IPCC Chair’s Statement at the opening of the 56th Session of the IPCC and 14th Session of Working Group III


Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished delegates, excellencies,

On behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, I would like to welcome government delegations, representatives of observer organizations, IPCC authors and Bureau members for the opening ceremony of this plenary. I also welcome the media representatives and the general public joining us today for this opening.

We are also delighted to welcome today our distinguished colleagues and friends –Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation Petteri Taalas, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UNEP New York Office Ms Ligia Noronha and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa and H.E. The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP.

As the Chair of the IPCC, I also wish to express our special gratitude to the government of the United Kingdom for their generous support and facilitation of this virtual approval session – the only option available due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is our third virtual approval session. The preparation for a virtual approval process requires enormous additional supplementary effort to address all conceivable contingencies by the Secretariat, TSUs, and the Bureau members. We thank you for all that effort.

Today, we are embarking on the approval of the Working Group III contribution assessing the mitigation of climate change. The next few years will be crucial for the state of climate change  in this century. This is why an updated assessment of mitigation is more important than ever.

The critically important Working Group III contribution assesses progress made in mitigation and options available for the future and enabling conditions across sectors and systems in the aspects of the technological, environmental, economic and social dimensions, building on previous IPCC assessments. The context is sustainable development.

The IPCC assessments so far made it very clear that: human-induced climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying. It is a threat to our well-being and all other species.  It is a threat to the health of our entire planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.

The WGIII report we have today sheds light on solutions to meet this challenge by providing us with the latest scientific findings of mitigation of climate change.

I would like to acknowledge here the leadership and dedication of the Working Group III Co-Chairs – Dr James Skea and Dr Priyadarshi Shukla, and the WGIII Burau. Their guidance and vision led the work of the team comprising 278 authors from 65 countries to this outstanding outcome.

This approval session marks the completion of the trilogy, it is the last piece of the WG contributions to the AR6.

Before the three contributions, the IPCC in this cycle produced three special reports and one methodology report.

Such workload was unprecedented in the IPCC history. And the three WG assessments were conducted mostly in the years of the Pandemic, but without disruption despite the enormous burden on the assessment teams. The dedication and commitment of the IPCC authors made this possible. We thank you for your trust in the IPCC.

The concluding part of the AR6 will be the Synthesis Report which will be presented to you this September for approval and acceptance. This will be the concluding chapter of the Cycle, synthesizing evidence and data from the three Working Groups contributions as well as from the three IPCC’s special reports. We will return to the usual in-person IPCC session in September for approval of the Synthesis Report. We look forward to returning to normalcy.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished delegates,

Our agenda for the coming fortnight is demanding. But I’m confident that our joint efforts for careful, the line-by-line scrutinization of the Summary for Policymakers, will ultimately yield a document– scientifically robust policy relevant–which we will be all proud of. 

As the Chair of the IPCC, I urge everyone to uphold respectful, collegial and collaborative spirit throughout this approval session. Only by working together, we can deliver this report to the world.

I now declare the 56th Session of the IPCC and the 14th Session of Working Group III open.

Thank you.