23 October 2009

IPCC Chief Criticizes President Obama

On the eve of a major speech by President Obama on climate and energy at MIT (more on that later), Rajendra Pachuri, head of the "policy neutral" IPCC, criticizes President Obama and opines on U.S. domestic politics:

"I personally feel he ought to be doing a lot more," Pachauri told reporters after a debate on climate change in Stockholm, adding the president "really has to assert himself to see that the US passes legislation" prior to the Copenhagen summit.

The high-stakes conference in the Danish capital from December 7-18 will see nations attempt to hammer out a new global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

The US Senate on October 27 is scheduled to take up a climate change bill sponsored by Democratic Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, but the White House recently recognized the improbability of a Senate vote before Copenhagen.

Pachauri however stated he was "cautiously optimistic" that the Americans could agree on legislation in time for the summit, underlining it was "critically important that the US be part of this world deal."

"He (Obama) has to get the Senate to legislate the Kerry-Barbara Boxer bill," Pachauri insisted during the debate, adding he felt the president had not "put his weight behind it."