The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the objective of the IPCC is to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC reports are also a key input into international climate change negotiations. The IPCC is an organization of governments that are members of the United Nations or WMO. The IPCC currently has 195 members.
Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time 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.
An open and transparent review by experts and governments around the world is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment and to reflect a diverse range of views and expertise. Through its assessments, the IPCC identifies the strength of scientific agreement in different areas and indicates where further research is needed. The IPCC does not conduct its own research.
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The IPCC is divided into three Working Groups and a Task Force. Working Group I deals with The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change, Working Group II with Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability and Working Group III with Mitigation of Climate Change. The main objective of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories is to develop and refine a methodology for the calculation and reporting of national greenhouse gas emissions and removals. Alongside the Working Groups and the Task Force, other Task Groups may be established by the Panel for a set time period to consider a specific topic or question. One example is the decision at the 47th Session of the IPCC in Paris in March 2018 to establish a Task Group to improve gender balance and address gender-related issues within the IPCC.
1988- The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) establish the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; The United Nations General Assembly endorses the action of UNEP and the WMO in setting up the IPCC.
1990- The IPCC publishes its First Assessment Report (Working Group I – Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment; Working Group II – Climate Change: The IPCC Impacts Assessment; Working Group III –Climate Change: The IPCC Response Strategies); The UN General Assembly notes the report findings and decides to initiate negotiations for a framework convention on climate change.
1992- The IPCC publishes Supplementary Reports (Working Group I – Climate Change 1992: The Supplementary Report to the IPCC Scientific Assessment; Working Group II – Climate Change 1992: The Supplementary Report to the IPCC Impacts Assessment; Climate Change: The IPCC 1990 and 1992 Assessments); The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opens for signature at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro.
1995- The IPCC publishes its Second Assessment Report (Working Group I – Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change; Working Group II – Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change: Scientific-Technical Analyses; Working Group III; Climate Change 1995: Economic and Social Dimensions of Climate Change; IPCC Second Assessment: Climate Change 1995 (includes Synthesis Report)).
1996- The IPCC issues the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
1997- The UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol is adopted. It comes into force in 2005.
1998- The IPCC sets up the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI) to oversee the NationalGreenhouse Gas Inventories Programme. Since 1999 the Task Force has been supported by the Government of Japan.
2000- The IPCC issues the Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
2001- The IPCC publishes its Third Assessment Report (Working Group I – Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis; Working Group II – Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability; Working Group III – Climate Change 2001: Mitigation; Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report).
2003- The IPCC issues the Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry.
2006- The IPCC issues the 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
2007- The IPCC publishes its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) (Working Group I – Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis; Working Group II – Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability; Working Group III – Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change; Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report).
2007- The IPCC shares the Nobel Peace Prize which is awarded for its “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge of man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”.
2010- The IPCC starts a review of its processes and procedures, completed in 2012, based on recommendations from the InterAcademy Council.
2013 - The IPCC approves Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, the Working Group I contribution to AR5- The IPCC approves two Methodology Reports: the 2013 Supplement to 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands (Wetlands Supplement) and the 2013 Revised Supplementary Methods and Good Practice Guidelines Arising from the Kyoto Protocol (KP Supplement).
2014- The IPCC approves Climate Change 2014: Impacts Adaptation and Vulnerability and Climate Change; 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, the Working Group II and Working Group III contributions to AR5. The Fifth Assessment Report was completed in 2014 with the Synthesis Report.
2017- The IPCC approves the outlines of the Working Group contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report.
2018- The IPCC approves Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
2019- The IPCC approves the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories; The IPCC approves Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems; The IPCC approves the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.
2020- The IPCC approves the outline of the Synthesis Report to the Sixth Assessment Report to be finalized in 2022.
2021- The IPCC approves Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, the Working Group 1 contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (TBC).
2022- The IPCC to approve Climate Change 2022: Impacts Adaptation and Vulnerability and Climate Change; 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, the Working Group II and Working Group III contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report. The IPCC to approve the Synthesis Report to the Sixth Assessment Report (TBC).