|United Nations System-Wide
SECOND REPORT ON INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PROCESSES ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the WMO and UNEP to assess the available scientific, technical, and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.
Organization and Dynamics
Membership: IPCC is open to participants from all UNEP and WMO Member states. Invitations to participate in the sessions of IPCC and its Working Groups, Task Forces and IPCC workshops are extended to Governments and other bodies by the Chairman of IPCC. Governments and participating organizations are asked to identify/nominate appropriate experts to contribute to IPCC reports. Authors are selected by the relevant Working Group Bureau from those nominations, as are other experts as appropriate and known through their publications and works. The composition of groups of authors reflect the need for a range of views, expertise and geographical representation. Experts from WMO/UNEP Member states or international, inter-governmental or non-governmental organizations may be invited in their own right to contribute to the work of the IPCC Working Groups and Task Forces. Governments are informed in advance of invitations extended to experts from their countries and they may nominate additional experts.
The Panel meets in plenary sessions about once a year. It approves IPCC reports, decides on the mandates and work plans of the working groups, the structure and outlines of reports, the IPCC Principles and Procedures, and the budget (see below). It also elects the IPCC Chairman and the Bureau. The IPCC Bureau, the Working Group Bureaux and any Task Forces reflect balanced geographic representation with due consideration for scientific and technical requirements. IPCC Working Groups and Task Forces are mandated to have clearly-defined and approved terms of reference and work plans as established by the Panel, and are open-ended.
IPCC activities, including travel costs for experts from developing countries and from countries with economies in transition, are financed through voluntary contributions from governments as well as to a small degree from the UNFCCC. The IPCC's two parent organizations, WMO and UNEP, provide staff and financial support. The active participation of developing country experts is an essential feature of the IPCC. The enhanced regional emphasis, and the increased participation of experts from developing countries and countries with economies in transition has led to increased expenditures. To enable the IPCC to prepare its reports in a timely manner and to continue to serve the needs of the Parties to the UNFCCC a strong financial commitment from governments is required.
Structure and Processes
The IPCC has three working groups and a
Work and Outputs
The IPCC prepares, in regular intervals of approximately 5 years, a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the policy-relevant scientific, technical and socio-economic dimensions of climate change. It prepares also Special Reports and Technical Papers on specific topics and it develops guidelines and methodologies for calculating greenhouse gas emissions and removals, and to assess the impacts of climate change and to evaluate appropriate adaptations.
The IPCC does not carry out new research nor does it monitor climate-related data. It bases its assessments mainly on published and peer-reviewed scientific technical literature. Review is an essential feature of IPCC work. Each IPCC report undergoes a two stage review process, an expert review followed by a government/expert review. Each Assessment Report and Special Report includes a Summary for Policymakers which is translated into all UN languages.
Assessment Reports: The first IPCC Assessment Report was finalized in 1990. It provided the basis for the negotiations which lead to the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992. The Second Assessment Report (SAR) was completed in 1995 and contributed to the negotiations leading to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol. It is currently preparing the Third Assessment Report (TAR), which is scheduled for completion in mid 2001.
Each of the three Working Group reports being prepared for the TAR was sent for expert review followed later by a government/expert review. The TAR will provide an assessment of new knowledge since the completion of the SAR. The TAR aims to: emphasize the regional dimensions of climate change, cross-sectoral issues and adaptation; place the issue of climate change more centrally within the evolving socio-economic context; embrace the concept of sustainable development; and, identify the synergies and trade-offs between local, regional and global environmental issues. It will also address four cross-cutting issues: uncertainties; development, sustainability and equity; costing methodologies; and, decision-making frameworks. Papers have already been prepared to guide each of the Working Groups in their treatment of these issues.
Special Reports: Since the completion of the SAR five Special Reports have been published. The most recent three were accepted by the Panel in May 2000.
The Special Report on Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer examines the role of technology transfer in addressing climate change and puts it in the framework of sustainable development. It analyses the flows of knowledge, experience and equipment among governments, private sector entities, financial institutions, NGOs, and research/education institutions, and the different roles that each of these stakeholders can play in facilitating the transfer of technologies. The Report provisionally concludes that the current efforts and established processes will not be sufficient to meet this challenge. The report discusses three major dimensions of making technology transfer more effective, capacity building, an enabling environment, and mechanisms for technology transfer.
The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios examines a wide range of driving forces of future emissions from demographic to technological and economic developments. The scenarios include the range of emission of all relevant greenhouse gases and sulphur plausible futures for greenhouse gas and aerosol precursor emissions over the next 100 years. Four story-lines are used to describe different directions of future development. Illustrative marker scenarios are used within each story-line to illustrate the key features of that story-line.
The Special Report on Land-Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry examines the carbon cycle and how land use and forestry activities affect carbon stocks and emissions of greenhouse gases. It provides scientific and technical information useful to the Parties to the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol in making decisions on land use, land use change and forestry activities as well as other relevant articles of the Kyoto Protocol, including definitions, the accounting system, a monitoring and reporting system, and inventory guidelines. In addition, the Report provides an assessment of the experience to date of land use, land use change and forestry projects (largely AIJ projects), the future potential to reduce the net emissions of greenhouse gases through Articles 3.3, 3.4, 6 and 12, and a framework for assessing sustainable development issues.
In 1999, the Special Report on Aviation and the Global Atmosphere was approved and published. It describes the effect of aircraft emissions on climate and the ozone layer and options to reduce emissions and impacts. One of the primary conclusions was that aircraft emit gases and particles directly into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere where they have an impact on atmospheric composition and contribute to climate change. The best estimate of the radiative forcing by aircraft in 1992 - a measure of climate change - is about 3.5% of the total radiative forcing by all human activities, projected to rise to between 3.5 and 15%, with a best estimate of 5%, by 2050 relative to the mid-range IPCC IS92a scenario. The Report also concluded that there is a range of options to reduce aviation emissions, including changes in aircraft and engine technology, fuel, operational practices, and regulatory and economic measures.
The Special Report on Regional Impacts of Climate Change published in 1997 explores the potential consequences of changes in the climate for ten continental and sub-continental scale regions.
Technical Papers: IPCC also prepares
Technical Papers at the request of the Conference of the Parties (COP)
of the UNFCCC 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. The following technical papers
have been prepared:
Guidelines and Methodologies: Guidelines and methodologies for calculating greenhouse gas emissions and removals are developed under the National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme under the guidance of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. The first IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories were prepared in close collaboration with the OECD and the IE in 1994 and adopted by the UNFCCC-COP in 1995 as guidelines for the preparation of national communications by developed country (Annex I) Parties. The 1996 Revised Guidelines include methodologies for additional sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. Recently the IPCC Report on Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, in response to the request from UNFCCC-SBSTA.
The IPCC also prepares guidance materials for assessing climate change impacts and to evaluate appropriate adaptations. The IPCC Data Distribution Centre (DDC) makes a range of scenario-related data available for conducting assessments of climate change impact. Supporting Material are also published, consisting of published reports and proceedings from workshops, seminars and meetings within the scope of IPCC work programme and material commissioned by Working Groups in support of IPCC assessment process.
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