Return to Almora, by Rajendra Pachauri

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  (Source:
Steamy novel is set in the Himalayas, the site of Mr. Pachauri's controversial melting proclamations

Imagine this.  You've been caught at work in an exaggeration that has put your organization's central campaign at jeopardy.  Some are calling for your resignation, but you're currently surviving on your past accolades.  So what do you do?

Well if you're Rajendra Pachauri, the embattled Indian economist who chairs the UN IPCC, you apparently write a raunchy novel.  Pachauri has aired to the public what has been occupying his spare time -- a tome of sexual fantasies and frustrations entitled Return to Almora.  The book chronicles the adventures of a liberated climate expert seeking love in the 1960s.

Obviously, Pachauri has freedom to behave how he sees fit in his personal life.  However, many are critical of the public figure's decision to share his fantasies with the public.

Moreover, they note that the book's titular setting, Almora -- an Indian town in the province of Uttarakhand that's nestled up against the Himalayan Mountains -- is particularly ironic given Pachauri's recent trouble.  Pachauri came under fire several weeks ago when he was forced to retract part of the IPCC's 2007 climate report, a critical document that policy makers worldwide are using to shape pending climate legislation and restrictions.  

Pachauri claimed in the document that the Himalayan glaciers could melt as early as 2035, but that turned out to be pure speculation -- and incorrect, at that.  Scientists who are supportive of warming theory admitted that even in their most pessimistic scenarios, the glacier would last for a hundred or more years.  It appears that Pachauri pulled the figure literally out of thin air, and now it has put him on thin ice.

So, perhaps it was not the wisest decision for Pachauri to set his new novel in the Himalayas.  Or perhaps it's another bold move for a man who once suggested that the world shun meat to fight climate change.  

One would hope, though, that Pachauri at least penned a quality work, that would make his gamble pay off, and the criticism he would surely receive worth it.  Unfortunately, Return to Almara is no praiseworthy litany of lust, says romance novelist Kathy Lette.  Lette, whose own work has sold millions thanks to its refined raunch, comments in a CNN interview, "The sex scenes are so, so terrible.  But in fact he is in charge of climate change so it is just a lot of hot air."

Pachauri's work does at least have major backing, though.  The multi-billionaire boss of India's largest energy company is launching the book with Pachauri.  And Pachauri also has company in the circle of politicians turned romance novelists.  Many famous political figures worldwide have launched raunchy novels in the past, including former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

In an effort to keep this entry clean, we'll offer you a link to Climate Audit's story on the topic, which includes an excerpt of the work.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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