Former chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), RK Pachauri, passed away here on Thursday after a prolonged heart ailment. He was 79.
As the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2002-15, he had seen it awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 along with former US Vice President Al Gore “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”.
He was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2008.
“Pachauri, who has been a leading voice on climate change and environment, passed away peacefully in New Delhi at his residence on the evening of 13th February 2020,” the family said in a statement.
“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 international deliberations and actions,” it said.
According to family friends, Pachauri was admitted in Escorts hospital recently. The environmentalist had earlier undergone an open heart surgery at the Escorts hospital after suffering a stroke in Mexico last July.
Former Chief Election Commissioner, SY Quraishi took to Twitter to mourn his passing. “Sad to know about the passing on of Nobel laureate RK Pachauri, founder chairman of TERI. May his soul rest in peace.”
TERI Director General, Dr Ajay Mathur, who succeeded Pachauri in 2015 in a statement said: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing away of Dr RK Pachauri, the Founder Director of TERI. The entire TERI family stands with the family of Dr Pachauri in this hour of grief.”
“TERI is what it is today because of Dr Pachauri’s untiring perseverance. He played a pivotal role in making us a leading organisation in the sustainability space.
“Dr Pachauri’s contribution to global sustainable development is unparalleled. His leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) laid the ground for climate change conversations today,” TERI Chairman Nitin Desai said.
However, the environmentalist’s excellence was overshadowed by a sexual harassment scandal involving a former woman colleague that culminated in his resignation from the prestigious institute in 2015. A Delhi court framed molestation charges against him in October 2018. He has consistently defended his innocence in the matter.