Former IPCC chairman R K Pachauri passes away at 79

James Marshall
February 15, 2020

In a statement, his family said Pachauri underwent a major heart surgery before succumbing to his deteriorating health on Thursday. He was admitted to Escorts Heart Institute on Tuesday. He died at his residence with his wife, daughter and son on his side. "He was suffering from cardiac issues".

Pachauri was the Chairman of UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when it won the Nobel Peace Price in 2007.

Pachauri had to step down from his position in TERI, an organisation he founded, after he was accused of sexually harassing a former woman colleague.

"His courageous leadership allowed climate change to be recognized world over as the most pressing issue confronting the world and launched a new era of global deliberations and actions", said his family. The founder-director of the city-based "The Energy and Resources Institute", or TERI, was 79 years old.

Dr Pachauri - who helmed the the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for more than a decade - died in a New Delhi hospital late on Thursday (Feb 13) after undergoing open heart surgery this week, his family said. "He played a pivotal role in making us a leading organisation in the sustainability space", he added.

Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, IPCC vice chairman from 2002-2015, said coming from a developing country, Pachauri should be credited for drawing the attention, long before others, to the importance of finding synergies between climate policies and sustainable developing agenda.

A Padma Bhushan victor, Pachauri conceptualised and launched the "Lighting a Billion Lives" initiative in 2008, to facilitate clean energy access for all.

Pachauri resigned from Teri in 2015 in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment. An alumnus of the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Jamalpur, Bihar, Pachauri served in various positions in the Indian Railways, including at the Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi. Pachauri, however, denied the allegations saying his emails and mobile phone were hacked.

Dr Pachauri has consistently defended his innocence in the matter. The court had given him anticipatory bail in 2015.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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