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Background on Research


Climate change research focuses on a wide range of topics such as earth sciences, climate processes and system, climate variability, climate modelling and prediction; climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, risks, extreme events, adaptation and mitigation. It covers a broad spectrum of sectors, society, economies and ecosystems, as well as cross-cutting and interdisciplinary research.

Research on climate and issues connected with climate change is carried out nationally, regionally and internationally. Internationally, climate-related research is coordinated by a variety of international programmes and organizations; some of the major ones being the International Council for Science (ICSU), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), DIVERSITAS (see External Resources). In addition, a number of regional networks promote and support climate-relevant research activities, including activities to enhance research capacity in the regions, such as the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) and the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN). 

The UNFCCC secretariat works in close collaboration with a variety of international and regional research programmes and organizations active in climate change-related research and facilitates dialogue and communication on the research needs and priorities expressed by Parties of the Convention to the scientific community.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has a well established role in the Convention process in communicating scientific information to the Convention through its regular assessment reports and its wide range of special reports and technical papers. Although it does not carry out its own research, it plays a key role in assessing the information from worldwide climate research in peer-reviewed literature, journals, books and other sources. It also has an important function in identifying priority needs for further research activities.

In addition, Parties regularly report on their national and cooperative research activities and their contributions to climate science, as well as emerging research needs and priorities, in their national communications.