Thursday, January 21, 2010

You do wonder

"Hasnain (of "glaciergate" fame) is currently employed as a senior fellow at an Indian research institute, the Tata Energy Research Institute, whose director is Pachauri." So writes Fred Pearce, sometime New Scientist journalist but currently making this assertion in The Guardian.

This is the man who is at the forefront of pointing out the 2035 error in the IPCC report yet, anyone who has been following the affairs of the great R K Pachauri will know that the Tata Energy Research Institute, aka TERI, changed its name to The Energy and Resources Institute in 2003 – seven years ago.

The distinction is more than academic. The allegation that there is a link between Tata and Dr Pachauri "is defamatory of our clients", we are informed by lawyers acting on behalf of Tata.

In fact, so incensed is B Muthuraman, vice chairman of Tata Steel Limited, with our assertion that there is any linkage between Tata and TERI that he is now threatening immediate proceedings unless we withdraw any such "allegation" and pay zillions of damages to compensate for his company's losses arising from such a grave slur.

Now Fred Pearce has, effectively – albeit unwittingly – also made the link, perhaps the irate Mr Muthuraman might consider taking proceedings against him as well. Mind you, he would also have to take action against Ms Ritu Kumar, director and company secretary of TERI Europe, as her current letterhead also describes TERI as "Tata Energy Research Institute" (illustrated - click to enlarge).

That aside, you do wonder how well-informed these self-important environmental journalists actually are. If Pearce can make such an obvious bloomer, how many other mistakes is he making?