Dr R K Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, speaking in London on 3 October stressed the critical role of engineers in helping the world adapt to climate change. Giving The Royal Academy of Engineering’s International Lecture, Dr Pachauri urged the Academy to provide intellectual direction to government and the corporate sector in developing innovative and practical technologies.

“Our understanding of climate change and the actions that have been taken or are planned to meet this challenge present a remarkable history of how science and technology can help address problems facing human society,” said Dr Pachauri. He added that, “Were it not for the fact that scientists have assessed all aspects of climate change in their entirety, we would probably have had to wait several decades and endured several disasters to give us concrete proof of the impacts of climate change. It would perhaps have been too late at that stage to mitigate the emissions of greenhouse gases, which are responsible for the anthropogenic influence on climate change.”

He specified the importance of engineering solutions now that the science is well established. “Adaptation will be necessary to address impacts resulting form the warming which is already unavoidable due to past emissions. Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilised. Hence the importance of implementing adaptation measures and creating institutional arrangements to enable early stabilisation.”

Notes for editors

  1. The Royal Academy of Engineering International Lecture was generously supported by the ERA Foundation.
  2. Dr R K Pachauri is Chairman of the IPCC and Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). Born in Nainital, India, he commenced his career with the Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi, where he held several managerial positions. He then joined the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA, where he obtained an MS in Industrial Engineering followed by PhDs in both Industrial Engineering and Economics, as well as serving as a Faculty member there. On his return to India, Dr Pachauri joined the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, and later became the Director, and then Director General, of TERI.

    Dr Pachauri took up his post as Chairman of the IPCC in 2002. Since then, he has been at the forefront of international discussions dealing with the subject of climate change and its policy dimensions. In addition, Dr Pachauri has served in numerous advisory positions, both nationally and internationally, and has authored 21 books and several papers and articles.

    In 2001 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan - one of India's highest civilian awards that recognises distinguished service to the nation - for his immense contribution to the field of environment. He was also awarded the Officier de la Légion d'Honneur by the Government of France in 2006.
  3. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0636