Pressure Mounts for IPCC Chairman Pachauri to Resign

Pressure mounts for IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri to resignSince the release of a report by the InterAcademy Council (IAC) recommending fundamental reforms for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the call for IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri to resign have gained momentum of late, especially in the UK according to recent reports.

Dr. Pachauri has become a liability – he is now causing more harm than good,” said Tim Yao, who chairs the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Committee in the House of Commons. “Climate science needs a guarantee of utmost reliability, and Dr. Pachauri can no longer guarantee that. I would be as well if he stepped aside.”

Though a longtime target for climate “skeptics,” the wheels began to come off the wagon for Pachauri earlier this year when it was revealed the IPCC had made a significant error in claiming Himalayan glaciers could melt within the next thirty years.

…[Pachauri] personally has lost credibility,” said Yao, “particularly in relation to his claim about the melting of the Himalayan glaciers in the next 30 years. It’s vital that this body is led by someone whose academic and intellectual credentials are unquestioned and I’m afraid that can no longer be said of him.”

One of the specific recommendation from the IAC report released in August was for a single term for IPCC chair of “about seven years, matching the time between IPCC assessment reports. The last assessment report – the one with the incorrect data on Himalayan glaciers – was in 2007, the next assessment is due in 2013/2014.  Pachauri is in his second six-year term as IPCC chairman.

The IAC recommendation is subtle,” said Royal Society Fellow Brian Hoskins, “but it probably would be better for the future of the IPCC if Dr. Pachauri were to resign of his own accord, taking great care to ensure their is not question of India losing face, as India is such a major country for mitigation and adaptation.”

For its part, India has given its full support behind its native son, despite many former allies calling for his resignation for the good of the IPCC and the cause in general. Many fear that if Pachauri does not step aside, opponents will use it to discount the reliability of the next IPCC assessment report.

When the IAC report was released, Pachauri had said he would step down if IPCC member states request his resignation at the panel’s next plenary meeting in October.

Image credit: Ecopolitology

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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