The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assesses the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.
The IPCC is an independent body founded under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The IPCC is best known for its comprehensive assessment reports, incorporating summaries for policymakers from a synthesis report and from all three Working Groups, which are widely recognized as the most credible sources of scientific information on climate change. In October 2014, the latest and Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (AR5) was finalized.
The Conference of the Parties (COP) has repeatedly expressed its appreciation for the IPCC's work and called on the Convention bodies, in particular the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), to continue its cooperation with the IPCC and to seek its advice. It has also urged Parties to contribute financially to the IPCC's work, as well as to nominate and support experts for the IPCC, especially from developing countries. According to Article 21.2 of the Convention, the secretariat "will cooperate closely with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to ensure that the Panel can respond to the need for objective scientific and technical advice". Further background information >>
Current status of work
In draft decision 1/CP.24, on preparations for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, the COP, in regards to the special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C, inter alia:
- Recognized the role of the IPCC in providing scientific input to inform Parties in strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty;
- Expressed its appreciation and gratitude to the IPCC and the scientific community for responding to the request of the Conference of the Parties and providing the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, reflecting the best available science;
- Welcomed the timely completion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C in response to the invitation from Parties in decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 21;
- Invited Parties to make use of the information contained in the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C in their discussions under all relevant agenda items of the subsidiary and governing bodies;
- Requested the SBSTA to consider at its fiftieth session (June 2019) the report referred to in paragraph 25 above with a view to strengthening the scientific knowledge on the 1.5°C goal, including in the context of the preparation of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the implementation of the Convention and the Paris Agreement;
- Encouraged Parties to continue to support the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In decision 1/CP.21, whereby the COP adopted the Paris Agreement, the COP, inter alia:
- Invited the IPCC to provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways (paragraph 21). This Special Report has been produced, and a Special Event will be held on 4 December in Katowice during the SBSTA 49 session.
- Requested the SBSTA to provide advice on how the assessments of the IPCC can inform the global stocktake of the implementation of the Agreement pursuant to its Article 14 of the Agreement and report on this matter to the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) at its second session (paragraph 101). For the advice provided, please see the SBSTA 45 report, paragraphs 47-56.
The IPCC will complete the following products in its sixth assessment cycle:
- A Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C, in response to the invitation by the COP, published on 8 October 2018.
- A Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security and GHG fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, to be published in 2019.
- A Special Report on climate change and oceans and the cryosphere, to be published in 2019.
- The Sixth Assessment Report, which will be considered in 2022. The latter consists of reports from the three IPCC working groups (physical science, mitigation and adaptation), a regional report, a methodology report and a synthesis report.
The scientific community is working on CMIP6, led by the WCRP, which will include consideration of scenarios that limit warming in 2100 to below 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial levels, and the range of impacts at the regional and local levels associated with these scenarios (FCCC/SBSTA/2015/2, paragraph 33).