The KPMG review: Not shooting straight?

(This post originally appeared at Bishop Hill. This is a slightly longer version)

The Guardian recently published an article about a “limited-review” of the IPCC chairman RK Pachauri’s personal accounts by KPMG, a firm of accountants. This report had widespread play as it followed closely behind the Telegraph’s apology to RK Pachauri over its article about his business interests. For example, using conclusions and language from the report, George Monbiot went on to claim that the IPCC chairman had “no conflicts of interest“.

However, problems with the Guardian‘s understanding were evident with the very first of its pieces. Monbiot, with his co-author James Randerson labeled the review an ‘audit’. Monbiot repeated the appellation at his blog post, which accompanied the Guardian article. This problem is widespread – a recent Times of India report, for instance, identifies KPMG  as auditors to the remit of what they performed. This New York Times blog called the report an audit. A Wall Street Journal article made the same mistake as well.

This is, of course,  the opposite of how KPMG characterized their own report.

Our work constituted limited review, and the scope of our work was significantly different from that of an audit and cannot therefore be relied upon to provide the same level of assurance as an audit. (emphasis not in report)

A small Glitch

Among other things, the KPMG report looked at how Pachauri handled his travel expenses as paid from his accounts and his organization TERI’s. KPMG judged Pachauri’s financial records to be kept “accurately” and with “no exceptions”. A curious detail however emerges on closer examination. (h/t DennisA )

KPMG Report - 'Expenses incurred by Dr. Pachauri but recieved by TERI'

On page 14, a table appears to indicate RK Pachauri and his spouse Saroj Pachauri were fully reimbursed by Yale University for attending the “presentation ceremony” in 2008 at which Pachauri was given an honorary degree. KPMG indicate that TERI promptly and quite properly repaid Dr Saroj Pachauri’s share back.

The only problem with this statement is that the ceremony took place on May 26 in New Haven, and not during June 28-30.

Pachauri was awarded a “Doctor of Humane Letters” and received it in person, along with the rest of the ‘class of 2008’ (p. 8). Yale even declared the ceremonies a ‘carbon neutral graduation’.

What did take place in the last week of June, 2008? On the 26th, Pachauri visited New York City, met the mayor Michael Bloomberg over lunch and delivered a global warming speech. He reached California by the 27th where he met Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hal Harvey among, going by the IPCC’s itinerary document (p. 28). While there Pachauri even took the obligatory dig at climate skeptics as this video shows. Pachauri travelled back to New York on the 28th where he delivered a talk at an UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meeting.

The Larger Point

One is tempted to say, almost per custom, something like “one small error in the report should not detract from the larger message it tries to convey”. Perhaps an explanation does exist, but it seems quite odd that a slip-up of this kind should find its way into the final report of KPMG’s review, given that the veracity of reports such as these depend on thorough examination of small details.

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3 comments

  1. Rajan Alexander

    10 tell tale signs that the global warming is a dying hoax

    Global warming hysteria, whose gravy train INGOs and environmental organizations jumped into for the last decade or so, has run its course. Climate alarmism is dying a slow and painful death. Here are some telltale signs that it is in its deathbed, grasping for its last breath:

    1. Re-branding exercises

    We live in this age of advertisement where if something isn’t working, the first remedy is often to change the offending name. Repeated attempts to re-brand global warming are one of these. Global warming first metamorphosed as “climate change”. This worked for some years but such was the gross misuse and abuse of the term that the public soon developed allergic to this term too and thus the desperate search for an alternative term in the last few months. Some alternatives recently floated are “climate weirdness” and “climate disruption “, the last coined by President Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren.

    Read more: http://devconsultancygroup.blogspot.com/2010/09/for-climate-justice-activists-living-in.html

    It’s not only sceptics that have raised our flags of victory. George Monbiot, the journalist czar of global warming, of the Guardian, just conceded defeat in his latest blog “Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it’s dead” Read more:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/20/climate-change-negotiations-failure

  2. Oliver K. Manuel

    I agree “global warming is a dying hoax”, perpetuated on the public by an unholy alliance of politicians and scientists who were willing to find evidence of anything the politicians would pay them to establish as “a scientific fact.”

    Another “tell tale sign” when politicians abuse science as a tool of propaganda:

    2. The number of authors on questionable “scientific” reports are usually very large. Politicians have access to unlimited tax funds to generate propaganda and mistakenly believe that the illusion of consensus is enhanced by the number of scientists involved.

    Thus, a whole army of climatologists generated the IPCC reports.

    And the entire astrophysics community ignored these embarrassing 1975 data:

    Ultimately “Truth will out”, but there may be a significant time lag!

    With kind regard,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  3. Pingback: Climate science and the litany of unaccountability « Shub Niggurath Climate