TERI chairperson R K Pachauri, economist Nitin Desai and retired diplomat Chandrasekhar Dasgupta were retained by Modi as non-government members of the 18-member ‘Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change’.
Both Tata and Narain were members of the high-level panel on climate change constituted by the UPA government in 2007.
Asked about dropping of Director General of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Narain from the re-constituted panel, Environment Ministry officials said there is a provision in the notification that the chairman can invite any other minister/officer/expert to any meeting of the committee depending upon the context of the meeting.
When contacted, CSE did not comment on the dropping of its head but assured that it will continue to cooperate with the government on climate issues.
Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, had come under attack from various quarters over the IPCC’s 2007 report that said the glaciers in the Himalayas will disappear by 2035 due to global warming. But the TERI head had maintained the mistake was “unfortunate”.
Significantly, the council, headed by Modi, and tasked with evolving a coordinate national action for assessment, adaptation and mitigation of climate change at national level, saw increase in the ministerial strength with induction of Urban Development Minister and Coal Minister as members. These ministries were not represented in the previous council.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh and Coal Minister Piyush Goel are the members of the council.
The panel also has climate experts like former bureaucrat J M Mouskar apart from cabinet secretary and secretaries of External Affairs and Environment ministries. Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, is the member convenor of the panel.
Ajay Mathur, chairperson of Bureau of Energy Efficiency, has also been retained as a member of the panel.
Other members who have been dropped from the panel included R Chidambaram, V Krishnamurthy, C Rangarajan, Prodipto Ghosh and journalists Raj Chengappa and R Ramachandran.
While Chidambaram, Krishnamurthy and Rangarajan were representatives of the Manmohan Singh government, Ghosh and journalists Chengappa and Ramachandran were non-government members.
Ghosh, former Secretary, Environment and Forest, is a distinguished fellow at TERI and is actively involved in climate change and sustainable development policy.