IPCC circulates final draft of Working Group I report to governments for comment

Updated the Notes to Editors section on 5 May to correct the title of the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.” It previously was “2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.”

GENEVA, May 4 – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has circulated the final draft of the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) to governments for comment on the Summary for Policymakers, in one of the final stages before plenary consideration of the report.

The Final Government Distribution, running to 20 June 2021, will allow governments to check whether the draft Summary for Policymakers reflects the underlying report of Working Group I, which assesses the physical science basis of climate change. The authors of the report have already addressed 23,462 comments provided by expert reviewers of the report’s First-Order Draft, and 51,387 comments from expert reviewers and 42 governments on the Second-Order Draft.

Working Group I and the IPCC are expected to hold plenary sessions for two weeks from  26 July to consider the Summary for Policymakers for approval and the full report for acceptance as an IPCC assessment. The modalities for these approval sessions are still under consideration. On this timetable, the Working Group I report would be released on or around 9 August.

“Thanks to the commitment of our authors, contributors and reviewers, with the help of our Bureau members and Technical Support Unit, we have prepared this comprehensive and rigorous assessment of climate science in a timely manner,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

During the Final Government Distribution, Working Group I is planning a series of dialogues to help governments prepare their written comments on the report.

Working Group I will run an online Q&A forum for governments’ IPCC Focal Points and their registered delegates, who will also be able to submit clarification questions for response by Working Group I Bureau members and authors. These questions and answers will be visible to all registered participants.

It will hold a series of informal webinars on the major themes of the report in which the authors will present key concepts of the report and how they are treated in the Summary for Policymakers, including in figures, and how the synthesis elements are grounded in the detailed underlying assessment.

And it will hold informal live Q&A sessions for delegations to join to ask clarification questions.

The webinars and Q&A sessions will be repeated twice so that participation is comfortable for those from all time zones, and presentations by authors will be recorded so that delegates can watch them when convenient.

“We are making these innovations to support and strengthen the written review process and facilitate inclusive participation despite the challenging circumstances,” said Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

The timing of the approval sessions next year for the other two IPCC working group reports and for the AR6 Synthesis Report is still under consideration.

For more information, please contact:

IPCC Press Office, Email: ipcc-media@wmo.int
Jonathan Lynn, +41 22 730 8066, Werani Zabula, +41 22 730 8120

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 II, 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 estimating emissions and removals of greenhouse gases.

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.

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 for 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 please visit www.ipcc.ch.

The website includes outreach materials including videos about the IPCC and video recordings from outreach events  conducted as webinars or live-streamed events. 

Most videos published by the IPCC can be found on the IPCC YouTube channel.