Head of climate change panel calls on universities to lead charge

    The chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was at the University of Delaware in Newark Wednesday evening calling on universities to lead the fight against global warming.

    Rajendra Pachauri said the intellectual heavy lifting that’s needed to come up with new sources of renewable energy and more efficient manufacturing and transportation systems will have to come from the academy.

    “This is something that governments can certainly incentivize and stimulate,” Pachauri said, “but governments can’t do this. I think it’s the resources you have in institutions of higher learning that can identify solutions and evaluate them.”

    Pachauri, who has been leading the IPCC since 2002 and accepted a Nobel Prize on its behalf in 2007, said he has seen less attention being paid to finding solutions to climate change since the economy went sour.

    “You find very often people are convinced, they realize the reality and science of climate change, but then you see a period when the economy is on the downturn, or unemployment goes up and you get distracted,” Pachauri said. “But I think we have to realize the impacts of climate change could very well compound some of these problems.”

    Pachauri said the IPCC’s most recent report on climate change proves that people are having an impact on the earth, but constant reminders are necessary to get people focused on solutions.

    “It’s a message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops,” said Robin Dutta, a graduate student at the University of Dealware. “As a student (Pachauri’s talk wasn’t) surprising for me, but when I talk to people who don’t study this they’re often surprised by how drastic the effects of climate change can be.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.