing worldwide portfolio of business interests with bodies which have been investing billions of dollars in organisations dependent on the IPCC’s policy recommendations.” In the process, giving an entirely new twist to the phrase, “going green”
Pachauri’s discomfort and denials can be found in this report in India Today. They ring hollow, and the facts are what they are.
Corruption, I said, becomes inevitable once power is attained from mystical utterances. I won’t compare Pachauri to Hitler, since that would be morally abominable, and worse yet, foolish. He’s a small-time chiseler: compare him to one of Tony Soprano’s brainier, if less bulky, hangers-on.
It’s inevitable and it’s predictable. If we, as a free people, turn political decisions over to a class of good shepherds, then we should expect to get fleeced.