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  • New climate head denies US influence

The new head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has denied that the US government will unduly influence the workings of the panel, which assesses scientific data on climate change and global warming.
"The IPCC is only a scientific body. It doesn't get into the question of commitments by different countries," Rajendra Pachauri, an engineer and economist who heads the Tata Energy Research Institute in Delhi, told Reuters this week, in what appears to be his first public statement since being elected on 19 April. "It doesn't concern itself with what country A or country B would do."

Pachauri's election as the first developing country representative to lead the panel was shrouded in controversy (see Head of climate panel pushed out). Environmentalists allege that the United States responded to pressure from the oil industry to oust former IPCC head Robert Watson — an outspoken critic of the US government's stance on climate change.

But Pachauri denies that oil companies have a direct influence in the IPCC. "All they can do is maybe pressure a few governments here and there."

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