Rajendra Pachauri

Head of the Nobel peace prize winning IPCC

Since 2002, Pachauri has headed up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A UN body, the IPCC doesn’t carry out original research but rather compiles reports based on collective knowledge.

The first stage of the most recent IPCC report – the fifth since its establishment in 1989 – was published in September 2013 and covered the physical science of climate change. This is where the “30 years to climate calamity” headlines came from. It was followed by a report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability in April 2014 and another, soon after, on mitigation. We’re due a synthesis report in October 2014 which will likely give a boost to climate debates provoked by the New York summit in September.

In some respects, Pachauri acts as a figurehead for a larger set of activities, but his individual voice which will no doubt continue to be sought even after he moves on from the IPCC. As the FT’s 2009 profile of the ‘exotic tribe’ of climate scientists put it, “If Gore was the populist showman, Pachauri was the diligent committee man.” Whether he’ll continue to stick to committee lines, and whether the IPCC will change track on their communications approach remains to be seen.