We are very visible, which is why we have to be careful in our practices making sure it is in accord with our status of a
credible group of scientists. Regretfully, some problems evolve progressively in the last years. The key point is that the
life style of a scientist presumes certain living standards that are reasonably good, but by no means compatible in any
sense with the lifestyle and standards of the top business people or policymakers, whom we often address our work.
And here I see the need for immediate attention. I will give one example.
In November 2006 we had the SPM meeting of WG-2. The meeting was organized in one of the worlds-most expensive
places – relatively small and fancy hotel in Surrey, the UK. Everything, -pronounced luxury of the private environment,
the room prices, proximity to the Royal residence, indicated that this is not a right place to organize the meeting of
IPCC experts! I expressed my concern writing to the IPCC Secretariat and to the TSU, who have chosen this place, but
it was left without attention. Our meeting took place in this hotel, and we ended up discussing one of the WG-2 favorite
topics, “The risk of hunger”, during the lunch that costs 18 UK pounds per person! On a minor note, this everyday
lunch was part of a hotel package; the menu and price were not negotiable. It was a shame of IPCC, which does not
have any excuse in my mind. We would never pass “The Sun” test in the UK, should there be any leakage of this
information, and our credibility would have been lost forever. I talked with some of my colleagues during this meeting,
and their position surprised me. Many of them agreed with me that this is not how scientist live, and also not how the
taxpayers, who ultimately take all the bills, think the scientist who drive them into the future should live. However,
people are weak, they can not resist such offers, if someone pays for it.
My only form of protest at that time was to decline the “luxury” package, to get a room in “B&B” in the small town
nearby and to have a nice 45 minute walk every morning to this isolated place. Now when we discuss the future of
IPCC I want to revisit this issue. We have to discontinue this practice. If we go further this way, next time there will be
limousines surrounded by body guards that bring IPCC experts and senior officials to the meeting place… This is the
way to nowhere, we should not replicate the lifestyles of some ambitious business people and politicians.
I fully support the practice of IPCC meetings being held in different regions of the world, I see good rationale for it.
However, we have to scale the standards of these meetings to the level that is appropriate for the scientists. This is a
must, otherwise our credibility will occasionally be gone forever. We will never be heard if we direct people how to
fight hunger while enjoying 18 UK pound lunch.