Climate ship trims sails but keeps captain
IPCC plenary meeting, Busan:
The IPCC hopes its reforms will cut through any smog of confusion
Despite calls for him to go from some sceptics and environmentalists alike, it's worth noting that although reports from the InterAcademy Council, the Dutch government's environment agency and others found faults in IPCC processes, none of them concluded that chopping off the head would improve the workings of the body.
The review and reform process instigated earlier this year was always about much more than one person.
It's fundamentally about two things.
One is updating the governance of an organisation conceived 22 years ago - before the internet revolution, in a less responsive era of governance, and before attacking the science of climate change became such an important political strategy.
The other is making sure that its rules on issues such as dealing with critical comments and non-peer-reviewed material are followed to the letter, and improved if they are not completely fit for purpose.
Whether the IPCC leaves South Korea with all of these issues fully tackled is, however, another matter.
The InterAcademy Council, in its recent review, noted that it might take time for the IPCC to assess some of its recommendations and decide what to do about them; change did not have to be explosive, it said.
Even so, it is hard to escape the feeling that the government delegates who sit on the panel and are finally responsible for it are making a big meal out of some pretty straightforward decisions.
Dr Pachauri denied that the divisive politics of the UN climate convention had spilled over into the IPCC meeting - but that view was not shared by other delegates I spoke to.
The IAC report has been available for governments to consider since August; is it so difficult to reach decisions on issues such as whether to appoint a new chief for the small and overworked secretariat?
If the reforms that have been decided are implemented in full, though, it's hard to argue that the IPCC will not be a more effective body producing better honed and more wide-ranging assessments of the global climate.
Nothing can guarantee there will be no repeat of "HimalayaGate", especially given the ever-increasing mountain of scientific material that the IPCC has to assess.
But next time around - the fifth assessment (AR5), due out in 2013-4 - we should, in principle, see a report that clarifies much better which conclusions are based on solid evidence, and which sit on more ephemeral grounds.
We should see a more robust review process, ensuring critical comments are not only read but analysed and acted upon.
If mistakes are made, they should be corrected more quickly and more transparently.
And we should see an organisation less vulnerable to malicious attack - partly because potential conflicts of interest will have been assessed and dealt with ahead of time, and partly because when organisations are open to constructive criticism, there tends to be less of the malicious stuff around.
However AR5 turns out, Rajendra Pachauri will be here to usher it in, barring some major mishap.
Although the IAC recommended that IPCC chairs should serve only a single term, governments decided there was no reason to truncate his second term halfway through - and as I understand things, not a single delegate pressed for anything more.
The flamboyance may be turned down a notch, given the acceptance that the IPCC's job is to inform policy-making, not to recommend policies - and indeed, that was evident in South Korea, in a more restrained press conference performance than we have been used to from the usually ebullient doctor.
But he is, and remains, very much in charge.
Successive reviews found there was no smoking gun in his leadership role, just as they found no smoking gun on the issue of mainstream climate science itself.
All the frenzy of the last year has not changed that - though it may yet, perhaps, lead to a new, more open and more effective era for a modernised IPCC.