With the selection of Hoesung Lee as new head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, what changes will we see in their approach to human contributions to global warming?
If he does absolutely nothing he will be a huge improvement on his predecessor, Rajendra Pachauri, who disgraced his office with sexual misconduct as well as attempts to profit from their research.
Mr. Lee’s initial statement seemed oriented at engaging and upgrading the climate science as practiced in the developing world. He also said “The next phase of our work will see us increase our understanding of regional impacts, especially in developing countries, and improve the way we communicate our findings to the public. Above all, we need to provide more information about the options that exist for preventing and adapting to climate change.” All areas that need improvement, to be sure.
I hope his ambitions extend to recognition and attribution as well.
He’s getting a lot of press right now. He’s an economist with a number of relevant publications.
However, the press seems to be overlooking two relevant entries on his resume:
1996-1999 Board Member, Hyundai Corporation
1975-1978 Economist, Exxon USA
So we may actually see a slightly different governing style… Economics does need to play a larger role in addressing issues surrounding adaptation and mitigation. And both Hyundai and Exxon are important players. Exxon in particular has shown a willingness to engage with climate science and scientists. Of course they are the spawn of the devil, but they did give $100 million to Stanford University’s Global Climate and Energy Project.
Hyundai, on the other hand, preceded Volkswagen as a target of the EPA, being fined $350 million in 2014 for overstating fuel efficiency.
So Mr. Lee will have a choice of examples from his personal history to guide him. I hope he doesn’t neglect this one…