Quoted in The Telegraph, John Sauven said the error did not undermine climate science itself but, "The IPCC needs to regain credibility. Is that going to happen with Pachauri? I don't think so. We need someone held in high regard who has extremely good judgment and is seen by the global public as someone on their side."Many Green Groups Backing Pachauri
Backing Pachauri are Friends of the Earth England, Wales and N. Ireland, plus WWF, the Environment Agency, and the head of the UNFCCC himself Yvo de Boer.
De Boer was quoted by The Guardian as saying it would be "senseless" for the blame for the error to land on Pachauri personally.
Defending himself, Dr Pachauri has said that he can't be made to be held personally responsible for every statement in a 3,000 page document. Which isn't an unreasonable position to take. It is not like he is sole author of the work.
See this video and all Planet 100 episodes in large screen at PlanetGreen.com
Pachauri Resignation Will Do Little
Personally, I can't see how his stepping down will change public confidence in the organization in either direction.
Those people who are skeptical of mainstream climate science will not suddenly change their position if he resigns, nor will their attacks stop. No amount of change in leadership will create confidence.
For those on the fence, time will vindicate the broad accuracy of the report. Witness the clearing of Dr Michael Mann by his university of having done anything wrong as part of 'Climategate'. Confidence will be rebuilt as the IPCC (hopefully) opens up and publicizes how it is changing to prevent future mistakes from entering into the fifth assessment report.
As far as the average person goes, the large swath of people who are unaware or ambivalent about climate change, they aren't following the issue closely enough to even know what the IPCC is, let alone who is its chairman. There is no confidence to be lost or gained here.
No doubt the IPCC needs to transform itself, but simply changing the leadership will do little.
UPDATE: Greenpeace has since issued a clarification, stating that they have not and are not calling for Dr Pachauri to leave his post as chair of the IPCC. Sauven's comments were taken out of context.
Rajendra Pachauri photo: James Whatley via flickr.
IPCC 'Regrets' Himalayan Glacier Melting Statement in 2007 Report
IPCC Chair Says Glacier Mistake Cost Dearly, But Won't Make Personal Apology
Rajendra Pachauri at Copenhagen: Attempts to Discredit Climate Science Will Not Work (Video)