Newspaper article International New York Times

U.N. Climate Panel Chief Quits amid Harassment Case

Newspaper article International New York Times

U.N. Climate Panel Chief Quits amid Harassment Case

Article excerpt

Rajendra Pachauri's 13 years as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made him one of the world's leading voices on the issue.

The head of the United Nations panel on climate science has resigned after allegations of sexual harassment were filed against him in India, where he lives and works.

Rajendra K. Pachauri, whose 13 years as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had made him one of the world's most important voices on the risks of global warming, had been scheduled to leave the post in October. But he tendered his resignation on Tuesday after news that a woman employed at an institute that he heads in India had accused him of unwanted text messages, emails and other contact.

The accuser, 29, has not been publicly identified. Lawyers for Dr. Pachauri, 74, have said in court filings that his computer and phone were hacked and that the unwanted messages were sent by someone else to make him look bad. The police in India are investigating, as is an internal-complaints committee at the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi.

The allegations could take years to resolve in India's slow- moving justice system. "The I.P.C.C. 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," Dr. Pachauri wrote in his resignation letter.

The panel is a worldwide committee of thousands of scientists and other experts, appointed by the United Nations and its member governments, who review and summarize the findings of climate research. The chairman's role is largely organizational and ceremonial.

The group's increasingly urgent warnings about the risks of unchecked greenhouse-gas emissions have galvanized a worldwide effort -- costing hundreds of billions of dollars a year, but so far largely unsuccessful -- to bring them under control. …

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