Report of main proceedings for 27 April 2006
25th Session of the IPCC (IPCC-25)
Delegates convened in plenary in the morning, afternoon and evening to discuss election procedures for the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau, a policy and process for admitting observer organizations, the future work programme of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI), a possible review of the IPCC terms of reference, and the 2006 Guidelines. Delegates also heard progress reports on work toward the AR4 and on other IPCC activities. The FTT met to continue discussions of the IPCC programme and budget for 2006-09, as did contact groups on emissions scenarios and on the 2006 Guidelines. The Coordinating Lead Authors of the 2006 Guidelines also held a lunchtime question and answer session.
In introducing the draft rules of procedures for the election of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 5), IPCC Secretary Christ recalled that delegates agreed to the content of all rules at IPCC-24 except for Rule 20, the bracketed text of which states that nominations for the IPCC Chair, the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau are to be made by the government of a member of the IPCC.
Emphasizing the IPCCs position as an intergovernmental organization and that individuals must represent their own countries, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION expressed support for removing the brackets around Rule 20, as did others, including ARGENTINA, AUSTRIA, SAUDIA ARABIA, FRANCE, the US, CHINA, and KENYA. SWITZERLAND noted that the IPCC works on several levels in terms of scientific and governmental representation and highlighted the mobility of the scientific community. SRI LANKA suggested that the interpretation of Rule 20 as understood by plenary, being that individuals must be nominated by the government of their own countries, should be recorded.
Delegates accepted Rule 20 as drafted and adopted the rules of procedures with minor editorial changes.
POLICY AND PROCESS FOR ADMITTING OBSERVER ORGANIZATIONS
Referring to a revised proposal on a policy and process for admitting observer organizations (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 7) and the summary of information provided by organizations at the request of the IPCC Secretariat (IPCC-XXV/INF. 2), IPCC Secretary Christ suggested automatically accepting applications from organizations that are already observers at the WMO, UNEP or UNFCCC. She stated that observer organizations would be admitted to plenary sessions but not invitation-only meetings and that organizations directly established by a government cannot present themselves as NGOs.
The US, supported by AUSTRIA, suggested that the IPCC Bureau should not have any formal decision making authority in approving observer organizations. The UK and KENYA discussed the five year timeframe for revision of observer organizations. MOROCCO, supported by the UK, queried how an observer organization might have its status revoked. AUSTRALIA suggested that admittance of observer organizations be at the discretion of the IPCC Chair. CHINA, echoed by SAUDI ARABIA and IRAQ, said it should be necessary for applicants to first obtain approval from their national governments. Discussion will continue in Fridays plenary.
TFI FUTURE WORK PROGRAMME
TFB Co-Chair Hiraishi presented the future work programme of the TFI (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 10), noting, inter alia, the NGGIPs work on the IPCC Emission Factor Database (EFDB) and its plan to develop computer software that implements the Tier 1 methods of the 2006 Guidelines. He also referred to the NGGIPs plans to: prepare, as part of its outreach activities, a brochure on the 2006 Guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions; contribute to training courses; and hold a meeting of inventory experts at the end of 2006 to develop a draft future work plan.
SWITZERLAND, with AUSTRIA and NORWAY, highlighted the importance of reviewing how satellite and other remote sensing measurements can contribute to national inventories. SAMOA welcomed the development of software and called for support to Least Developed Countries, in particular for setting up more effective data collection and management systems. MALAWI and BENIN welcomed the production of the brochure and other outreach activities, while SYRIA, IRAN, GHANA, the GAMBIA, SIERRA LEONE, KENYA and others stressed the importance of assistance to developing countries.
The NETHERLANDS and the US sought clarification on the proposed brochure and called for broad participation in the expert meeting. CHINA emphasized the need for balanced representation by developed and developing countries. SPAIN highlighted the importance of the EFDB.
Delegates agreed to the proposal for an inventory experts meeting, taking into account comments raised during the discussion, and that IPCC Chair Pachauri would write to the Government of Japan thanking them for their support.
Another lunchtime question and answer session with the Coordinating Lead Authors was held to discuss technical aspects of the 2006 Guidelines, during which TFB Co-Chair Hiraishi indicated that certain revisions to sections of the 2006 Guidelines on wetlands, absorption of carbon dioxide by concrete, and spontaneous combustion had been made after contact group and informal discussions.
After discussion by IPCC Chair Pachauri and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION regarding the procedure for the acceptance of underlying material and the purpose of the compilation of government comments (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 4b, Supp. 1), the Panel commenced consideration of the Overview Chapter section by section. ARGENTINA, supported by SAUDI ARABIA and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, and opposed by AUSTRIA, PERU, SWITZERLAND and the US, suggested that methodologies be referred to as revised methodologies.
In the evening session, Coordinating Lead Authors briefed delegates on important revisions to the text based on government comments (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 4b, Add.1). Delegates also discussed text on, inter alia, multi-year averaging in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector, the relationship of the 2006 Guidelines to the EFDB, and the policy relevance of the 2006 Guidelines. After various editorial changes and revisions, delegates adopted the Overview Chapter and accepted the 2006 Guidelines.
REVIEW OF THE IPCC TERMS OF REFERENCE
IPCC Secretary Christ introduced a background document on review of the IPCC terms of reference (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 8), explaining that at its 14th session in 2003, the WMO Congress encouraged the IPCC to review the IPCCs terms of reference. KENYA suggested that a review might include consideration of active work with the scientific community in areas of comparative advantage and capacity building in developing countries. Delegates discussed the timing of a review, and MOROCCO, supported by NIGERIA, called for the establishment of a working group to consider the issue. Noting that the IPCCs terms of reference have served the organization well, AUSTRALIA, with support from SWITZERLAND, the UK, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, GERMANY, PERU, and others suggested that a short-term review by a small team working with the IPCC Chair might be suitable. Chair Pachauri noted, and delegates agreed, that the IPCC Secretariat would return to plenary by Friday with proposed names for a small team to assist him with a review for consideration at IPCC-26, which, if accepted, could be presented to the WMO Congress.
Working Group I: Susan Solomon (US), Working Group I Co-Chair, presented on progress towards the AR4 (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 13). She noted that the next IPCC Bureau should consider revising the IPCC rules and procedures concerning reviews, given the emergence of new electronic media.
Working Group II: Presenting on progress towards the AR4 (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 15), Martin Parry (UK), Working Group II Co-Chair, agreed that the IPCC rules and procedures should be reviewed but added that the next IPCC Bureau should also consider the way in which the Working Groups work with scientists in a sub-procedural context. Delegates agreed that once the AR4 is completed, a small group of IPCC members could develop a document to provide guidance to the next IPCC Bureau on IPCC review procedures.
Working Group III: Working Group III Co-Chair Ogunlade Davidson (Sierra Leone) presented on progress towards the AR4 (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 18), highlighting media attention on the IPCC Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage.
AR4 Synthesis Report: Chair Pachauri informed the Panel that the core writing team for the AR4 Synthesis Report (IPCC-XXV/INF. 5) has been presented to the IPCC Bureau and that the first meeting of the team will be held in approximately three months.
TGICA: TGICA Co-Chair Jose Marengo (Brazil) provided a progress report on TGICA (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 14), including an overview of its 11th session in Cape Town, South Africa from 7-9 February 2006.
EFDB: TGICA Co-Chair Taka Hiraishi (Japan) updated the Panel on the proposed membership of the EFDB Editorial Board (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 16).
IPCC PROGRAMME AND BUDGET FOR 2006-09
In a morning session of the FTT, delegates considered input from the Working Group TSUs and the TFI on their planned activities and continued discussion of the large annual budgetary carryover, and reasons for the discrepancies between forecasted and actual expenditures. In an evening session, delegates discussed a draft decision on the programme and budget for 2006-2009 proposed by the Co-Chairs and the updated budget estimates for 2006 and 2007. A revised draft decision will be available on Friday morning. The FTT is scheduled to meet again in the early afternoon.
Morning and lunchtime contact groups, co-chaired by Ismail Elgizouli (Sudan) and Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Belgium), were convened to discuss further work on new emissions scenarios. Topics included the Co-Chairs proposal to select a few, limited benchmark emissions trajectories to be used for the next round of scientific climate studies, the timing and funding for a technical paper following the AR4, and a suggestion by the UK to create a new task group. The US proposed that the Panel, inter alia, reaffirm the IPCCs core function as scientific assessment, catalyze the independent development of scenarios within the climate modelling community, and request that the TGICA, in coordination with the Co-Chairs of the Working Groups, organize a meeting soon after the AR4 is completed to identify a list of desirable and feasible characteristics to be developed by the scenario development community to review information available for new emissions scenarios.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Contact group discussions on the role of the IPCC in emissions scenarios spilled out into the corridors on Thursday, with many viewing this issue as a key indicator of the future direction and role of the IPCC in the coming years. Different views among participants were evident, with some delegates viewing the role of the IPCC as one of coordination, while others said it should have more of an assessment role. Regardless of which view eventually emerges from discussions today, many delegates seem convinced that this debate will continue to be a feature of IPCC meetings in the future.
In light of a comment made in the emissions scenario contact group that the IPCC must not be seen to be hopping into bed with the climate modeling community, delegates joked that the traffic in Port Louis might not have been the only reason for the late arrival of some participants to the meeting on Thursday morning.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of IPCC-25 will be available on Monday, 1 May 2006, online at: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/ipcc25/