Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk
Risk management
Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities...

 of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 caused by human activity, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences, and possible options for adapting to these consequences or mitigating the effects. Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute (on a voluntary basis, without payment from the IPCC) to writing and reviewing reports, which are reviewed by representatives from all the governments, with summaries for policy makers being subject to line-by-line approval by all participating governments. Typically this involves the governments of more than 120 countries.

The panel was first established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization
The World Meteorological Organization is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 189 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization , which was founded in 1873...

 (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
The United Nations Environment Programme coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its...

 (UNEP), two organizations of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

—an action confirmed on 6 December 1988 by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 through Resolution 43/53.

The IPCC does not carry out its own original research, nor does it do the work of monitoring climate or related phenomena itself. A main activity of the IPCC is publishing special reports on topics relevant to the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...

 (UNFCCC), an international treaty that acknowledges the possibility of harmful climate change. Implementation of the UNFCCC led eventually to the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

. The IPCC bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific literature. Membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and UNEP.
National and international responses to climate change generally regard the UN climate panel as authoritative. The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 was shared, in two equal parts, between the IPCC and Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

.

Aims


The principles of the IPCC operation are assigned by the relevant WMO Executive Council and UNEP Governing Council resolutions and decisions as well as on actions in support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process.
The stated aims of the IPCC are to assess scientific information relevant to:
  1. Human-induced climate change,
  2. The impacts of human-induced climate change,
  3. Options for adaptation and mitigation.

IPCC Assessment Reports



The IPCC published its first assessment report
IPCC First Assessment Report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change first assessment report was completed in 1990, and served as the basis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ....

 in 1990, a supplementary report in 1992, a second assessment report (SAR)
IPCC Second Assessment Report
The Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , published in 1996, is an assessment of the then available scientific and socio-economic information on climate change...

 in 1995, and a third assessment report (TAR)
IPCC Third Assessment Report
The IPCC Third Assessment Report, Climate Change 2001, is an assessment of available scientific and socio-economic information on climate change by the IPCC. The IPCC was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN's World Meteorological Organization ".....

 in 2001. A fourth assessment report (AR4)
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for...

 was released in 2007. Each assessment report is in three volumes, corresponding to Working Groups I, II and III. Unqualified, "the IPCC report" is often used to mean the Working Group I report, which covers the basic science of climate change.

IPCC First Assessment Report: 1990



The IPCC first assessment report was completed in 1990, and served as the basis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...

 (UNFCCC).

The executive summary of the WG I Summary for Policymakers report says they are certain that emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth's surface. They calculate with confidence that CO2 has been responsible for over half the enhanced greenhouse effect. They predict that under a "business as usual" (BAU) scenario, global mean temperature will increase by about 0.3 °C per decade during the [21st] century. They judge that global mean surface air temperature has increased by 0.3 to 0.6 °C over the last 100 years, broadly consistent with prediction of climate models, but also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability. The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect is not likely for a decade or more.

IPCC Supplementary Report: 1992


The 1992 supplementary report was an update, requested in the context of the negotiations on the Framework Convention on Climate Change at the Earth Summit
Earth Summit
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, Earth Summit was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 June to 14 June 1992.-Overview:...

 (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 in 1992.

The major conclusion was that research since 1990 did "not affect our fundamental understanding of the science of the greenhouse effect and either confirm or do not justify alteration of the major conclusions of the first IPCC scientific assessment". It noted that transient (time-dependent) simulations, which had been very preliminary in the FAR, were now improved, but did not include aerosol or ozone changes.

IPCC Second Assessment Report: Climate Change 1995



Climate Change 1995, the IPCC Second Assessment Report (SAR), was finished in 1996. It is split into four parts:
  • A synthesis to help interpret UNFCCC article 2.
  • The Science of Climate Change (WG I)
  • Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change (WG II)
  • Economic and Social Dimensions of Climate Change (WG III)


Each of the last three parts was completed by a separate working group, and each has a Summary for Policymakers (SPM) that represents a consensus of national representatives. The SPM of the WG I report contains headings:
  1. Greenhouse gas concentrations have continued to increase
  2. Anthropogenic aerosols tend to produce negative radiative forcings
  3. Climate has changed over the past century (air temperature has increased by between 0.3 and 0.6 °C since the late 19th century; this estimate has not significantly changed since the 1990 report).
  4. The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate (considerable progress since the 1990 report in distinguishing between natural and anthropogenic influences on climate, because of: including aerosols; coupled models; pattern-based studies)
  5. Climate is expected to continue to change in the future (increasing realism of simulations increases confidence; important uncertainties remain but are taken into account in the range of model projections)
  6. There are still many uncertainties (estimates of future emissions and biogeochemical cycling; models; instrument data for model testing, assessment of variability, and detection studies)

Chapter 8


Chapter 8 of the Second Assessment Report stated that "these results indicate that the observed trend in global mean temperature over the past 100 years is unlikely to be entirely natural in origin. More importantly, there is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcings by greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols in the observed climate record. Taken together, these results point towards a human influence on global climate."

A week after the report was released, The Wall Street Journal published a letter from physicist Frederick Seitz
Frederick Seitz
Frederick Seitz was an American physicist and a pioneer of solid state physics. Seitz was president of Rockefeller University, and president of the United States National Academy of Sciences 1962–1969. He was the recipient of the National Medal of Science, NASA's Distinguished Public Service...

 denouncing the IPCC report, in particular the conclusions of Chapter 8. Seitz wrote, "I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report". Seitz's comments were vigorously opposed by the presidents of the American Meteorological Society
American Meteorological Society
The American Meteorological Society promotes the development and dissemination of information and education on the atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic sciences and the advancement of their professional applications. Founded in 1919, the American Meteorological Society has a membership...

 and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research is a nonprofit consortium of more than 75 universities offering Ph.D.s in the atmospheric and related sciences. UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research and provides additional services to strengthen and support research and...

, who wrote about a "systematic effort by some individuals to undermine and discredit the scientific process that has led many scientists working on understanding climate to conclude that there is a very real possibility that humans are modifying Earth's climate on a global scale. Rather than carrying out a legitimate scientific debate... they are waging in the public media a vocal campaign against scientific results with which they disagree". The position of the lead author of Chapter 8, Benjamin D. Santer
Benjamin D. Santer
Dr. Benjamin D. Santer is a climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and former researcher at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit...

, was supported by fellow IPCC authors and senior figures of the American Meteorological Society and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. In 1997, Paul Edwards and IPCC author Stephen Schneider
Stephen Schneider
Stephen Henry Schneider was Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University, a Co-Director at the Center for Environment Science and Policy of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment...

 published a paper rebutting criticisms of the IPCC report.

Debate over value of a statistical life


The Second Assessment Report was controversial in its treatment of the economic value of human life. In environmental economics, it is customary to value the health impacts of climate change on the basis of willingness to pay for risk reduction
Risk management
Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities...

. An advantage of this method is that health risks of climate change are treated like any other health risk. Some have commented on the difficultly of calculating the costs of climate change impacts such as human mortality. For example, in calculations based on risk reduction, the value of a statistical life is assessed to be much higher in rich countries than in poor countries.

This information was presented in the full Second Assessment Report, however, dispute arose over the Report's Summary for Policymakers. The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) is prepared with the input of government delegates and IPCC experts. Governments were unhappy with the cost-benefit
Cost-benefit analysis
Cost–benefit analysis , sometimes called benefit–cost analysis , is a systematic process for calculating and comparing benefits and costs of a project for two purposes: to determine if it is a sound investment , to see how it compares with alternate projects...

 valuation of human life, and this was implied in the SPM. David Pearce
David Pearce (economist)
Professor David W. Pearce OBE was an Emeritus Professor at the Department of Economics in the University College London . He specialised in, and was a pioneer of, Environmental Economics, having published over fifty books and over 300 academic articles on the subject including his 'Blueprint for a...

, the IPCC convening lead author who oversaw the relevant chapter of the Report, officially dissented on this summary, commenting that:
The relevant chapter [of the Report] values of statistical life based on actual studies in different countries. Whether the values used remain as in Chapter 6 or whether a common global average is used makes no difference to the results. What the authors of Chapter 6 did not accept, and still do not accept, was the call from a few [government] delegates for a common valuation based on the highest number for willingness to pay.


Michael Grubb, a lead author for several IPCC reports, later commented:
Many of us think that the governments were basically right. The metric [used by Pearce] makes sense for determining how a given government might make tradeoffs between its own internal projects. But the same logic fails when the issue is one of damage inflicted by some countries on others: why should the deaths inflicted by the big emitters — principally the industrialised countries — be valued differently according to the wealth of the victims' countries?

IPCC Third Assessment Report: Climate Change 2001


The Third Assessment Report (TAR) consists of four reports, three of them from its working groups:
  • Working Group I: The Scientific Basis
  • Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
  • Working Group III: Mitigation
  • Synthesis Report


The "headlines" from the Summary for Policymakers in The Scientific Basis were:
  1. An increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system (The global average surface temperature
    Temperature record
    The temperature record shows the fluctuations of the temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans through various spans of time. The most detailed information exists since 1850, when methodical thermometer-based records began. There are numerous estimates of temperatures since the end of the...

     has increased over the 20th century by about 0.6 °C; Temperatures have risen during the past four decades in the lowest 8 kilometers of the atmosphere; Snow cover and ice extent have decreased)
  2. Emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols due to human activities continue to alter the atmosphere in ways that are expected to affect the climate (Anthropogenic aerosols are short-lived and mostly produce negative radiative forcing
    Radiative forcing
    In climate science, radiative forcing is generally defined as the change in net irradiance between different layers of the atmosphere. Typically, radiative forcing is quantified at the tropopause in units of watts per square meter. A positive forcing tends to warm the system, while a negative...

    ; Natural factors have made small contributions to radiative forcing over the past century)
  3. Confidence in the ability of models to project future climate has increased (Complex physically based climate models are required to provide detailed estimates of feedback and of regional features. Such models cannot yet simulate all aspects of climate (e.g., they still cannot account fully for the observed trend in the surface-troposphere temperature difference since 1979) and there are particular uncertainties associated with clouds and their interaction with radiation and aerosols. Nevertheless, confidence in the ability of these models to provide useful projections of future climate has improved due to their demonstrated performance on a range of space and time-scales.)
  4. There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities
  5. Human influences will continue to change atmospheric composition throughout the 21st century
  6. Global average temperature and sea level are projected to rise under all IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
    Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
    The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios was prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2000, based on data developed at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The emissions scenarios described in the Report have been used to make projections of possible future climate...



The TAR estimate for the climate sensitivity
Climate sensitivity
Climate sensitivity is a measure of how responsive the temperature of the climate system is to a change in the radiative forcing. It is usually expressed as the temperature change associated with a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere.The equilibrium climate...

 is 1.5 to 4.5 °C; and the average surface temperature is projected to increase by 1.4 to 5.8 Celsius degrees over the period 1990 to 2100, and the sea level is projected to rise by 0.1 to 0.9 meters over the same period. The wide range in predictions is based on scenarios
Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios was prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2000, based on data developed at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The emissions scenarios described in the Report have been used to make projections of possible future climate...

 that assume different levels of future CO2 emissions. Each scenario then has a range of possible outcomes associated with it. The most optimistic outcome assumes an aggressive campaign to reduce CO2 emissions; the most pessimistic is a "business as usual" scenario. Other scenarios fall in between.

IPCC uses the best available predictions and their reports are under strong scientific scrutiny.
The IPCC concedes that there is a need for better models and better scientific understanding of some climate phenomena, as well as the uncertainties involved.
Critics assert that the data is insufficient to determine the real importance of greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

es in climate change.
Sensitivity of climate to greenhouse gases may be overestimated or underestimated because of flaws in the models and because the importance of some external factors may be misestimated. The predictions are based on scenarios, and the IPCC did not assign any probability to the 35 scenarios used.

Economic growth estimates debate


Castles and Henderson asserted that the IPCC's use of market exchange rates in the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios was prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2000, based on data developed at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The emissions scenarios described in the Report have been used to make projections of possible future climate...

 to convert GDP measures into a common currency is inappropriate, and that, for most countries a Purchasing Power Parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 conversion would yield higher estimates of income. It follows that the rate of growth implied by an assumption of income convergence is higher if exchange rate conversions are used. They imply that this is likely to produce biased projections of emissions. Nebojsa Nakicenovic et al. claim that this is incorrect because, provided an internally consistent procedure is used, projections of emissions are unaffected by the choice of index number used to measure GDP. See the discussion under Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios was prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2000, based on data developed at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The emissions scenarios described in the Report have been used to make projections of possible future climate...

.

Physical modeling debate



MIT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 professor Richard Lindzen
Richard Lindzen
Richard Siegmund Lindzen is an American atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen is known for his work in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere, atmospheric tides and ozone photochemistry. He has published more than...

, one of the lead authors of the IPCC Working Group I Report, has criticised the IPCC Summary for Policymakers document before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Taking Chapter 7, Physical Processes, on which he worked, he said that it "found numerous problems with model treatments – including those of clouds and water vapor", the chapter was summarized in the single sentence "Understanding of climate processes and their incorporation in climate models have improved, including water vapor, sea-ice dynamics, and ocean heat transport."

Sir John Houghton, former Chair of the IPCC Working Group I Report, has commented on Lindzen's criticisms of the IPCC:, saying that Lindzen, having previously expressed satisfaction with the report, had "gone on to express his view that the conclusions of the Policymakers Summary did not faithfully represent the chapters. But he has never provided any supporting evidence for that statement." He emphasized that the Policymaker's Summaries were "agreed unanimously at intergovernmental meetings involving over 200 government delegates from around 100 countries...after several days of scientific debate (only scientific arguments not political ones are allowed) the main purpose of which is to challenge the scientific chapter authors regarding the accuracy, clarity and relevance of the summary and most especially its consistency with the underlying chapters."

IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007


The four SRES scenario families of the Fourth Assessment Report vs. associated changes in global-mean temperature until 2100
more economic focus more environmental focus
Globalisation
(homogeneous world)
A1
rapid economic growth
(groups: A1T/A1B/A1Fl)
1.4 – 6.4 °C
B1
global environmental sustainability 
1.1 – 2.9 °C
Regionalisation
Regionalisation
Regionalization is the tendency to form regions, or the process of doing so.Regionalization can be observed in various disciplines:*In geography, it has two ways: the process of delineating the Earth, its small areas or other units into regions and a state of such a delineation.*In globalization...


(heterogeneous world)
A2
regionally oriented
economic development

2.0 – 5.4 °C
B2
local environmental sustainability
1.4 – 3.8 °C


The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) was completed in early 2007. Like previous assessment reports, it consists of four reports, three of them from its working groups.

Working Group I dealt with the "Physical Science Basis of Climate Change."
The Working Group I Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was published on 2 February 2007 and revised on 5 February 2007. There was also a 2 February 2007 press release. The full WGI report was published in March. The key conclusions of the SPM were that:
  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.
  • Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely (>90%) due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (human) greenhouse gas concentrations.
  • Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized, although the likely amount of temperature and sea level rise varies greatly depending on the fossil intensity of human activity during the next century (pages 13 and 18).
  • The probability that this is caused by natural climatic processes alone is less than 5%.
  • World temperatures could rise by between 1.1 and 6.4 °C (2.0 and 11.5 °F) during the 21st century (table 3) and that:
    • Sea levels will probably rise by 18 to 59 cm (7.1 to 23.2 in) [table 3].
    • There is a confidence level >90% that there will be more frequent warm spells, heat wave
      Heat wave
      A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity. There is no universal definition of a heat wave; the term is relative to the usual weather in the area...

      s, and heavy rainfall.
    • There is a confidence level >66% that there will be an increase in drought
      Drought
      A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

      s, tropical cyclone
      Cyclone
      In meteorology, a cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth. This is usually characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate anticlockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. Most large-scale...

      s, and extreme high tide
      High Tide
      High Tide was a band formed in 1969 by Tony Hill , Simon House , Peter Pavli and Roger Hadden .-History:...

      s.
  • Both past and future anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions will continue to contribute to warming and sea level rise for more than a millennium.
  • Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

    , methane
    Methane
    Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

    , and nitrous oxide
    Nitrous oxide
    Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or sweet air, is a chemical compound with the formula . It is an oxide of nitrogen. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic...

     have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values
    over the past 650,000 years.


An outline of chapters in the WGI report (from 2005) and a list of the report's authors were made available before publication of the SPM.

The Summary for Policymakers for the Working Group II report was released on 6 April 2007.
The Summary for Policymakers for the Working Group III report was released on 4 May 2007. The AR4 Synthesis Report (SYR) was released on 17 November 2007.

IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2014


The IPCC is currently starting to outline its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) which will be finalized in 2014. As it has been the case in the past, the outline of the AR5 will be developed through a scoping process which involves climate change experts from all relevant disciplines and users of IPCC reports, in particular representatives from governments. As a first step, experts, governments and organizations involved in the Fourth Assessment Report have been asked to submit comments and observations in writing. These submissions are currently being analysed by members of the Bureau. The scoping meeting of experts to define the outline of the AR5 took place on 13–17 July 2009. The outline was submitted to the 31st Session of the IPCC held in Bali, Indonesia, 26–29 October 2009.

IPCC Methodology Reports


Within IPCC the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Program (IPCC-NGGIP) develops methods and methodologies to estimate emissions of greenhouse gases. IPCC-NGGIP has been undertaken since 1991 by the IPCC WG I in close collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The objectives of the IPCC-NGGIP are:
  • to develop and refine an internationally agreed methodology and software for the calculation and reporting of national GHG emissions and removals; and
  • to encourage the widespread use of this methodology by countries participating in the IPCC and by signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories


The Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (1996 GLs) provide the methodological basis for the estimation of national greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 emission inventory
Emission inventory
An emission inventory is an accounting of the amount of pollutants discharged into the atmosphere. An emission inventory usually contains the total emissions for one or more specific greenhouse gases or air pollutants, originating from all source categories in a certain geographical area and within...

. Over time these 1996GLs have been completed with guidance on so-called "Good Practice":
Together the 1996 GLs and both good practice reports are to be used by parties to the UNFCCC and to the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

 in their annual submissions of national greenhouse gas inventories

2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories


The 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC 2006 GLs) comprises the latest versions of these emission estimation methodologies, including a large number of default emission factors. Although the IPCC has prepared these new version of the guidelines on request of the parties to the UNFCCC, the methods have not been officially accepted yet for use in national greenhouse gas emissions reporting under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

.

Operations


The Chair of the IPCC is Rajendra K. Pachauri
Rajendra K. Pachauri
Rajendra Kumar Pachauri has served as the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 2002, during which his tenure has engendered controversy. He is also been director general of TERI, a research and policy organization in India, and chancellor of TERI University...

, elected in May 2002; previously Robert Watson
Robert Watson (scientist)
Robert T. Watson is a British scientist who has worked on atmospheric science issues including ozone depletion, global warming and paleoclimatology since the 1980s.- Education and awards :...

 headed the IPCC. The chair is assisted by an elected Bureau including vice-chairs, Working Group co-chairs and a Secretariat (see below).

The IPCC Panel is composed of representatives appointed by governments and organizations. Participation of delegates with appropriate expertise is encouraged. Plenary sessions of the IPCC and IPCC Working Groups
Working group
A working group is an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers working on new research activities that would be difficult to develop under traditional funding mechanisms . The lifespan of the WG can last anywhere between a few months and several years...

 are held at the level of government representatives. Non Governmental and Intergovernmental Organizations may be allowed to attend as observers. Sessions of the IPCC Bureau, workshops, expert and lead authors meetings are by invitation only. Attendance at the 2003 meeting included 350 government officials and climate change experts. After the opening ceremonies, closed plenary sessions were held. The meeting report states there were 322 persons in attendance at Sessions with about seven-eighths of participants being from governmental organizations.

The IPCC has published four comprehensive assessment reports reviewing the latest climate science, as well as a number of special reports on particular topics. These reports are prepared by teams of relevant researchers selected by the Bureau from government nominations. Drafts of these reports are made available for comment in open review processes to which anyone may contribute.

The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data. The responsibility of the lead authors of IPCC reports is to assess available information about climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 drawn mainly from the peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature.

There are several major groups:
  • IPCC Panel: Meets in plenary session about once a year and controls the organization's structure, procedures, and work programme. The Panel is the IPCC corporate entity.
  • Chair: Elected by the Panel.
  • Secretariat: Oversees and manages all activities. Supported by UNEP and WMO.
  • Bureau: Elected by the Panel. Chaired by the Chair. 30 members include IPCC Vice-Chairs, Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Working Groups and Task Force.
  • Working Groups: Each has two Co-Chairs, one from the developed and one from developing world, and a technical support unit.
    • Working Group I: Assesses scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change.
    • Working Group II: Assesses vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change, consequences, and adaptation options.
    • Working Group III: Assesses options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise mitigating climate change.
  • Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories


The IPCC receives funding from UNEP, WMO, and its own Trust Fund for which it solicits contributions from governments.

Contributors


People from over 130 countries contributed to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report over the previous 6 years. These people included more than 2500 scientific expert reviewers, more than 800 contributing authors, and more than 450 lead authors.

Of these, the Working Group 1 report (including the summary for policy makers) included contributions by 600 authors from 40 countries, over 620 expert reviewers, a large number of government reviewers, and representatives from 113 governments.

Activities


The IPCC concentrates its activities on the tasks allotted to it by the relevant WMO Executive Council and UNEP Governing Council resolutions and decisions as well as on actions in support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...

 process.

In April 2006, the IPCC released the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for...

or AR4. Reports of the workshops held so far are available at the IPCC website.
  • Working Group I:
    • Report was due to be finalized during February 2007 and was finished on schedule.
    • By May 2005, there had been 3 AR4 meetings, with only public information being meeting locations, an author list, one invitation, one agenda, and one list of presentation titles.
    • By December 2006, governments were reviewing the revised summary for policy makers.
  • Working Group II:
    • Report was due to be finalized in mid-2007 and was completed on schedule.
    • In May 2005, there had been 2 AR4 meetings, with no public information released.
    • One shared meeting with WG III had taken place, with a published summary.
  • Working Group III:
    • Report was due to be finalized in mid-2007.
    • In May 2005, there had been 1 AR4 meeting, with no public information released.


The AR4 Synthesis Report (SYR) was finalized in November 2007. Documentation on the scoping meetings for the AR4 are available as are the outlines for the WG I report and a provisional author list .

While the preparation of the assessment reports is a major IPCC function, it also supports other activities, such as the Data Distribution Centre and the National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme, required under the UNFCCC. This involves publishing default emission factor
Emission factor
An emission intensity is the average emission rate of a given pollutant from a given source relative to the intensity of a specific activity; for example grams of carbon dioxide released per megajoule of energy produced, or the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions produced to GDP...

s, which are factors used to derive emissions estimates based on the levels of fuel consumption, industrial production and so on.

The IPCC also often answers inquiries from the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

Scope and preparation of the reports


The IPCC reports are a compendium of peer review
Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

ed and published science. Each subsequent IPCC report notes areas where the science has improved since the previous report and also notes areas where further research is required.

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
    • Synthesis Report

Review comments are in an open archive for at least five years.

There are several types of endorsement which documents receive:
  • approval: Material has been subjected to detailed, line by line discussion and agreement.
    • Working Group Summaries for Policymakers are approved by their Working Groups.
    • Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers is approved by Panel.
  • adoption: Endorsed section by section (and not line by line).
    • Panel adopts Overview Chapters of Methodology Reports.
    • Panel adopts IPCC Synthesis Report.
  • acceptance: Not been subject to line by line discussion and agreement, but presents a comprehensive, objective, and balanced view of the subject matter.
    • Working Groups accept their reports.
    • Task Force Reports are accepted by the Panel.
    • Working Group Summaries for Policymakers are accepted by the Panel after group approval.


The Panel is responsible for the IPCC and its endorsement of Reports allows it to ensure they meet IPCC standards. The Panel's approval process has been criticized for changing the product of the experts who create the Reports. On the other hand, not requiring Panel re-endorsement of Reports has also been criticized, after changes required by the approval process were made to Reports.

Authors


Each chapter has a number of authors who are responsible for writing and editing the material. A chapter typically has two Coordinating Lead Authors, ten to fifteen Lead Authors, and a somewhat larger number of Contributing Authors. The Coordinating Lead Authors are responsible for assembling the contributions of the other authors, ensuring that they meet stylistic and formatting requirements, and reporting to the Working Group chairs. Lead Authors are responsible for writing sections of chapters. Contributing Authors prepare text, graphs or data for inclusion by the Lead Authors.

Authors for the IPCC reports are chosen from a list of researchers prepared by governments, and participating organisations and the Working Group/Task Force Bureaux, and other experts as appropriate, known through their publications and works . The composition of the group of Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors for a section or chapter of a Report is intended to reflect the need to aim for a range of views, expertise and geographical representation (ensuring appropriate representation of experts from developing and developed countries and countries with economies in transition).

Nobel Peace Prize



In December 2007, the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change." The award is shared with Former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

 for his work on climate change and the documentary An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming via a comprehensive slide show that, by his own estimate, he has given more than a thousand times.Premiering at the...

.

Criticism of IPCC


Various criticisms have been raised, both about the specific content of IPCC reports, as well as about the process undertaken to produce the reports. On 13 March 2010, an open letter, signed by over 250 scientists in the United States, was sent to U.S. federal agencies that "None of the handful of mis-statements (out of hundreds and hundreds of unchallenged statements) remotely undermines the conclusion that 'warming of the climate system is unequivocal' and that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." In 2010, an independent investigation into the IPCC recommended that the body focus more on explaining the science behind any changes in global temperature, and less on lobbying activities.

Projected date of melting of Himalayan glaciers; use of 2035 in place of 2350


A paragraph in the 2007 Working Group II report ("Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability"), chapter 10 included a projection that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035
Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world (see Table 10.9) and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005).


This projection was not included in the final summary for policymakers. The IPCC has since acknowledged that the date is incorrect, while reaffirming that the conclusion in the final summary was robust. They expressed regret for "the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance". The date of 2035 has been correctly quoted by the IPCC from the WWF report, which has misquoted its own source, an ICSI report "Variations of Snow and Ice in the past and at present on a Global and Regional Scale".

Rajendra K. Pachauri
Rajendra K. Pachauri
Rajendra Kumar Pachauri has served as the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 2002, during which his tenure has engendered controversy. He is also been director general of TERI, a research and policy organization in India, and chancellor of TERI University...

 responded in an interview with Science.

Watson criticism


Former IPCC chairman Robert Watson
Robert Watson (scientist)
Robert T. Watson is a British scientist who has worked on atmospheric science issues including ozone depletion, global warming and paleoclimatology since the 1980s.- Education and awards :...

 has said "The mistakes all appear to have gone in the direction of making it seem like climate change is more serious by overstating the impact. That is worrying. The IPCC needs to look at this trend in the errors and ask why it happened". Martin Parry, a climate expert who had been co-chair of the IPCC working group II, said that "What began with a single unfortunate error over Himalayan glaciers has become a clamour without substance" and the IPCC had investigated the other alleged mistakes, which were "generally unfounded and also marginal to the assessment".

Emphasis of the "hockey stick" graph


The third assessment report (TAR)
IPCC Third Assessment Report
The IPCC Third Assessment Report, Climate Change 2001, is an assessment of available scientific and socio-economic information on climate change by the IPCC. The IPCC was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN's World Meteorological Organization ".....

 prominently featured a graph labeled "Millennial Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction" from a 1999 paper by Michael E. Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes (MBH99), which has been referred to as the "hockey stick graph". This graph differed from a schematic in the first assessment report
MWP and LIA in IPCC reports
The description of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in IPCC reports has changed since the first report in 1990 as scientific understanding of the temperature record of the past 1000 years has improved...

 that lacked temperature units, but appeared to depict larger global temperature variations over the past 1000 years, and higher temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period
Medieval Warm Period
The Medieval Warm Period , Medieval Climate Optimum, or Medieval Climatic Anomaly was a time of warm climate in the North Atlantic region, that may also have been related to other climate events around the world during that time, including in China, New Zealand, and other countries lasting from...

 than the mid 20th century. (The schematic was not an actual plot of data, and was based on a diagram of temperatures in central England, with temperatures increased on the basis of documentary evidence of Medieval vineyards in England
Wine from the United Kingdom
Wine from the United Kingdom is generally classified as either English wine or Welsh wine, with reference to England or Wales as its respective origin. The term British wine is generally used for fermented imported grape juice or concentrate that can originate from anywhere in the world, and so is...

.)

The appearance of MBH99 in the Third Assessment Report was widely construed as demonstrating that the current warming period is exceptional in comparison to temperatures between 1000 and 1900. Criticism of the graph in a much disputed paper by Soon and Baliunas
Soon and Baliunas controversy
The Soon and Baliunas controversy involved the publication of a paper written by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas in the journal Climate Research, which prompted concerns about the peer review process of the paper and resulted in the resignation of several other editors and the eventual repudiation...

 was picked up by US Republican senator James Inhofe. He called global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 a "hoax" in a Senate speech, and this became a focus of political debate. The methodology used to produce the "hockey stick graph" was criticized in a paper by Stephen McIntyre
Stephen McIntyre
Stephen McIntyre is a Canadian mathematician, former minerals prospector, and semi-retired mining consultant who is best known as the founder and editor of Climate Audit, a blog devoted to the analysis and discussion of climate data...

 and Ross McKitrick
Ross McKitrick
Ross McKitrick is a Canadian economist specializing in environmental economics and policy analysis. He is professor of economics at the University of Guelph; a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute, a Canadian free-market public policy think tank; and a member of the academic advisory boards of the...

.

A National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 inquiry requested by the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 agreed that there were some statistical failings, but these had little effect on the graph, which was generally correct. The graph has been validated by more than 12 reconstructions producing broadly similar results. In a 2006 letter to Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

, Mann, Bradley and Hughes pointed out that their original article had said that "more widespread high-resolution data are needed before more confident conclusions can be reached" and that the uncertainties were "the point of the article."

Conservative nature of IPCC reports


Some critics have contended that the IPCC reports tend to underestimate dangers, understate risks, and report only the "lowest common denominator" findings.

On 1 February 2007, the eve of the publication of IPCC's major report on climate, a study was published suggesting that temperatures and sea levels have been rising at or above the maximum rates proposed during the last IPCC report in 2001. The study compared IPCC 2001 projections on temperature and sea level change with observations. Over the six years studied, the actual temperature rise was near the top end of the range given by IPCC's 2001 projection, and the actual sea level rise was above the top of the range of the IPCC projection.

Another example of scientific research which suggests that previous estimates by the IPCC, far from overstating dangers and risks, have actually understated them is a study on projected rises in sea levels. When the researchers' analysis was "applied to the possible scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the researchers found that in 2100 sea levels would be 0.5–1.4 m [50–140 cm] above 1990 levels. These values are much greater than the 9–88 cm as projected by the IPCC itself in its Third Assessment Report, published in 2001." This may have been due, in part, to the expanding human understanding of climate.

In reporting criticism by some scientists that IPCC's then-impending January 2007 report understates certain risks, particularly sea level rises, an AP story quoted Stefan Rahmstorf
Stefan Rahmstorf
Stefan Rahmstorf is a German oceanographer and climatologist. Since 2000, he has been a Professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University. He received his Ph.D. in oceanography from Victoria University of Wellington...

, professor of physics and oceanography at Potsdam University as saying "In a way, it is one of the strengths of the IPCC to be very conservative and cautious and not overstate any climate change risk."

In his December 2006 book, Hell and High Water: Global Warming, and in an interview on Fox News on 31 January 2007, energy expert Joseph Romm noted that the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for...

 is already out of date and omits recent observations and factors contributing to global warming, such as the release of greenhouse gases from thawing tundra.

Political influence on the IPCC has been documented by the release of a memo by ExxonMobil to the Bush administration, and its effects on the IPCC's leadership. The memo led to strong Bush administration lobbying, evidently at the behest of ExxonMobil, to oust Robert Watson
Robert Watson (scientist)
Robert T. Watson is a British scientist who has worked on atmospheric science issues including ozone depletion, global warming and paleoclimatology since the 1980s.- Education and awards :...

, a climate scientist, from the IPCC chairmanship, and to have him replaced by Pachauri, who was seen at the time as more mild-mannered and industry-friendly.

IPCC processes


In 2005, the UK House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 Select Committee on Economic Affairs produced a report on the economics of climate change. It commented on the IPCC process:
The Stern Review
Stern Review
The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is a 700-page report released for the British government on 30 October 2006 by economist Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and also chair of the Centre...

 ordered by the UK government, whose findings were released in October 2006, made a stronger argument in favor of urgent action to combat human-made climate change than previous analyses, including some by IPCC. The conclusions of the Stern Review have been contested, however.

The structural elements of the IPCC processes have been criticized in other ways, with the design of the processes during the formation of the IPCC making its reports prone not to exaggerations, but to underestimating dangers, under-stating risks, and reporting only the "least common denominator" findings which by design make it through the bureaucracy. As noted by Spencer Weart, Director of the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics,
Climatologist Judith Curry
Judith Curry
Judith A. Curry is an American climatologist and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research interests include hurricanes, remote sensing, atmospheric modeling, polar climates, air-sea interactions, and the use of unmanned aerial...

, who supports the scientific conclusions of the IPCC reports generally, has publicly criticized aspects of the IPCC's process, expressions of certainty, and treatment of dissent.

Outdatedness of reports


Since the IPCC does not carry out its own research, it operates on the basis of scientific papers and independently documented results from other scientific bodies, and its schedule for producing reports requires a deadline for submissions prior to the report's final release. In principle, this means that any significant new evidence or events that change our understanding of climate science between this deadline and publication of an IPCC report cannot be included. In an area of science where our scientific understanding is rapidly changing, this has been raised as a serious shortcoming in a body which is widely regarded as the ultimate authority on the science. However, there has generally been a steady evolution of key findings and levels of scientific confidence from one assessment report to the next.

The submission deadlines for the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) differed for the reports of each Working Group. Deadlines for the Working Group I report were adjusted during the drafting and review process in order to ensure that reviewers had access to unpublished material being cited by the authors. The final deadline for cited publications was 24 July 2006. The final WG I report was released on 30 April 2007 and the final AR4 Synthesis Report was released on 17 November 2007.

Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chair, admitted at the launch of this report that since the IPCC began work on it, scientists have recorded "much stronger trends in climate change", like the unforeseen dramatic melting of polar ice in the summer of 2007, and added, "that means you better start with intervention much earlier".

Burden on participating scientists


Scientists who participate in the IPCC assessment process do so without any compensation other than the normal salaries they receive from their home institutions. The process is labor intensive, diverting time and resources from participating scientists' research programs. Concerns have been raised that the large uncompensated time commitment and disruption to their own research may discourage qualified scientists from participating.

In May 2010, Pachauri noted that the IPCC currently had no process for responding to errors or flaws once it issued a report. The problem, according to Pachauri, was that once a report was issued the panels of scientists producing the reports were disbanded.

Proposed organizational overhaul


In February 2010, in response to controversies regarding claims in the Fourth Assessment Report, five climate scientists – all contributing or lead IPCC report authors – wrote in the journal Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

calling for changes to the IPCC. They suggested a range of new organizational options, from tightening the selection of lead authors and contributors, to dumping it in favor of a small permanent body, or even turning the whole climate science assessment process into a moderated "living" Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 20 million articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,...

-IPCC. Other recommendations included that the panel employ a full-time staff and remove government oversight from its processes to avoid political interference.

InterAcademy Council review


In March 2010, at the invitation of the United Nations secretary-general and the chair of the IPCC, the InterAcademy Council (IAC) was asked to review the IPCC's processes for developing its reports. The IAC panel, chaired by Harold Tafler Shapiro, convened on 14 May 2010 and released its report on 1 September 2010.

The IAC found that, "The IPCC assessment process has been successful overall". The panel, however, made seven formal recommendations for improving the IPCC's assessment process, including: (1) establish an executive committee; (2) elect an executive director whose term would only last for one assessment; (3) encourage review editors to ensure that all reviewer comments are adequately considered and genuine controversies are adequately reflected in the assessment reports; (4) adopt a better process for responding to reviewer comments; (5) working groups should use a qualitative level-of-understanding scale in the Summary for Policy Makers and Technical Summary; (6) "Quantitative probabilities (as in the likelihood scale) should be used to describe the probability of well-defined outcomes only when there is sufficient evidence"; and (7) implement a communications plan that emphasizes transparency and establish guidelines for who can speak on behalf of the organization. The panel also advised that the IPCC avoid appearing to advocate specific policies in response to its scientific conclusions. Commenting on the IAC report, Nature News noted that "The proposals were met with a largely favourable response from climate researchers who are eager to move on after the media scandals and credibility challenges that have rocked the United Nations body during the past nine months".

Endorsements of the IPCC


Various scientific bodies have issued official statements endorsing and concurring with the findings of the IPCC.

Joint science academies
National academy
A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research activities and standards for academic disciplines, most frequently in the sciences but also the humanities. Typically the country's learned societies in...

' statement-2001
The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the consensus of the international scientific community
Scientific community
The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method...

 on climate change science. We recognise IPCC as the world's most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving this consensus.

Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
The Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences is Canada's main funding body for university-based research on climate, atmospheric and related oceanic work...

We concur with the climate science assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001 ... We endorse the conclusions of the IPCC assessment...

Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
CMOS endorses the process of periodic climate science assessment carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and supports the conclusion, in its Third Assessment Report, which states that the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.

European Geosciences Union
European Geosciences Union
The European Geosciences Union is an interdisciplinary non-profit learned society open to individuals who are professionally engaged in or associated with geosciences, planetary and space sciences, and related studies.The mission statement of the EGU is "Dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in...

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change...is the main representative of the global scientific community....IPCC third assessment report...represents the state-of-the-art of climate science supported by the major science academies around the world and by the vast majority of scientific researchers and investigations as documented by the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

International Council for Science
International Council for Science
The International Council for Science , formerly the International Council of Scientific Unions, was founded in 1931 as an international non-governmental organization devoted to international co-operation in the advancement of science...

…the IPCC 4th Assessment Report
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for...

 represents the most comprehensive international scientific assessment ever conducted. This assessment reflects the current collective knowledge on the climate system, its evolution to date, and its anticipated future development.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

 (US)
Internationally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)... is the most senior and authoritative body providing scientific advice to global policy makers.

National Research Council (US)
United States National Research Council
The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...

The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue.

Network of African Science Academies
Network of African Science Academies
The Network of African Science Academies was formed in December 2001 as an independent forum, for African science academies to discuss scientific issues of common concern.Member academies are:* African Academy of Sciences* Cameroon Academy of Sciences...

The IPCC should be congratulated for the contribution it has made to public understanding of the nexus that exists between energy, climate and sustainability.

Royal Meteorological Society
Royal Meteorological Society
The Royal Meteorological Society traces its origins back to 3 April 1850 when the British Meteorological Society was formed as a society the objects of which should be the advancement and extension of meteorological science by determining the laws of climate and of meteorological phenomena in general...

In response to the release of the Fourth Assessment Report
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for...

, the Royal Meteorological Society referred to the IPCC as “The world's best climate scientists”.

Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London
Geological Society of London
The Geological Society of London is a learned society based in the United Kingdom with the aim of "investigating the mineral structure of the Earth"...

The most authoritative assessment of climate change in the near future is provided by the Inter-Governmental Panel for Climate Change.

See also


  • Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
    Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
    The related terms "avoiding dangerous climate change" and "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" date to 1995 and earlier, in the Second Assesment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change and previous science it cites.In 2002, the United Nations...

  • CLOUD
    CLOUD
    Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets or the CLOUD is an experimental facility being run at CERN by Jasper Kirkby to investigate the microphysics between galactic cosmic rays and aerosols under controlled conditions...

  • G8+5
    G8+5
    The G8+5 group of leaders consists of the heads of government from the G8 nations , plus the heads of government of the five leading emerging economies .-February 2007 Declaration:On February 16, 2007, The Global Legislators Organisation The G8+5 group of leaders consists of the heads of government...

    , a group of leaders consisting of the heads of government from the G8 nations
  • Indian Network on Climate Change Assessment
    Indian Network on Climate Change Assessment
    The Indian Network on Climate Change Assessment is a proposed network of scientists in India to be set up to publish peer-reviewed findings on climate change in India.It was announced on 7 October 2009 , saying:...

  • List of authors from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis
  • List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming
  • Post–Kyoto Protocol negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions
  • Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation
    Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation
    The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a special report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation on May 9, 2011. The report evaluates the global potential for using renewable energy to mitigate climate change...

  • Robust decision making
    Robust decision making
    Robust decision making is an iterative decision analytic framework that helps identify potential robust strategies, characterize the vulnerabilities of such strategies, and evaluate the tradeoffs among them...

  • Scientific opinion on climate change
    Scientific opinion on climate change
    The predominant scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth is in an ongoing phase of global warming primarily caused by an enhanced greenhouse effect due to the anthropogenic release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases...

  • Summary for policymakers
    Summary for policymakers
    The Summary for policymakers is a summary of the IPCC reports intended to aid policymakers. The content is determined by the scientists, but the form is approved line by line by governments...


Further reading


External links