The 33rd session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was held from 10-13 May 2011 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The session was attended by 331 participants, including 276 representatives from governments and 39 delegates from UN, intergovernmental, and observer organizations. Participants focused primarily on the work of the four Task Groups resulting from the consideration of the InterAcademy Council (IAC) Review of the IPCC processes and procedures, namely those on: procedures; governance and management; conflict of interest policy; and communications strategy.
The Panel decided to establish an Executive Committee, adopted a Conflict of Interest Policy, and introduced several changes to the rules of procedure. The Panel also accepted the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) of the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) approved by Working Group III, and addressed issues such as the programme and budget, matters related to other international bodies, and progress reports.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IPCC
The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Its purpose is to assess scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant to understanding the risks associated with human-induced climate change, its potential impacts, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC does not undertake new research, nor does it monitor climate-related data, but it conducts assessments on the basis of published and peer-reviewed scientific and technical literature.
The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group (WG) I addresses the scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change; WGII addresses the vulnerability of socioeconomic and natural systems to climate change, impacts of climate change and adaptation options; and WGIII addresses options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. Each WG has two Co-Chairs and six Vice-Chairs, except WGIII, which for the Fifth Assessment cycle has 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 Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI). TFI oversees the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme, 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 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA) is an entity set up to address WG needs for data, especially WGII and WGIII. The TGICA facilitates distribution and application of climate change related data and scenarios, and oversees a Data Distribution Centre, which provides data sets, scenarios of climate change and other environmental and socioeconomic conditions, and other materials.
The IPCC Bureau is elected by the Panel for the duration of the preparation of an IPCC assessment report (approximately six years). Its role is to assist the IPCC Chair in planning, coordinating and monitoring the work of the IPCC. The Bureau is composed of climate change experts representing all regions. Currently, the Bureau comprises 31 members: the Chair of the IPCC, the Co-Chairs of the three WGs and the Bureau of the TFI (TFB), the IPCC Vice-Chairs, and the Vice-Chairs of the three WGs. 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 assessments, special reports 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 has so far undertaken four comprehensive assessments of climate change, each credited with playing a key role in advancing negotiations under the UNFCCC: the First Assessment Report was completed in 1990; the Second Assessment Report in 1995; the Third Assessment Report in 2001; and the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in 2007. At its 28th session in 2008, the IPCC decided to undertake a Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) to be completed in 2014.
The latest Assessment Reports are structured into three volumes, one for each of the WGs. Each volume is comprised of a Summary for Policymakers (SPM), a Technical Summary and an underlying assessment report. All assessment sections of the reports undergo a thorough 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 approved line-by-line by each respective Working Group. The Assessment Report also includes a Synthesis Report (SYR), highlighting the most relevant aspects of the three WG reports, and a SPM of the SYR, which is approved line-by-line by the Panel. More than 450 lead authors, 800 contributing authors, 2500 expert reviewers and 130 governments participated in the elaboration of the AR4.
In addition to the comprehensive assessments, the IPCC produces special reports, methodology reports and technical papers, focusing on specific issues related to climate change. Special reports prepared by the IPCC include: The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability (1997); Aviation and the Global Atmosphere (1999); Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry (2000); Methodological and Technical Issues in Technology Transfer (2000); Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System (2005); Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (2005); and, most recently, the Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) (2011). Work is currently underway on a special report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) under WGII, which is scheduled to be finalized late in 2011. Technical papers have been prepared on Climate Change and Biodiversity (2002) and on Climate Change and Water (2008), among others.
The IPCC also produces methodology reports or guidelines to assist countries in reporting on greenhouse gases. The IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories were first released in 1994 and a revised set was completed in 1996. Additional Good Practice Guidance reports were approved by the Panel in 2000 and 2003. The latest version, the 2006 IPCC Guidelines on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, was approved by the Panel in 2006.
For all this work and its efforts to “build up and disseminate greater knowledge about manmade climate change, and to lay the foundations that are needed to counteract such change,” the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with former US Vice President Al Gore, in December 2007.
IPCC-28: This session was held from 9-10 April 2008, in Budapest, Hungary, with discussions centering on the future of the IPCC, including key aspects of its work programme such as WG structure, main type and timing of future reports, and the future structure of the IPCC Bureau and the TFB. At this session, the IPCC agreed to prepare the AR5 and to retain the current structure of its WGs. In order to enable significant use of new scenarios in the AR5, the Panel requested the Bureau to ensure delivery of the WGI report by early 2013 and completion of the other WG reports and the SYR at the earliest feasible date in 2014. The Panel also agreed to prepare the SRREN Report, to be completed by 2010. Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of IPCC 28 can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/ipcc28.
IPCC-29: This session, which commemorated the IPCC’s 20th anniversary, was held from 31 August to 4 September 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. At this time, the Panel elected the new IPCC Bureau and the TFB, and reelected Rajendra Pachauri (India) as IPCC Chair. The Panel also continued its discussions on the future of the IPCC and agreed to create a scholarship fund for young climate change scientists from developing countries with the funds from the Nobel Peace Prize. It also asked the Bureau to consider a scoping meeting on the SREX Report, which took place from 23-26 March 2009 in Oslo, Norway. Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of IPCC 29 can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/ipcc29.
IPCC-30: This session was held from 21-23 April 2009 in Antalya, Turkey. At the meeting, the Panel focused mainly on the near-term future of the IPCC and provided guidance for an AR5 scoping meeting, which was held in Venice, Italy, from 13-17 July 2009. The Panel also gathered climate change experts to propose the chapter outlines of WG contributions to the AR5. Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of IPCC 30 can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/ipcc30.
IPCC-31: This session was held from 26-29 October 2009 in Bali, Indonesia. Discussions focused on approval of the proposed AR5 chapter outlines developed by participants at the Venice scoping meeting. The Panel also considered progress on the implementation of decisions taken at IPCC-30 regarding the involvement of scientists from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, use of electronic technologies, and the longer-term future of the IPCC. Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of IPCC 31 can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/ipcc31.
INTERACADEMY COUNCIL REVIEW: In response to public criticism of the IPCC related to inaccuracies in the AR4 and the Panel’s response, as well as questions about the integrity of some of its members, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri requested the InterAcademy Council (IAC) to conduct an independent review of the IPCC processes and procedures and to present recommendations to strengthen the IPCC and ensure the ongoing quality of its reports. The IAC presented its results in a report approved in August 2010. The IAC Review makes recommendations regarding: 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, held from 11-14 October 2010 in Busan, Republic of Korea, addressed the recommendations of the IAC Review. The Panel adopted a number of decisions in response to the IAC Review, including on the treatment of grey literature and uncertainty, and a process to address errors in previous reports. The Panel established task groups on processes and procedures, communications, conflict of interest policy and management and governance, to address recommendations that required further examination and present their results to IPCC-33. They Panel also accepted a revised outline for the AR5 SYR. Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of IPCC 32 can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/ipcc32.
SRREN: The eleventh session of WGIII met from 5-8 May 2011 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and approved the SRREN and its SPM. Discussions focused, among others, on chapters addressing sustainable development, biomass and policy. Key findings of the SRREN include that the technical potential for renewable energies is substantially higher than projected future energy demand, and that renewable energies play a crucial role in all mitigation scenarios.
IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri opened the 33rd session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-33) on Tuesday, 10 May 2011, highlighting the appropriateness of releasing the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) in Abu Dhabi, a city he said is poised to be the “center for sustainable energy for the planet.” Pachauri noted that the InterAcademy Council (IAC) review presented a historical opportunity to prepare the IPCC for future challenges, but called for avoiding a fragmented set of actions taken in haste, stressing the need for a comprehensive view, careful reflection and dialogue.
Jeremiah Lengoasa, Deputy Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), noted that the upcoming Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) is expected to provide important conclusions for WMO members. He highlighted the Global Framework on Climate Services as an opportunity to galvanize UN activities on the issue, and noted that the upcoming 16th WMO Congress will consider a reconstitution of the World Climate Programme to be more closely aligned with the Framework. He said the Panel would come out strengthened from the IAC process.
Peter Gilruth, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said a strong, credible, communicative and modernized IPCC is needed as never before to inform policy makers. He offered UNEP’s availability to provide advice for the implementation of the IAC recommendations, especially on governance and management. He said he looked forward to decisive and definitive decisions at this session that will open a new chapter in the IPCC.
Florin Vladu, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), noted that the Cancun Agreements include a comprehensive package for developing nations, including a Technology Mechanism, Adaptation Committee, and the Green Climate Fund, and, that by committing to a 2 degree goal, they indicate that governments intend to move towards a low carbon economy. He stressed the importance of the 2013-15 review of the long-term goal called for in the Cancun Agreements, and the expectation that the IPCC will provide important policy-relevant information. He also underscored the relevance of the SRREN and SREX Special Reports to the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, respectively.
Renate Christ, Secretary of the IPCC, presented the preliminary agenda (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.1, and IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.1/Add.1), which was adopted by the Panel.
APPROVAL OF THE DRAFT REPORT OF THE 32ND SESSION
The draft report of IPCC 32 (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.8) was adopted on Tuesday morning with small amendments, including one clarifying that the SYR would be based exclusively on material contained in the three Working Group Reports and Special Reports produced during the 5th or previous Assessment Cycles.
IPCC PROGRAMME AND BUDGET FOR 2011-2015
During Tuesday’s plenary session, Secretary Christ gave an overview of issues related to the IPCC Trust Fund Programme and Budget (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.2, and Add.1-4, and IPCC-XXXIII/INF.2), noting, among others, an increase in the fund’s carry-over, the need to address new external audit procedures applying the International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and the need to create and modify staff posts.
The Financial Task Team, co-chaired by IPCC Vice-Chair Ismail A.R. El Gizouli (Sudan) and Nicolas Beriot (France), met to address these issues, convening four times from Wednesday to Thursday and in drafting groups. Discussions centered, inter alia, on: to what extent the IPCC Trust Fund should apply the new auditing procedures; the budgetary difference between the actual and proposed staff costs; and a draft decision on the IPCC to be considered by the 16th WMO Congress. Many parties expressed concerns about the WMO’s proposal to change its contributions to the IPCC from in-cash to in-kind.
During the closing plenary, Co-Chair Beriot presented, and the Panel adopted, a draft decision including, among others, the revised budget for 2011 and proposed budget for 2012; reorganization and reallocation of budget to cover staff costs; and revised terms of reference for the external audit.
Final Decision: In this decision, the Panel, inter alia:
• approves the modified 2011 budget;
• approves the revised draft Terms of Reference for the Audit Officer;
• requests the Secretariat to provide an analysis of additional needs arising from the IAC report by IPCC-34;
• approves the modified 2012 budget, which includes the modification of two Secretariat posts changing from temporary to permanent;
• notes the importance of ensuring alignment of the programmes with the budget across the Fifth Assessment cycle, and notes that the forecast budget for 2013-2015 will require further discussion; and
• expresses its concern over the intention of the WMO to convert its cash contribution to the IPCC Trust Fund to an in-kind contribution of one post.
Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN)
This issue (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.20) was considered by plenary on Tuesday. WGIII Co-Chairs Ottmar Edenhofer (Germany), Youba Sokona (Mali), and Ramon Pichs Madruga (Cuba) briefly summarized the SRREN SPM report. Edenhofer said that all authors felt that the SPM had been improved significantly by going through the approval exercise. He highlighted that the global technical potential for renewables is substantially higher than the current and projected global energy demand. He stressed that development of infrastructure will be a determinant for the pace of development of renewable energy sources, and underscored integration challenges. Edenhofer also noted that renewable energy sources can help decouple development from rising emissions and have a huge potential to contribute to sustainable development. Adding that renewable energies play a crucial role in all mitigation scenarios, he stressed that they can only be deployed if there is a consistent framework combining renewable energy and energy policies with other national policies.
The Panel endorsed the SRREN SPM approved by WGIII.
REVIEW OF THE IPCC PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES
PROCEDURES: This issue (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.12) was first taken up by plenary on Tuesday, and then in various contact group meetings co-chaired by Eduardo Calvo Buendía (Peru) and Øyvind Christopherson (Norway), with Leo Meyer (Netherlands) as Rapporteur.
Discussion centered on the Task Group on Procedures’ proposal to respond to IAC recommendations on: selection of participants for scoping meetings; selection of Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs); sources of data and literature; handling the full range of views; report review; the SPM and its approval; handling potential errors after publication; treatment of uncertainties; guidance material; next steps; and other issues. The Panel agreed to prioritize matters that are relevant for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), particularly sources of data and literature, handling the full range of views, report review, further assuring quality of the review, and confidentiality of draft reports. The Panel was also presented with a Protocol for Addressing Possible Errors, prepared by all three WG Co-Chairs (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.12, Add. 1), and a Guidance Note for AR5 Lead Authors on consistent treatment of uncertainties (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.12, Add. 2).
On sources of data and literature, delegates addressed the blurry lines between peer-reviewed, grey literature and other sources, including references to sources such as the International Energy Agency and World Bank reports. The group agreed not to flag information derived from grey literature in the reports and focus instead on ensuring the high quality of all information, placing priority on peer-reviewed literature.
On handling the full range of views, discussion included how to document that the range of views has been considered and whether this should be the role of lead authors or review editors. The group agreed to insert language in the Principles noting, inter alia, the need to consider the range of scientific, technical and socioeconomic views, and gender balance. This language was also inserted in paragraphs referring to the selection of lead authors, the first review by experts, and the Synthesis Report (SYR).
On availability of review comments and responses, the group discussed how and when to make the review comments available, including whether to do it upon request or via a closed or open website. Many emphasized the need for a thorough and open review process where all comments are taken into account, but some cautioned against over-burdening the Technical Support Units (TSUs). The group agreed to separate the process into two stages—during the review process and afterwards—and that all written comments should be available upon request to reviewers during the review process. This issue will be addressed together with other matters relating to the transparency, quality and efficiency of the review process at IPCC-34.
On further assuring the quality of the review, participants considered how to ensure the review is as complete as possible, including all texts, graphics, tables, and boxes; and how to cross-check cross-cutting issues and who should do it. The group agreed that the Co-Chairs of the WG and the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI) should arrange a comprehensive review of reports in each review phase, seeking to ensure complete coverage of all content.
On confidentiality of draft reports, discussion revolved around what material to make available, when and how. A key issue was the need to protect authors while ensuring transparency of the process. Delegates also discussed the meaning of “confidential” and its application in different jurisdictions given varying freedom of information regulations.
During the final plenary, the UK suggested the Panel consider ways for widening expert comments in the development of reports. The Panel agreed to include the UK’s proposal in the report of the session.
Final Decision: The final decision on procedures addressed the following:
• On the selection of participants to scoping meetings, including a mandate for such meetings, the Panel decides that each Assessment Report, Special Report, Methodology Report and SYR should be preceded by a scoping meeting that develops a draft outline, and clarifies the procedures regarding the purpose of scoping meeting and criteria for selecting its participants.
• On the selection of CLAs and lead authors, the Panel decides that the composition of a group of CLAs and lead authors shall aim to reflect, in addition to what is already in the rules of procedures: a range of scientific, technical and socioeconomic views and expertise; a mixture of experts with and without previous experience in the IPCC; and gender balance. The Panel also decides that: the WG Bureau/TFB will report to the Panel on the selection process and the extent to which the aims were achieved; and every effort should be made to engage experts from the specific region being addressed, as well as experts from outside the region when they can provide an essential contribution to the assessment.
• On sources of data and literature, the Panel replaces the annex on “Procedure for using non-published/non-peer reviewed sources in IPCC reports” with a new annex entitled “Procedure on the use of literature in IPCC reports.” The revised procedures place emphasis on the quality of all cited literature, with priority given to peer-reviewed scientific, technical and socioeconomic literature, if available, and detail additional responsibilities for authors, review editors, WG/TFI Co-Chairs, and the IPCC Secretariat in this regard.
• On handling the full range of views, the Panel notes that authors and experts should make every effort to take into account, or represent, the full range of views available in scientific literature, even if these views are contradictory. The decision also introduces a new sub-section entitled “Handling the diversity of views” under the Assessment Reports, SYR, Special Report and Methodology Reports section, stating, inter alia, that chapter teams are required to consider the range of scientific, technical and socioeconomic views, expressed in balanced assessments. References on the need to consider the range of scientific, technical, and socioeconomic views are introduced throughout the procedures text.
• On the report review, the Panel, inter alia, decides to develop additional guidance on the role of review editors to ensure that reviewers’ comments are adequately considered, in time for implementation in the AR5 assessment process.
• On further assuring the quality of the review, the Panel decides that WG/TFI Co-Chairs should arrange a comprehensive review of reports at each review phase to ensure complete content coverage, and to have cross-cutting parts be cross-checked through relevant authors and Co-Chairs of other WGs.
• On confidentiality of draft reports, the Panel decides that drafts of IPCC reports and Technical Papers submitted for formal expert and/or government review, expert and government review comments, and author responses to those comments, will be made publicly available upon finalization. The Panel considers its draft reports, prior to acceptance, to be pre-decisional, provided in confidence to reviewers, and not for public distribution, quotation or citation.
• On the SPM, the Panel clarifies current practices related to providing written comments prior to the SPM plenary approval session, and decides that CLAs should be consulted to ensure that the SPM is fully consistent with findings in the main report.
• On the procedure for handling potential errors the Panel adopts the proposed Protocol for Addressing Possible Errors in Previous Assessment Reports with minor amendments.
• On evaluation of evidence and treatment of uncertainty, the Panel endorsed the common approach to the treatment of uncertainties as described in the Guidance Paper on Uncertainties, for application to Assessment Reports, Special Reports, SYR, and Technical Papers.
• On IPCC guidance material, the Panel decides to further consider the procedure for developing, revising and classifying guidance materials.
The Panel also decides to extend the mandate of the Task Group on Procedures to address, inter alia: relevant inconsistencies in current procedures; selection of participants to IPCC workshops and expert meetings; matters related to transparency, quality and efficiency of the review process; anonymous expert review; and SPM approval sessions.
GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT: This issue (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.10 and IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.10, Add.1) was first taken up in plenary on Tuesday morning. The Co-Chairs of the Task Group on Governance and Management, David Warrilow (UK) and Taha Zatari (Saudi Arabia) presented the work of the Task Group, noting issues such as the terms of reference (ToR) for an Executive Committee, including voting, ToR for the Bureau, terms of office, and the creation of an “Executive Director” position. A contact group, co-chaired by Warrilow and Zatari, was established and met throughout the session. Drafting groups were also convened.
The two outstanding issues considered by the group were the establishment of an Executive Committee and setting terms of office for the IPCC Chair and others, as recommended by the IAC Review. The Panel also had to, among other things, respond to the IAC Review recommendation on the creation of an Executive Director.
On the establishment of an Executive Committee, the overarching issue was how much power to give to the Committee. This translated into issues such as: the overlap of the Committee with the Panel and Bureau; its composition; what type of decisions the Committee could take and on what matters; its role in providing guidance or advice; whether there would be voting in the Committee; transparency in the Committee’s decisions; and regional representation. With regard to the potential overlap between the Executive Committee and the Bureau, an additional issue was the lack of formal ToR for the Bureau. As Co-Chair Zatari noted in plenary, many parties saw the necessity to agree to ToR for the Bureau in order to reach agreement on those of the Executive Committee. The ToR for the Bureau were also considered, with the main issues including the Bureau’s objective, its guidance vs. advisory role, its role in the IPCC Assessment Reports, its role in addressing errors, and its members’ qualifications.
On terms of office, the main issues were whether to limit the term of office to one or two terms, and how to ensure continuity and institutional memory between assessment cycles.
On the recommendation for the creation of an “Executive Director,” there was broad agreement that this recommendation did not fit within the UN context, and work focused instead on the terms of a “Head of Secretariat,” which remained largely as presently defined.
Another issue discussed was which responsibilities the Bureau and Executive Committee would undertake regarding the implementation of conflict of interest policy. Cognizant of the extension of the mandate of the Conflict of Interest Policy Task Group, the Panel decided to note in a footnote to the report of the meeting that this issue needed further consideration.
Final Decision: In its decision, the Panel decides on several issues.
On the Executive Committee, the Panel, among others:
• establishes an Executive Committee, with the purpose to strengthen and facilitate implementation of the IPCC Programme of Work and advise the Bureau;
• defines the ToR of the Executive Committee, as, inter alia, to: address urgent issues related to IPCC products and Programme of Work between sessions; undertake communication and outreach activities; oversee the response to possible errors in completed assessments and other IPCC products; and strengthen coordination between WGs and Task Forces on issues pertaining to the production of IPCC products. It decides that those ToR will be reviewed before the formation of the next Bureau;
• defines the Members of the Executive Committee as the IPCC Chair (acting as Chair of the Executive Committee), the IPCC Vice Chairs, and the Co-Chairs of WGs I, II, III and of the TFI. The Head of the Secretariat and the four Heads of the TSUs are included as Advisory Members. The Panel also allows for the invitation of additional individuals;
• decides that the Executive Committee will operate by consensus and, if no consensus is reached, the IPCC Chair may take a final decision, which should be reported to the Panel; and
• decides that the Executive Committee is accountable to the Panel, and should report its activities to the Panel and Bureau.
On terms of office, the Panel decides, inter alia:
• to restrict the term of office to one term for the IPCC Chair, Vice Chairs and WG and TFI Co-Chairs, with the provision of a possible nomination for re-election for one further term in the same office if the Panel so decides;
• that the limitation shall be applied for the next and subsequent terms; and
• to consider the issue of continuity between Chairs at IPCC-34 as part of the review of election procedures.
On the creation of an “Executive Director,” the Panel decides, among others:
• that the Head of the IPCC Secretariat should continue to be an appointed position and not elected, with its functions remaining largely as presently defined; and
• to review staff matters at IPCC-34.
On ToR for the Bureau, the Panel, among others, decides:
• to define the purpose of the Bureau as to, inter alia, provide guidance to the Panel on scientific and technical aspects, advise on management and strategic issues, and take decisions on specific issues within its mandate;
• that the Bureau will advise the IPCC Chair on issues including conduct of the IPCC sessions, application of IPCC principles and procedures, and technical or scientific communication matters;
• with respect to IPCC products that the Bureau will, among others, develop and agree on the list of authors, review editors and expert reviewers, oversee scientific quality, and participate in the response to possible errors;
• that the Bureau will also take decisions on scientific issues relating to the drafting of reports, oversee the implementation of the communications strategy, and review requests for observer organizations;
• that Bureau members have a responsibility to declare interests in according to the IPCC conflict of interest policy, maintain the reputation of the IPCC and promote its products; and
• that Bureau members should have appropriate scientific and technical qualifications and experience.
The Panel also decides, inter alia, to extend the mandate of the Task Group, with open participation, and to elaborate ToR of the Secretariat for consideration at IPCC-34.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY: This issue (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.11 and Add.1) was first taken up by the plenary on Tuesday, and then in various contact group meetings co-chaired by Todd Krieble (New Zealand) and Munjurul Hannan Khan (Bangladesh), with Jim Skea (UK) as Rapporteur. This responded to the IAC recommendation that the IPCC should develop and adopt a rigorous conflict of interest policy that applies to all individuals directly involved in the preparation of IPCC reports, including senior IPCC leadership, authors, editors and technical staff.
Discussions centered on the proposal by the Task Group on Conflict of Interest Policy, including: definition and scope of the policy; distinction between disclosure, transparency and exclusion; distinction between bias and conflict of interest; financial, professional and other non-financial interests, including family and personal relationships; “real” vs. “apparent” conflict of interest; implementation and a disclosure form; possible establishment and governance of a Conflict of Interest Committee; and the transition of the existing interim policies that are currently implemented or under design in the Working Groups.
Most of the discussion was dedicated to conclude the Conflict of Interest Policy, with drafting groups working on issues such as: whether the policy should be designed to “manage” or “eliminate” compromising situations; how to define significant and relevant financial and non-financial interests; how to handle conflict of interests arising from different levels of responsibility in the IPCC; how to balance between encouraging participation and ensuring the rigor of the policy; and whether involvement in a government delegation to the IPCC or UNFCCC should be considered as a non-financial interest and should be disclosed.
Many said the execution of the policy should reflect the various roles, responsibilities, and levels of authority of participants within the IPCC process. Some participants said that liability should not be assigned to those without related direct responsibilities, noting that many contributors to the IPCC are volunteers and lack of policy differentiation on this matter would discourage participation.
On participation in government delegations, some participants objected to language stating that “involvement in a government delegation to the IPCC or UNFCCC should be disclosed,” given the limited resources of expertise on both climate science and policy in many countries. Others proposed to handle the issue by using a code of conduct and a disclosure form. The group agreed to remove reference to participation in government delegations and to refer more generally to “associations with organizations with an interest in the topic of the IPCC report or product to which the individual is contributing.”
To identify what constitutes “significant and relevant” financial and non-financial interests, some participants proposed to use a fixed figure or threshold to categorize different cases. However, agreement on this could not be reached and the group decided to have the Task Group consider this further.
During the final plenary, there was extended discussion on whether financial interests of any person with whom the individual has had a “personal relationship” should be disclosed. Slovenia, the Russian Federation, Maldives, Peru and others opposed such a reference, while the US, supported by Canada, suggested using “family relationship” to capture the concepts of “spouse and minor children” as written in the original version of the Task Group proposal. Noting the existence of various cultural contexts and individual lifestyles, Chair Pachauri and others expressed concern with the mention of “family” and supported a proposal by the UK that referred instead to “shared financial relationship.” The Panel finally agreed that individuals should disclose significant and relevant financial interests of any person with whom the individual has a substantial business or “relevant shared interest.”
There was also extensive discussion on the timeline for the IPCC to implement the Conflict of Interest Policy. Noting a sense of urgency and the need to send a positive signal to the public, the US, with the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Slovenia and others, called for implementation “no later” than the 35th session. Peru and others opposed, preferring the more general reference “as soon as possible.” Zambia and others suggested “preferably” by IPCC-35.
The UK noted the irony that “individuals in the room” were involved in negotiating a Conflict of Interest Policy to which they themselves could be subjected to. Addressing Peru’s and others concerns that the IPCC would risk criticism again if, for whatever reason, the Panel was not able to deliver on time, the Netherlands offered to provide an explanation to the public if the Panel does not meet its deadline. The Panel then agreed to implement the policy “no later than the 35th session.”
Final Decision: In its decision, the Panel, inter alia:
• adopts an IPCC Conflict of Interest Policy, as provided in Appendix 1 to this decision;
• extends the mandate of the Task Group on Conflict of Interest Policy in order to develop proposals for Annexes to the Policy covering Implementation and the Disclosure Form with a view to adopting a decision at the 34th session of the IPCC;
• decides to work towards actions for early implementation of the Policy with a view to brining all those covered by the Policy within its remit as early as possible during the Fifth Assessment cycle and no later than the 35th session of the IPCC;
• noting that WG I and II, and the TFI, have implemented and WG III is in the process of designing, interim Conflict of Interest Policies that are broadly consistent with the IPCC Conflict of Interest Policy, invites: the Task Group to consult the WGs and the Task Force in development of proposals for Annexes on Implementation and the Disclosure Form; the Task Group to develop proposals for implementation that assign the primary role for implementation of the Policy with respect to CLAs, lead authors and review editors to the WGs and the TFI; and the WGs and the TFI, in taking forward their activities under the Fifth Assessment cycle, to take note of the Conflict of Interest Policy and ensure, as far as possible, that their actions are consistent with the Conflict of Interest Policy.
The purpose of the Conflict of Interest Policy includes:
• to protect the legitimacy, integrity, trust and credibility of the IPCC and of those directly involved in the preparation of IPCC reports and activities;
• to encourage participation and to ensure that the representativeness and geographic balance of the Panel is not impaired while continuing to build and maintain public trust;
• to ensure that conflicts of interest are identified, communicated to the relevant parties, and managed to avoid any adverse impact on IPCC’s balance, products and processes; and
• to maintain the balance between the need to minimize the reporting burden and to ensure the integrity of the IPCC process.
The Conflict of Interest Policy also:
• is principles-based and does not provide an exhaustive list of criteria for the identification of such conflicts;
• applies to senior IPCC leadership (the IPCC Chair, Vice Chairs, Working Group and Task Force Co-Chairs), other members of the IPCC Bureau and members of the Task Force Bureau, authors with responsibilities for report content (Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors), Review Editors, and the professional staff of the Technical Support Units;
• applies to the development of all IPCC products, including but not limited to assessment reports, special reports, methodology reports, and technical papers;
• will be executed to reflect the various roles, responsibilities and levels of authority of participants in the IPCC process. In particular, consideration should be given to whether responsibility is held at an individual level or shared within a team, to the level of influence held over the content of IPCC products; and
• establishes that individuals directly involved in or leading the preparation of IPCC reports should avoid being in a position to approve, adopt, or accept on behalf of any government the text in which he/she was directly involved.
“Conflict of interest” refers to any current professional, financial or other interest that could significantly impair the individual’s objectivity in carrying out his or her duties and responsibilities for the IPCC, or create an unfair advantage for any person or organization. For the purposes of this policy, circumstances that could lead to a reasonable person to question an individual’s objectivity, or whether an unfair advantage has been created, constitute a potential conflict of interest. These potential conflicts are subject to disclosure.
What should be disclosed includes, among others:
• significant and relevant professional and other non-financial interests, which may include, but are not limited to: senior editorial roles; participation in advisory committees associated with private sector organizations; and membership on boards of non-profit or advocacy groups, noting that not all such associations necessarily constitute a conflict of interest;
• significant and relevant financial interests, which may include, but are not limited to: employment relationships; consulting relationships; financial investments; intellectual property interests; commercial interests; and sources of private-sector research support; and
• significant and relevant financial interests of any person with whom the individual has a substantial business or relevant shared interest.
COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY: In the opening plenary on Tuesday, Secretary Christ introduced the proposal by the Task Group on Communications Strategy (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.13) and the progress report on communications and outreach (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.6, Corr.1). Darren Goetze (Canada), Co-Chair of the Task Group on Communications Strategy, outlined the main elements in the proposal, noting that it is a consensus and guidance document, proposed for approval at this session and to be elaborated in future sessions.
Austria stressed the urgent need for a senior communications officer to prepare the IPCC to respond to offensive media campaigns, and called for prioritizing the protection of authors and Chairs of the IPCC. Germany called on the IPCC to adapt to the increasing demand for public awareness, and called for prolonging the mandate of the Task Groups as needed for the completion of AR5.
A contact group, co-chaired by Goetze and Antonina Ivanova (Mexico), convened on Tuesday and Wednesday, with drafting group meetings throughout the session. On Wednesday, the group presented a revised text in plenary and received comments for further work. On languages of communication, Switzerland, with Austria, Spain, France, the Russian Federation and others, opposed an explicit statement that the working language of the IPCC is English, and asked for expanding the translations of the IPCC reports to non-UN language, ensuring the accuracy of translations. Secretary Christ noted that, bearing in mind financial implications, the Secretariat could support national focal points for translation of IPCC products into non-UN languages. On the guidelines regarding selecting authorized IPCC spokespersons, Co-Chair Goetze explained that the guidelines could help identify a group of spokespersons allowing the IPCC to speak credibly about its products and processes, noting that the primary spokespersons could authorize designation.
On interactions between the press and the IPCC, WGII Co-Chair Christopher Field (US) referred to a newly-launched experiment crafted jointly by the three WG Co-Chairs, whereby a limited number of accredited journalists would be able to cover, under Chatham House rules and subject to specific guidelines, the IPCC Expert Meeting on Geoengineering in June 2011. Co-Chair Field added that lessons learned from that experience could provide substantial input to the development of the IPCC communications strategy. The US, Austria, and others, however, cautioned against the risks of exposing the IPCC expert meetings in the media. The Panel did not take a decision on this specific issue.
Final Decision: In its decision, the Panel:
• accepts the “Guidance on IPCC Communications Strategy”;
• requests the Secretariat to elaborate an IPCC Communications Strategy in line with the Guidance, and to deliver the Strategy, accompanied by an analysis of financial implications, for approval at IPCC-34;
• requests the Secretariat to include a proposal for a formal set of procedures related to the Strategy, including a contingency plan for managing rapidly-escalating communication needs, such as those that risk causing a serious reputational damage;
• requests the Secretariat to report on evaluation metrics to assess the effectiveness of IPCC communications; and
• decides that the Guidance applies to the Secretariat, Bureau, and the Executive Committee, while the IPCC Communications Strategy is in development.
The Guidance on IPCC Communications Strategy, among others:
• establishes a set of principles, including being: objective and transparent; policy relevant but not prescriptive; drawn from IPCC reports; recognizing the IPCC as a unique organization; and timely and audience-appropriate;
• defines the scope of overall IPCC communications;
• defines the target audiences;
• addresses languages of communication;
• provides guidelines for, among others: spokesperson representation and selection; rapid response; errors; and media training; and
• establishes the limits of IPCC communication.
ADMISSION OF OBSERVER ORGANIZATIONS
On Wednesday afternoon, IPCC Deputy Secretary Gaetano Leone introduced this issue (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.5, Rev.1) in plenary. The Panel adopted the document as presented.
RULES OF PROCEDURES FOR THE ELECTION OF THE IPCC BUREAU AND ANY TASK FORCE BUREAU
This item was first considered on Tuesday in plenary. Secretary Christ noted that this item was the result of the election process at IPCC-29, and announced that no work has been done on this issue since IPCC-32, given the overlap with the work of the Task Groups dealing with the IAC review recommendations.
On Thursday afternoon, the Panel decided to address this matter as it arises in the groups dealing with the IAC recommendations.
ACTIVITIES OF THE TASK FORCE ON NATIONAL GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORIES (TFI)
This issue (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.7) was taken up by the Panel on Wednesday afternoon. TFI Co-Chair Thelma Krug (Brazil) referred to an invitation made by UNFCCC SBSTA-33 to prepare additional guidance on wetlands focusing on the rewetting and restoration of peatlands to address gaps in the 2006 IPCC Guidelines. She explained that in response to the invitation, the IPCC held an Expert Meeting on Scoping Additional Guidance on Wetlands at the end of March 2011, which produced draft terms of reference, including a chapter outline and work plan for a “2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands,” to be adopted by IPCC-36 in 2013. The work would aim to develop national-level inventory methodological guidance on wetlands, including default emission factor values, to complement the 2006 IPCC Guidelines. Mali, Benin, Sudan and others welcomed the proposal. Canada called for focusing on the anthropogenic impact on wetlands. The Panel approved the proposal and work plan, taking into account the suggestion made by Canada.
MATTERS RELATED TO THE UNFCCC AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL BODIES
This issue was addressed by the plenary on Thursday afternoon. On matters related to the UNFCCC, the Panel addressed a letter by the UNFCCC Executive Secretary expecting and urging that all products of the AR5, including the SYR, be completed by June 2014, to allow its scientific assessments to be used for the UNFCCC review of the adequacy of the goal of limiting average global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and the overall progress towards achieving such goal. Noting that it would be impossible to move forward the timetable for finalizing AR5 products and completing the SYR before October 2014, the Panel agreed to initiate a dialogue with the UNFCCC and figure out a way to present policy-relevant information and ensure that the UNFCCC gets the full benefit of all available AR5 products, including all WG reports and Special Reports, in time for the review.
On matters related to UNEP, Secretary Christ explained IPCC activities at the UNEP Governing Council, including participation in a side event on Environmental Assessment Processes. Noting the interest from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to learn from IPCC experience and procedures, she urged delegates to communicate with the relevant actors back in their respective capitals.
On matters related to the WMO, Chair Pachauri, following a request by Switzerland, introduced documentation relevant to the IPCC on the upcoming 16th WMO Congress (IPCC-XXXIII/INF.5), including: a proposal to add a professional position in the IPCC Secretariat to strengthen scientific capacity, funded through the WMO financial contribution to the IPCC Trust Fund; and noting the need for a special report on climate services. Germany, Japan, Mexico, Austria and others opposed changing the WMO’s contribution from in-cash to in-kind, and with WGI Co-Chair Thomas Stocker (Switzerland), said that strengthening the scientific capacity of the Secretariat was not a priority. The US and others expressed concerns for the IPCC to undertake the proposed special report on climate services. The Panel decided that Chair Pachauri will convey those responses to the WMO Congress.
AR5, PROGRESS REPORTS OF WORKING GROUPS I, II AND III: On Thursday afternoon, the Working Group Co-Chairs introduced progress since IPCC-32. WGI Co-Chair Thomas Stocker presented the development of work, scientific preparation, and direct activities undertaken contributing to the AR5 (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.16). WGII Co-Chair Christopher Field highlighted the implementation of technology support tools and regional authors’ training (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.3). Stressing the series of Lead Authors’ meetings ahead for AR5, WGIII Co-Chair Youba Sokona highlighted the development of new socioeconomic scenarios for impacts assessment, and the refined outline on human settlement, water, energy and transport infrastructure.
SPECIAL REPORT ON MANAGING THE RISKS OF EXTREME EVENTS AND DISASTERS TO ADVANCE CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION (SREX): WGII Co-Chair Vicente Barros (Argentina) introduced this issue (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.17), providing an overview of past SREX meetings and outlining the calendar until the expected approval of SREX in November 2011.
TASK GROUP ON DATA AND SCENARIO SUPPORT FOR IMPACT AND CLIMATE ANALYSIS (TGICA): WGII Co-Chair Field introduced the issue (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.19). He said TGICA had initiated an “experimental” process by naming Co-Chairs-elect, in order to ensure continuity. He announced that Rachel Warren (UK) had already been elected and the process was underway to select a developing country Co-Chair-elect.
DEVELOPMENT OF NEW SCENARIOS: WGII Co-Chair Field introduced the issue (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.4), noting a workshop on socioeconomic scenarios and ongoing work on a new generation of socioeconomic scenarios, aimed at providing narrative and quantitative socioeconomic conditions decoupled from emissions pathways.
IPCC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME: On Thursday afternoon, Secretary Christ noted that there had been approximately 1,000 qualified applications, which were reduced to a short list of 110 candidates, resulting in the finalists presented in document IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.14. She highlighted ongoing efforts to collaborate with foundations and other organizations, and management challenges of the Programme.
ANY OTHER PROGRESS REPORTS: On Thursday afternoon, Secretary Christ presented a Communications and Outreach Report (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.6, Corr.1), including information on media requests, partnerships with UN organizations, outreach events and participation in events, and the website.
OTHER BUSINESS AND CLOSING OF THE SESSION
Secretary Christ announced that IPCC-34 will be held on 18-19 November 2011, back-to-back with the Joint WGI/WGII meeting on the SREX on 14-17 November 2011. She said that due to recent developments in the last two days the venue cannot yet be confirmed, but that it will be in East Africa, and will be announced on the IPCC website once confirmed.
In his concluding remarks, Chair Pachauri thanked the United Arab Emirates for their hospitality, the conference staff, interpreters, Secretariat and delegates. The session closed at 6:28 pm with a musical performance by Francis Hayes, conference officer, celebrating his retirement.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF IPCC-33
Throughout its history, the IPCC has been a balancing act, attempting to incorporate the views and perspectives of governments without compromising what the best available science tells us about climate change. The IPCC’s success has been recognized by the policy and scientific communities, as well as the public at large, notably when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. However, events in late 2009 and early 2010, including the discovery of a few high-profile errors in the Fourth Assessment Report, the response of the Panel to those errors, and perceived conflicts of interest and faux-pas by IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri, led to an erosion of the credibility of the IPCC, its products and procedures. The public and political impact of those events was magnified by the failure of the 2009 UN Copenhagen Climate Conference to reach an agreement, as well as the “climate-gate” campaign, which increased skepticism about climate change science in general. These events left the IPCC unfamiliarly unbalanced, and resulted in an external review on the IPCC commissioned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the IPCC itself, and conducted by the InterAcademy Council (IAC).
The IAC presented its review and recommendations in the summer of 2010, and the IPCC responded positively to the review at its last session in October 2010 and even took immediate action on some of the recommendations. The more difficult issues—those that touch upon the structure, governance and practices of the institution—were deferred to IPCC-33. These included changes in its governance and management, the creation and implementation of a conflict of interest policy, and amendments to the rules of procedures. These issues are delicate and involve walking a fine line—one that gets precisely at the heart of IPCC’s idiosyncrasies and uniqueness: a body that is both scientific and political, providing assessments that are policy relevant but non-prescriptive. How IPCC-33 addressed this charged agenda, and how its decisions fit in the overall process, is the subject of this brief analysis.
When the first plenary opened on Tuesday morning, most participants were already exhausted from the long nights and tortured approval of the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) the previous week. They were then faced with a heavy agenda addressing fundamental issues that could not be easily or legitimately postponed, issues that are intrinsically difficult, such as who makes a decision? What constitutes a “real” or an “apparent” conflict of interest? As one delegate said, these are all tricky matters and there’s “a bit of grey all over.”
The need to find balance was the most often heard expression at IPCC-33. In designing a conflict of interest policy, for example, balance was needed to ensure the rigor of the policy and credibility of the IPCC, while managing not to discourage participation or increasing the reporting burden. When adapting the governance structure, balance was needed between creating an Executive Committee that works effectively but is representative of the Panel, a Committee that can make decisions, yet, in the words expressed in plenary, “does not have carte blanche.” In limiting the terms of office, balance was needed between limiting the excessive influence of individuals over the Panel, and maintaining institutional memory. In changing the rules of procedures, balance had to be found between making the drafts and comments of reports publicly available, while protecting authors, respecting work done in confidence. As explained in the conference room paper prepared by the Co-Chairs of the contact group on procedures, “On one hand, there is a need for transparency and openness of the assessment process. On the other hand, publicizing drafts has serious drawbacks. There is a risk that drafts contain errors or statements that are still unbalanced and that have to be corrected at a later stage. These could prematurely circulate in the public domain, creating confusion, and that would be a bad service of IPCC to society.”
The aim for balance was also literally in the decision on the selection of Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors, with the Panel agreeing that the procedures “should be amended by including the notion that gender balance, and a balance in the mixture of scientific experts with and without experience in the IPCC process should be taken into account.”
The process itself hinged on matters of balance: between allowing time for adequate consideration of complicated issues, and promptly sending a positive message that the IPCC is capable and serious about correcting past mistakes.
JUDGE AND PARTY?
Perhaps the agenda item that best highlighted the challenges of maintaining balance that have come to characterize the IPCC was the Conflict of Interest Policy. Responding to the IAC recommendation that the IPCC should “develop and adopt a rigorous conflict of interest policy that applies to all individuals involved in the preparation of IPCC reports, including IPCC leadership…”, the Panel had decided at the last session to adopt such a policy here in Abu Dhabi. That there was an inherent conflict of interest—whether “real” or “apparent”—in having participants involved in the approval of a conflict of interest policy that would apply to them could hardly escape notice, and was openly stated in the final plenary.
The way that the IPCC has historically addressed the potential for conflict of interest in its reports is by relying on a balance of views. In response to the accusation that an author was an active member of an environmental NGO, the IPCC could often point to another author working in the same team with ties to industry. In this way, “neutrality” was achieved not so much by finding pure, “objective” voices, but by including the range of views.
This balanced representation is not possible in leadership positions, where there are no counterparts to balance things out. The Panel, therefore, agreed that the policy should be executed to reflect the various roles, responsibilities and levels of authority of participants in the IPCC process. It has been made clear that, when it comes to leadership positions, the perception of conflict of interest is more untenable and the credibility of the institution as a whole is bound to suffer if it occurs.
A more thorny issue, however, was the potential for problems related to having individuals serving as both scientific experts and government delegates. This places an individual in a situation where he or she might be judging the adequacy of work that he or she had helped to produce. Yet having scientists on government delegations is in many ways a strength of the process, and it would be difficult for many small delegations to participate if it were not for some of these individuals. Still, there are moments when distinguishing between these roles must be difficult. The agreed Policy therefore states that “to prevent situations in which a conflict of interest may arise, individuals directly involved in or leading to the preparation of IPCC reports should avoid being in a position to approve, adopt or accept on behalf of a government the text in which he/she was directly involved.”
THE OVERALL PICTURE: BALANCE AND COMPOSITION
In a way, the IPCC was fortunate with the timing of the public scandal and resulting IAC Review, as it came at a relatively calm time, with assessment work for the AR5 already started at the working group level but still not on the table of the plenary. It is also worth noting that several of the changes adopted as a result of the review were in some form already there. For example, the establishment of an Executive Committee is in many ways a formalization of the informal Executive Team (E-Team), but with added transparency, accountability and clarity regarding decision-making. Likewise, the urgent need for a proper communications strategy had long been identified and commenced, resulting in prompt adoption at this session of the Guidance on IPCC Communications Strategy.
Some participants, pointing to the source of the recent IPCC problems, suggested that perhaps all this work represented an over-reaction: that improvements in basic procedures (including, for example, an strengthened role for review editors), along with a change in management and an effective communications strategy, would have gone a long way towards addressing the gaps made evident by the mistakes and missteps that led to the IAC Review.
Still, many also feel that a call of attention to the Panel should be welcomed. A hard look at the procedures and policies and stricter search for errors can always help. The conjuncture also obliges the Panel to make decisions that, given their diplomatically sensitive nature, would have been easier to postpone. Although some key work was forwarded to the next meeting, such as implementation of the Conflict of Interest Policy, many delegates noted that decisions taken at this session actually manage to strike a balance. It is too early to know, but IPCC could come out of the crisis stronger—with stronger governance, better policies, and improved procedures. The decisions taken at IPCC-32 and 33, together with those expected at IPCC-34, will lay the foundation to regain and strengthen the IPCC’s credibility. The next step, however, is not entirely in the IPCC’s hands, as it will depend in part on the role that climate change and science play on both the public and political agendas.
IPCC Working Group II - Fourth SREX Lead Authors Meeting: This meeting, hosted by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility of Griffith University, will convene the lead authors of the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). dates: 16-19 May 2011 location: Gold Coast, Australia contact: IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit phone: +1-650-223-6929 fax: +1-650-462-5968 email:[email protected] www: http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/extremes-sr/index.html
Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress: At its sixteenth session, the supreme body of the WMO will consider, inter alia, the Global Framework for Climate Services, the Global Climate Observing System, and matters related to the IPCC. dates: 16 May - 3 June 2011 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: World Meteorological Organization phone: +41-22-730-8111 fax: +41-22-730-8181 email:[email protected] www: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/lsp/congress/index_en.php
World Bank Writing Meeting for Report on Adaptation to a Changing Climate in Arab Countries: The World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) is developing a regional Climate Change Flagship Report, “Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries.” This meeting will be held to prepare the first draft of the report, ready for formal public review. Preferences will be given to early career professionals and to engaging new contributors from the full geographic range of the Arab region. dates: 1-5 June 2011 location: Marseille, France www: http://go.worldbank.org/BXRDYJ39L0
UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies: The 34th sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) will take place in June 2011, along with meetings of the Ad Hoc Working Groups (AWGs). dates: 6-17 June 2011 location: Bonn, Germany contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 email:[email protected] www: http://unfccc.int/
Joint IPCC Expert Meeting of WGI, WGII and WGIII on Geoengineering: IPCC will address the physical science basis of geoengineering in several chapters of the WGI contribution to AR5. WGII will address the impacts of geoengineering proposals on human and natural systems, and WGIII needs to take into account the possible impacts and side effects and their implications for mitigation cost to define the role of geoengineering within the portfolio of response options to anthropogenic climate change, including an evaluation of options for appropriate governance mechanisms. dates: 20-22 June 2011 location: Lima, Peru contact: IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit phone: +1-650-223-6929 fax: +1-650-462-5968 email:[email protected] www: http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/meetings/EMs/index.html#5
Vienna Energy Conference 2011: This Conference, organized by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), will convene under the banner “Energy for All: Time for Action.” Core themes to be addressed will include: agreeing on a common understanding of energy access; agreeing on a strategy to ensure universal access to modern energy services and increase energy efficiency by reducing energy intensity by 40% until 2030; identifying indicative targets and policies in support of these objectives; and prioritizing key national and regional actions on energy access and energy efficiency. dates: 21-23 June 2011 location: Vienna, Austria contact: UNIDO Secretariat email:[email protected] www: http://www.unido.org/index.php?id=1001185
IPCC Joint Expert Meeting of WGII and WGIII on Economic Analysis, Costing Methods and Ethics: This IPCC expert meeting will address topics such as: identification and comparison of metrics; measuring risk and valuing information; technical change; adaptation as an economic process; integrated assessment; behavioral dimensions; intra- and intergenerational justice and costs; economic and ethical implications of decision making under uncertainty; social cost-benefit analysis; and optimal carbon prices in second-best settings. dates: 23-25 June 2011 location: Lima, Peru contact: IPCC WGII Technical Support Unit phone: +1-650-462-1047 x 229 fax: +1-650-462-5968 email:[email protected] www: http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/meetings/EMs/index.html#5
CGRFA Special Event on Climate Change: This special event will precede the 13th Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), which will be held from 18-23 July 2011. date: 16 July 2011 location: Rome, Italy contact: Ms. Eva Hain, CGFRA Secretariat fax: +39-6-57055246 email:[email protected] www: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/nr/documents/CGRFA/EN_DaftAgenda_CC_Final.pdf
John Tyndall Conference 2011: The Royal Irish Academy and the Irish Environmental Protection Agency are holding a conference to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of John Tyndall’s breakthrough experimental work on the absorption of infrared radiation by various atmospheric gases. The conference topics include Greenhouse Warming Potentials and other metrics for comparison of radiatively active substances and current science on climate feedbacks. dates: 28-30 September 2011 location: Dublin, Ireland contact: Clara Clark event management phone: +353-1-2898533 email:[email protected] www: www.tyndallconference2011.org
WRCP – Climate Research in Service to Society: Co-sponsored by WMO, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Open Science Conference (OSC) on “Climate Research in Service to Society” will identify key scientific challenges and opportunities to advance understanding and prediction of variability and change of the Earth’s climate system on all space and time scales. dates: 24-28 October 2011 location: Denver, Colorado, USA contact: WCRP Joint Planning Staff phone: +41-22-730-8111 fax: +41-22-730-8036 email:[email protected] www: http://conference2011.wcrp-climate.org/
Joint WGI and WGII Session: This meeting is scheduled to approve the SREX Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and accept underlying document. dates: 14-17 November 2011 location: East Africa (to be confirmed) contact: IPCC Secretariat phone: +41-22-730-8208 fax: +41-22-730-8025 email:[email protected] www: http://www.ipcc.ch/
IPCC 34th Session: The 34th session of the IPCC will consider the SREX report scheduled to be approved by the preceding joint sessions of IPCC Working Groups I and II. The session will also continue consideration of the IPCC review among other matters. dates: 18-19 November 2011 location: East Africa (to be confirmed) contact: IPCC Secretariat phone: +41-22-730-8208 fax: +41-22-730-8025 email:[email protected] www: http://www.ipcc.ch/