Pachauri, who has served as the IPCC chair since 2002, was given the award in recognition of his extraordinary ccomplishments in advancing the science and understanding of climate change and international policy, in Tampa, Florida.
A 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Pachauri is also the CEO of the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, president of the Asian Energy Institute, and founding director and senior adviser to the Yale University Climate and Energy Institute.
"What is really significant is the fact that human activities have influenced the climate of this planet in a very short period of time and in a very intensive way," Pachauri told the university faculty and students of the University of South Florida referring to the recently released IPCC Climate Change report.
"The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia," he said.
"From the beginning of the last century to 2010, there has been a sea level increase of 19 centimetres."
"What we need to do is develop climate-resilient pathways," said Pachauri commending Patel College for "working on some of these issues, that combine adaptation and mitigation to reduce climate change and its impact."
The Patel College of Global Sustainability comprises the Patel Centre for Global Solutions, the MA College in Global Sustainability and the Office of Sustainability.
It is an inclusive and holistic school based on interdisciplinary research, design, and education.
It was launched in 2005 with the support of Tampa-based Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, who have developed and funded a variety of programmes in health, education, arts and culture, around the world.