Pachauri quits UN panel after sexual abuse charges

Pachauri quits UN panel after sexual abuse charges

Pachauri quits UN panel after sexual abuse charges

In the wake of charges of sexual harassment levelled by a junior colleague at The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri), environmentalist R K Pachauri on Tuesday resigned as chairperson of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“I have taken the decision to step down from my position as Chair of the IPCC some months before completion of my term, and with effect from February 24,” Pachauri said in his letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“The IPCC needs strong leadership and dedication of time and full attention by the Chair in the immediate future, which under the current circumstances I may be unable to provide, as shown by my inability to travel to Nairobi to chair the plenary session of the panel this week,” he wrote.

The septuagenarian engineer-turned-environmentalist, who accepted the Nobel Prize on behalf of the IPCC in 2007, was accused of sexual harassment by a 29-year-old research associate at the Teri.

On February 13, an FIR was registered against Pachauri for sexual harassment and criminal intimidation at the Lodhi Colony police station here.

Pachauri initially claimed that his email and social media accounts were hacked but approached the Delhi High Court later seeking anticipatory bail.

The high court on Monday gave him time till Thursday and asked the Delhi Police to submit a report on the environmentalist’s health condition as Pachauri's lawyer sought bail for his client on health grounds.

In a statement, Teri said Pachauri, director general of the organisation, has proceeded on leave and adequate internal arrangements have been made for smooth functioning of the outfit. In the fourth assessment report in 2007, IPCC claimed that most of the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 due to global warming. The claim was hugely contested in academic circles in India and abroad.

Later it emerged that the controversial report was based on three documents – a 2005 report on the glacier by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, a 1996 UNESCO document and a “New Scientist” news report. None are peer reviewed. With egg on its face, the IPCC had to retract its claims on the glacier.