IPCC Head Rajendra Pachauri steps down following allegations of sexual harassment

pachauriFrom the Daily Mail:

Rajendra Pachauri, industrial engineer-turned head of the UN’s climate science panel and one-off sex novel author, is no stranger to accolades — nor to controversy.

At his peak, the now 74-year-old Indian accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the policy-shaping body he heads, and was showered with national honours and honorary doctorates.

On Tuesday he stood down as head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) following allegations that he sexually harassed a 29-year-old woman researcher from the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi think-tank he heads.

The allegations had forced the bearded father-of-three, who denies any wrongdoing, to pull out of a four-day conference at a highly sensitive time, with the global community preparing to ink a planet rescue pact in December.

That deal will be largely informed by the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, a summary of the latest climate science.

It warns that on current greenhouse gas-emission trends the world is on track for double the UN goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), resulting in devastating floods, droughts and rises in sea level.

Pachauri, a vocal advocate of tough action against global warming, has had many career ups and downs, and this is not the first time he has faced public scrutiny.

He had to weather calls for his resignation after gross errors were found in a landmark IPCC report, and faced widespread ridicule for an attempt at erotic literature.

In 2007 he held aloft the Nobel jointly awarded to the IPCC under his chairmanship, and to former US vice president-turned climate campaigner Al Gore.

But three years later Pachauri was mired in controversy when errors were found in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report.

An erroneous claim that Himalayan glaciers could be lost by 2035 was allegedly taken from a press article instead of a scientific study.

Pachauri refused to accept personal responsibility for the error and rejected pressure to step down, claiming “ideologically-driven posturing” was behind attacks on the IPCC.