Vol. 12 No. 246
The 22nd session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) opened on Tuesday in New Delhi, India. In the morning, delegates heard opening addresses, approved the IPCC-21 draft report, and listened to Working Group (WG) progress reports on their contributions to AR4. In the afternoon, delegates heard updates on work on the Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System, on the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, on the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, and of the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA). They also began discussions on scope and content of, and the process for, an AR4 Synthesis Report (SYR). Contact groups on outreach and on the IPCC programme budget also met.
OPENING OF THE SESSION
Prodipto Ghosh, Secretary, Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, highlighted the IPCC’s service to the Parties to the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol and the policymaking community in general. R.K. Pachauri, IPCC Chair, said the IPCC must respect the perspectives of each member and that each member must respect the perspectives of the Panel. He emphasized the importance of timing outputs with the global community’s policy agenda, and the need for greater coordination and integration among the WGs.
Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General, highlighted the scientific input the IPCC would provide to the UNFCCC COP-10, the International Meeting for the 10-Year Review of the Barbados Programme of Action for small island developing States, and the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR). He said the IPCC’s flexibility should enable it to address other issues and emphasized the importance of the cross-cutting theme on water.
Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, described the IPCC as an outstanding model of cooperation and integration between science and policy. He highlighted the significance of the IPCC’s work for related policy processes beyond those focused on climate change. He noted that AR4 involves more women and developing country authors than did TAR.
Halldór Thorgeirsson, UNFCCC SBSTA Coordinator, noted that, following ratification by the Russian Federation, the Kyoto Protocol is now expected to enter into force in February 2005. He stressed the need to support adaptation to climate change, noting also the roles of the UNFCCC and WCDR. Pointing to IPCC-related processes of importance to the UNFCCC, he reviewed work on climate monitoring, the ongoing revision of the greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting guidelines, and good practice guidance on land use, land-use change and forestry.
Thiru A. Raja, Minister of Environment and Forests, India, highlighted the significance of ensuring that AR4 findings reach the public at large. He stressed, inter alia, the need for AR4 to highlight research in developing countries and the importance of focusing on adaptation as well as on initiatives for controlling emissions.
APPROVAL OF THE IPCC-21 DRAFT REPORT
The report (IPCC-XXII/Doc.3) was approved with an amendment by SWITZERLAND clarifying an intervention on the outcomes of the meeting on processes affecting terrestrial carbon stocks and human influences upon them.
WG CONTRIBUTIONS TO AR4: WG I: Dahe Qin (China), WG I Co-Chair, highlighted progress towards the completion of WG I’s contribution to AR4 (IPCC-XXII/Doc.9), noting that Lead Authors and Review Editors have been selected and that a draft report will be presented in May 2005. He said WG I has developed an electronic system for easy access to documents and information.
WG II: Martin Parry (UK), WG II Co-Chair, introduced the WG II report (IPCC-XXII/Doc.10). He said the group is on course to produce its report in a timely manner, stating that it has selected authors, emphasizing the need for balanced geographic representation and involving scientists new to the IPCC. He outlined future steps and the incorporation of cross-cutting themes, including water.
WG III: Referring to WG III’s report (IPCC-XXXII/Doc.11), Ogunlade Davidson (Sierra Leone), WG III Co-Chair, said the group has attempted to increase regional representation on its AR4 team and introduce new authors into the writing process. He called attention to upcoming meetings on integrating adaptation and mitigation and sustainable development, and on emissions scenarios.
IRAN requested that the timetables for the zero-order drafts of the WGs should be adjusted to accelerate the completion of each report. INDIA urged that WG I’s online journal access be extended to other WGs. He also recommended that details of gender and geographical balance should be reported using the same categories for each WG.
AUSTRIA suggested that Plenary be briefed on the outcomes of the WG III meetings on emissions scenarios, given the high sensitivity and relevance of this information. SWITZERLAND stressed that politically sensitive questions should not be addressed technically.
SPECIAL REPORT ON SAFEGUARDING THE OZONE LAYER AND GLOBAL CLIMATE SYSTEM: Bert Metz (the Netherlands), WG III Co-Chair, introduced the report (IPCC-XXII/Doc.13/Rev.1), reviewed changes in the report’s scope and said it will be completed by April 2005.
SPECIAL REPORT ON CARBON DIOXIDE CAPTURE AND STORAGE: WG III Co-Chair Metz said completion of the report has been delayed until September 2005 to take full account of new literature in the field (IPCC-XXII/Doc.14). He noted an experiment in the review process being undertaken in which the expert review is being conducted anonymously to improve objectivity when responding to comments.
AUSTRIA, opposed by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, supported the experiment of using anonymous reviews. Chair Pachauri noted that the outcomes of this experiment would be discussed by the Panel in due course.
2006 IPCC GUIDELINES FOR NATIONAL GHG INVENTORIES: Thelma Krug (Brazil), Task Force on National GHG Inventories (TFI) Co-Chair, reported that five meetings have been held covering all five volumes of the guidelines (IPCC-XXII/Doc.12). She said methodologies for harvested wood products may be included, and noted that the guidelines would aim to provide further guidance on improving consistency of reporting of carbon dioxide emissions. Noting the complexity and uncertainties of the aerosol issues, Taka Hiraishi (Japan), TFI Co-Chair, highlighted alternative views on the timing of an expert meeting and noted that a small expert meeting would be convened in 2005 (IPCC-XXII/Doc.16). The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said volcanic aerosols should be addressed. AUSTRIA said the meeting should include experts from the UN Economic Commission for Europe. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said volcanic aerosols should be addressed.SWITZERLAND recommended continuing work on aerosols, but questioned further discussing methodologies for issues not fully resolved under the UNFCCC process, and advocated consultations with SBSTA.
TGICA: Renate Christ, IPCC Secretary, introduced the progress report on the TGICA, highlighting outcomes of the first meeting under its new mandate, held in September 2004 (IPCC-XXII/Doc.15). She noted that participants considered several issues, including facilitating access to new General Circulation Model (GCM) archives, capacity building, and socioeconomic data. The NETHERLANDS warned against misinterpreting output derived from TGICA datasets as “IPCC data.”
SCOPE, CONTENT AND PROCESS FOR AN AR4 SYR
Chair Pachauri outlined the proposal for an AR4 SYR (IPCC-XXII/Doc.5), describing the need for such a report, highlighting the suggestion that its length be limited to about 30 pages, and explaining that the proposed writing team would consist of four to six writers from each WG and be selected by the IPCC Chair in consultation with the WG Co-Chairs. IPCC Secretary Christ introduced two possible timelines, noting that both options take into account IPCC-XIX/Decision 6, whereby the SYR must be finalized in the last quarter of 2007.
Martin Manning (US), WG I Technical Support Unit (TSU), expressed concern regarding the proposed timeline for the presentation of an advance copy of AR4 SYR at UNFCCC COP-13 in November 2007. Supported by several others, he urged postponing a decision on timing. AUSTRIA suggested that the SYR writing team should be consulted to determine timing.
With AUSTRIA, MOROCCO, SUDAN, the UK, AUSTRALIA and others, NEW ZEALAND supported the production of AR4 SYR. He stressed the need for agreement on management, scope and timing of the SYR. Recalling discussions at IPCC-19, the US asked whether the SYR would address topics or questions. He pointed to potential problems related to drafting the SYR prior to approval of the WG reports. In response, Chair Pachauri noted that IPCC-19 had indicated general consensus on having topics rather than questions, but noted that this issue may not be substantive.
FRANCE suggested that AR4 SYR should review whether questions from TAR SYR have been answered. SWITZERLAND said AR4 SYR should present findings since TAR.
Numerous speakers stressed that the SYR should not be finalized in time for COP-13 at the expense of its quality. WG III Co-Chair Davidson stressed that quality is a given parameter, and, with the UK and BRAZIL, emphasized the importance of completing the report by COP-13 for its findings to reach policymakers. Noting the IPCCï¿½s ï¿½main customerï¿½ is the UNFCCC, GERMANY said the SYR must be finalized before COP-13. The UK said no SYR by COP-13 would represent a ï¿½retrograde stepï¿½ and make the IPCC ï¿½irrelevantï¿½ in the views of some. BRAZIL noted that it should not be presumed that timing will affect quality.
ITALY said the SYR should add value to the work of the WGs, provide an integrated vision and focus on cross-cutting elements. NORWAY supported employing a communications expert for producing text that is easily accessible to a broader audience. Discussions on AR4 SYR will continue in Plenary on Wednesday.
OUTREACH TASK GROUP: John Stone (Canada), Outreach Task Group Co-Chair, asked the group to consider fact sheets prepared by the Secretariat introducing the IPCC, its history, membership, procedures, and activities. Noting their usefulness, participants discussed the process for preparing the sheets and suggested that they be available in the six UN languages. Regarding fact sheets proposed at IPCC-21 on climate change and small island States, delegates expressed concern over the need for a different preparation process, with some participants proposing that the sheets should be treated as short technical papers. The Task Group will reconvene on Thursday to discuss outreach for the Special Reports on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System and on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, and for AR4.
FINANCIAL TASK FORCE: Marc Gillet (France), Task Force Co-Chair, requested comments on the IPCC Programme and Budget for 2005-8 (IPCC-XXII/Doc.4/Rev.1). Participants discussed advantages and disadvantages of a proposal to level the annual expenditure, requesting details on the implications of such a measure, given the IPCCï¿½s multi-year work programme. In order to advance the IPCC work programme, some participants stressed that contributions necessary for publication of AR4 should be collected prior to 2007. They questioned whether under-expenditure in some activities could compensate for over-expenditure elsewhere. They also addressed various options for the length and cost of IPCC-23 in 2005. Participants suggested documenting projections of expenditures and contributions. The three WG TSUs outlined expected adjustments in their budgets. The Task Force will reconvene on Wednesday.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As officials marked the opening of the meeting with a lamp-lighting ceremony, the production of a synthesis report for AR4 was widely considered to be the central issue of this session. While there was no lack of interventions on the issue, some participants expressed optimism at the apparent support for the reportï¿½s preparation and predicted smooth sailing for the rest of the session. Others predicted a lack of consensus on content and some warned that too much emphasis on quality might result in an overly-technical report.