Tags: UN | Climate Change | Chief | Resigns | Sexual Harassment | accusation | Rajendra Pachauri

UN Climate-Change Boss Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Claim

By    |   Tuesday, 24 February 2015 10:13 PM

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the United Nations' controversial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), resigned his position Tuesday amid allegations of sexual harassment, the Toronto Star reported.

Indian law enforcement officials are investigating claims made against Pachauri, 74, by a 29-year-old woman who worked for his research firm, the New Delhi-based Energy and Resources Institute.

Pachauri is alleged to have sent suggestive emails, text messages and WhatsApp messages to the woman. He denies the claims made against him and claims to be the victim of a computer hack aimed at smearing him.

Although professing his innocence, Pachauri said the allegations against him made it difficult for him to perform his duties with the IPCC.

"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," Pachauri wrote in his resignation letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

In the letter, Pachauri pointed to his "inability to travel" to Nairobi, Kenya, to chair a key environmental panel this week.

In an earlier statement, Pachauri declared that he was "committed to provide all assistance and cooperation to the authorities in their ongoing investigations."

AFP reported that on Monday, Indian authorities granted Pachauri three days of official "relief from arrest," which expires Thursday.

The Star reported that as he stepped down, Pachauri, who was chairman of the IPCC since 2002, also pledged to continue outreach on climate change issues in "whatever capacity I work."

He added: "For me, the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission; it is my religion and my dharma" (principle of cosmic order).

Pachauri's ouster is just the latest problem for the IPCC, which jointly won a Nobel Prize in 2007 — the very year it became enmeshed in an ugly controversy about the quality of its research.

Critics say the agency's credibility never fully recovered from the IPCC's 2007 report, which contained embarrassing errors.

It exaggerated the percentage of the Netherlands that is below sea level, claiming it comprised 55 percent of the country, even though the actual figure is closer to 20 percent.

According to the Associated Press, the report contained "five glaring errors" in a single paragraph suggesting that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035. The actual data indicated that this event would not occur until 2350 — which was apparently transposed as 2035.

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Rajendra Pachauri, head of the United Nations' controversial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), resigned his position Tuesday amid allegations of sexual harassment, the Toronto Star reported.
UN, Climate Change, Chief, Resigns, Sexual Harassment, accusation, Rajendra Pachauri
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2015-13-24
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 10:13 PM
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