King Charles III confers the Honour of Knighthood on IPCC Chair Sir Jim Skea

The Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jim Skea, received today one of the highest honours in the United Kingdom. 

King Charles III, the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, conferred the honour of Knighthood upon Prof. Jim Skea – a prestigious recognition usually granted to those who have made a significant contribution to their field. 

The King´s Birthday Honours List 2024 was published this morning in London as a Supplement of The Gazette No. 64423.

IPCC Chair Sir Jim Skea said:

“I am humbled and honoured for this royal recognition. I receive this honour with a great sense of professional and personal pride. As the Chair of the IPCC, I am grateful for the privilege to lead and work with thousands of the world´s best scientists on delivering the most authoritative scientific reports about climate change, empowering policymakers at all levels to understand our climate system, climate change and how to tackle it. 

This honour comes in the middle of the critical decade for climate action. It is a powerful recognition for the voice of science. Climate change has confronted humanity with unprecedented challenges. But science and the IPCC’s work have shown that we have the knowledge, means and tools to address them. We have agency over our future if we choose to use it.”

Jim Skea was elected IPCC Chair for the Seventh Assessment cycle in July 2023. 

From 2015 to 2023, Jim was Co-chair of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, focusing on climate change mitigation. He was part of the scientific leadership for the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C.

Jim Skea was a Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London from 2009 to 2023. His research interests include energy, climate change and technological innovation.

He was the Chair of Scotland’s Just Transition Commission from 2018 to 2023, and was a founding member of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, acting as its Scottish champion.

Between 2012 and 2017 Professor Skea was Research Councils UK’s Energy Strategy Fellow and was President of the Energy Institute between 2015 and 2017. He was Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre from 2004-2012.

Born in Scotland, Jim Skea read Mathematical Physics at Edinburgh University, followed by a PhD in energy research at Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory. In 1981, he moved to Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to work on emerging US energy and environment policy. He then worked at the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University (1983-1998), where he moved through the ranks, becoming a Professorial Fellow in 1994. He was subsequently Director of the Policy Studies Institute (1998-2004).

He was awarded an OBE in 2004 and a CBE in 2013 for his work on sustainable transport and sustainable energy, respectively.

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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 Seventh Assessment Cycle

Comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every 5 to 7 years. The IPCC is currently in its seventh assessment cycle, which formally began in July 2023 with the elections of the new IPCC and Taskforce Bureaus at the IPCC’s Plenary Session in Nairobi. 

At its 69th Session (January 2024, Istanbul), the Panel agreed to produce the three Working Group contributions to the Seventh Assessment Report, a Special Report on Climate Change and Cities and a Methodology Report on Short-lived Climate Forcers. During this cycle, the Panel will also deliver a Methodology Report on Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies, Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage.

In addition, a revision of the 1994 IPCC Technical Guidelines on impacts and adaptation as well as adaptation indicators, metrics and guidelines, will be developed in conjunction with the Working Group II report and published as a separate product.

IPCC’s latest report, the Sixth Assessment Report, was completed in March 2023 with the release of its Synthesis Report, which provides direct scientific input to the first global stocktake process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP28 in Dubai.

The Sixth Assessment Report comprises three Working Group contributions and a Synthesis Report. The Working Group I contribution 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, distils and integrates the findings of the three Working Group assessments as well as the three Special Reports released in 2018 and 2019.

The special reports were on Global Warming of 1.5°C (October 2018.), Climate Change and Land (August 2019) and, the ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate (September 2019).

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