Governments show strong interest for new IPCC report on global warming


Thelma Krug

Governments and the scientific community have shown strong interest in the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which will look at the implications of global warming of 1.5 oC.

Nominations of experts to participate in the scoping meeting of the Special Report on the Impacts of Global Warming of 1.5 oC above Pre-Industrial Levels and Related Global Greenhouse Gas Emission Pathways (SR1.5) totaled 589 people.

The IPCC is examining the nominations and will select around 70 experts by June 30, 2016 to take part in the scoping meeting to be held in Geneva from August 15 to 17, which will draw up the outline of the report – its structure and contents. This outline will then be considered by the IPCC at its next Session to be held in October in Bangkok. The Special Report will be developed under the joint scientific leadership of all three IPCC Working Groups.

“The large number and wide range of nominations show the lively interest of countries and experts in the work of the IPCC as the world moves to tackle climate change,” said IPCC Vice-Chair Thelma Krug, who chairs the scoping meeting’s Scientific Steering Committee.

Nominations were received from 85 countries and 39 observer organizations. A total of 99 citizenships are represented, and 25per cent of the candidates are women. The IPCC was invited to prepare this Special Report by the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December 2015.

The Conference reached an agreement to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 oC above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 oC.

The Special Report, which the IPCC agreed to produce at its last Session in April held in Nairobi, will provide an evaluation of the scientific state of knowledge of this topic in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

The report will be delivered in 2018, in time for a “facilitative dialogue” that will take place that year to take stock of progress under the Paris Agreement.

IPCC is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), endorsed by the United

Nations General Assembly, to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCC does not carry out its own research or climate measurements or produce its own climate models; it assesses the thousands of scientific papers published each year to inform policymakers about the current state of knowledge related to climate change. The IPCC reports on both well established and newly emerging understanding; it identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion, and where further research is needed.

The IPCC offers policymakers a snapshot of what the scientific community understands about climate change rather than promoting a particular view. IPCC reports are policy-relevant without being policy-prescriptive. The IPCC may set out options for policymakers to choose from in pursuit of goals decided by policymakers, but it does not tell governments what to do.

To produce its reports, the IPCC mobilizes hundreds of leading scientists. These scientists and officials are drawn from diverse backgrounds. Like the Chair and other elected officials they are not paid for their work at the IPCC. Only a dozen permanent staff work in the IPCC’s Secretariat.

The members of the IPCC, comprising the Panel, are its 195 member states: the word “intergovernmental” in the organization’s name reflects this. They work by consensus to endorse the reports of the IPCC and set its procedures and budget in plenary sessions of the Panel. The IPCC Bureau, elected by members, provides guidance to the Panel on the scientific and technical aspects of the Panel’s work and advises the Panel on related management and strategic issues.

IPCC reports are requested by the member governments and developed by authors drawn from the scientific community in an extensive process of repeated drafting and review. Scientists and other experts participate in this review process through a self-declaration of expertise. The Panel endorses these reports in a dialogue between the governments that request the reports and will work with them and the scientists that write them. In this discussion the scientists have the last word on any additions or changes, although the Panel may agree by consensus to delete something.

The IPCC has three Working Groups and a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.Working Group I deals with the physical science basis of climate change, Working Group II looks at impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and Working Group III examines the mitigation of climate

The Sixth Assessment Report
The IPCC agreed at its 41st Session in February to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015, the Panel elected the new Bureau that will oversee AR6 and the Special Reports that will be produced in this assessment cycle. At its 43rd Session in April 2016, the Panel agreed its work programme for the Sixth Assessment Cycle. In addition to the main assessment reports, the IPCC produces Special Reports on particular topics requested by member states or observer organizations.

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