On Monday morning, Chair Hoesung Lee opened the 55th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He welcomed all participants and underlined that the need for the report of Working Group II (WGII), which deals with climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, has never been greater, as the stakes have never been higher. He said the report will integrate the natural, social, and economic sciences and provide policymakers with the information they need to make and shape the required policies to address climate change.
Moderating the opening ceremony, IPCC Secretary Abdalah Mokssit highlighted that the final product of the meeting, the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the WGII contribution to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), is highly anticipated by the whole world.
Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC was a game changer, leading to 1.5ºC being the desired outcome of climate mitigation. He stressed that the impacts of climate change are already visible all over the world, adding the science is understood and accepted by Heads of State, as demonstrated by their statements during the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021.
Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), noted that the IPCC’s work underpins all climate action. She stressed that acknowledging the science and evidence is only the first step, and highlighted that UNEP’s Adaptation Gap Report 2021 shows the growth in impacts far outpaces efforts to adapt. She said steps towards adaptation must now turn into a sprint to keep the 1.5ºC warming goal within reach.
Bettina Stark-Watzinger, German Federal Minister of Education and Research, outlined her country’s support for the IPCC and its climate action both in Germany and abroad. She called on other governments to support climate research beyond their borders.
In a written statement, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa stressed the WGII report is important for both assessing current adaptation efforts and identifying future challenges and opportunities to support countries moving forward and inform the Global Stocktake and global goal on adaptation.
The Panel adopted the provisional agenda for the meeting, as well as the IPCC-54 and IPCC-54 bis reports. Chair Lee then suspended IPCC-55 until Friday, 25 February, to allow WGII-12 to begin its work.
WGII-12 began its consideration of the WGII SPM. Members provided general comments on the section on observed and projected impacts and risks, and will continue discussions in a dedicated contact group on Tuesday.
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