Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do as I say

The Mail on Sunday today is doing what it does best. It picks up the "the world's most powerful climate scientist" and tells us: "Controversial climate change boss uses car AND driver to travel one mile to office... (but he says YOU should use public transport)".

Thus the piece presents Pachauri for what he really is – a rank hypocrite. "You might expect Dr Rajendra Pachauri to be doing everything he can to reduce his own carbon footprint," observes the MoS. But he shows "no apparent inclination to cut global warming in his own back yard", having his personal chauffeur collect him from his £4.5million home (pictured top) in a 1.8-litre Toyota Corolla for the one-mile journey from home to his Delhi office (pictured below right).

Under normal circumstances, the affairs of a wealthy man are his own business, but these are not "normal circumstances." This is the man who told us that the Western lifestyle is unsustainable and who constantly evangelises that we must reduce our personal consumption, while building himself a multi-million portfolio on the back of the climate change industry.

The extent of this man's hypocrisy is further brought home as the MoS describes how, hours later, Pachauri's chauffeur picks him up from the luxury office of his environmental "charity" (pictured below left), ignoring his institute's own literature, which gives visitors tips on how to reduce pollution by using buses.

Such plebeian transport is not for the good doctor though. He is driven in style to an upmarket restaurant popular with expatriates and well-off tourists just half a mile from his luxurious family home.

The Pachauri family has, in fact, five cars – three for the personal used of the great doctor, including a token electric car, which is rarely used as it is not "big enough" to accommodate the great climate guru and his chauffeur.

As to his luxury home, from outward appearances it is pretty tatty, although it is fully equipped with electricity-guzzling air conditioning to keep the man cool while he saves the planet.

The Golf Links area in Central Delhi where Pachauri lives is named after the nearby Delhi Golf Course and is one of the most expensive residential areas in India. Every home in this gated community has its own security guard and it enjoys round-the-clock police patrols to protect its wealthy residents.

Dr Pachauri's neighbours include a former prime minister's son and senior Indian business leaders. Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, Britain's richest man with an estimated £10.8 billion fortune, owns a home in the same area.

Currently, homes of a similar size to Dr Pachauri’s are being advertised at prices of around £6 million. Explaining the area's sky-high property prices, the director of an international property broker told India's Economic Times: "This area has a certain snob value attached to it. Buying a house here means announcing to the world that one has arrived in life."

So, Rajendra has "arrived in life", living high off the hog in his $1000 suits. And this is the man who lectures us about adopting more modest life-styles, adding to our bills though his incessant scare-mongering, polluting the skies as he travels hundreds of thousands of miles around the world, first class, to solicit yet more money for his institute in the name of saving the planet.

And this is the man to whom Douglas Alexander wants to give another £10 million of our money, to enable TERI "to undertake efforts by which poverty can be addressed". Well, it's certainly addressing Dr R K Pachauri's poverty.