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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Indian's surprise at Nobel award
Rajendra Pachauri congratulated by staff in Delhi, 12 October 2007
Dr Pachauri says credit goes to the scientific community
Indian scientist Rajendra Pachauri has spoken of his surprise at the UN panel he heads being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work on global warming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and campaigner Al Gore were named as joint winners on Friday.

"I can't believe it. I'm overwhelmed," Dr Pachauri, 67, told well-wishers in the Indian capital, Delhi.

"The committee is trying to tell the world we need to do something about climate change urgently."

Praise for Gore

Dr Pachauri said he was "just a symbol" and credit was due to his organisation and its efforts.

"It is really the scientific community that contributes to the work of the IPCC and the governments who support the work of the IPCC who are really the winners of this award."

The message should go out to everyone - developed and developing countries - we are all in this together
IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri

He said he felt privileged to share the prize with "someone as distinguished" as the former US vice president.

"Al Gore certainly deserves it. The amount of effort he has put into creating awareness about climate change has had a major impact."

The two men spoke on the phone after the announcement.

"This is Pachy... I am certainly looking forward to working with you. I'll be your follower and you'll be my leader," Dr Pachauri said.

Nobel laureate Al Gore
Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth was an unlikely box office hit

"Convey my congratulations to the IPCC," replied Mr Gore.

The two campaigners did not get off to the best of starts when Dr Pachauri was elected to head the IPCC in 2002.

US President George W Bush backed the Indian for the post, but Mr Gore, who had lost the presidential election to Mr Bush, criticised his appointment.

In an article in the New York Times, he called Dr Pachauri the "let's drag our feet candidate". The Indian hit back a few days later with a letter condemning Mr Gore for his "derogatory comments".

Former engineer

The spat seemed a long way in the past as the two men exchanged warm words on Friday.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC)
Established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep)
Made up of more than 2,000 leading climate experts
Tasked with assessing scientific data on the risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for mitigation
Does not carry out any research of its own
First Assessment Report published in 1990; its Fourth Assessment Report called Climate Change 2007 to be published mid-November

The IPCC is the top authority on global warming, comprising more than 2,000 leading climate change scientists and experts.

As its chairman, Dr Pachauri is well-placed to combat environmental damage posed by rapid industrialisation.

He began his working life as a mechanical engineer building diesel railway engines, before moving on to study energy and economics.

He is also founder director of the Energy and Resources Institute, India's leading environmental think-tank.

Dr Pachauri says he is very concerned about India and other developing economies which will be hit hardest by climate change.

At the same time, he believes that the lead should come from the West.

"I think the developed countries will really have to create the conditions by which the developing countries will follow in due course," he told the BBC earlier this year.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Clips from Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth



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