IPCC Chair’s Statement at the opening of the 55th Session of the IPCC and 12th Session of Working Group II


14 February 2022

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished delegates, excellencies,

As the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, I would like to extend a warm welcome, albeit virtual, to all of you. That includes the government delegates, observer organization representatives, IPCC authors, Bureau members, the staff of the IPCC Secretariat and Technical Support Units. It also includes members of the media and the general public following the opening ceremony of this important approval session.

I would also like to emphasize how grateful we are to the German government for their support and facilitation of this virtual session. And we are also thankful to the Norwegian government for the support provided to the WGII Co-Chairs and the Technical Support Unit in preparation of this session.

We are also honoured to be joined today by our distinguished colleagues and friends – UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas and the German Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger.

The Sixth Assessment Cycle has been the most ambitious one in IPCC history. We have already delivered three special reports, a methodology report, and the Working Group I report. And   we are on track to deliver the remaining three instalments: Namely, the Working Group II report, the Working Group III report shortly thereafter, and the Synthesis Report later this year, thereby bringing the Sixth Assessment Report to a successful conclusion. 

This assessment cycle also takes place under unforeseen and difficult circumstances. In September 2017, when the IPCC approved the outlines for the Working Group II report, we did not expect that the COVID-19 pandemic would engulf the entire planet.

 The deadly pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to our work, but thanks to all of you – scientists, governments, and observers — we have delivered our reports in a timely manner. 

We met last August to approve the first contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report – the Physical Science Basis to Climate Change — and wish to salute you all for your collaboration and hard work. 

Today, I encourage you to build on this success. The need for the Working Group II report has never been greater. Because the stakes have never been higher.

Compared to its predecessor reports, the Working Group II report will have a greater focus on solutions and more regional and local information. It will more strongly integrate the natural, social and economic sciences. And it will provide policymakers with sound data and knowledge to help them shape policies and make decisions.  

Here, I must emphasize an exceptional leadership and vision that guided this report. We are immensely grateful to the Working Group II Co-Chairs – Dr Debra Roberts and Dr Hans-Otto Pörtner and the Working Group II Vice-Chairs for their dedication and tireless work. Thank you again.  

I also want to extend my gratitude to the IPCC Secretariat, Working Group II Technical Support Unit and a Task Team, which did such an extraordinary job preparing for this session. I thank them for their efforts to alleviate the connectivity problems and develop a process that is inclusive, fair and acceptable to all, seeking guidance from the IPCC’s national focal points.

And I want to extend my special gratitude to the 270 scientists from 67 countries who volunteered their time to produce the report. Their selfless contribution cannot be measured.

Today, we have more delegates registered than ever. This highlights the support for the IPCC’s work as well as the achievements of the Secretariat to support this meeting. 

We immensely appreciate Member states for their flexibility and guidance. It has been critical to   enabling us to convene the Panel to approve this Report.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished delegates,

This session is the culmination of our work on this report – years of efforts from scientists and other experts, governments, and reviewers from around the world, developing and developed countries, new and old to the IPCC process in a gender-inclusive environment. 

During the next two weeks, you, governments and scientists together will scrutinize the Summary for Policymakers line-by-line. Collectively, you will deliver a sound, tested and robust report. 

We are confident that everyone will uphold the collegial and collaborative spirit so that together we can bring this critically important report to the world in a timely manner. 

I declare the 55th Session of the IPCC and the 12th Session of Working Group II open.

Thank you.