Yale Closes Down Climate Institute Formerly Run By Accused Sexual Harasser

Chris White | Energy Reporter

The Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI), a climate change research engine formerly run by a “climate expert” and alleged sexual harasser, will close down in June following the University’s decision to cut its funding.

Rajendra Pachauri, YCEI’s founding director and Nobel Prize Winner, was formally charged with sexual harassment and stalking on Wednesday, which has prompted some people to wonder whether the charges and the institute’s closing are inextricably linked. Pachauri stepped down as director in 2012, staying on as an adviser until June of 2014. The allegations initially popped up in April 2015 — though the alleged victim says Pachauri has harassed her since September 2013.

The allegations come from a 29-year-old female research analyst at the New Delhi-based Energy and Research institute (TERI). The charge sheet is nearly 1,400 pages long and includes allegations of criminal intimidation.

David Bercovici and Jay Ague, the current directors at YCEI, wrote in an announcement Monday that the institute was created to research of global warming. The razing of the institute, they noted, was a result of lack of university funding.

“While not all good things have to come to an end, sometimes they just do,” Bercovici and Ague added. “The YCEI will stop activities and close up shop as of June 30, 2016.”

The razing of the institute followed years of de-funding from the University.

Yet YCEI staff members and students, as well as members of the media, are not buying Bercovici and Ague’s justification for closing, claiming the directors shut it down for reasons other than lack of funding.

“It can’t be a budget thing. It can’t be. I don’t want to say that Yale doesn’t support [the YCEI], but … I think it’s the administration’s lack of interest,” YCEI New Haven Energy Scholar Intern Matthew Goldklang told reporters Tuesday. “I had no idea we were going to be completely cut. It’s really sad.”

Others believe YCEI folded up shop principally because of Pachauri’s alleged sexual proclivities.

“Yale’s decision to close its doors on its climate institute has to be in part related to Pachauri. His behavior has cast a long shadow on the organizations that he has been affiliated with,” Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, an online outlet reporting on climate issues, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a Wednesday interview.

He added: “Pachauri’s sex scandals and his sinking reputation had to chill financial donations to Yale’s institute.”

Morano went on to suggest that Al Gore’s organizations have suffered from dwindling funds, too.

“There are charges being pressed against Pachauri that I heard from the news,” Mark Pagani, who replaced Pachauri as YCEI’s director, told reporters shortly after the allegations were revealed last April. “He has stepped down from the IPCC as well as from TERI. But other than that, there has been no personal contact [between Pachauri and the YCEI].”

Pagani attempted to distance YCEI from the alleged sexual harasser, telling reporters last year Pachauri’s position at the now-razed institute was merely symbolic.

“He was busy with other things, and the [YCEI] was floundering a bit since there was no one really to care for it,” Pagani said.

YCEI mostly leaned on Brudvig and Bercovici to run day-to-day actions, according to Pagani.

In addition to his positions at TERI and YCEI (where he stayed on as director from 2009 to 2012, and in an advisory position until 2014), Pachauri was also the chairman of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), a multi-governmental research group under the auspices of the United Nations.

Pachauri’s standing was further eroded in 2010 when independent reports showed claims he made in a 2007 study by the IPCC suggesting the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 was grossly inflated.

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