NAIROBI, July 26 – Jim Skea of the United Kingdom is the newly elected Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
With nearly forty years of climate science experience and expertise, Jim Skea will lead the IPCC through its seventh assessment cycle. Skea was elected by 90 votes to 69 in a run-off with Thelma Krug.
“Climate change is an existential threat to our planet. My ambition is to lead an IPCC that is truly representative and inclusive, an IPCC looking to the future while exploiting the opportunities that we have in the present. An IPCC where everyone feels valued and heard,” said Skea in his address to the delegates attending the IPCC elections.
“In this, I will pursue three priorities – improving inclusiveness and diversity, shielding scientific integrity and policy relevance of IPCC assessment reports, and making the effective use of the best available science on climate change. My actions as the Chair of the IPCC will ensure that these ambitions are realized.”
The election took place at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, where the IPCC is holding its 59th Session. Elections for other positions in the IPCC Bureau, including the Co-Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups, will take place from 26-28 July.
Four candidates ran for the Chair of the IPCC. These were the first elections in the history of the IPCC with women candidates running for this position.
Jim Skea, aged 69, is Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College in London. During the IPCC’s just completed sixth assessment cycle, Skea was the Co-Chair of Working Group III, assessing the mitigation of climate change. Most of his career, spreading over decades, has been dedicated to ensuring that the challenges of climate change are understood, and actions to avert them are taken.
Jim Skea’s full CV can be found here.
The election of the new IPCC Bureau, which will have 34 members, including the Chair, opens the way for work to start on the IPCC’s Seventh Assessment Report, expected to be completed in the coming five to seven years. The Panel will also elect the 12 members of the Task Force Bureau on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI).
The IPCC completed its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) in March 2023. The key findings of the AR6 Synthesis Report are:
- The pace and scale of climate action are insufficient to tackle climate change.
- Multiple, feasible, and effective options are available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change.
- Enabling conditions include finance, technology, capacity building, and international cooperation.
The candidates for IPCC Chair, with the countries that nominated them, included:
- Thelma Krug (Brazil)
- Debra Roberts (South Africa)
- Jim Skea (United Kingdom)
- Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Belgium)
For further information, contact:
IPCC Press Office, Email: email@example.com
Andrej Mahecic, +41 22 730 8516 or Werani Zabula, +41 22 730 8120
Notes for editors
What is 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, experts volunteer their time as IPCC authors 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 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 Sixth Assessment Report, was completed in 2023 and will provide the main scientific input to global stocktake process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In the sixth assessment cycle the Panel produced three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and the Sixth Assessment Report.
The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis was released on 9 August 2021. The Working Group II contribution, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, was released on 28 February 2022. The Working Group III contribution, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, was released on 4 April 2022 and the Synthesis Report on 20 March 2023.
The Synthesis Report to the Sixth Assessment Report, distills and integrates the findings of the three Working Group assessments as well as the three Special Reports released in 2018 and 2019.
The IPCC special reports have focused on more specific issues:
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.
Additionally, 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.
For more information visit www.ipcc.ch.
Most videos published by the IPCC can be found on our YouTube channel.