Vol. 12 No. 295
SUMMARY OF THE 25TH SESSION OF THE OF THE
INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
The twenty-fifth session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-25) took place in Port Louis, Mauritius, from 26-28 April 2006. The meeting was attended by approximately 270 participants representing governments, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations. The meeting saw the acceptance of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories and adoption of its Overview Chapter, thereby realizing several years of work by the IPCC. Delegates also took action in relation to the IPCC programme and budget for 2007-09, further work on emission scenarios, election procedures, a policy and process for admitting observer organizations, the future work programme of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, consideration of a Special Report on Renewable Energy, and a review of the IPCC’s terms of reference. Discussions also took place on communications and outreach activities, matters related to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and progress toward the Fourth Assessment Report and other IPCC activities. The acceptance of the 2006 Guidelines and the decision on further work on emission scenarios reflected the spirit that characterized IPCC-25, with delegates working hard to overcome differences in order to make progress. These efforts brought the meeting to a close on Friday afternoon with the successful resolution of all agenda items.
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). The purpose of the IPCC is to assess the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant to understanding the risks associated with human-induced climate change. The IPCC does not undertake new research, nor does it monitor climate-related data, but bases its assessments on published and peer-reviewed scientific and technical literature. Its Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and is staffed by the WMO and UNEP.
Since its inception, the IPCC has prepared a series of comprehensive assessments, special reports and technical papers, which provide scientific information on climate change to the international community, including policy makers and the public. This information has played an important role in negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The IPCC currently has three working groups: Working Group I addresses the scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change; Working Group II addresses the vulnerability of socioeconomic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of climate change, and adaptation options; and Working Group III addresses options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise mitigating climate change.
The IPCC also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI). The TFI oversees the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme (NGGIP), which aims to develop and refine an internationally-agreed methodology and software for the calculation and reporting of national greenhouse gas emissions and removals, and to encourage the use of this methodology by countries participating in the IPCC and by UNFCCC signatories. The IPCC Bureau, composed of 30 members elected by the Panel, assists the IPCC Chair in planning, coordinating and monitoring progress in the work of the IPCC.
KEY IPCC PRODUCTS: The IPCC completed its initial comprehensive assessments of climate change in the First Assessment Report in 1990 and the Second Assessment Report in 1995. The IPCC’s Third Assessment Report (TAR) was completed in 2001, addresses policy-relevant scientific, technical, and socioeconomic dimensions of climate change, and concentrates on findings since 1995 at both regional and global levels. The TAR, which was subject to extensive review from experts and governments, is composed of a comprehensive assessment from the three IPCC Working Groups, a Summary for Policy Makers (SPM), a Technical Summary of each Working Group report, and a Synthesis Report. The TAR Synthesis Report is written in a non-technical style aimed at policy makers, and discusses nine policy-relevant questions identified by the IPCC based on submissions by governments. The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) is due to be released in 2007.
The IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories were first released in 1994, and a revised set was completed in 1996. In 2000 and 2003, the Panel approved additional good practice guidance reports that complement the Revised 1996 Guidelines and, in 2003, approved a process for a further revision of the Guidelines by early 2006.
NINETEENTH SESSION: At IPCC-19, held from 17-20 April 2002, in Geneva, Switzerland, the IPCC began work on the AR4. The Panel took a number of decisions, including in relation to a draft workplan for developing definitions for forest degradation and devegetation, methodological options for recording and reporting on emissions from these activities, and aspects of the procedures for agreeing on NGGIP products. Delegates also decided: on the timing of the AR4; to hold a workshop on geological and oceanic carbon dioxide separation, capture and storage; to draft a scoping paper on climate change and water; and to hold an expert meeting on climate change and development.
TWENTIETH SESSION: IPCC-20 was held from 19-21 February 2003, in Paris, France. Delegates agreed on a workplan for two expert scoping meetings on the structure of the AR4. They discussed a framework and a set of criteria for establishing priorities for special reports, methodology reports and technical papers for the period of the fourth assessment. The Panel also decided to hold a high-level scientific meeting to survey the processes affecting terrestrial carbon stocks and human influences upon them, and to produce two special reports: one on safeguarding the ozone layer and the global climate system; and the other on carbon dioxide capture and storage.
TWENTY-FIRST SESSION: At IPCC-21, held from 3-7 November 2003, in Vienna, Austria, delegates reviewed the outlines of the proposed Working Group contributions to the AR4 and the Chair’s proposal for an AR4 Synthesis Report. The Panel agreed that a technical paper on climate change and water should be completed in 2007, discussed terms of reference for a document on the AR4 product set, and reviewed the report of the IPCC expert meeting on processes affecting terrestrial carbon stocks and human influences on them. Delegates also approved the terms of reference for reviewing the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, and agreed on a revised mandate and changed the name of the Task Group on Scenarios for Climate and Impacts Assessment to Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA).
TWENTY-SECOND SESSION: IPCC-22 convened from 9-11 November 2004, in New Delhi, India. Delegates discussed, inter alia, the scope, content and process for an AR4 Synthesis Report, AR4 products, outreach, and election procedures. The Panel agreed to work towards a 30-page AR4 Synthesis Report with a five-page SPM to be approved by the IPCC in late October 2007.
TWENTY-THIRD SESSION: At IPCC-23, which convened on 8 April 2005, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, delegates considered the joint activities of Working Groups I and II on the Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System. The Panel accepted this Special Report along with an SPM. In adopting the draft report of IPCC-22, delegates also agreed that the IPCC Bureau would further consider arrangements for management of the AR4 Synthesis Report and report back on its progress.
TWENTY-FOURTH SESSION: IPCC-24 was held from 26-28 September 2005, in Montreal, Canada. Delegates approved the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage and the SPM and discussed management of the AR4 Synthesis Report, further work on aerosols and on emission scenarios, outreach activities and admittance of observer organizations. The Panel did not, however, reach agreement on revised election procedures for the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau. Delegates also decided to establish a Task Group on New Emission Scenarios (TGNES), with a lifetime up to IPCC-25, to further define the emission scenarios development process.
IPCC-25 opened on Wednesday, 26 April 2006. During the three-day meeting, delegates met in plenary, informally and in contact groups to make progress on the agenda items, including: acceptance of the 2006 Guidelines and adoption of its Overview Chapter; approval of the programme and budget for 2006-09; adoption of the IPCC-24 draft report, rules of procedures for election of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau, and a policy and process for admitting observer organizations. Delegates also discussed other issues, including outreach, matters relating to the UNFCCC and progress reports on IPCC activities.
S.N. Sok Appadu, Mauritius Meteorological Service, opened the session and welcomed delegates. In thanking Mauritius for hosting the meeting, IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri (India) noted the importance to Mauritius of assessing climate change because of potential sea level rise and the role of agriculture in its economy. He highlighted the benefits of holding IPCC meetings in different locations, including the opportunity for IPCC members to interact with local scientific and governmental experts.
Hong Yan, Deputy Secretary-General, WMO, said the IPCC has become an authoritative voice on the science of climate change and added that several decisions taken at the eleventh Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 11) and the first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 1) were based on IPCC findings. He also indicated the readiness of WMO bodies to cooperate with the IPCC.
Alexander Alusa, Division for Environmental Conventions, UNEP, underscored UNEP’s intention to support the IPCC in disseminating the results of the AR4 as widely as possible and noted that UNEP’s Information Unit for Conventions is already disseminating the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage.
Halldor Thorgeirsson, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, noted important areas for the interplay of science and policy, such as the five-year programme of work on adaptation of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the proposal under the UNFCCC to address emissions from deforestation. Thorgeirsson drew attention to the reference to the IPCC in the COP’s decision on long-term cooperative action on climate change under the UNFCCC and stressed the IPCC’s role in directly influencing national positions.
Anil Bachoo, Minister of Environment and National Development Unit of Mauritius, urged the IPCC to provide regionally relevant information to developing countries and cautioned that the full impacts of climate change on the ecosystems of small island developing states may not be appreciated, due to lack of information and scientific research.
Delegates approved the agenda for the meeting (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 1, Rev. 1) as well as the draft report of IPCC-24 (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 2). The draft report of IPCC-24 summarizes when and how each agenda item was addressed during the meeting. It also includes, in separate annexes: the meeting agenda as approved; the list of participants; and decisions taken on the programme and budget for 2006-08, the draft rules of procedures for the election of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau, and new emission scenarios.
IPCC PROGRAMME AND BUDGET FOR 2006-09
This item was discussed in plenary on Wednesday and Friday, and in meetings of the Financial Task Team (FTT), held Wednesday through Friday. On Friday, the Panel adopted the 2007 budget, after adding journeys for developing country experts for the 2007 meeting on new emission scenarios (see page 4) and after deleting funding for the scoping meeting on renewable energy (see page 6). The Panel also took note of the forecast budget for 2008 and the indicative budget for 2009, and adopted a decision on these matters.
In introducing the IPCC programme and budget for 2006-09 (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 3 and IPCC-XXV/Doc. 3, Add. 1), IPCC Secretary Renate Christ emphasized that any decisions taken at IPCC-25 need to be reflected in the budgets for future years. With Chair Pachauri, she stressed the need for governments to make their financial contributions for 2006.
In the meetings of the FTT, co-chaired by Marc Gillet (France) and Zhenlin Chen (China), discussions centered on the reasons for the budgetary carry over, which include cancellation, postponement, and back-to-back scheduling of some meetings, as well as contributions to meeting costs by host countries; incorporating plenary decisions in the 2007 budget, including funding for new emission scenarios; and requests for budgetary adjustments from Technical Support Units and other IPCC groups based on their revised meeting plans.
Final Decision: In the decision on the budget, the Panel:
The draft 2006 Guidelines and its Overview Chapter (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 4a and IPCC-XXV/Doc. 4b) were addressed in plenary and in several contact and drafting group meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. Informal question and answer sessions with the Coordinating Lead Authors were also held during the lunch break on Wednesday and on Thursday. On Thursday evening, delegates considered the text of the Overview Chapter section by section. After several revisions and editorial changes, delegates adopted the Overview Chapter and accepted the 2006 Guidelines.
Co-Chair of the Bureau of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFB) Thelma Krug (Brazil) introduced the draft 2006 Guidelines to the plenary on Wednesday, together with a new document (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 4b, Add. 1) containing revisions to the text resulting from comments by governments. Following a request by the Russian Federation, the Secretariat prepared printed copies of all government comments and made them available on Thursday morning (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 4b, Add. 1, Rev. 1).
Delegates discussed certain technical issues in the 2006 Guidelines, including methods to estimate emissions from flooded lands. On this issue, Brazil expressed reservations about accepting the 2006 Guidelines as drafted, given concerns about the method used to estimate emissions from flooded lands in the wetlands chapter of the volume on Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU). Austria and Norway supported Brazil’s reservation and cautioned against possible inconsistencies in the methods when used at the project level. Canada noted that the section on flooded lands represented a prudent compromise, while the US cautioned against further changes to the document, stating that the 2006 Guidelines were designed as a comprehensive package and underscoring the danger of deleting sections or relegating them to appendices. At issue were possible differences in the carbon stock change and the flux method to calculate emissions from flooded lands and the potential for overestimating or double counting. This was resolved in contact and drafting group discussions by using pertinent sections of the IPCC Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) on the stock change method and referring to the flux method in an appendix.
China proposed deletion of a reference to spontaneous combustion in the volume on energy, stating that this represents a natural phenomenon and not an anthropogenic source. After discussion with the Coordinating Lead Authors, the reference to “spontaneous” combustion was changed to “uncontrolled” combustion. Discussions informally and in the lunchtime question and answer sessions also led to the resolution of other technical issues, including the concern of Denmark regarding the section on absorption of carbon dioxide by concrete, contained in the volume on industrial processes and product use.
After these technical issues were resolved, delegates proceeded to consider 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. Argentina asked to have this request noted in the report of the meeting. Discussion also centered on text on, inter alia, multi-year averaging in the AFOLU sector, the relationship of the 2006 Guidelines to the Emission Factor Database (EFDB), and the policy relevance of the 2006 Guidelines. After various minor editorial changes and revisions, delegates adopted the Overview Chapter and accepted the 2006 Guidelines.
Final Outcome: The Overview Chapter to the 2006 Guidelines adopted by the Panel includes five sections: introduction; coverage of the 2006 Guidelines; approach to developing the 2006 Guidelines; structure of the 2006 Guidelines; specific developments in the 2006 Guidelines; and relevance of the 2006 Guidelines.
The 2006 Guidelines accepted by the Panel comprise five volumes, one of which provides general guidance on reporting, and four of which focus on different sectors of economy: energy; industrial processes and product use; AFOLU; and waste.
FURTHER WORK ON EMISSION SCENARIOS
This item was discussed in plenary on Wednesday and Friday, and in contact group, co-chaired by Ismail Elgizouli (Sudan) and Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Belgium), and informal meetings on Wednesday through Friday. Discussions proceeded from the recommendations of the TGNES (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 11) and proposals contained within a letter to Chair Pachauri from John Mitchell, Met Office, UK, suggesting the selection of no more than two or three “benchmark” emissions trajectories for future climate change studies (IPCC-XXV/INF. 6). The Panel accepted a proposal for further work on emission scenarios on Friday afternoon.
Throughout much of the discussion, delegates were divided as to what the role of the IPCC should be in relation to further work on emission scenarios. Australia joined the US in stressing that the IPCC’s role be limited to assessment of emission scenarios while Germany, the Netherlands, and others supported a broader coordination role for the IPCC. The US emphasized the overriding importance of the IPCC’s credibility in assessment, arguing that a separation of function could not be maintained if the IPCC engaged in a joint, interactive process of scenario development with the climate modeling community. Saudi Arabia expressed concern that it would be inappropriate to take decisions on future work during the approval process of the AR4.
The timeliness of any decision on further work by the IPCC, for the purposes of alerting the scientific community in preparation for a fifth assessment report, was also considered important by many delegates, given the time lag between the start and end of any new scientific work. Similarly, delegates noted that those involved in impacts and vulnerability scenario activities need time to follow up from the results of scientific studies. In addition, the US emphasized the important role of those who fund scientific research.
How to address further work on emission scenarios: The UK suggested that a new task group could be created to start liaising with other bodies, to consider the regionalization of scenarios and to decide how best to engage developing country experts. There was debate about whether or not a new task group with a broad mandate might create uncertainty. While some delegates suggested designing a process for further work on emission scenarios, the US proposed that a single IPCC meeting be held in 2007 to address the issue. The Panel ultimately agreed to hold a single meeting. It was agreed that a steering committee would be formed to organize the 2007 meeting.
Technical Paper: Discussions also addressed the possibility of a Technical Paper for consideration at IPCC-26 in May 2007. Saudi Arabia argued that a Technical Paper was unnecessary as the current emission scenarios are sufficient. Delegates decided a scoping document should be prepared for a Technical Paper that would summarize relevant material from the AR4 and identify, on the basis of technical information provided, a small number of “benchmark” emission scenarios for potential use by climate modeling groups.
Developing country participation: China, Peru and others expressed concerns about whether the incorporation of developing country experts in the process of new emission scenarios development could be ensured. Delegates concluded that this issue would be discussed more fully at the meeting to be held in 2007. The Co-Chairs of the contact group also requested funding from the Panel for 50 journeys for experts from developing countries and countries with economies in transition to attend the proposed meeting, and the Panel agreed that this support would come from the IPCC Trust Fund.
Final Outcome: On further work on emission scenarios, the Panel agreed to:
The item on the draft rules of procedures for the election of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 5) was discussed in plenary on Thursday, when 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 position of the IPCC Chair, the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau are to be made by the government of a member of the IPCC. Delegates agreed to remove the brackets and accept Rule 20 as drafted and adopted the rules of procedures with minor editorial changes, including renumbering Rule 20 to come before Rule 18 on the qualifications of nominees.
Discussion centered on the meaning of Rule 20, in particular, whether individuals must be nominated by the government of their own country. Emphasizing the IPCC’s 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, Saudi 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.
Final Outcome: The rules of procedures for the election of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau adopted by the Panel include rules relating to: the composition of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau, including composition with regard to geographical representation; terms of appointment; general principles of elections; nominations; voting procedures; and amendments and suspensions.
COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY AND OUTREACH
IPCC Secretary Christ introduced this item in plenary on Friday, presenting a document on IPCC communications strategy and outreach (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 6) and a compilation of government submissions (IPCC-XXV/INF. 3 and IPCC-XXV/INF. 3, Add. 1). She noted a general consensus that informing the public should not be the IPCC’s key focus, but that the Panel should ensure that the AR4 is initially well diffused and translated quickly.
The ensuing discussion showed broad support for the proposed strategy. Spain, Colombia and others noted the importance of outreach activities in developing countries. Susan Solomon (US), Working Group I Co-Chair, supported by the US and Canada, said that outreach processes need to be clearly separated from the substantive products to ensure the integrity of the IPCC. Several countries cited the need to engage national organizations in outreach activities.
Chair Pachauri concluded this item by summarizing plans for dissemination of AR4 products and noted appreciation for the offers of collaboration with national outreach bodies and Secretary Christ noted that the Secretariat would take delegates’ comments on outreach and communications activities into account.
POLICY AND PROCESS FOR ADMITTING OBSERVER ORGANIZATIONS
A revised policy and process for admitting observer organizations (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 7, Rev. 1) was discussed in plenary on Thursday and Friday, along with several background documents, including the compilation of comments by governments and organizations (IPCC-XXV/INF. 1), the summary of information provided by organizations (IPCC-XXV/INF. 2) and brief information about organizations that did not respond to the Secretariat’s request for information (IPCC-XXV/INF. 4*). The revised policy and process was adopted on Friday.
Delegates discussed the role of the IPCC Bureau, the IPCC Chair and the Panel itself in deciding upon applications. The US, supported by Austria, suggested that the IPCC Bureau should not have any formal decision-making authority in approving observer organizations. Australia suggested that admittance of observer organizations be at the discretion of the IPCC Chair. Kenya cautioned against a rule that would allow an organization to be admitted as an observer unless at least one-third of the IPCC members present at a session object, stating that this could lead to the first instance of decision making via voting by the IPCC. The Panel agreed to change this rule so that an organization will be admitted as an observer by the Panel by consensus.
Delegates also discussed issues relating to the revocation and review of an organization’s status. Morocco, supported by the UK, queried how an observer organization might have its status revoked. Regarding the proposal that any organization accepted as an observer may retain that status so long as it continues to satisfy the conditions under which it was admitted and that observer status can be withdrawn for any reason at the discretion of the IPCC Chair, the Panel agreed to Kenya’s proposal that the IPCC Chair may suspend an organization’s status as an observer, pending ratification by the Panel at its next session.
China, echoed by Saudi Arabia and Iraq, said it should be necessary for applicant organizations to first obtain approval from their national governments.
Final Outcome: The policy for admitting observer organizations adopted by the Panel provides that, inter alia:
The process for admitting observer organizations adopted by the Panel provides that, inter alia:
TFI FUTURE WORK PROGRAMME
This issue was discussed in plenary on Thursday. TFB Co-Chair Taka Hiraishi (Japan) presented the future TFI work programme (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 10), noting the work of the NGGIP on the EFDB, and its plan to develop computer software implementing the Tier 1 methods of the 2006 Guidelines. He also referred to the NGGIP’s plan to prepare, as part of its outreach activities, a brochure about the 2006 Guidelines and a compilation of frequently asked questions and answers, to contribute to training courses and to hold a meeting of inventory experts at the end of 2006 to develop a draft future workplan.
Discussion centered on the longer-term topics needing further expert consideration outlined in the future work programme and on capacity building for developing countries. Switzerland, with Austria and Norway, highlighted the importance of satellite and other remote sensing measurements, while Brazil noted concerns about the proposal to consider areas where inventory science is in a relatively early stage of development, such as wetlands, savannahs, and settlements, and the use of data from other emissions accounting. Support for assisting developing countries in inventories work was widely expressed, including by Samoa, Syria, Iran, Ghana, the Gambia, Sierra Leone and Kenya. The Netherlands and the US called for broad participation in the expert meeting.
Final Outcome: Delegates agreed that:
PROPOSAL FOR AN IPCC SPECIAL REPORT ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
This proposal for a Special Report on Renewable Energy (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 12), which was presented by Germany and supported by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Gambia, Greece, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands, was discussed in plenary on Friday. The Panel agreed to hold a scoping meeting on the Special Report in 2007.
In presenting the proposal, Germany noted that renewable energy is dealt with only briefly in the AR4, and that, together with energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and technologies represent a major mitigation option that remains to be addressed in depth. Stressing that the Special Report need not have a narrow technological focus, she emphasized energy efficiency as an overarching theme and drew attention to the relationship between renewable energy and sustainable development, energy transition pathways and technology transfer. On a possible process and timeline, Germany suggested holding a scoping meeting after approval of the three Working Group reports for the AR4 so as not to interfere with the AR4 process or with possible preparations for a fifth assessment. She added that to avoid resource bottlenecks and overstretching of the IPCC budget, Germany intended to support the organization of this scoping meeting.
Most countries supported the proposal, with many emphasizing the value and urgency of such a review for developing countries. Egypt, with various others, suggested expanding the scope of the Special Report to include energy efficiency. The UK noted a range of possible topics for a Special Report, in particular the function of capital markets in energy investment, and, with France and Switzerland, preferred postponing deliberation of this until the next IPCC session to allow for further consideration. Saudi Arabia, China and the US said the proposal was premature given limited human and financial resources. Working Group III Co-Chair Ogunlade Davidson (Sierra Leone) said that more specific analyses of renewable energy sources would benefit a larger number of countries, expressed support for the proposal given its comprehensiveness and, underscoring that energy efficiency and renewable energy are considerably different, advised against combining them in one Special Report.
Noting the extent of support for the proposal, Chair Pachauri proposed to hold the scoping meeting towards the end of 2007 after the scheduled completion of the AR4 and to submit the results to the Panel in late 2008. The US said it was not in a position to provide funding for this and could not guarantee participation. Germany restated its willingness to provide funding for the scoping meeting but that it could not yet confirm that this will include travel funding. The Panel concluded that Germany and other interested countries would be responsible for organizing financial support for travel costs.
Final Outcome: The IPCC agreed to hold a scoping meeting on a possible Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources in late 2007.
MATTERS RELATED TO the UNFCCC
This item was discussed in plenary on Friday. Secretary Christ provided an overview of the decisions taken at COP 11 and COP/MOP 1, as well as at SBSTA 23 (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 9). Halldor Thorgeirsson, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, updated delegates on informal consultations held in Vienna from 13-15 March 2006, on elaboration of the five-year programme of work on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, which will provide input to SBSTA’s scoping of activities for the initial phase of the five-year programme of work. He also explained that SBSTA is turning its attention to research needs, including efforts to stimulate global climate change research and the participation of developing countries in research. Documents on the informal consultations in Vienna and on SBSTA’s consideration of research needs are available on the UNFCCC web site.
After the Russian Federation stressed that the 2006 Guidelines should be incorporated into the UNFCCC process, Thorgeirsson noted that the 2006 Guidelines will be an agenda item at SBSTA 24. Austria asked whether there were likely to be requests for IPCC contributions to the five-year programme of work on adaptation, and Thorgeirsson responded that while no new requests are anticipated at this time, more interaction between the IPCC and UNFCCC is expected as the AR4 moves forward.
Progress reports on activities of the three Working Groups and TGICA were considered in plenary on Thursday. Delegates also heard updates on the Editorial Board of the EFDB and the AR4 Synthesis Report.
Working Group I: Working Group I Co-Chair Solomon 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: Martin Parry (UK), Working Group II Co-Chair, presented on progress towards the AR4 (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 15). He 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 more generally. 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 Davidson 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) had been presented to the IPCC Bureau and that the first meeting of the team will be held in approximately three months.
TGICA: Co-Chair of TGICA, Jose Marengo (Brazil), provided a progress report on the activities of the TGICA (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 14), including an overview of its 11th session, held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 7-9 February 2006.
EFDB: TGICA Co-Chair Hiraishi provided the Panel with details on the new and continuing members of the EFDB Editorial Board, as well as the geographic distribution of members (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 16).
REVIEW OF THE IPCC TERMS OF REFERENCE
This item was introduced to plenary on Thursday, when Secretary Christ explained that, at its 14th session in 2003, the WMO Congress encouraged the IPCC to review its own terms of reference, as set out in a background document (IPCC-XXV/Doc. 8). After plenary discussions on Thursday and Friday and informal discussions on Thursday evening, delegates agreed to a list of people to assist Chair Pachauri with a small-scale review of the IPCC’s terms of reference that could be considered at IPCC-26.
In plenary, discussions centered on the timing of a review, in light of ongoing IPCC work towards the AR4 and the schedule for future meetings of the WMO Congress, and whether an extensive review of the terms of reference is necessary. Austria suggested that now may not be the appropriate time for a substantial review of the rules, while China proposed that 2008, being the start of the new IPCC Bureau and after the release of the AR4, might be an appropriate time. Noting that the IPCC’s 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 preferable to a lengthier review at this time. 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, and Australia, with Chair Pachauri, noted that some scope for capacity building exists within the current terms of reference.
Final Outcome: The Panel agreed that:
Secretary Christ outlined the dates and locations of future IPCC meetings (see page 9). Chair Pachauri thanked the Government of Mauritius, the Secretariat, delegates and participants, and gaveled the meeting to a close at 5:47 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF IPCC-25
Since its inception, the IPCC has been a key component of the climate change regime. Its work, most notably its assessment reports, has raised the profile of climate change on the international agenda and is a foundation upon which the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol have undertaken their work.
The reason the IPCC has been able to create assessment and other reports that policy-makers in many parts of the world find useful is a result of its unique nature, notably its truly broad composition incorporating both developed and developing countries, and both scientists and policy makers.
As the IPCC moves forward with its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), attention has begun to turn to the possibility that a fifth assessment report might follow, and the Panel is considering what research and tools might be necessary to undertake it. This, in turn, raises the question of what the IPCC is and should be, and has reopened the debate between those countries that wish to restrict the role of the IPCC to one of simply an assessor of information and those who want it to take a more proactive role in climate change science.
This analysis considers the emerging tension over the IPCC’s future role during the debate on new emission scenarios through the lens of its past experience. It suggests that the discussion on the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2006 Guidelines) illustrates the value of capitalizing on the unique nature of the IPCC and that the final proposal for the IPCC’s involvement in further work on new emission scenarios ensures that the experiences gained by the IPCC over the last 18 years will not be lost.
The discussion on the 2006 Guidelines was slowed down at the outset by an unusual request from Russia for the IPCC Secretariat to make available in print form all government comments on the draft 2006 Guidelines (which amounted to over 200 pages), and the clear objection of Brazil to the treatment of flooded lands in the volume on AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use). Anticipating that the debate over accepting the 2006 Guidelines would be drawn out, interpreters were secured in advance to be available until 1:00 am on the second day of the meeting. Yet shortly after 11:00 pm that night, delegates were congratulating the Coordinating Lead Authors and each other on the adoption of this major piece of work.
Initiated following an invitation by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) in 2002 to revise the 1996 Guidelines by 2006, the new Guidelines amount to five volumes incorporating hundreds of pages. These volumes represent the largest body of work ever presented to the IPCC plenary for acceptance and are based on the experience of countries dating back to the late 1980s, by which time a significant number of national greenhouse gas inventories had emerged. The 2006 Guidelines incorporate and improve on the methodologies and guidance previously prepared by the IPCC for estimating national inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks: the Revised 1996 Guidelines, the 2000 Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management, and the Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). They also incorporate the experiences from the UNFCCC technical inventory review process.
These Guidelines are the basis on which the climate change regime rests, for they provide a credible and transparent reporting framework that is of universal application for estimating greenhouse gas emissions. They are the result of a solid process of close interaction among the international scientific community and policy makers and users.
In considering the final draft of the 2006 Guidelines for acceptance at IPCC-25, debate focused on different interpretations of what the best methodologies are for estimating emissions in particular cases. Brazil considered that the carbon flux methodology used in the chapter on wetlands for estimating emissions from flooded lands, for example, could lead to overestimations when applied in a tropical region. In contrast, Canada felt that this methodology represented an improvement on methodologies previously applied. Reaching consensus required some negotiation, and in the end, both the carbon stock change method preferred by Brazil and flux method preferred by Canada were included. It is this accommodation of the concerns of many different countries in an open forum that makes the 2006 Guidelines in particular, and the IPCC process in general, credible and useful.
NEW EMISSION SCENARIOS
Of all the agenda items at the IPCC’s twenty-fifth session, further work on new emission scenarios was one of the most important issues in defining the mandate of the IPCC. Before the First Assessment Report was released in 1990, Working Group III prepared the initial set of possible future greenhouse gas emission scenarios that were used by Working Group I in assessing future climate change. These scenarios, called the SA90 scenarios, examined business as usual and three additional trajectories based on assumed policies that would lead to reduced emissions.
In 1992, the SA90 scenarios were reviewed and six alternative scenarios were developed that were subsequently evaluated in 1994. In 1996, the Panel decided that a new set of scenarios was needed. This most recent set of scenarios, initially published in 1998, is still widely used by researchers. The projections of the future atmospheric composition and climate based on these scenarios were assessed in the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report. The assessment of emission scenarios in the scientific literature is an important aspect of the AR4, which will be released in 2007. Preparations are needed to ensure the readiness of an updated set of new emission scenarios for use in a possible fifth assessment report.
At IPCC-25, the role that the IPCC should play with regard to this process was highly debated. The US and Australia stressed the importance of protecting the integrity of the IPCC by limiting its role to one of assessing the available literature, with the development of new emission scenarios taking place wholly within the scientific community. Others, including Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and most developing countries, argued that the IPCC should coordinate those efforts to ensure consistency, comparability, transparency, and the participation of developing country experts.
After extended debate, the Panel adopted a proposal by the Co-Chairs of the contact group on emission scenarios to produce a scoping document for a technical paper that would summarize the AR4 findings and identify a small number of benchmark scenarios for potential use by climate modeling groups. The proposal includes the organization of a meeting between the IPCC and experts in 2007 to address this issue. There was also much discussion on whether the IPCC “may facilitate” or “may coordinate” this process in the scientific community. In the end, the adopted proposal states that the IPCC “may catalyze” such work.
CAPITALIZING ON THE EXPERIENCE OF THE IPCC
The word “catalyze” can have different meanings in plain English and in chemistry. In chemistry, the catalyst remains unchanged as it speeds reactions. The catalyst in real life is transformed in the process of catalyzing by, if nothing else, the experience of its actions. The IPCC now possesses 18 years of experience working with scientists and policy-makers from many countries. It would be a shame to lose the expertise that has been built by the IPCC, and that might have been the case if the IPCC delegated the entire process for scenario development to the scientific community to organize itself. Instead, the IPCC will remain engaged in seeing that the desired features and characteristics of scenarios are incorporated and that these are ready for a fifth assessment report.
Had the IPCC washed its hands of any involvement beyond assessment, it is unlikely that many developing country experts would have been included in the process. Instead, the travel funding for 50 scientists from developing countries and economies in transition will ensure their participation at the new emission scenarios meeting in 2007. In this regard, the discussion on flooded lands under the 2006 Guidelines provides an example of how important it is to include the views of different scientists from different regions in any global analysis. Applying the same approach to disparate regions may lead to bias in the results. Addressing these differences in an open forum results in products that can be both scientifically credible and politically approved for widespread use.
The accumulated experience of the IPCC has resulted in a unique organization that, although it has downsides, can provide valuable advice on addressing the concerns of all countries or regions. While its success is due in large part to a focused and limited mandate, it would be unfortunate to not take full advantage of its future potential and its past record of success.
Fortunately, the decision at IPCC-25 on emission scenarios does not restrict the role of IPCC but offers the opportunity to capitalize on its unique qualities. This, together with the acceptance of universal applicability of the 2006 Guidelines, demonstrates the belief of most that the IPCC, given its inclusive nature, has an important role to play. This broad support is crucial when addressing a global problem such as climate change, the specific consequences of which are unpredictable but will surely be felt by everyone everywhere.
CLIMATE CHANGE TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE: ENGINEERING CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: This meeting, organized by the Engineering Institute of Canada, will take place from 10-12 May 2006, in Ottawa, Canada. It aims to provide opportunities for engineers and others involved in climate change modeling, monitoring, mitigation, adaptation, education, investment and risk management to network and exchange views. For more information, contact: John Grefford, Organizing Committee Chair; tel: +1-613-839-1108; fax: +1-613-839-1406; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.CCC2006.ca
DIALOGUE ON LONG-TERM COOPERATIVE ACTION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE BY ENHANCING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION: This meeting will be held in Bonn, Germany, from 15-16 May 2006. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; internet:
FIRST SESSION OF THE AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON FURTHER COMMITMENTS FOR ANNEX I PARTIES UNDER THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: This meeting will be held concurrently with the Subsidiary Bodies meetings in Bonn, Germany, from 17-25 May 2006. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; internet:
TWENTY-FOURTH SESSIONS OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODIES OF THE UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: These meetings of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice will be held in Bonn, Germany, from 18-26 May 2006. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; internet:
EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON GREENHOUSE GAS CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES: This conference, which will take place from 19-23 June 2006, in Trondheim, Norway, seeks to provide a forum to discuss the latest advances in greenhouse gas control technologies. For more information, contact: Mari Sæterbakk, GHGT-8 Secretariat; tel: +47-73-595-265; fax: +47-73-595-150; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.ghgt8.no/
TWENTY-SIXTH MEETING OF THE OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP OF THE PARTIES TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: This meeting will take place from 3-6 July 2006, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-20-762-3851; fax: +254-20-762-4691; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://hq.unep.org/ozone/Events/meetings2006and2007.asp
MEETINGS OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE: IPCC-26 is scheduled for 4 May 2007, in Bangkok, Thailand, immediately following the 9th session of Working Group III, to be held from 30 April - 3 May 2007. The tenth session of Working Group I will be held in France from 29 January - 1 February 2007. The eighth session of Working Group II will be held in Brussels, Belgium, from 2-5 April 2007. IPCC-27, focusing on the adoption of the AR4, is scheduled for 12-16 November 2007, in Valencia, Spain. For more information, contact: Rudie Bourgeois, IPCC Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-7 30-8025/13; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.ipcc.ch/