R.K. Pachauri steps down as IPCC chair

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:13 am IST

Published - February 24, 2015 05:24 pm IST - NEW DELHI

After facing allegations of sexual harassment, Dr Rajendra K Pachauri has stepped down as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with effect from Tuesday. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) also announced that Dr Pachauri, who is its director general, has proceeded on leave for the time being.

A spokesperson for Dr Pachauri issued a statement that he has informed the IPCC that he has resigned from his position effective today. Dr. Pachauri is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change. He was elected to the first of two terms as Chair of the IPCC in April 2002 and had been scheduled to complete his second term in October.

In response to a request from The Hindu, the IPCC said it cannot comment or speculate on the judicial process while it is running its course. “Until this case is resolved there is a presumption of innocence," according to Jonathan Lynn, Head, Communications and Media Relations, IPCC.

> Read Dr. R.K. Pachauri's resignation letter here

An IPCC press release said after he stepped down, The Bureau of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed on Tuesday, in accordance with its procedures, to designate Vice-Chair Ismail El Gizouli as Acting IPCC Chair.

The decision to name Gizouli was taken at a Session of the Bureau ahead of the 41st Session of the IPCC which will be held in Nairobi from February 24. “The actions taken today will ensure that the IPCC’s mission to assess climate change continues without interruption,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), who facilitated the Bureau meeting. “We look forward to a productive session in Nairobi this week,” he added in the press release.

Elections for a new Bureau, including the IPCC Chair, for the next assessment cycle are already scheduled at the 42nd Session of the IPCC in October 2015. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the world body for assessing the science related to climate change.

The members of the IPCC, comprising the Panel, are its 195-member governments.

Meanwhile, there is outrage among sections of the scientific community as well. “As a climate scientist I am outraged on the news that RK Pachauri is suspected to be involved in a sexual harassment case with a TERI employee.

To safeguard the interest of global climate science Pachauri should step down immediately from the Chairmanship of IPCC and TERI,” said Professor Iqbal S. Hasnain, Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Calicut, Kerala and former Professor Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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