The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established
in 1988, by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP). Its present terms of reference are to:
- Assess available information on the science, the impacts, and the economics
of -- and the options for mitigating and/ or adapting to -- climate change.
- Provide, on request, scientific/technical/socio-economic advice to the Conference
of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Since its establishment, the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports
(1990, 1995, and 2001), Special Reports, Technical Papers, and methodologies,
such as the Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, which
have become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, scientists,
and other experts and students.
This Synthesis Report completes the four-volume Third Assessment Report (TAR).
It addresses specifically the issues of concern to the policymaker, in the context
of Article 2 of the UNFCCC -- issues such as the extent to which human activities
have influenced and will in the future influence the global climate, the impacts
of a changed climate on ecological and socio-economic systems, and existing
and projected technical and policy capacity to address anthropogenic climate
change. It explores briefly the linked nature of a number of multilateral environmental
conventions. It draws on the work of hundreds of experts from all regions of
the world who have in the past and at present participated in the IPCC process.
As is customary in the IPCC, success in producing this report has depended first
and foremost on the dedication, enthusiasm, and cooperation of these experts
in many different but related disciplines.
We take this opportunity to express our heart-felt gratitude to the authors
and reviewers of all the IPCC reports and Technical Papers, particularly the
TAR. We thank likewise the IPCC Bureau; Dr. Sundararaman, Secretary of IPCC,
and his Secretariat staff; and those staffing the Technical Support Units of
the three Working Groups. We acknowledge with gratitude the governments and
organizations that contribute to the IPCC Trust Fund, and provide support to
the experts and in other ways. The IPCC has been especially successful in engaging
in its work a large number of experts from the developing countries and countries
with their economies in transition; the Trust Fund enables extending financial
assistance for their travel to IPCC meetings.
We thank the Chairman of the IPCC, Dr. Robert T. Watson, for guiding the effort
in completing the TAR.
World Meteorological Organization
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Office in Nairobi