The head of the world’s preeminent climate change organization resigned this week after being accused of sexual harassment in his home country of India. Rajendra Pachauri stepped down as the chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change, an ignominious end to what has been a tenure tinged with scandal. The FT reports:
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change faces nearly eight months without a permanent head following the sudden departure of Mr Pachauri, who had been due to retire in October when a new chair is to be elected.The 74-year-old has been accused of harassing a staffer at The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, where he is director-general, with inappropriate emails, text messages, and unwanted advances. The institute said on Tuesday he had taken leave “for the time being”. […]In a legal petition last week seeking to stop media reporting the case, Mr Pachauri claimed his email had been hacked and used to send the objectionable messages, which he denied writing.
Pachauri is no stranger to the salacious, having penned a fictionalized autobiography full of boasts of sexual exploits, nor is this the first fracas in which he’s been involved. Five years ago he was accused of raising huge sums of money for his foundation on the basis of bogus IPCC claims that Himalayan glaciers were not long for this world. That prompted the head of Greenpeace UK to say this:
“The IPCC needs to regain credibility. Is that going to happen with Pachauri? I don’t think so. We need someone held in high regard who has extremely good judgment and is seen by the global public as someone on their side.”
Those words are looking ever more prescient in light of recent events. In fact, greens around the world are likely breathing a sigh of relief that he’s finally stepping down.