Rajendra Pachauri at a recent IRI board meeting. F. Fiondella / IRI
Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, has agreed to serve as board chairman of the Earth Institute’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI).
"I think there's so much that the IRI can do. Climate change gives us an opportunity to reengage with the rest of world, and the IRI is uniquely placed to do that," said Pachauri during IRI's board meeting last week, the first in which he served as chairman. The institute works to understand, anticipate and manage climate risk in order to improve human welfare in fields such as agriculture, water resources and public health.
Columbia University hosted a small event commemorating Pachauri's new role, and honoring outgoing chairman Michael B. McElroy, a respected climate scientist from Harvard University."We are very appreciative of Mike's support and counsel, which have helped build the institution from its infancy to where it is today," said IRI Director-General Stephen E. Zebiak. "And we are both excited and honored to welcome Dr. Pachauri. He's a recognized global leader in climate affairs, and will assist us in engaging the growing international agenda on adaptation and climate risk management."
Earth Institute director Jeffrey Sachs, also a board member, told the meeting: "The IRI was 13 years ahead of its time in seeing the importance of linking climate and society. The world is catching up now. Climate-change adaptation is front and center, and no other institution in the world has pioneered this field with such depth and skill."