IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, in 1988, on the subject and endorsed
the UNEP/WMO proposal for the setting up of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate
Established by – United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World
meteorological Organization (WMO)
The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical
and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of
It is open to all member countries of the UN and WMO. Currently 195 countries are
members of IPCC.
It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or
Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete
assessment of current information.
By endorsing the IPCC reports, governments acknowledge the authority of their
scientific content. The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet
policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.
It has also responded to the need of the UNFCCC for information on scientific and
technical matters through Special Reports, Technical Papers and Methodology Reports.
Assessment reports (AR)
The IPCC prepares at regular intervals comprehensive Assessment Reports of scientific,
technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of human
induced climate change, potential impacts of climate change and options for mitigation
They are published in several volumes.
Synthesis Reports synthesize materials contained within the Assessment Reports,
eventually integrating them with information coming from the Special Reports as well.
They are written in a non-technical style suitable for policymakers.
Four Assessment Reports have been completed in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007. The IPCC
Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) completed in 2014.
The document acknowledges that climate change is taking place and in various places
points at human activity as the sort of thing that looks likely to get the climate shifting.
However, the report uses the following definition:
“Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified
(e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its
properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate
change may be due to natural internal processes or external forces such as modulations
of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions, and persistent anthropogenic changes in the
composition of the atmosphere or in land use.”
The IPCC points out that its definition is rather different from that used by the UNFCC,
which defines the term as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly
to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in
addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”
The main features of the report are as follows:
The risks are:
Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and
small island developing states and other small islands, due to storm surges, coastal
flooding, and sea-level rise.
Risk of severe ill-health and disrupted livelihoods for large urban populations due to
inland flooding in some regions.
Systemic risks due to extreme weather events leading to breakdown of infrastructure
networks and critical services such as electricity, water supply, and health and
Risk of mortality and morbidity during periods of extreme heat, particularly for
vulnerable urban populations and those working outdoors in urban or rural areas.
Risk of food insecurity and the breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought,
flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes, particularly for poorer populations
in urban and rural areas.
Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and
irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and
pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.
Risk of loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods,
functions, and services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing
communities in the tropics and the Arctic.
Risk of loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem
goods, functions, and services they provide for livelihoods.