- 1 Introduction
- 2 Role of IPCC
- 3 Organization
- 4 IPCC: Assessment reports
- 5 Preparation of the reports
- 6 How does the IPCC select its authors?
- 7 Working Groups and Task Force
- 8 IPCC Special Report: Climate risks require India to rethink its approach
- 9 The role of governments
- 10 IPCC: Awards
- 11 Free Counseling for Government Exams
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an international organization that evaluates climate change research. The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis for climate change, its effects, and potential threats, as well as adaptation and mitigation options. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
IPCC evaluations provide a scientific foundation for governments across the world to develop climate-related policies, and they guide agreements at the UN Climate Conference– the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The evaluations are policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive: they may address future climate change predictions based on various scenarios, discuss the risks that climate change presents, and discuss the consequences of different response options, but they do not tell policymakers what measures to take.
Because of its scientific and intergovernmental existence, the IPCC offers a unique opportunity to provide decision-makers with rigorous and balanced scientific knowledge. All member countries of the WMO and the United Nations are welcome to join the IPCC. There are currently 195 members. The Panel, which is made up of members from the member states, holds Plenary Sessions to make major decisions. The IPCC Bureau, which is elected by member governments, advises the Panel on scientific and technological aspects of the Panel’s work as well as management and strategic concerns.
Role of IPCC
The IPCC assesses scientific, technological, and socio-economic knowledge related to understanding climate change. It also studies the effects, and potential risks of climate change, as well as adaptation and mitigation options on a detailed and transparent basis.
Hundreds of leading experts in the various fields covered by IPCC reports contribute their time and experience to generate the report reviews as Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors. Hundreds more work as Contributing Authors or Expert Reviewers on individual contributions.
The IPCC doesn’t do any of its research. It creates systematic reviews, special topic studies, and methodology. The evaluations build on previous reports by highlighting the most up-to-date information. The wording of the reports from the first to the fifth assessment, for example, illustrates the mounting evidence of a changing environment due to human activity.
The IPCC has adopted and released “Principles Governing IPCC Work,” according to which the IPCC will evaluate:
- the threat of human-caused climate change,
- its likely consequences,
- and possible mitigation options
Since the election of the new IPCC Bureau on October 8, 2015, Korean economist Hoesung Lee has served as the chair of the IPCC. Prior to this election, the IPCC was headed by Vice-Chair Ismail El Gizouli, who served as acting Chair following Rajendra K. Pachauri’s resignation in February 2015. Rajendra K. Pachauri was elected chair in May 2002, followed by Robert Watson in 1997 and Bert Bolin in 1988. The chair is assisted by an elected bureau, which includes vice-chairs and co-chairs of working groups, as well as a secretariat.
IPCC: Assessment reports
The IPCC has released five comprehensive assessment reports, as well as a number of special reports on specific topics, that review the most recent climate science. The Bureau selects teams of relevant researchers from government nominations to prepare these studies. At various stages of the process, expert reviewers from a variety of governments, IPCC observer groups, and other organizations are invited to comment on various aspects of the draft.
The IPCC’s First Assessment Report (FAR) was released in 1990, followed by a supplementary report in 1992, a Second Assessment Report (SAR) in 1995, a Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001, a Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in 2007, and a Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in 2014. The IPCC is currently working on its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which is expected to be finished in 2022.
Preparation of the reports
The IPCC neither conducts research nor takes account of climate data. Based on published documents, the lead authors of IPCC reports analyze the available evidence regarding climate change. Authors should prioritize peer-reviewed outlets, according to the IPCC guidelines. Non-peer-reviewed references (the “grey literature”) can be used by authors if they are of good quality. Model outcomes, studies from government agencies and non-governmental organizations, and business publications are examples of non-peer-reviewed outlets.
There are generally three stages in the review process:
- Expert review (6–8 weeks)
- Government/expert review
- Government review of Summaries for Policymakers, Overview Chapters, and the Synthesis Report
Authors are chosen based on their experience after a request for nominations from governments and IPCC observer organizations, as well as the submission of comprehensive CVs. The author teams are designed to represent a variety of scientific, technological, and socioeconomic viewpoints and backgrounds. To ensure that reports are not skewed against the perspective of any one country or group of countries and that questions of interest to specific regions are not ignored, systematic assessments enable author teams to include a mix of writers from various regions including developed and developing countries.
The IPCC also aims to balance the men and women employees ratio, as well as those who have worked on IPCC reports before and those who are new to the process, such as younger scientists. Experts from business and non-profit organizations can be included in author teams to provide a unique viewpoint to the evaluation.
Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, and Review Editors are the members of the chapter teams. Scientists for these positions are chosen by the Bureau of the relevant IPCC Working Group or Task Force. They are nominated from the experts from their respective countries by IPCC member governments and observer organizations. They may also be nominated by other experts who have been identified through their publications and work.
Working Groups and Task Force
The IPCC is divided into three Working Groups and a Task Force. Working Group I deals with The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change, Working Group II deals with Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Working Group III deals with the Mitigation of Climate Change. The Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories has its primary goal as the creation and refinement of a framework for calculating and reporting national greenhouse gas emissions and removals. Other Task Groups, in addition to the Working Groups and the Task Force, may be established by the Panel for a fixed period of time to discuss a particular issue or concern.
One example is the IPCC’s decision to form a Task Group to improve gender balance and discuss gender-related issues at its 47th Session in Paris in March 2018.
IPCC Special Report: Climate risks require India to rethink its approach
According to a landmark report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2018, India, one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to global warming, will bear the brunt of climate change destruction in the coming year. According to the study, agricultural economies like India will be hit the hardest by global warming’s consequences, which include extreme heatwaves, floods, and droughts, water stress, and decreased food production, effectively exposing an already vulnerable population to more hunger, food insecurity, and livelihood insecurity.
Climate change-related threats are already costing India around 1.5 percent of its GDP per year. As a result of the recent 1°C increase in global temperature, the agriculture sector has seen a 4-9 percent drop in yield per year.
The role of governments
The aim of assessment reports, beyond their scientific nature, is to inform international political negotiations on climate issues. As a result, governments play a critical role in the report’s development.
Writers and contributors are proposed by government officials, who also engage in the review process and assist in reaching a consensus on the report’s main findings. This can result in language that is often weaker than it would be otherwise (especially in the SPMs: summary for policymakers).
However, one can still look at the chapters to see where the science is going and to investigate the references cited. The full evaluation is a multi-level document intended for a wide range of audiences, including community planners and elected officials.
Nobel Peace Prize: The IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2007 “for their efforts to develop and disseminate greater awareness about man-made climate change, as well as to lay the groundwork for the steps that will be needed to combat such change.” Former US Vice-President Al Gore shares the award for his work on climate change and the documentary An Inconvenient Reality.
Free Counseling for Government Exams