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South Korean Economist Hoesung Lee to Head UN Climate Panel

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations announced on Tuesday, Oct. 6, that it has elected a new chair in the person of South Korean economist, Hoesung Lee.

The votation was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, which is also the venue for the panel's 42nd session. Further elections for other IPCC positions such as co-chairs for working groups shall take place from Oct. 6-8, 2015.

Lee was chosen over Jean-Pascal van Ypersele from Belgium, with a 78-56 scorecard. All in all, six candidates were put up for nomination.

"I am honoured and grateful that the Panel has elected me as the IPCC's new Chair," said Lee. He added that the IPCC persists to be strongly engaged in giving policymakers efficient scientific evaluations of climate change, and more can be done.

Lee also said that the upcoming stages of the IPCC's work, increased knowledge about regional effects particularly in developing nations, as well as improved relaying of scientific results to the public shall take place. Ultimately, the team will need to provide additional data about the available choices for avoiding and coping with climate change. Finally, he said that he is looking forward to working with his colleagues to achieve these objectives and that he is thankful for their support.

Lee, 69, is a professor at the Graduate School of Energy and Environment of Korea University in Republic of Korea. He is also part of the president advisory board on climate change of Asian Development Bank.

Previously, he had served as a board member of Hyundai and Korea Petroleum Development Corporation. Lee has also held numerous positions in national policy organizations.

Lee was preceded by India's Rajendra Pachauri, who resigned in February 2015 amid a sexual harassment scandal. The 75-year-old New Delhi-based leader served as IPCC chair for 13 years.

Throughout his term, various controversies were said to have bloomed. Before he submitted his resignation letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, a female researcher in his New Delhi office claimed that she was sexually harassed by Pachauri via SMS, e-mail and WhatsApp messages - all of which were denied by the former IPCC chair.

Photo: United States Mission Geneva | Flickr

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