Change at the top of IPCC as panel chief Rajendra Pachauri steps down

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Tuesday (Feb. 24) gave forth that Vice-Chair Ismail El Gizouli was designated as  Acting IPCC Chair following the decision by Rajendra K Pachauri to step down as Chairman of the UN panel of climate scientists.

The news came ahead of the 41st Session of the IPCC starting on Feb. 24 in Nairobi, Kenya, the first meeting after the release of  the Fifth Assessment Report and dedicated to discuss how the panel will organise the production of its scientific reports in future.

Pachauri pulled out of the meeting after Indian police started investigation over a sexual harassment complaint against him, Reuters reported on Sunday (Feb. 21). Delhi police said he is accused of sexually harassing a 29-year-old female researcher from his Delhi-based thinktank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). A spokesman for Pachauri explained he “is committed to provide all assistance and cooperation to the authorities in their ongoing investigations”.

Pachauri has denied the charges, according to a court order sent to the Thomson Reuters Foundation by the public relations firm acting on behalf by TERI. Reuters reported that the harassment included unwanted emails, text and WhatsApp messages.

The IPCC statement did not mention the reasons for Pachauri’s resignation. 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 2015.


(Image: Rajendra Pachauri at UNFCCC COP20 in Lima, Peru. Dec. 11, 2014. Photo Credit: Ministerio del Ambiente Peru/Flickr)