Published February 05, 2010
The U.N.'s climate chief dismissed "nefarious" global warming skeptics this week by insinuating that they are deep in the pockets of big business -- and suggested that they go rub their faces in cancer-causing asbestos.
Rajendra Pachauri, the besieged head of the U.N.'s International Panel on Climate Change, told the Financial Times on Wednesday that he is the victim of a "carefully orchestrated" campaign to block climate change legislation.
"I would say [there are] nefarious designs behind people trying to attack me with lies, falsehoods," he told the paper, swatting away allegations that his India-based climate institute, TERI, has benefited from decisions made by the IPCC, which he also chairs.
Climate change skeptics "are people who deny the link between smoking and cancer; they are people who say that asbestos is as good as talcum powder," he said.
"I hope that they apply it (asbestos) to their faces every day."
Pachauri's remarks came as pressure and scrutiny are mounting against the IPCC's hallmark Fourth Assessment Report, which laid out the case for man-made climate change over a thousand sprawling pages.
The report contained misleading data about the melting rate of glaciers in the Himalayas and is riddled with citations to data furnished by activist groups, non-scientific journals and material that was never peer-reviewed.
Pachauri called the furor over errors in the assessment report "a blip that is going to pass," and reiterated his intention to remain in place as the chief of the world's most powerful climate body.
"I'm not a quitter. Some people would want me to be; some people would probably say that I should go, but I am not going to oblige them. I have no desire to leave at all," he said.
His critics in the business world, he told the paper, "see climate change as a threat to their own comforts, their own convenience and the generation of easy profits." He accused them of establishing a network of lobbyists in D.C. "trying to write all kinds of malicious articles and indulge in invective."
"It's all part of a pattern," he continued. "But let me clarify. I have no proof. I can only presume something like this is at work."