IPCC Report: Key insights towards a better understanding
In this article, we wish to provide an overview of the different types of reports produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We will begin with a brief background on the origins of the IPCC which will be followed by a summary of the Panel's main missions. Finally, we will provide an overview of the production process of the IPCC Reports and their accessibility.
Some history regarding the creation of the IPCC
In 1979, the American scientist Jule Charney published a 22-page report to the U.S. National Academy of Science on global warming, resulting from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and related risks.  This powerful document led to a move towards a global awareness of civil society and policy makers on this issue. In 1987, the teams of Jean Jouzel and Claude Lorius published the analyses of ice cores that were drilled at the Vostok station in Antarctica.  The pioneering work of Charney, Jouzel, Lorius and other scientists led the American President, Ronald Reagan, and the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to decide during the 1988 G7 that a United Nation body for mapping the state of knowledge regarding the science of climate change should be created. As a result of this science-based policy decision, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was put in place in 1988 within the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization.
The IPCC's main mission: an interdisciplinary mapping of the latest scientific knowledge on climate change
- The Working Group I (WGI) focuses on the physical science of climate change.
- The Working Group II (WGII) studies the impacts, adaptation and vulnerability aspects of the question.
- The Working Group III (WGIII) focuses on the mitigation of climate change.
Overview of IPCC reporting
- A Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.
- A Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.
- A Special Report on Climate Change and Land.
In this paper, we presented a brief historical perspective regarding the creation of the IPCC and provided a global picture of its main missions, consisting in the cartography of the current state of the art regarding the scientific knowledge on climate change and featured by a strong interdisciplinary dimension. This responsibility is overseen by three Working Groups and a Task Force on Greenhouse Gases Emissions. Finally, we described the general process for the production of the IPCC reports that are free and publicly available, with a highlight on the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) whose publication is scheduled for 2022. The example of the international political impact of the IPCC reports with the case of the Green New Deal was also highlighted in this paper. The story is to be closely followed in the coming months with the inputs from AR6!
PhD Student at Sorbonne University
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