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  WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assess the available scientific, technical, and socio-economic information in the field of climate change. The IPCC is organized into three working groups: 

1. WGI responsible for assessing available information on the science of climate change, in particular that arising from human activities; 

2. WGII to assess available technical, environmental, social and economic information regarding impacts of climate change and response options to adapt to and/or mitigate climate change; 

3. WGIII to deal with cross-cutting economic and other issues (e.g. development and assessments of emissions scenarios) related to climate change. 

See check list in annex.


Data Collection, Observation, Monitoring
The design of observation systems is the responsibility of the Global Climate Observing System.

Methodologies, Quality Control, Harmonization
The IPCC develops methodologies (e.g. national greenhouse gas inventories) for use by Parties to the Climate Change Convention. 

Assessment and Analysis
Working Group I (WGI) of IPCC was established in 1988 to assess available information on the science of climate change, in particular that arising from human activities. In performing its assessments the WGI is concerned with: 
* developments in the scientific understanding of past and present climate, of climate variability, of climate predictability and of climate change including feedbacks from climate impacts; 
* progress in the modelling and projection of global and regional climate and sea level change; 
* observations of climate, including past climates, and assessment of trends and anomalies; 
* gaps and uncertainties in current knowledge. 

For the Third Assessment Report, Working Group I has assessed the scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change; Working Group II has assessed the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of the vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptability) to climate change of, and the negative and positive consequences (impacts) for, ecological systems, socio-economic sectors and human health, with an emphasis on regional sectoral and cross-sectoral issues; and Working Group III has assessed the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of the mitigation of climate change, and through a task group (multidisciplinary team), has assessed the methodological aspects of cross-cutting issues (e.g., equity, discount rates and decision making frameworks). The Synthesis Report  provides a policy-relevant synthesis and integration of the three Working Group Reports. 

For more information on IPCC as a scientific advisory process see the background profile.

b. Cooperation with other organizations
IPCC priorities include: 
* Promoting enhanced participation of experts from developing countries and countries with 
economies in transition; 
* Promoting the participation of experts from business/industry/finance, development and 
environmental organizations; and 
* Utilization of the non-English language literature. 

c. Techniques used
A peer-review process has been used for the Working Group reports of the Third Assessment Report. Working Group reports (chapters, chapter executive summaries, and technical summaries) have undergone sequential open expert and expert/government peer reviews and then been accepted by the Working Groups; the Summaries for Policy-makers have undergone simultaneous expert/government reviews and then been approved line-by-line by the Working Groups. 



Expert Systems/Decision-support systems

Early Warning Mechanisms

Reports/Information dissemination
The IPCC released its Second Assessment Report in 1995 and continues to produce Technical Papers and develop methodologies (e.g. national greenhouse gas inventories) for use by Parties to the Climate Change Convention. The Third Assessment Report is being completed and issued in 2001. 

Technical Papers are initiated at the request of the bodies of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Climate Change Convention and agreed by the IPCC Bureau, or as decided by the IPCC. They are based on material already in IPCC Assessment Reports and Special Reports and are written by Lead Authors chosen for the purpose. They undergo simultaneous expert and government reviews. Past Technical Papers include: 
1. Technologies, Policies and Measures for Mitigating Climate Change, Nov. 1996. 
2. An Introduction to Simple Climate Models used in the IPCC Second Assessment Report, Feb. 1997 
3. Stabilization of Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases: Physical, Biological and Socio-Economic Implications, Feb. 1997. 
4. Implications of Proposed CO2 Emissions Limitations, Oct. 1997 

Users are the UN Framework Conventiion on Climate Change (FCCC), international and national decision-makers. 

Information is provided for decision-makers via the IPCC Synthesis Report 

Network Development and Support


Internet Access


Responsible Office/Person (for inquiries or follow-up):
Ms Renate Christ 
 Deputy Secretary of the IPCC 
 IPCC Secretariat 
 World Meteorological Organization 
 7 bis, Avenue de la Paix 
 Case Postal No.2300 
 CH-1211 Geneva 2 
 Telephone: +41 22 730 8574 
 Fax: +41 22 730 8205 
 E-mail: christ_r @ gateway.wmo.ch 
 E-mail (general): IPCC_Sec @ gateway.wmo.ch 

Earthwatch Focal Point 

Date of preparation: 20 June 1999, updated 26 February 2001 

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ORGANIZATION: WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

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