Remarks by the IPCC Chair during the opening of the 57th Session of the IPCC

27 September 2022


Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues,

Welcome to the 57th Session of the IPCC!

I am delighted to greet you all, here in Geneva, at our first in-person gathering since the Panel’s 52nd session in Paris in February 2020.

On behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, I wish a warm welcome to government delegations, representatives of observer organisations, IPCC authors and Bureau members.

We are also thrilled to welcome today’s addresses of our distinguished colleagues and friends – Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation Petteri Taalas, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme Inger Andersen, the Deputy  Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Ovais Sarmad and the Head of the International Affairs Division the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment,  Ambassador Franz Yaver Perrez.

As the Chair of the IPCC, I also wish to express our special gratitude to the government of the Swiss Confederation and the Canton of Geneva for their generous hospitality and kind support in facilitating this business session.

Over the past two and a half years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve made every effort to ensure IPCC’s business continuity. I would like to remind you that we held six electronic and written sessions in total, including incredibly complex and demanding approval sessions of assessment reports from all three Working Groups. I thank you all for your constructive and positive work throughout this difficult and challenging period.

These IPCC assessments clearly state 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.

Allow me to remind you that prior to these three reports, the IPCC also produced three special reports and one methodology report during this cycle. I am proud that the Sixth Assessment cycle has been the busiest period in the IPCC’s history. Despite the pandemic, this was possible thanks to the dedication and commitment of the IPCC authors. We thank you for your trust in the IPCC.

The Synthesis Report will be presented to you early next year for approval and acceptance. This will be the concluding chapter of the cycle, bringing together the evidence and the data from the three Working Groups’ contributions and the three special reports.

Looking at the Sixth Assessment Cycle so far, we can collectively acknowledge IPCC’s impact and achievements. Our Special Reports and Working Group reports released during this cycle made a direct and invaluable contribution to boosting global climate awareness and climate action. They provided critical inputs for annual COP gatherings and focused global ambition on limiting the warming to 1.5 degrees. They also contributed to Climate-Land Dialogue and Ocean-Climate Dialogue. The Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report will directly feed into the Global Stocktake taking place next year.

As we adapt to the new normalcy, I should add here that all virtual sessions were superbly organised and supported by the IPCC Secretariat led by Abdalah Mokssit. Thank you, IPCC Secretariat. Thanks to your organisation, coordination, and collaboration, I am confident that our in-person session this week will run smoothly and seamlessly.

I would also like to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of the Working Group Bureaus, their Co-Chairs and authors and Technical Support Units to deliver the Sixth Assessment Report during the pandemic.

Throughout the Sixth Assessment Cycle, IPCC’s reports have informed the world about how we can enhance adaptation to and mitigation of climate change. I hope that our member governments, now equipped with this knowledge IPCC accepted and approved its summary, will enhance collective climate action and lessen the threat to the health and wellbeing of our planet and all its species. There is no time to lose. Future policymakers will only have fewer options.

The sheer magnitude and complexity of climate change dwarf anything else we face. But by raising our ambitions and taking decisive climate action for the benefit of our planet, we may find ourselves better at finding solutions to other global issues, such as food and energy crises and threats to the world’s peace and security. Our failure to act now will only multiply our challenges in the future.

I hope that this 57th session of IPCC will be another opportunity to reaffirm our resolve for a better climate and a better world.

Returning to in-person meetings may be harder than expected after such a long pause. We all may need to brush up on our live interactions and I look forward to our collective engagement over the coming days.

As the Chair of the IPCC, I thank everyone for upholding a respectful, collegial and collaborative spirit throughout this session. I wish you a positive, constructive and fruitful deliberations.

I now declare the 57th session of the IPCC open.

Thank you.