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Rajendra Pachauri in 2011.

Rajendra Pachauri in 2011.

Kris Krüg for PopTech/Flickr

As IPCC chair exits, focus moves to who comes next

The resignation of Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has focused new attention on the question of who will become the next head of the global body. Pachauri stepped down today amid allegations of sexual harassment by a female colleague, The Guardian reports. Pachauri, who had led the IPCC since 2002, had announced plans to step down this fall, The Daily Climate notes, after the group’s annual meeting in October. A new IPCC chair will be elected at that meeting by the panel’s 195 member nations, which nominate candidates.

Among the already declared candidates for the job are Swiss climate scientist Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern and Belgian researcher Jean-Pascal van Ypersele of the Catholic University of Louvain. Potential candidates, The Guardian reports, include Stanford University climate scientist Christopher Field, economist Hoesung Lee of the Korea University Graduate School of Energy and Environment in Seoul, energy economist Nebojsa Nakicenovic of the Vienna University of Technology, and economist Ottmar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Vice Chair Ismail El Gizouli will be acting IPCC chair until Pachauri’s replacement is elected.

Any new chair will take over IPCC as it considers whether to change its traditional operating style, which involves churning out massive reports written by hundreds of scientists every few years. Some have called for moving to a more nimble, less onerous process.