UN's climate science panel gets South Korean boss

2015-10-07 14:22


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Paris - South Korean climate economist Hoesung Lee was elected on Tuesday to head the UN's climate science panel, replacing Rajendra Pachauri of India, who quit in February over allegations of sexual harassment.

Lee, a vice-chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2008, was elected by peers from a short-list of six scientists which also included Belgium's Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Ogunlade Davidson of Sierra Leone and Chris Field of Stanford University.

"I am honoured and grateful that the Panel has elected me as the IPCC's new Chair," Lee, 69, said in a statement issued by the panel, which gathers scientific consensus on climate change and advises government policymakers.

"The IPCC remains deeply committed to providing policymakers with the highest quality scientific assessment of climate change, but we can do more," he added.

Lee holds a doctorate in economics, and is a professor on the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development at Korea University's Graduate School of Energy and Environment.

The election took place at an IPCC meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Global carbon-cutting pact

According to a CV on the IPCC website, Lee is a member of the Asian Development Bank president's advisory board on climate change, and has held several positions in national policy institutes.

He has also served on the board of car giant Hyundai and the Korea Petroleum Development Corporation, and has helped compile several of the IPCC's climate science assessments.

The latest, Fifth Assessment Report, will inform the global carbon-cutting pact which the world's nations are due to sign at a UN climate conference in Paris in December.

A summary of the latest climate science, it was published in chapters over several months until November last year.

The report warned that on current greenhouse gas-emission trends, the world is on track for double the UN goal of limiting global warming to 2°C, with devastating floods, droughts and sea-level rise the result.

"The next phase of our work will see us increase our understanding of regional impacts, especially in developing countries, and improve the way we communicate our findings to the public," said Lee.

"Above all, we need to provide more information about the options that exist for preventing and adapting to climate change."

Pachauri stood down after a female researcher at his New Delhi-based research institute accused him of sexual harassment through email, text and WhatsApp messages.

The 75-year-old, who had led the IPCC since 2002 and was a leading voice on the dangers of global warming, has denied any wrongdoing but tendered his resignation in February in a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

The IPCC was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Read more on:    un  |  south korea  |  climate change

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