IPCC Chairman RK Pachauri Steps Down Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

24/02/2015 4:30 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
KENZO TRIBOUILLARD via Getty Images
The head of the UN's climate science panel (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - IPCC) Rajendra Pachauri speaks during a climate conference in Paris on November 5, 2014. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — Rajendra Pachauri, the 75-year-old chairman of the United Nation's climate change panel, who is being investigated in a sexual harassment case, stepped down from his position on Tuesday.

According to a statement from Dr. Pachauri's spokesperson, he resigned from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) effective Tuesday.

Statement from RK Pachauri:

Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri PhD, Chairman ,The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has informed the IPCC that he has resigned from his position effective today.

- Spokesperson for Dr Pachauri

The IPCC has also released a statement acknowledging Pachauri's exit and designated Vice-Chair Ismail El Gizouli as Acting IPCC Chair for now. An important climate change meeting is taking place this week in Nairobi, Kenya, ahead of the climate change conference in Paris later this year. Pachauri was supposed to chair the meeting, but cancelled his trip amid the sexual harassment allegations against him.

A spokesperson from Pachauri said that he was unable to chair the plenary session of the IPCC in Nairobi "because of issues demanding his attention in India."

"Dr Pachauri is committed to provide all assistance and cooperation to the authorities in their ongoing investigations," according to the spokesperson.

IPCC in its statement on Tuesday said that their work, which is at the heart of the global effort to reach a consensus on emission curbs next year in Paris, will continue unabated.

“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.”

Pachauri has also taken leave of absence from his position as the Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). He has been accused of sexually harassing a 29-year-old employee in TERI.

His counsel told Times Now that Pachauri was unwell at the time and admitted to a hospital. A Delhi court is supposed to hear his plea for anticipatory bail on Thursday.

Last Wednesday, the Delhi Police registered an FIR in the matter based on a complaint filed by the woman subordinate of Pachauri, who accused the eminent scientist of persistent harassment since September 2013.

Read: IPCC Chairman RK Pachauri Under Police Investigation For Alleged Sexual Harassment Of Subordinate

Pachauri is a globally influential voice on climate change and received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of IPCC in 2007.

The complainant has worked in Pachauri's office for the past year and a half, and registered a complaint against him last week, alleging that he had sexually harassed her since September 2013. A first information report (FIR) was registered in the Lodhi Colony police station in Delhi last week.

The FIR, which has named Dr. Pachauri, has been filed under sections 354, 354A, 354D, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code which pertain to outraging the modesty of a woman, assault and criminal force on her, unwelcome physical contact or advances, and making sexually-coloured remarks. All of them are non-bailable offences and based on the evidence thrown up by the investigation, police can move to arrest an accused. Pachauri has alleged that his computer and phone was hacked, and denied the allegations.

FULL STATEMENT FROM IPCC

IPCC agrees on Acting Chair after R.K. Pachauri steps down

NAIROBI, Feb 24 – 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 designation of Gizouli follows the decision by Rajendra K Pachauri, PhD, to step down as Chairman of the IPCC effective today.

The decision to name Gizouli was taken at a Session of the Bureau ahead of the 41st Session of the IPCC, which is being held on 24-27 February 2015.

“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.”

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.

Dr Pachauri 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.

Among other questions to be dealt with by this week’s Session, the Panel will consider the recommendations of the Task Group on the Future Work of the IPCC, and take decisions on the size, structure and composition of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau.

This is the first meeting of the IPCC since the IPCC completed the Fifth Assessment Report. It will help determine how the IPCC works in future, the kind of reports it produces and how it can draw on the contributions of all its members.

The 41st Session of the Panel is being held at the United Nations office in Nairobi, Kenya, and is being hosted by UNEP, one of the IPCC’s two sponsoring organizations, together with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

More On This Topic