One of the most surprising moments at the release of the landmark final report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Saturday was a little-noticed epilogue to the event.
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon of the United Nations had warned of the alarming trajectory of climate change forecast as a possibility in the report, from the massive extinction of species to the potential for rising sea-levels and the submerging of low-lying island nations in coming centuries.
But just as the crowd of journalists settled down to file their stories, one asked the following question: Had the panel's 2,500 scientists, from dozens of nations around the world, "offset" the airline emissions they had created by flying to meetings?
After all, the panel had convened and released reports this year in Paris, Brussels, Bangkok and Valencia. While not all of the scientists were in attendance at each event, hundreds were. In each city, there were also delegations from some 130 nations to approve the IPCC documents. And of course, there were hundreds of journalists to record this piece of environmental history.
There was a short but uncomfortable silence on the podium in response to the question. "As far as the IPCC is concerned we have not been able to take steps on this one," said Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC and an eminent Indian engineer and economist....MORE