NEW DELHI: The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chief R K Pachauri, who is facing charges of sexually harassing a woman employee, stepped down from his post on Tuesday.
The 74-year-old also went on leave from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) where he is the director general. In his two-page resignation letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Pachauri said, “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... I have, therefore, taken the decision to step down from my position as Chair of the IPCC.” Pachauri’s second term as the IPCC Chair was due to end in October this year. The panel has appointed vice-chair Ismail El Gizouli as acting IPCC Chair after Pachauri’s resignation.
TERI issued a statement saying Pachauri has proceeded on leave for the time being and adequate arrangements have been made to ensure smooth running of the institute. A TERI researcher had claimed that the scientist began harassing her soon after she joined in September 2013. A second victim later came forward with similar allegations.
A Delhi court on Monday granted Pachauri interim protection from arrest till Thursday on health grounds. Sources said Pachauri was brought to Fortis Escorts Hospital by family members.
In 2007, the IPCC was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with former US Vice President Al Gore for galvanising action against climate change. Pachauri had delivered the acceptance speech.