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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 12 Number 664 | Saturday, 16 April 2016


Summary of the 43rd Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

11-13 April 2016 | Headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, Kenya


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Visit our IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage from Nairobi, Kenya at: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/ipcc43/

The 43rd session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-43) convened from 11-13 April 2016, in Nairobi, Kenya, and brought together 264 participants from 117 countries.

The IPCC addressed items including: the IPCC Programme and Budget; reports; procedural matters, including the Conflict of Interest (COI) Policy; matters related to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international bodies; Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) products, including special reports (SRs) and strategic planning; update of methodologies on National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories; the future of the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impacts and Climate Analysis (TGICA); communications for AR6; the IPCC Library Facility; the IPCC Scholarship Programme; and the decision pathway for consideration of requests for access to information or meetings.

The IPCC adopted four decisions on: the IPCC Programme and Budget; communications for AR6; SRs; and strategic planning. The Panel agreed to undertake three SRs, on: the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above preindustrial levels and related global GHG emission pathways; climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security and GHG fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems; and on climate change and oceans and the cryosphere. The Panel also agreed that an SR on cities would be prepared as part of the next assessment cycle.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IPCC

The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assess, on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding human-induced climate change, its potential impacts, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC is an intergovernmental and scientific body with 195 country members. It does not undertake new research, nor does it monitor climate-related data. Instead, it conducts assessments of knowledge on the basis of published and peer-reviewed scientific and technical literature. IPCC reports are intended to be policy relevant but not policy prescriptive.

The IPCC has three Working Groups (WGs): Working Group I (WGI) addresses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II (WGII) addresses climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III (WGIII) addresses options for limiting GHG emissions and mitigating climate change. Each WG has two Co-Chairs and six Vice-Chairs, except for the fifth assessment cycle when WGIII had three Co-Chairs. The Co-Chairs guide the WGs in fulfilling the mandates given to them by the Panel and are assisted in this task by Technical Support Units (TSUs).

The IPCC also has a Task Force on National GHG Inventories (TFI) to oversee the IPCC National GHG Inventories Programme, also supported by a TSU. The Programme aims to develop and refine an internationally-agreed methodology and software for the calculation and reporting of national GHG emissions and removals, and encourage its use by parties to the UNFCCC.

The Panel elects its Bureau for the duration of a full assessment cycle, which lasts between five and seven years and includes the preparation of an IPCC assessment report. The Bureau assists the IPCC Chair in planning, coordinating and monitoring the IPCC’s work, and is composed of climate change experts representing all regions. Currently, the Bureau comprises 34 members, having expanded from 31 as of the elections held at IPCC-42 per a decision taken at IPCC-41, and includes the IPCC Chair and Vice-Chairs, the WG Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs, and the TFI Co-Chairs and its bureau. In 2011, the IPCC established an Executive Committee (ExComm) to assist with intersessional work and coordination among the WGs. The ExComm consists of the IPCC Chair, IPCC Vice-Chairs, WG and TFI Co-Chairs, and advisory members, including the IPCC Secretary and the four Heads of the TSUs. The IPCC Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and is hosted by the WMO.

IPCC PRODUCTS: Since its inception, the IPCC has prepared a series of comprehensive assessment reports, SRs and technical papers that provide scientific information on climate change to the international community and are subject to extensive review by experts and governments.

The IPCC’s First Assessment Report was completed in 1990; the Second Assessment Report in 1995; the Third Assessment Report in 2001; the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in 2007; and the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in 2014. Currently, the assessment reports are structured in three parts, one for each WG. Each WG’s contribution comprises a Summary for Policymakers (SPM), a Technical Summary and an underlying assessment report. All sections of each report undergo an intensive review process, which takes place in three stages: a first review by experts; a second review by experts and governments; and a third review by governments. Each SPM is then approved line by line by the respective WG. A Synthesis Report (SYR) is then produced for the assessment report as a whole, which integrates the most relevant aspects of the three WG reports, and an SPM of the SYR is then approved line by line by the Panel.

In addition to the comprehensive assessments, the IPCC produces SRs, methodology reports and technical papers, focusing on specific issues related to climate change. Thus far, SRs include: Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) (2000); Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (2005); Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SREN) (2011); and Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) (2011). Technical papers have also been prepared on, among other things, Climate Change and Water (2008).

In addition, the IPCC produces methodology reports or guidelines to assist countries in reporting on GHGs. Good Practice Guidance reports were approved by the Panel in 2000 and 2003, and the latest version of the IPCC Guidelines on National GHG Inventories (2006 IPCC Guidelines) was approved in 2006. The IPCC also adopted the 2013 Supplement to the 2006 Guidelines for National GHG Inventories: Wetlands (Wetlands Supplement), and the 2013 Revised Supplementary Methods and Good Practice Guidance Arising from the Kyoto Protocol (KP Supplement).

For its work and efforts “to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about manmade climate change, and to lay the foundations needed to counteract such change,” the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with former US Vice President Al Gore, in December 2007.

INTERACADEMY COUNCIL (IAC) REVIEW: In response to public criticism of the IPCC related to inaccuracies in AR4 and the Panel’s response to the criticism, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri (India) requested the IAC to conduct an independent review of IPCC processes and procedures and to present recommendations to strengthen the IPCC and to ensure the quality of its reports.

The IAC presented its results in a report in August 2010 and made recommendations regarding, inter alia: the IPCC’s management structure; a communications strategy, including a plan to respond to crises; transparency, including criteria for selecting participants and the type of scientific and technical information to be assessed; and consistency in how the WGs characterize uncertainty.

IPCC-32: This session (11-14 October 2010, Busan, Republic of Korea) addressed the recommendations of the IAC Review. The Panel adopted a number of decisions in this regard, including on the treatment of gray literature and uncertainty, and on a process to address errors in previous reports. For recommendations requiring further examination, the Panel established task groups on processes and procedures, communications, the COI Policy, and governance and management.

IPCC-33: This session (10-13 May 2011, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) focused primarily on follow-up actions to the IAC Review. The Panel established an ExComm, adopted a COI Policy, and introduced several changes to the procedures for IPCC reports.

IPCC-34: This meeting (18-19 November 2011, Kampala, Uganda) adopted revised Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval and Publication of IPCC Reports, as well as Implementation Procedures and the Disclosure Form for the COI Policy.

IPCC-35: This session (6-9 June 2012, Geneva, Switzerland) concluded the Panel’s consideration of the recommendations from the IAC Review by approving the functions of the IPCC Secretariat and TSUs, and the Communications Strategy.

WGI-12 and IPCC-36: During these meetings (23-26 September 2013, Stockholm, Sweden), WGI finalized its AR5 contribution: “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.” The Panel then met to approve the WGI SPM and accepted the underlying report, including the Technical Summary and annexes.

IPCC-37: During this session (14-17 October 2013, Batumi, Georgia), the Panel decided to establish a Task Group on the Future Work of the IPCC (TGF). It also considered and adopted two methodology reports, the Wetlands Supplement and KP Supplement. The IPCC also undertook initial discussions on mapping the IPCC’s future.

WGII-10 and IPCC-38: These meetings (25-29 March 2014, Yokohama, Japan) finalized the WGII contribution to AR5: “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.” The Panel then met to approve the WGII SPM and accepted the underlying report, including the Technical Summary and annexes.

WGIII-12 and IPCC-39: These meetings (7-12 April 2014, Berlin, Germany), finalized the WGIII contribution to AR5: “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change.” The Panel then approved the WGIII SPM and accepted the underlying report, including the Technical Summary and annexes. The Panel also discussed, inter alia, COI and future work of the IPCC.

IPCC-40: This meeting (27 October - 1 November 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark) considered and finalized the SYR, which integrates the findings from the three IPCC WGs. The Panel also approved the SYR’s SPM line by line, and adopted the longer SYR section by section.

IPCC-41: This meeting (24-27 February 2015, Nairobi, Kenya) addressed the future work of the IPCC, including the recommendations of the TGF, and took a decision on the size, structure and composition of the IPCC Bureau and TFI Bureau (TFB). The Panel also adopted decisions on: IPCC products, their timing and their usability; IPCC structure; respective roles of the IPCC Secretariat and the IPCC TSUs; options for the selection of and support to Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors; and improving the writing and review process. Following the resignation of IPCC Chair Pachauri, Ismail El Gizouli (Sudan) was appointed Acting IPCC Chair pending the election of a new Chair at IPCC-42.

IPCC-42: This meeting (5-8 October 2015, Dubrovnik, Croatia) elected members of the IPCC Bureau and the TFB, including the IPCC Chair, IPCC Vice-Chairs, WG Co-Chairs and TFB, Vice-Chairs of the WGs and TFB members. The Panel elected Hoesung Lee (Republic of Korea) as IPCC Chair for the sixth assessment cycle.

IPCC-43 REPORT

On Monday, Charles Sunkuli, Principal Secretary, Kenyan Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, delivered opening remarks on behalf of Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu. He congratulated the IPCC on producing the most up-to-date and unbiased assessment of the climate system, AR5, which served as the scientific basis for UNFCCC negotiations on the Paris Agreement. He noted vulnerabilities to climate change in Kenya and highlighted the Government’s efforts to mainstream climate change into national development planning.

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, in his last message to the IPCC in this capacity, praised Kenya for its pioneering role on the front lines of climate change mitigation. He stressed the importance of the coming years for determining the role of the IPCC and noted the challenges ahead for the Panel in light of the Paris Agreement, in particular in addressing the radical transitions needed to limit warming to 1.5°C and even 2°C above preindustrial levels. Noting the integral role played by UNEP and the WMO in the IPCC, he called for recognizing that having a Secretariat sponsored by two UN agencies is a unique asset of the IPCC, while stressing that the independence and integrity of IPCC is its most important strength and is beyond question.

David Carlson, WMO, lauded the “remarkable yet fragile” Paris Agreement, noting that the work of the IPCC will play an important role in its success. He said that while the WMO and UNEP are not always in sync, they remain committed to their support of the IPCC. He underscored that just one week earlier carbon dioxide concentrations reached the highest ever daily level, at 407.3 parts per million, as measured at Mauna Loa, and stressed that various measures indicate that serious global warming is coming much sooner than expected, noting that rapid acceleration of warming will pose challenges for the construction of models, such as the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6), complicating the production of SRs and other products.

Speaking by video message, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres asked IPCC-43 participants to “seek your answers by looking through the lens of the Paris Agreement,” urging a positive response to the UNFCCC request for an SR on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related GHG emission pathways (1.5°C SR). She expressed confidence that the IPCC will continue to produce the scientific understanding necessary for sound stewardship of the one planet we have.

IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee shared his enthusiasm for embarking on the AR6 cycle, noting important new material to assess and ways the IPCC can support the Paris Agreement, such as a 1.5°C SR, and informing the periodic global stocktakes. Looking to the work ahead, he encouraged focusing on solutions, more effective communications, and regionally-relevant information for policymakers.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA: On Monday morning, IPCC Chair Lee presented the agenda for the session (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.1 and Add.1). The UK called for adding to the agenda an update on the appointment of the IPCC Secretary. The Panel adopted the provisional agenda as amended.

APPROVAL OF THE DRAFT REPORT OF THE 42ND SESSION: On Monday, IPCC Chair Lee and Acting IPCC Secretary Mannava Sivakumar presented the draft report of IPCC-42 (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.12). The Panel adopted the report with editorial changes proposed by Belgium.

IPCC PROGRAMME AND BUDGET

This item (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.2) was first considered on Monday. The Financial Task Team (FiTT), co-chaired by New Zealand and Maldives, convened throughout the meeting, and presented the revised decision (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.6) for consideration by the Panel on Wednesday.

Introducing this item, Acting IPCC Secretary Sivakumar presented on: adjustments to the 2016 budget as compared to that approved by IPCC-42; changes to the 2017 budget; current forecast budget for 2018; and the indicative budget for 2019 (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.2); as well as on possible funding sources and funding needs for the AR6 cycle (IPCC-XLIII/INF.1, INF.2 Rev.1, and INF.2 Rev.1 Add.1).

Pointing to the steady decline in contributors to the IPCC Trust Fund from 2004 until 2015, a recent decline in total contributions and the disappearance of savings by 2017 if these trends continue, Acting IPCC Secretary Sivakumar stressed the urgent need to mobilize resources.

During discussions, the US, Canada, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium and others expressed concern about this situation and called for targeted outreach undertaken at high levels, including by the heads of WMO and UNEP, with IPCC Chair Lee leading the effort.

UNEP reiterated its support and noted upcoming additional pledges through secondments and other contributions to reduce costs and expenditures. She also stressed the importance of broadening the donor base instead of focusing on a small number of members.

Canada called for a discussion on whether one or more countries can fund an SR as opposed to making a contribution to the Trust Fund. Japan welcomed the Secretariat’s suggestion to look into diversifying sources of income, but stressed the importance of the IPCC remaining neutral and independent.

The EU noted that, given its observer status, its contributions appear as conditional and are directed to projects instead of to the Trust Fund. However, he reassured the Panel of the EU’s respect for IPCC independence to use funds as it deems fit and expressed openness to discussing options and improvements. He also called for considering other sources of funding, such as foundations and charities, that would not affect the Panel’s integrity. Brazil cautioned against private resources and said that, while some philanthropic organizations can be helpful for some activities, the core budget should be driven only by the Panel.

Mali suggested looking into financing through the UNFCCC, including through the Green Climate Fund, to support the work of the IPCC.

Noting that the IPCC had always managed to deliver, Saudi Arabia expressed confidence that they would again do so, but underscored the need to plan properly.

On Wednesday, FiTT Co-Chair Helen Plume reported on their deliberations and presented the revised document (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.6). The Panel adopted the draft decision with minor revisions.

Outcome: In its decision, the IPCC, based on the recommendations of the FiTT:

  • approved various line-item modifications in the revised 2016 budget proposal;
  • noted the revised proposed budget for 2017, with modifications as compared to the budget noted at IPCC-42;
  • noted the indicative budgets for 2018 and 2019, as proposed in Annex 6 and Annex 7;
  • expressed its gratitude to the WMO and UNEP for their contributions to the IPCC Trust Fund and for financing one Secretariat position each, and to the WMO for hosting the Secretariat, and thanked the UNFCCC for its contribution to the IPCC Trust Fund; and
  • expressed its gratitude to governments, including those from developing countries, for their generous contributions to the IPCC Trust Fund, with special thanks to governments that support the TSUs and a number of IPCC activities, including data centers, meetings and outreach activities.

The Panel also: noted with concern the decline in the number of contributors and the level of contributions to the IPCC Trust Fund; requested the Chair and Secretariat, with the support of the IPCC Vice-Chairs, to embark on a resource mobilization campaign in an attempt to reverse this downward trend; requested the Chair and Secretariat to write a letter to all members, addressed to the highest levels in the various capitals, to be signed by the WMO Secretary-General and the UNEP Executive Director; and requested the Secretariat to report back to IPCC-44 on the outcome of the resource mobilization efforts.

In addition, the Panel requested that countries maintain their generous contributions in 2016 and invited governments, who are in a position to do so, to increase their level of contributions to the IPCC Trust Fund or to make a contribution in case they have not yet done so.

ADMISSION OF OBSERVER ORGANIZATIONS

On Monday, Acting IPCC Secretary Sivakumar presented this item (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.4), noting the Secretariat had received four new requests since IPCC-42, including three organizations already accredited as observers with the UNFCCC and UNEP: Economic Cooperation Organization; Yale University, US; and University College London, UK. The fourth, Future Earth International, submitted the additional required documentation of an organization not already accredited under the UNFCCC, UNEP or WMO. Acting IPCC Secretary Sivakumar stated that the Secretariat and, subsequently, the Bureau at its 50th session recommended acceptance of all four applicants. The Secretariat suggested the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Hsinchu, reapply for observer status, since it came to the Secretariat’s attention that it was accredited under the UNFCCC under a different name.

The US requested additional time for consideration before concluding this agenda item to “check that the facts were as presented.” The Panel did not return to this item.

REPORTS

COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES: On Tuesday, Jonathan Lynn, IPCC Secretariat, presented this report (IPCC-XLIII/INF.5), noting the ambitious communication activities undertaken in the run-up to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC. He called for continued generous support to maintain intensive outreach and underscored the high profile of the IPCC at UNFCCC COP 21. He highlighted the very useful Expert Meeting on Communication, saying that the recommendations of the meeting will be taken up in the coming months. The Panel took note of the report.

STATUS WITH RESPECT TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TSUs: On Tuesday, WGI Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte reported progress on establishing their TSU, acknowledging support from the French Government. She said its budget will ramp up to €1.3 million per year and will be hosted by the University of Paris-Saclay.

WGII Co-Chair Hans-Otto Pörtner noted that budget negotiations are nearly finalized for their TSU, saying it will be hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, in Potsdam, Germany, with operations also taking place in South Africa.

WGIII Co-Chair Jim Skea noted their TSU would be hosted by the Center for Environmental Policy, Imperial College, London, and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He said contracting has been slower than ideal but was necessary due to budgetary cycles in the UK.

TFI Co-Chair Kiyoto Tanabe said the current TSU will continue, based at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), in Kanagawa, Japan.

Saudi Arabia highlighted the importance of making sure that developing countries are represented in the TSUs, in particular to ensure that regional issues are represented in the report. 

TGICA: Expert Meeting: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the report of the Expert Meeting on TGICA (IPCC-XLIII/INF.10 Rev.1), which took place from 26-27 January 2016, in Geneva, Switzerland. He highlighted that the meeting developed a set of key points and recommendations on the future role of the TGICA in relation to the needs of the IPCC. He noted that most participants recommended the continuation of the TGICA and the IPCC Data Distribution Centre (DDC).

The Panel took note of the report.

TFI: 27th TFI Meeting: On Tuesday, TFI Co-Chair Tanabe introduced the report of the meeting (IPCC-XLIII/INF.11), which took place from 16-18 November 2015, in Hayama, Japan. He said the meeting familiarized newly elected members with the TFI and discussed future activities. He noted the meeting included discussions on IPCC Inventory Software and the IPCC Inventory Guidelines. He recalled the meeting’s recommendation that the production of the proposed new methodology report in the Strategic Plan should not be a revision but rather a refinement of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines.

The Panel took note of the report.

13th Editorial Board Meeting for the IPCC Emission Factor Database (EFDB): On Tuesday, TFI Co-Chair Eduardo Calvo Buendía introduced the report of the meeting (IPCC-XLIII/INF.13), which took place from 18-20 November 2015, in Hayama, Japan. He said the meeting evaluated new and outstanding data proposals, and discussed how to improve the EFDB. He noted the acceptance of 367 data on emission factors out of 613 new and outstanding data, submitted by experts, collected by the TSUs and data provided by participants, for inclusion in the database as an outcome of the meeting.

The Panel took note of the report.

Expert Meeting to Collect EFDB and Software Users’ Feedback: On Tuesday, TFI Co-Chair Buendía presented the report of the meeting (IPCC-XLIII/INF.12), which took place from 25-28 November 2015, in Kobe, Japan. He noted that the meeting aimed to help inventory compilers use the 2006 IPCC Guidelines and the IPCC Inventory Software. The US encouraged the TFB to work constructively with the UNFCCC on capacity building in order to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. TFI Co-Chair Buendía assured that the TFI already has an agreement with the UNFCCC to support capacity building.

The Panel took note of the report.

EXPERT MEETING ON COMMUNICATION: On Tuesday, Jonathan Lynn, IPCC Secretariat, presented the report of this meeting (IPCC-XLIII/INF.6), which took place from 9-10 February 2016, in Oslo, Norway. He noted that discussions addressed lessons learned from communication and outreach during the AR5 cycle and provided recommendations for AR6.

Switzerland asked for clarification on the meaning of the term “stakeholder.” IPCC Deputy Secretary Carlos Martin-Novella clarified that “stakeholder” is used in relation to outreach rather than to internal constituencies and underscored that the term “stakeholder” is referenced in the IPCC communication strategy.

The Panel took note of the report.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

REVIEW OF THE IPCC COI POLICY: This item (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.3) was first considered on Tuesday. Following discussions, the Secretariat introduced a revised document (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.3) for consideration by the Panel.

IPCC COI Committee Chair Youba Sokona reported that the COI Policy had been operational and working quite well for three years. However, he said consistent concerns with the small amount of information provided in disclosure forms posed challenges in the COI Committee’s evaluation of potential conflicts of interest and led to the recommendation for the establishment of a sub-committee with the mandate to: revise the COI disclosure form; consider expanding a rule so that a curriculum vitae (CV) accompany all COI disclosure form submissions; consider the pros and cons of downsizing or changing the composition of the COI Committee; consider the advantages and disadvantages of retaining or changing the role and involvement in the COI process of the Expert Advisory Group for Advice on COI Issues (EAG); and consider the need for and/or desirability of retaining or changing the COI processes of the WGs.

During discussions, the US, Switzerland, Germany, the UK and Mali supported establishing the sub-committee. The US asked for clarification about expanding the solicitation of CVs and the need for CHF30,000 in the budget for advisory services. Mali requested an assessment to evaluate the performance of the COI Policy thus far. COI Committee Chair Sokona indicated the Committee would take up all these suggestions.

Saudi Arabia also supported a sub-committee, but requested further work on the points in the mandate regarding CV requests and the composition of the Committee before taking the decision, and suggested the Bureau further elaborate on these points at its next session.

On Wednesday IPCC COI Committee Chair Sokona clarified the recommendations (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.3). Saudi Arabia requested deleting the two recommendations on the role of the EAG and the need/desirability of retaining or changing the COI processes of the WGs. The US recommended that the term “downsizing” be replaced with “evaluating changing the composition of the Committee” to avoid prejudging the outcome.

Following further revision, the Panel adopted the document as revised.

Outcome: The document provides an overview of implementation and an evaluation of the functioning of the AR6 COI Committee to date. The document recommends the establishment of a sub-committee with the mandate to review the COI Policy and its implementation arrangements, and propose solutions for identified problems and concerns, for consideration and decision at IPCC-44.

The mandate of the sub-committee includes:

  • revision of the COI disclosure form in order to solicit and ensure the provision of complete and relevant information;
  • consideration of the usefulness of expanding the scope of IPCC rules to request that the COI disclosure form submission is accompanied by a CV; and
  • consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of changing the composition of the COI Committee, or any other measures to ensure continuous full and effective participation in its work and meetings.

SIZE, COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE OF A FUTURE IPCC BUREAU: This item (IPCC-XLIII/INF.14) was considered on Tuesday. IPCC Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella noted IPCC-41 had agreed to initiate a review at IPCC-43 of the approaches and criteria that would be used to determine the size, structure and composition of a future Bureau. He suggested the Panel request the Secretariat to further analyze the information included in the document and submit proposals to the Panel. Noting that one of the rules of the IPCC is to review its rules every five years, he suggested the proposals be submitted to the Panel in conjunction with this review, which must be completed before 2018. The Panel agreed to this recommendation.

MATTERS RELATED TO THE UNFCCC AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL BODIES

FOLLOW-UP TO UNFCCC COP 21: This item (IPCC-XLIII/INF.4) was considered on Tuesday. IPCC Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella noted several UNFCCC COP 21, the 11th session of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the 43rd session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice decisions mentioned the IPCC explicitly and implicitly, and explained the Secretariat had extracted the relevant provisions and grouped them by the IPCC programme of work and products. He said the IPCC Bureau recommended that the Panel take into account these UNFCCC outcomes in planning the AR6 cycle.

The Global Observing System of Climate (GCOS) announced that following its report on the current state of the climate observation system, including on adaptation and ways to support the UNFCCC, the organization is currently developing an implementation plan that will be open for public review in June and July 2016 and will be submitted at COP 22. He encouraged all parties to contribute to this work.

The Panel agreed to the Bureau’s recommendation.

SIXTH ASSESSMENT REPORT (AR6)

SPECIAL REPORTS: This item (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.8, INF.7, INF.8 and Add.1, INF.9 and INF.19) was first discussed in plenary on Monday. Following further discussion on Tuesday, a contact group, co-chaired by IPCC Vice-Chairs Ko Barrett and Youba Sokona, was formed. The contact group met on Tuesday afternoon and evening, and Wednesday throughout the day, presenting a draft decision text (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.4) to the plenary on Wednesday afternoon.

In introducing the item, IPCC Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella explained that the 31 SR theme proposals received had been organized into nine clusters. He reported that the WG Co-Chairs recommended the Panel: accept the invitation from the UNFCCC COP to produce the 1.5°C SR; agree on one or more additional SRs from among clusters A (land use), B (oceans and cryosphere), F (emissions pathways, including the 1.5°C proposal) and I (cities); request the WGs to consider the submitted themes during the AR6 scoping exercise; and consider options for enhancing regional aspects in AR6.

The discussions on SRs centered on: how many SRs could feasibly be prepared in the AR6 cycle; the choice of theme; and how to treat regional aspects.

Number of SRs: The number of reports was, in the end, largely driven by the exchange of views on the themes and clusters. However, time, financial and human resource constraints were widely acknowledged and discussed at length.

Presenting a possible timeline for incorporating two SRs, Deputy IPCC Secretary Martin-Novella indicated completing two SRs would be feasible, while completing three would require significant overlap with other activities. WGIII Co-Chair Skea said having three reports was “not necessarily impossible,” under certain conditions: there be no separate regional volume; there be a detailed timeline; and the WGs count on staff and TSU support from other organizations.

WGIII Co-Chair Skea and several delegates also expressed concern that a heavy SR workload could result in a compressed and inadequate version of AR6 or risk the quality and depth SRs are intended to deliver. Doubtful that three SRs could be realistically completed in this cycle, several delegates noted that while two SRs had been published during AR5, the scoping for the first had been completed prior to the beginning of the cycle.

In terms of human capacity resources, WGI Co-Chair Masson-Delmotte and WGII Co-Chair Pörtner indicated it would be quite challenging to undertake a third report, given significant anticipated overlap in authors. Supporting three reports, some countries pointed to the number of young and developing-country authors eager to participate in the IPCC process.

On financial resources, Chile commented that “money can always be found.” Noting the SR topics had prompted offers of financing, South Africa cautioned that those funds might not be forthcoming if the Panel opted to integrate those topics into AR6, rather than produce SRs.

Delegates remained split on whether to produce two or three reports until the themes were decided.

Proposed SR Themes: The 1.5°C SR was met with broad consensus and strong contingents advocated for each of the other three clusters (land use, oceans and cryosphere, and cities).

WGI Co-Chair Masson-Delmotte pointed to WGI’s strong interest in the 1.5°C SR, as well as addressing regional aspects, possibly in a separate report.

WGII Co-Chair Pörtner spoke in favor of WGII addressing oceans and highlighted recent impacts like the largest-ever coral bleaching event. WGII Co-Chair Debra Roberts advocated for the cities topic, given its cross-disciplinary nature and current trends in urbanization and cities’ emissions.

New Zealand, supported by many, cautioned that the broad themes proposed in some cases risked diluting the value of an SR, which allows in-depth examination. On themes not chosen for SRs, delegates and IPCC Chair Lee underlined that they would be thoroughly addressed in AR6.

On the emissions pathways cluster, including the 1.5°C SR, there was overall strong support for prioritizing the request by UNFCCC COP 21. Saint Lucia, with Saint Kitts and Nevis, expressed concern about combining the other SR proposals on emissions pathways with the 1.5°C SR, saying it would be broader than the COP’s specific request.

Saudi Arabia called for any decision to undertake a 1.5°C SR to include explicit reference to sustainable development, poverty eradication and Article 2 (objective) of the Paris Agreement.

Saint Lucia, Norway, Germany, the UK, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Spain, the US, New Zealand, Japan, France, Solomon Islands, Hungary, Chile, the EU and others opposed Saudi Arabia’s suggestions, and urged keeping the language simple and leaving the content to the scoping process. Brazil expressed surprise at the resistance to referring to sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

The US, Norway and Canada stressed that the IPCC historically operates differently than the UNFCCC negotiations and should remain a collegial body focused on overcoming problems and finding solutions.

Saudi Arabia agreed to compromise language stating that the Panel accepts the UNFCCC request “in the context of the Paris Agreement” and decides to prepare an SR on this topic “in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.” The members then agreed to undertake the 1.5°C report.

On the land use cluster, Australia, Japan, Austria, Senegal, Chad, Canada, Singapore, Iran, Indonesia, Norway, Russian Federation and Venezuela, among others, supported an SR in this area. Hungary, Luxembourg and Mauritius also voiced support for this option if a third SR were possible.

The precise wording on a land use SR was widely discussed. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and Brazil emphasized a particular focus on desertification and land degradation. The Solomon Islands suggested the SR also treat peatland degradation and fires, and Switzerland supported examining mountains. Norway, the UK, Hungary, Chile, Austria and others, opposed by Brazil, called for referencing forests. The Russian Federation proposed reference to land management systems and, with Saudi Arabia, negative emissions.

A drafting group, facilitated by New Zealand and Venezuela, refined the focus of the cluster on land use to be “climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management and food security.” With the addition of “and GHG fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems,” delegates supported undertaking this SR.

On the oceans and cryosphere cluster, many expressed interest in this topic. Monaco voiced strong support, offering funding. France called for the oceans SR to include aspects like coastal towns, infrastructure, sea-level rise and food security. Members decided on the title “climate change and oceans and the cryosphere” and supported undertaking this SR.

On cities, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Hungary, Pakistan, Denmark and others expressed interest in an SR in this area. Norway noted that such a report would be an innovative endeavor for the IPCC, with the potential to reach new audiences and stakeholders. The UK added that the topic merited the crosscutting treatment an SR affords.

Cognizant of continued support for all the topics and the need to limit SRs to no more than three, the US, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Maldives, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Luxembourg, Indonesia, Mexico, the EU, Germany and Venezuela supported undertaking the land use and oceans and cryosphere SRs during AR6 cycle, emphasizing cities in AR6, and flagging an SR on cities for the AR7 cycle. South Africa said they could support this compromise, but requested specifically stating in the decision that an SR on cities would be prepared as part of AR7. Saint Lucia suggested having a major conference on cities and climate change to spur generation of relevant literature before AR7. South Africa’s and Saint Lucia’s proposals, in addition to better integrating cities into AR6, proved agreeable.

On options for addressing regional aspects in AR6, after brief discussion delegates agreed that regional aspects would play a larger role in AR6, but would not be designated as an SR. Further discussions on this issue are summarized below under strategic planning.

Based on the understandings reached in the contact group (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.4), the Panel adopted the decision after amendment.

Following adoption, Brazil offered to host the development of the 1.5°C SR with a view to enhancing the participation of developing country members. Germany, France, Saint Lucia, the UK, Norway and the US indicated this proposal would require careful consideration, highlighting that the development of SRs rests with the WGs.

Belgium, supported by Luxembourg, Chile, Sudan, Maldives, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Norway, suggested the Bureau consider ways to fix the appropriate size of the different IPCC products, including SRs, noting length “inflation” over time.

Outcome: In its decision, the Panel decided:

  • all of the topics contained in the SR proposals contained in IPCC-XLIII/Doc.8 are important and should be addressed in the AR6 suite of products;
  • in the context of the Paris Agreement, to accept the invitation from the UNFCCC to provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global GHG emission pathways, and decides to prepare an SR on this topic in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty;
  • to prepare an SR on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and GHG fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. The scoping process may consider challenges and opportunities for both adaptation and mitigation;
  • to prepare an SR on climate change and oceans and the cryosphere;
  • to recommend, within the AR6 scoping processes, a stronger integration of the assessment on the impacts of climate change on cities and their unique adaptation and mitigation opportunities, and make more robust the consideration of cities in the treatment of regional issues and in chapters that are focused on human settlements, urban areas and the like, including through the enhanced engagement of urban practitioners;
  • the AR7 cycle will include an SR on climate change and cities;
  • to consider working with academia, urban practitioners, and relevant scientific bodies and agencies, to organize an international scientific conference on climate change and cities early in the AR6 cycle, in order to stimulate scientific reports and peer reviewed publications on this subject; and
  • to consider modalities for addressing and enhancing the treatment of regional issues in the scoping process for AR6.

STRATEGIC PLANNING: This item, including AR6 – Strategic Planning and AR6 – Information Document (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.9 and INF.19), which outline key strategic considerations for the AR6 timeline and considerations for the preparations of AR7, was first considered on Monday. Following discussions, the Panel agreed the Secretariat would draw up draft decision text based on emerging consensus. The Secretariat presented a revised draft decision (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.5) for consideration by the Panel on Wednesday.

Discussions on strategic planning focused on considerations outlined by IPCC Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella, including: whether to produce one, two or more SRs during the AR6 assessment cycle; whether a methodology report should be produced during the AR6 assessment cycle; whether regional assessments should be integrated within the main products of the AR6, or should be included in an additional stand-alone volume, or both; the overall length of the AR6 assessment cycle and whether an extension of the deadline for considering the SYR would be appropriate in order to allow six-month gaps between the consideration of the contributions of WGI, WGII, WGIII and the SYR; and to authorize reducing the expert reviews, government reviews and government/expert reviews to six weeks, where necessary. He also asked the Panel to give preliminary consideration to the options for the preparations of AR7. Discussions related to the SRs are addressed under the agenda sub-item on SRs above.

In response to the strategic planning document presented by IPCC Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella, WGI Co-Chairs Masson-Delmotte and Panmao Zhai, WGII Co-Chairs Pörtner and Roberts, and WGIII Co-Chairs Priyadarshi Shukla and Skea, presented the results of consultations among the WG Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs on the areas for consideration.

IPCC Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella noted that decisions would have to be taken to either extend the AR6 cycle beyond 2022 or adjust the length of time for review of the outputs by governments, among other issues.

On whether to integrate regional assessments within the main products of AR6 or as an additional stand-alone volume, or both, WGII Co-Chair Pörtner outlined the WG Co-Chairs’ proposals, noting the need to address the enhancement of regional aspects in AR6, proposing it be treated as a crosscutting issue and presented as a fourth volume of the report dedicated to regional issues.

Many delegates welcomed the WG Co-Chairs’ proposal to have regional aspects covered in a dedicated fourth volume, prepared jointly by the WGs, on par with the three WG reports, while stressing the importance of ensuring the best integrated treatment of regional aspects and the need for further consideration. Madagascar, Russian Federation, Brazil and Venezuela preferred not having a stand-alone volume on regional aspects.

On extension of the AR6 cycle, consensus emerged on extending it, but not beyond 2022. Canada, supported by many, called for moving the AR6 scoping process forward and for it to take place as soon as possible to give further time for scientists to work on substantive aspects of the report. She proposed, and delegates agreed, to integrate scoping across WGs to ensure that experts are used most efficiently and in the areas they are best able to contribute.

The US, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Cuba, China and others opposed reducing expert and government review periods from eight weeks to six weeks in the AR6 cycle. On the alignment of the IPCC assessment cycle with the UNFCCC process, particularly the global stocktakes in 2023 and every five years thereafter, broad support emerged for alignment. The US and Norway supported early AR7 elections before the end of the AR6 cycle. Norway called for electing the IPCC Chair even earlier and separate from Bureau elections.

On Wednesday, IPCC Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella presented the revised draft decision, which addressed timelines for the SRs, the methodology report on GHG inventories, AR6 and the SYR.

Norway, the UK and Hungary requested preparation of a revised detailed timetable reflecting how all three SRs and AR6 fit together.

The US proposed moving IPCC-44 forward from December to October to allow preparation of the 1.5°C SR to commence as soon as possible.

Saudi Arabia proposed specifying that the outline of the SR on land use be considered at IPCC-45.

Canada expressed concern that the draft decision did not capture much of the consensus that emerged around the alignment of the IPCC assessment cycle with the UNFCCC process, not reducing government and expert review periods, and the 1.5°C SR. The US proposed the Secretariat prepare a revised version of the text. Due to time constraints, the Panel agreed to adopt the decision as orally amended, and the IPCC Secretariat is expected to undertake those revisions at a later date.

Outcome:In the decision, as orally amended, the IPCC decided to:

  • consider the outline of the 1.5°C SR at IPCC-44 in October 2016, and the draft SR on this topic will be considered by the Panel for approval at IPCC-48;
  • consider the outline of the SR on land use at IPCC-45;
  • consider the draft SR on land use as early as possible during the AR6 cycle;
  • consider the draft SR on oceans and cryosphere as early as possible during the AR6 cycle;
  • consider the outline of the Methodology Report on GHG Inventories at IPCC-44 in October 2016;
  • consider the draft Methodology Report on GHG Inventories at the Plenary session of the Panel at IPCC-49;
  • consider the outline of AR6 at a Plenary session of the Panel at IPCC-46;
  • consider the approval of the SYR of AR6 as soon as possible in 2022;
  • request the Secretariat to prepare proposals for aligning the work of the IPCC during AR7 with the needs of the global stocktake foreseen under the Paris Agreement and to submit these proposals for consideration at a Plenary session of the Panel no later than 2018; and
  • request the WG Co-Chairs to produce, as soon as possible, an indicative timetable for the three SRs and AR6, which is meant to be informative rather than prescriptive.

The exact revisions of the decision, in particular language related to the outline of the SR on land-use and the request for an indicative timetable, will be issued by the IPCC Secretariat.

UPDATE OF METHODOLOGIES ON NATIONAL GHG INVENTORIES

This item (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.6, Corr.1) was considered on Monday.

TFI Co-Chair Tanabe reported that the TFB at its 26th meeting had concluded, based on the findings of a survey and two expert meetings, that the 2006 IPCC Guidelines continue to provide a sound technical basis and do not warrant a fundamental revision. However, he said certain refinements to update and fill gaps are necessary to maintain their scientific validity, taking into account abundant new scientific and empirical knowledge.

Underlining that refinement is needed as early as possible for parties’ use under the Paris Agreement and that only a methodology report can have the same legal basis as the 2006 IPCC Guidelines, he said the TFB recommended one or more methodology reports to: provide supplementary methodologies for sources and sinks of GHGs; update default values for emission factors and other parameters; and provide clarifications of/or elaboration on the 2006 IPCC Guidelines. He proposed holding a scoping meeting for the methodology report, followed by a decision at IPCC-44 on the report.

Japan, the UK, Argentina and Germany, opposed by Norway, supported producing a single methodology report instead of a series. Responding to Germany, IPCC Chair Lee confirmed the decision on the number of reports would be made after the scoping meeting. The Panel adopted the report as presented.

FUTURE OF THE TGICA

This item (IPCC-XLIII/INF.10 and Corr.1, INFs 15-17, and INF.18 and Add.1) was considered on Tuesday.

TGICA Co-Chair Timothy Carter outlined key messages from the Expert Meeting on the Future of the TGICA, including consensus on: continuing the TGICA and DDC; prioritizing the internal needs of the IPCC; acknowledging growing external information needs on issues related to climate change; and enhancing resources for the TGICA and the DDC.

TGICA Co-Chair Carter also presented the options for discussion and decision, inter alia: approving an addendum or revision of the TGICA mandate; appointing TGICA Co-Chairs and selecting members, including replacement procedures; enhancing resourcing for the TGICA; and enhancing resources for the DDC, including CMIP6 data, a data registry and regional data such as the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment. He said that the current mandate is sufficient to undertake all current activities but that an addendum to the mandate prioritizing activities according to need and resources required would be useful.

During discussions, Finland noted the possible need for new types of data approaches, particularly in light of regional reports. She said the current mandate may be fine as long as there is prioritization to go with it, noting that the core issue is availability of resources.

Australia stressed that management and curation of data is one of the most important tasks of the IPCC. Canada supported maintaining or enhancing DDC work over other TGICA activities.

Germany stressed that the additional resources necessary to fulfill the TGICA mandate are not available. With the UK and France, he called for prioritizing the work of the DDC, not expanding the TGICA mandate, and using the WG TSUs to coordinate the DDC.

The US underscored that as there was no in-kind support for the TGICA in TSUs for the AR6 cycle and no expected budget, it was difficult to see how the TGICA can continue to exist. He called for a mapping exercise to identify activities of outside organizations that undertake data curation.

TGICA Co-Chair Bruce Hewitson clarified that the WG Co-Chairs were reluctant to oversee the DDC as they feel their TSUs are already overburdened. On having external organizations pick up TGICA functions, he said that a number of these organizations lack the independence and objectivity of the IPCC. The US noted this, underscoring that continuity of oversight is important and that independence and objectivity should be retained, however, an assessment of external organizations’ work in this field is also necessary.

IPCC Chair Lee summarized that resources should prioritize work of the DDC and that oversight of the DDC could possibly be better handled by WG TSUs.

Following discussions, the Panel agreed that the TGICA Co-Chairs and the Secretariat would revise the TGICA vision document and draft decision text for review by the Bureau and subsequent consideration by the Panel.

COMMUNICATIONS FOR AR6

This item (IPCC-XLIII/INF.6 and Doc.5) was first introduced in plenary on Tuesday. Following discussions, the Secretariat revised the draft decision (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.2) and presented it for consideration on Wednesday. 

Jonathan Lynn, IPCC Secretariat, noted the outcomes of the Expert Meeting on Communication, which produced a number of recommendations, including revising the communication strategy. He proposed that the Secretariat undertake this work and report back at IPCC-44. He noted the need to engage policymakers and stakeholders during the scoping process to get their expertise and understand what they want from an IPCC report in order to make it policy-relevant.

Discussions focused on: general issues relating to communication; whether and when to hold an additional Expert Meeting on communication; engagement of communications and data visualization experts to contribute to AR6 products; engaging stakeholders in AR6 scoping, including through a pre-scoping meeting; and selection of authors based on communication skills.

During discussions, members agreed on the importance of communication, but many expressed concern about the availability of funds to undertake some of the activities. Switzerland called for elaborating a clear vision containing guiding principles, rather than a decision focusing on very specific elements.

Germany opposed an additional Expert Meeting, preferring that communications specialists attend early lead author meetings. WGIII Co-Chair Skea said the proposed timing in 2016 is much too early, stressing, with the UK, that it should take place in 2018 so that author teams can participate. Norway said it should not be earlier than 2017, noting that lead author meetings are split by WG and so holding the Expert Meeting in conjunction with them would be complicated.

Germany suggested that engagement of communications and data visualization experts should be focused on the SPM.

On a pre-scoping meeting, WGI Co-Chair Masson-Delmotte expressed concern that it could delay scoping. The US opposed a pre-scoping meeting.

Belgium called for scoping meetings that include policymakers and stakeholders as soon as possible.

On selecting authors based on communication skills, WGI Co-Chair Masson-Delmotte said author teams should be selected based on expertise and regional representation rather than communication skills, calling for training authors in communication. Norway said communication skills could be considered as one factor in author selection.

On Wednesday, Lynn introduced the revised Communication Strategy (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.2), noting it offers much less prescriptive language and, inter alia, that communications would be one aspect for consideration in the selection of authors, but not a requirement.

The document, including the decision, was adopted with minor amendments.

Outcome: In its decision, the Panel decided to, inter alia:

  • Request the respective WG Bureau, or in the case of the SYR, the IPCC Chair, in preparing a scoping meeting: to engage with governments and a wide range of stakeholders in the scoping process, to seek greater input from stakeholder groups in the scoping process, and identify, with the help of governments and observer organizations, audiences and stakeholders who can provide input; to consider different options to enable stakeholders to contribute to the scoping process, for instance through a call for submissions or other pre-scoping contacts; and to invite the Bureau to clarify the scoping process for AR6 and suggest a possible process for consideration at IPCC-44;
  • request the respective WG Co-Chairs, or in the case of the SYR, the IPCC Chair, in preparing the SPM: to start the SPM with a highly accessible Executive Summary or storyline, focusing on the most policy-relevant messages, and include headline statements; and to consult on the length, structure and content with stakeholders during the scoping process;
  • encourage the WG Bureaus or in the case of the SYR, the IPCC Chair: to involve appropriate communications specialists from a range of disciplines in the writing process from the outset of the development of the report, in particular for the SPM and any Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs); to offer training and good practice guidance on science writing to authors early in the writing process, for instance at lead author meetings, and, where appropriate, drawing on specialists available in other WGs or the Secretariat, subject to the availability of funds; to take communications skills into consideration in selecting author teams, subject to the availability of funds; to consider setting up a team of communications specialists such as science writers, graphic designers or data visualists in the work of the TSUs in order to contribute to the clarity and readability of the SPM, any FAQs, and in other ways to the accessibility of the report, subject to the availability of funds;
  • request the Secretary to organize an Expert Meeting on the science of communicating climate change, to be held once authors have been selected for AR6 at a time and place that would most effectively and efficiently bring together such authors, which will bring together researchers from communications science and IPCC authors to better understand communications science and potential impacts of IPCC messages, paying special attention to questions of communicating risk and uncertainty; and
  • request the Secretary, in consultation with the Communications Action Team, to update the Communications Strategy and its Implementation Plan in light of the experience of communication and outreach around AR5 and the recommendations of the Expert Meeting on Communication, and submit these proposals to IPCC-44.

IPCC LIBRARY FACILITY

This item (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.13) was first introduced on Tuesday. IPCC Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella noted the offer by UNEP to establish and manage a system to provide free access to published materials to authors. He outlined this would involve a one-off cost of approximately US$107,000.

In response to questions, UNEP stressed that the programme would not involve recurring costs. She noted that UNEP is already curating access to published material for their other processes, such as the Global Environment Outlook, and that, as such, they have already begun conversations with major publishers and as a result provide free access to 240,000 journals.

The US noted that this is a critically important service. He asked whether this could leverage other opportunities such as those under the UNFCCC that are establishing platforms for access by developing country scholars to published materials.

UNEP clarified that the budget is a one-off cost to establish workflows and platforms, and noted that additional funds may be required to make certain articles from important professional associations available publicly. UNEP said that a small number of journals, particularly those run by professional organizations, may incur limited annual costs.

WGI Co-Chair Masson-Delmotte requested that material be made available as soon as possible and in time for preparation of the first SR.

WGII Vice-Chair Taha Zatari stressed that this is a good opportunity and should expand access to grey and non-English language literature. UNEP highlighted that they have an existing platform that allows for inclusion of non-English language literature. TFI Co-Chair Buendía requested that the very technical literature used by the TFI be included in the Library by UNEP.

The Panel invited UNEP to establish the IPCC Library Facility and authorized the associated expenditure.

IPCC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME

This item (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.7) was considered on Tuesday. Acting IPCC Secretary Sivakumar explained that the Scholarship Programme’s third round (2015-2017) had granted ten students awards, as well as extended two awards from the second round. Science Board Chair Ko Barrett explained that the Science Board of the IPCC Scholarship Programme is reviewing the Programme and the past practices of the Programme’s Trust Fund and will be making recommendations to the Panel in the near future.

In response to Belgium, IPCC Chair Lee explained the review would result in recommendations on the Programme’s Board of Trustees at IPCC-44. The Panel took note of the document and the oral report of the Science Board, thanked the Trustees for their contribution to the Scholarship Programme and released them from any further obligations or liabilities.

DECISION PATHWAY FOR CONSIDERATION OF REQUESTS FOR ACCESS TO INFORMATION OR MEETINGS

This item (IPCC-XLIII/Doc.11) was first introduced on Tuesday. The Secretariat presented a revised version of the Decision Pathway (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.1) on Wednesday for consideration by the Panel.

IPCC Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella highlighted two different scenarios in which researchers are: requesting access to publications or information; or requesting access to meetings. On requests for access to information, he underlined that almost all of the relevant information is already publicly available. He noted a very limited number of exceptions, such as draft reports remaining confidential and the rare instance that UN guidance on information that could “jeopardize international relations” would apply.

On requests for access to meetings, he explained that in the suggested procedural approach the decision on whether to grant access would be made by the body (e.g. Panel, WGs, etc.) to which access is being requested. The US, initially opposed by Saudi Arabia, said the decision-making authority should rest with the ExComm. In a compromise, Saudi Arabia suggested the decision could rest with the Bureau, which was accepted by the Panel.

During discussion, the US, with Canada, urged applying the policy only to academic researchers, adding that if other types of requests are received, revision of the policy could be considered at that time. Switzerland noted the broad range of stakeholders beyond academics that are interested in the process, suggested considering how to protect the personal reputations of those involved in the process, and raised the potential need for an appeals process.

On Wednesday, Deputy Secretary Martin-Novella presented the revised version of the document (IPCC-XLIII/CRP.1), noting that the new document includes explicit reference to “researchers” and, inter alia, makes the requirements and process for application more explicit.

The Panel adopted the document.

Outcome:The Panel agreed to the Decision Pathway for Consideration of Requests from Researchers for Access to Information or Meetings. The Decision Pathway includes modalities for requesting access to IPCC non-public material and to IPCC meetings. The Pathway outlines documentation to be presented in the request, researcher requirements related to meeting participation, publication and privacy, and the procedure for consideration, approval and termination of proposals.

OTHER MATTERS

Acting IPCC Secretary Sivakumar read a statement from WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas on the appointment of a new IPCC Secretary. He announced that the post has been offered to and accepted by Abdallah Mokssit (Morocco), and expects this appointment will be finalized shortly. Many delegates congratulated Mokssit on his appointment.

Switzerland, supported by the Russian Federation, proposed the development of an overarching internet communications technology strategy. France suggested this be considered first by the Bureau.

PLACE AND DATE FOR IPCC-44

The Panel agreed that IPCC-44 will be held in the second half of October, in Geneva, Switzerland, or Vienna, Austria, pending availability of conference facilities.

CLOSING OF THE SESSION

IPCC Chair Lee welcomed the outcomes of the meeting, including the acceptance of the request by the UNFCCC to produce an SR on 1.5°C, and production of two other SRs on very important issues. He highlighted the good decisions on communications and budget, and noted constructive conversations on TGICA. 

IPCC-43 was gaveled to a close at 6:05 pm on Wednesday, 13 April. 

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF IPCC-43

THE IPCC AFTER THE PARIS AGREEMENT

Barely four months after the Paris Agreement was adopted, and with a whole new Bureau only six months into its job, the IPCC reconvened in Nairobi, Kenya, for its 43rd session. This was the first meeting of the Panel’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) cycle, which is expected to be completed in 2022.

This would normally have been a rather straightforward meeting focused on moving ahead with the scoping process for the assessment report. But with the Paris Agreement, the agenda suddenly got much longer and more pressing. The document prepared by the IPCC Secretariat covering decisions at Paris where the IPCC is explicitly mentioned and/or that may have implicit relevance to and potential consequences for the work of the IPCC and the timeframe of its products ran to six pages.

In addition to considering the UNFCCC’s requests, the IPCC had its own plans, including seriously improving and enhancing the treatment of regional aspects in AR6, and refining some of the methodological guidance that countries depend on to prepare their GHG Inventories and report to the UNFCCC.

In Nairobi, there was no doubt about the need to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, or hesitation about the importance of improving upon the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and IPCC products. But there was also no doubt that to do everything, in good time, and following IPCC processes and procedures, without compromising the IPCC’s credibility, could be challenging.

This brief analysis puts IPCC-43 and the decisions taken at the meeting in context, focusing primarily on the IPCC’s responses to and alignment with the UNFCCC and the challenges ahead.

RESPONDING TO THE UNFCCC: SPECIAL REPORTS

One of the key outcomes of the Paris Agreement was the goal to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.

In light of this outcome, the UNFCCC COP explicitly invited the IPCC “to provide a Special Report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.”

Few doubted that the IPCC would respond positively to the request by the COP, since it is the same member states that comprise the two processes—or as was said at the meeting, “They are Us.” But for the same reason, there was also concern that attempts would be made to restart negotiating the decision. While the Panel managed to avoid that at this stage, which merely required accepting the invitation to undertake the SR, the scoping meeting expected to take place in September 2016, when the focus of the report and its contents are to be decided, will be more complicated. And while nobody denies the difficulty of keeping to the 2°C goal, let alone a 1.5°C goal (deemed so difficult that the scientific literature is rather scarce), for many small island developing states and low-lying countries, it is critical that the impacts of a 1.5°C warmer world become clearer and the advantages of staying below the threshold more evident.

Besides the SR on 1.5°C, the Panel had to consider 30 other proposals for SRs, which had been clustered thematically, four of which had been identified as priority themes: land use; oceans and cryosphere; cities; and emissions pathways, including the 1.5°C UNFCCC proposal. Given the importance of each theme and the impossibility of doing them all, the first decision of the Panel was how many SRs to prepare. As summarized by IPCC Vice-Chair Ko Barrett, participants were split in thinking that “a total of more than two would be challenging, but less than three would show lack of ambition.”

Eventually, the Panel decided to go for ambition and undertake two additional SRs in this cycle: on land use, and on oceans and the cryosphere. On the latter, it is worth noting that the word “ocean” only receives one minor mention—in the preamble—in the Paris Agreement, which points to a serious oversight of oceans in the perception of climate change by policymakers, in spite of their critical role in all aspects of climate change. On land use, the fact that the AR5 referred to negative emissions from bioenergy with carbon capture and storage as key to achieving the 2°C target in accordance with the models, yet little or nothing was found on its feasibility or implications, lends support to the call for more focused information.

ALIGNING WITH THE UNFCCC: STRATEGIC PLANNING

The impact of the Paris Agreement was felt not only on the decision to undertake the SR on 1.5°C, but on the Panel’s strategic planning—in particular, the need to finalize AR6 in a timely manner in view of the 2023 deadline for a global stocktake, as set out under Article 14 of the Paris Agreement, and to align the IPCC assessment cycles with the Agreement’s global stocktake cycle taking place every five years after 2023.

This alignment implies cutting back the assessment cycles from every seven years to five for AR7 and beyond. This would also mean changes to the modus operandi, such as elections and scoping taking place before the end of the previous assessment cycle, and other adjustments. So even though the amount of information will be much larger, the IPCC reports will have to be quicker and, it is hoped, shorter. 

Given the complicated structure of the IPCC, and the reality of decreasing financial resources, adapting to the changes ahead will require creative thinking and exploring different options. But, at the same time, this could help the IPCC become the more flexible, responsive body that some have been calling for over the past few years.

IMPROVING THE AR6

The importance of enhanced regional assessments has been stressed for many years. But this has become increasingly urgent as implementation of climate change solutions shifts to local governments, where the most important mitigation and adaptation is to take place. Regional assessments are also particularly important for the Panel, as they will require greater participation of scientists from developing countries and areas not well represented, both in terms of literature covered and authors. This has long been one of the Panel’s fundamental aspirations.

The regional assessments will require integrated findings across the work of all three WGs. Along these lines, the AR6 team got a head start, since the WGs already had to jointly explore the many SR proposals and prepare common suggestions for how to address them. WG integration has always been one of the main challenges for the Panel, but also one of its key assets. The cross-disciplinary work required to prepare the SRs, in particular the 1.5°C one to which all three WGs must contribute, will hopefully facilitate collaboration all the way to the synthesis report.

CHALLENGING TIMES AHEAD

As the wealth and breadth of new information on climate change continues to increase apace, so has the pressure to address it and make it available in a way that can inform pressing mitigation and adaptation decisions. As a result, the new Bureau and everyone involved in the AR6 cycle has had to hit the ground running. This was already evident at IPCC-43, where delegates were presented with lengthy documents prepared jointly by the six WG Co-Chairs on possible themes for SRs, and detailed timetables and roadmaps prepared by the Secretariat on strategic planning for the AR6 and beyond.

The opening presentation by the WMO’s David Carlson reminded everyone in the room of the stakes and the difficulties ahead, as observations point to new highs for CO2 concentrations, global methane readings in January being “dramatically high,” and unremitting decreases in Arctic sea ice extent. Having added three SRs and a methodology report to their work load, committed to enhanced regional coverage, and signaled their intent to shorten their assessment cycles, the IPCC cannot be accused of lack of ambition in fulfilling its role in the face of increasingly alarming climate science.

 In this regard, convergence at IPCC-43 was noteworthy. No clear dissent was expressed on the need to prepare the 1.5°C report or on the importance of aligning with the UNFCCC stocktaking process after 2023. Even the dismal financial report did not seem to affect the outlook, indicating members’ trust that solutions and resources would be found. The only concern now is how to accomplish it all without compromising the Panel’s credibility and integrity.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

High-Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement: The UN Secretary-General, as Depositary of the Agreement, will host a signing ceremony at the UN on the day the Agreement is opened for signature.  date: 22 April 2016  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General  www: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climatechange/

TFI Expert Meeting for Technical Assessment of IPCC Inventory Guidelines Follow-Up on Specified Issues from the 2015 Expert Meetings: The IPCC TFI will convene on this issue in Wollongong, Australia.  dates: 25-26 April 2016  location: Wollongong, Australia  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int www: http://www.ipcc.ch

TFI Expert Meeting for Technical Assessment of IPCC Inventory Guidelines – Cross-Sectoral Issues: The TFI will address cross-sectoral issues during this meeting. dates: 27-29 April 2016  location: Wollongong, Australia  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int www: http://www.ipcc.ch

Living Planet Symposium: The European Space Agency (ESA) is organizing this event to, inter alia: present the  progress and plans for the implementation of the ESA Earth Observation (EO) strategy and the relevance of ESA’s EO Programme to societal challenges, science and economy; provide an international forum for scientists, researchers and users to present and share state of the art results based on ESA’s EO and third-party mission data; review the development of EO applications; and report on ESA’s Exploitation Programmes, including the Climate Change Initiative.  dates: 9-13 May 2016  location: Prague, Czech Republic  contact: ESA Living Planet Symposium Secretariat  phone: +39-06-94180912  fax: +39-06-94180902  email: LPS@esa.int www: http://lps16.esa.int/

44th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies: The forty-fourth sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 44) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 44) as well as the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1) will convene.  dates: 16-26 May 2016  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228 815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  email: secretariat@unfccc.int www: http://www.unfccc.int

World Humanitarian Summit: The first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) is an initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). It will bring together governments, humanitarian organizations, people affected by humanitarian crises and new partners, such as the private sector, to propose solutions to pressing challenges like climate change and set an agenda to keep humanitarian action fit for the future.  dates: 23-24 May 2016  location: Istanbul, Turkey  contact: WHS Secretariat  email: info@whsummit.org www: https://www.worldhumanitariansummit.org/

Fourth Dialogue on Article 6 of the UNFCCC: Organized by Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), the two-day Fourth Dialogue on Article 6 of the UNFCCC will take place in conjunction with SBI 44 and will focus on public participation, public awareness, public access to information and international cooperation on these matters.  dates: 18-19 May 2016  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: ACE/UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  email: secretariat@unfccc.int www: www.unfccc.int/ace

50th Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council: The GEF Council meets twice a year to approve new projects with global environmental benefits in the GEF’s focal areas of biodiversity, climate change mitigation, chemicals and waste, international waters, land degradation, and sustainable forest management; and in the GEF’s integrated approach programs on sustainable cities, taking deforestation out of commodity chains, and sustainability and resilience for food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. On 9 June the Council will convene the 20th meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), also at the same location.  dates: 6-9 June 2016  location: Washington, DC, US  contact: GEF Secretariat  phone: +1-202-473-0508  fax: +1-202-522-3240  email: secretariat@thegef.org www: https://www.thegef.org/gef/council_meetings/50th/docs

Asia Clean Energy Forum: The Asia Clean Energy Forum, organized since 2006, seeks to provide a space for sharing best practices in policy, technology and finance to support climate and energy security in the region.  dates: 6-10 June 2016  location: Manila, Philippines  contact: Asian Development Bank  phone: +63-2-632-4444  fax: +63-2-636-2444  email: cleanenergy@adb.org www: http://www.asiacleanenergyforum.org/

Fifth Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum 2016: The Asia-Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) is organizing this event with the UN Development Programme, Asian Development Bank, Global Water Partnership, UNEP and other partners under the theme “Mainstreaming Adaptation into Development,” with a focus on topics such as food security and adaptation financing.  date: 17-19 October 2016  location: Colombo, Sri Lanka  contact: APAN  email: info@asiapacificadapt.net www: www.asiapacificadapt.net

HABITAT III: The Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III) aims to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development, assess progress and accomplishments to date, address poverty, and identify and address new and emerging challenges. The conference is expected to result in an action-oriented outcome document and the establishment of the New Urban Agenda.  dates: 17-20 October 2016  location: Quito, Ecuador  contact: UN-Habitat  phone: +1-917-367-4355  email: Habitat3Secretariat@un.org www: https://www.habitat3.org/

IPCC-44: The 44th session of the IPCC will be held in October.  dates: October 2016 TBC  location: Geneva, Switzerland, or Vienna, Austria, TBC  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730- 8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int www: http://www.ipcc.ch

UNFCCC COP 22: During COP 22, parties will meet to, inter alia, begin preparations for entry into force of the Paris Agreement.  dates: 7-18 November 2016  location: Marrakesh, Morocco  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  email: secretariat@unfccc.int www: http://unfccc.int/  

For additional meetings, see http://climate-l.iisd.org/