Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Arrogance, COI, and “Climategate”
The embarrassing revelations concerning possible conflicts of interest involving Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC should not be surprising to anyone who has dealt extensively with well-known scientists. Like successful people in other professions, leading scientists have extremely healthy egos. From this comes arrogance and an insensitivity to the implications of one’s actions. Anyone in a position of such public importance and trust as Dr. Pachauri should recognize that it is not only the fact of a conflict of interest but also the perception of possible COI that can be incredibly damaging. In extensive dealings with COI issues in the academic world I have always applied the ‘how would it look on the front page’ test. In this case Dr. Pachauri and his colleagues have clearly flunked the test.