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Pachauri Rules Out Stepping Down Even If UN Panel Finds Faults

Stating that the IPCC will make efforts to ensure that its fifth assessment report carries no errors, its chairman R K Pachauri has ruled out stepping down even if the UN-constituted review committee finds faults in the procedures followed by the climate panel.

“Certainly not. But we will certainly implement any constructive recommendations that we get. As matter of fact, I would be responsible for implementing the recommendations. How can I walk away from that?” Pachauri said.

He was asked whether he would consider stepping down if the UN-constituted Inter-Academic Council review was to come to the conclusion that procedures have not been followed.

Accepting moral responsibility for the error in the fourth assessment report which had claimed that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035, Pachauri said he also accepts the responsibility placed on him by the world governments by electing him as Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IIPC).

“Well, I certainly accept moral responsibility. But I also accept the responsibility that all the governments of the world have placed on my shoulders, and that’s by essentially electing me as chairperson by acclamation,” he told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme.

Asked whether he was ‘determined’ to finish his term ending in 2015, he said he would not withdraw from the task assigned to him.

“I have a task, I have a mission to end the fifth assessment report and I am not certainly not going to withdraw from that,” he said.

To a poser on whether it was a system failure, he maintained it was more of a “procedural failure” and said, “We will do everything humanly possible to ensure that the error in the fourth report is not there in the fifth report.”

“Absolutely”, was his reply to a question on whether one single failure was being ‘taken out of proportion’.

“Absolutely. One error does not dilute the findings of the IPCC that the glaciers are melting,” he said.

Asked whether he felt embarrassed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon setting up a committee of top scientists to review IPCC, he said, “That is wrong.”

“Let me correct that. That is something that the IPCC has initiated. We wrote a letter to all the governments on February 16 saying that we would like to set up a review committee to look into our procedures and practices and then we joined hands with the Secretary General of the UN.

“You can look into the documentation, and the letter to the Inter-Academic Council has been jointly signed by Mr Ban Ki-moon and me. It is wrong to say that the Secretary General has ordered something.”

Hindustan Times, 11 April 2010