Experts from 56 countries gather in Vigo to work on the next IPCC Assessment Report on Climate Change
Opening Plenary of the IPCC Working Group III third Lead Author Meeting in Vigo, Spain. Credit: Benjamin Kriemann, IPCC
Press release by Economics for Energy, Vigo, Spain
- This morning the three Co-Chairs of the group currently assembled in Vigo provided details about the work to be carried out during the week, which will contribute to the 2014 IPCC report.
- The Chairman of the IPCC and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change addressed the participants of the event, highlighting the importance of the assessment report for forthcoming climate summits.
- The results of this report will provide the basis for international negotiations and the discussion of climate change policies of 195 countries.
More than 20 meetings of the IPCC will be held in the Galician city this week. 281 lead authors and review editors will participate in the meetings of the Working Group III of the IPCC. Working Group III has the task of evaluating the available options to mitigate climate change.
This morning the three Co-Chairs of the group currently assembled in Vigo explained the purpose and goals of the meetings to be held this week. The press conference was attended by Ottmar Edenhofer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Potsdam, Germany), Ramón Pichs-Madruga from the Centro de Investigaciones de la Economía Mundial (Havana, Cuba), and Youba Sokona from the African Climate Policy Centre (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). Xavier Labandeira, from the University of Vigo (Vigo, Spain) and lead author of WGIII of the IPCC, joined them.
The Co-Chairs indicated that 281 experts from 56 different countries have been selected from over 1000 candidates to author the WGIII contribution to this Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC. However, many other experts and reviewers will support them in the process. Before the report is submitted for acceptance, there are three rounds of formal review. The first order draft of the report has been reviewed by more than 600 experts from all world regions, who submitted about 16,000 comments. The authors will need to reply to each of these comments.
The IPCC is the main global body for the assessment of climate change. A major task of the IPCC is to provide assessment reports on climate change based on the relevant scientific, technical and socio-economic information.
The participants were received and welcomed by the Director of the Spanish Climate Change Office, Susana Magro; the Galician Environment Minister, Rosa Quintana; the President of the University of Vigo, Salustiano Mato; and the Mayor of Vigo, Abel Caballero. Afterwards, the IPCC Chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, and the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, addressed the experts to underline the relevance of the assessment report for the forthcoming climate change negotiations.
Pichs-Madruga indicated that this report will devote particular attention to the analysis of socio-economic aspects of climate change and to their implications for sustainable development and risk management, including regional issues. The Working Group III authors address all sectors involved in greenhouse gas emissions. This includes the energy, transport, and construction sectors as well as industry, agriculture, and forestry.
The Working Group III contribution of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will consist of 16 chapters and will be released in 2014. The decision to prepare the AR5 was taken by the 195 member governments of the IPCC in 2008. Assessment reports are prepared by leading academics and experts who are organized in teams and whose output is extensively reviewed.
The meeting in Spain is the third of four meetings, and was preceded by gatherings in South Korea (July 2011) and New Zealand (March 2012). In Vigo, authors will discuss the comments from the expert review of the first order draft of the WGIII contribution to the AR5 and will prepare plans to provide the second order draft of the report for a new external review by February 2013.
The gathering is organized with the collaboration of the University of Vigo and the Economics for Energy research centre. Several other institutions have also supported this event: the Barrié, Ramón Areces and José Manuel Entrecanales foundations; the Basque Centre for Climate Change; the Galician government; the City Council of Vigo; and the Spanish government through its Climate Change Office.
The relevance of IPCC assessment reports
The IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 1988. Its purpose is to assess the scientific, technical, and socio-economic information on climate change available worldwide with a clear mandate for comprehensiveness, objectivity, and transparency. IPCC assessment reports are extensively peer-reviewed and policy-relevant, but not policy-prescriptive.
So far the IPCC has issued four assessment reports. The first report in 1990 was key for the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The second report in 1995 provided critical scientific input for the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The third report in 2001 showed the need for a more comprehensive participation in climate change agreements. The fourth report in 2007 provided evidence that climate change is unambiguous and established human activity as a probable source. Just after the release of this last assessment report the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
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