GENEVA, 7 Dec – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has opened a meeting in hybrid format to consider essential business as work on the Sixth Assessment Report advances amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Representatives of the IPCC’s 195 Member countries, meeting in the 53rd Session of the Panel, will convene for the first time in a format combining exchanges in writing and online discussions, as a face-to-face meeting remains impossible.
The main business of the 53rd Session will be to agree the IPCC budget for the coming year. This Session of the Panel will reconvene in early 2021 to consider other urgent business matters.
The Panel is meeting as members of the IPCC Bureau and authors continue their work on AR6. The pandemic has led to delays of 3-4 months in some of the milestones for the preparation of AR6 this year, and the release dates of the report remain under review.
In a letter to delegates opening the Session, IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee thanked the Secretariat for finding a way to hold a meeting that was consistent with the IPCC Principles and Procedures and did not disadvantage any delegates on the basis of connectivity or time zones.
“Their determination to keep the business of the IPCC flowing smoothly parallels the huge efforts and creativity of the Working Groups and their authors and Technical Support Units to advance work on the Sixth Assessment Report despite the pandemic,” he said.
The IPCC meeting will run from 7 to 14 December.
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Notes for editors
About the IPCC
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. In the same year the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC. It has 195 member states.
Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.
The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group I, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals.
IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.
About the Sixth Assessment Cycle
Comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every 6 to 7 years; the latest, the Fifth Assessment Report, was completed in 2014 and provided the main scientific input to the Paris Agreement.
At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle. At its 43rd Session in April 2016, it decided to produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and AR6.
The IPCC also publishes special reports on more specific issues between assessment reports.
Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius 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 was launched in October 2018.
Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems was launched in August 2019, and the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate was released in September 2019.
In May 2019 the IPCC released the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, an update to the methodology used by governments to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and removals.
The contributions of the three IPCC Working Groups to the Sixth Assessment Report are currently under preparation. The concluding Synthesis Report is due in 2022.
For more information visit www.ipcc.ch.
Most videos published by the IPCC can be found on our YouTube channel.