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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Notable Organizations

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1988; Geneva; 50 working group staff, 46 bureau members; www.ipcc.ch)

Established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization as the leading international body for scientific assessment of the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.  Aims to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC has 195 member countries and thousands of contributing scientists—all voluntary—from all over the world.

Their reports are a key input into international climate change debate and negotiations. Most famous for its “IPCC Assessment Reports” covering the state of knowledge on climate change, one for each of the three Working Groups of the IPCC, together with Summaries for Policymakers, plus a Synthesis Report.

Working Groups and a Task Force:

  • WG I – The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change – Examines the physical science underpinning past, present, and future climate change. Assesses the rich body of scientific literature, contributing to an ever-strengthening understanding of how the climate system works, and how it is changing in response to human activity.
  • WG II – Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – Assesses the impacts of climate change, from a world-wide to a regional view of ecosystems and biodiversity, and of humans and their diverse societies, cultures and settlements. It considers their vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of these natural and human systems to adapt to climate change and thereby reduce climate-associated risks together with options for creating a sustainable future.
  • WG III – Mitigation of Climate Change – Takes both a near-term perspective relevant to decision-makers in government and the private sector and a long-term perspective that helps identify how high-level climate policy goals might be met.
  • TFI – The Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories – Develops and refines an internationally-agreed methodology and software for the calculation and reporting of national GHG emissions and removals and encourages the use of this methodology by member countries. Oversees the National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme.

Programs:

  • Scholarship program – Provides scholarships for PhD students from developing countries for research that advances the understanding of the scientific basis of risks of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation
  • Contributors – Hundreds of experts in different fields volunteer their time and expertise to produce IPCC reports. Thousands more contribute to the review process and to the literature and other knowledge that are assessed in IPCC reports. They invite experts to join their local groups and contribute to the process.
  • Task Groups – Currently there are four task groups to address specific issues: Data Support for Climate Change Assessments, Financial Stability, Gender, and Organization of the Future Work of the IPCC in light of the Global Stocktake.

Publications:

  • A library of factsheets, technical papers, methodology reports, and special reports
  • Climate Data accessible at the Data Distribution Center. Offers climate estimates from observations, climate model data, socio-economic data and scenarios, and data and scenarios for other environmental changes.
  • HIGHLIGHTS:
    • Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters (2012, 582p.) – Explores the challenge of understanding and managing the risks of climate extremes to advance climate change adaptation. Weather- and climate-related disasters have social as well as physical dimensions.
    • AR5 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2014 (AR5, Nov 2014, 151p.) – Earlier reports were published in 1990, 1995, 2001, and 2007. AR6 is expected in 2022. Provides an authoritative overview of the state of knowledge concerning the science of climate change and represents a major effort of the scientific community to inform policy makers and the public.
    • Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 °C (2018, ~200p., summary 32p.)– Outlines the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C and 2.0°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Leadership: Mr. Abdalah Mokssit (Executive Secretary), Hoesung Lee (Chair)

Budget: ~$8.3m

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