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Multilateral institution

Most profound scientific assessments of the Earth’s climate

by Roli Mahajan

In brief

Hoesung Lee, IPCC chair.

Hoesung Lee, IPCC chair.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a body of experts convened by the United Nations. Its task is to survey scientific research on global warming and provide assessment reports regularly.

The IPCC’s sixth Assessment Report is currently being published. Three components have already been released. The first dealt with the physical science of climate change, the second with adaptation and the third with mitigation (see main story). The final part will be published in October, providing a synthesis ahead of this year’s UN climate summit COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

The IPCC’s Assessment Reports are the most exhaustive scientific evaluations of the state of earth’s climate. In history, there have never been efforts of this scale to compile scientific knowledge. Before publication, documents have to be approved by the governments of 195 member states. The compilations thus reflect the scientific consensus as appreciated by national governments.

Hundreds of scholars from many countries contribute to IPCC publications. For example, 270 researchers from 67 countries made inputs to the recent document written by the IPCC working group on adaptation. The document was launched in late February.

The IPCC was established in 1988, and its secretariat is based in Geneva. Together with Al Gore, the climate campaigner and former US vice president, it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. The previous Assessment Report was published eight years ago.

Hseung Lee, a South Korean economist and the current IPCC chair says that human-induced climate change is “widespread, rapid and intensifying”, threatening the “health of our entire planet”.

Roli Mahajan is a freelance Journalist based in Lucknow, India.
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