A United Nations climate chief who stepped down from his position this week after allegations of sexual harassment will not be allowed to leave India or enter his office under an interim bail order issued by an Indian court, the BBC reported.
Rajendra Pachauri resigned as chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Tuesday, making only vague reference in his resignation letter to his legal problems in India.
“The IPCC 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 as show by my inability to travel to Nairobi to chair the plenary session of the panel this week,” Pachauri wrote.
Pachauri, 74, has denied the sexual harassment allegations against him.
Police are investigating accusations by a 29-year-old female researcher who worked for Pachauri at the Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi. The researcher accused him of making inappropriate phone calls, sending inappropriate emails and texts and of touching her physically.
According to the BBC, Pachauri is currently in the hospital where his lawyers say he is being treated for a heart condition. The bail conditions are applicable until March 27.
The allegations became public last week, so the matter unraveled at a fast pace.
Climate change skeptics aren’t entirely jubilant about his exit, said Myron Ebell, director of the center for energy and environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank.
“On the skeptics side, he had zero credibility from day one,” Ebell told TheBlaze. “But, his kooky behavior helped to undermine the credibility of the institution. I don’t know if there is any substance to these charges, but he did resign quickly.”
Pachauri previously weathered a storm in the past when both environmentalists and climate change skeptics called for his resignation in 2010 for being overly political. That same year, he made news for writing racy romance novels published in India. He also compared Bjourn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” with Adolph Hitler.
“The media for a long time has covered up his bizarre behavior and statements,” Ebell said.
A White House official told TheBlaze Friday that the administration looks forward to working with the new chairman without commenting directly on Pachauri.
"The United States recognizes the importance of the IPCC and will work along with partner nations to ensure a smooth transition to an acting chair," the White House official told TheBlaze. "In the meantime, the United States supports the decision of the IPCC Bureau to appoint Mr. Ismael Abdel Rahim El Gizouli as acting chair of the IPCC for the 41st session of the IPCC, currently under way in Nairobi."
Pachauri was elected as chairman of the IPCC in 2002 and re-elected in 2008 by a vote of the panels nearly 200 memers. His current term was set to expire in October. In 2007, he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for the panel, which it shared with former Vice President Al Gore, for working to bring awareness to climate change.
“It was a blessing and a rare moment of glory for the scientific community and me when I received the Nobel Peace Price on behalf of the IPCC in 2007,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
In his resignation letter, Pachauri said he had intended on resigning last November after the release of the AR5 Synthesis Report, also called the SYR on in Copenhagen, regarding climate issues.
“But close friends and colleagues advised me against that action and to continue with outreach efforts worldwide based on the SYR,” Pachauri wrote. “I have endeavored to do so in the past three months and will continue to do so assiduously throughout my life in whatever capacity I work. For me the protection of the planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystem is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”
According to the Guardian, leading contenders to replace him permanently include Belgian professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele; Swiss professor Thomas Stocker; Chris Field, a professor associated with the Carnegie Institute for Science.