Vol. 12 No. 247
The 22nd session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met for its second day on Wednesday. In the morning, delegates continued discussions on scope, content and process for an AR4 Synthesis Report. In the afternoon, delegates discussed AR4 products and IPCC outreach. Contact groups on scope, content and process for an AR4 Synthesis Report and on the IPCC programme and budget also met.
SCOPE, CONTENT AND PROCESS FOR AN AR4 SYNTHESIS REPORT
Dahe Qin, Working Group I Co-Chair, emphasized the close connection between timing and quality. Martin Manning, Working Group I Technical Support Unit, outlined ingredients necessary to achieve quality, including: allowing for flexibility in the selection of authors, with careful consideration of expertise and availability, and a fair and transparent review process. He recommended a sequential writing process, noting that the Working Group I schedule could be revised to prevent overlap with the Synthesis Report preparation. Martin Parry, Working Group II Co-Chair, favored a short Synthesis Report of about 30 pages, which would draw specifically on the Working Groups’ Summaries for Policymakers, and develop some linkages not otherwise drawn to the readers’ attention. He suggested that work on the Synthesis Report begin earlier, giving writers an opportunity to brainstorm about key issues and monitor their development in the Working Group Summaries for Policymakers.
Noting problems regarding differences in interpretation, MOLDOVA, supported by FINLAND, CUBA, the NETHERLANDS, CZECH REPUBLIC and others, said the Synthesis Report must be short and concise. CANADA said it must indicate where there has been progress and where uncertainties have been reduced since TAR. CUBA, COSTA RICA, PERU and others emphasized that the Synthesis Report must use inputs from the best experts with balanced geographic representation and, with SRI LANKA, EL SALVADOR and others, said cross-cutting themes should be integrated into the substance of the report.
MALAYSIA and ROMANIA supported the topic, rather than question format of the Synthesis Report. MALAYSIA and others stressed that the Synthesis Report should not contain new information, and reflect a true synthesis of the Working Group reports, as well as the special reports. INDIA said adaptation and mitigation should be addressed separately and, with NIGERIA, stressed the Synthesis Report’s importance, particularly for developing countries. MAURITIUS and others highlighted the value of the Synthesis Report in increasing public awareness.
The NETHERLANDS, with MEXICO, noted the need for overlap between the Working Group and Synthesis Report writing processes to allow re-examination by Working Groups of any inconsistencies identified by the Synthesis Report process. The US said that work on the Synthesis Report should not be initiated until completion of expert reviews of the Working Group reports, including the incorporation of comments into the reports. CHINA questioned the Synthesis Report’s added value and stated that if the Synthesis Report is prepared, it should provide a full explanation of uncertainties to avoid misleading policymakers. He proposed establishing a contact group for further consultations.
MALAWI, UGANDA, the NETHERLANDS, SPAIN, PERU and others underscored the need to produce the Synthesis Report by UNFCCC COP-13 in 2007. The US expressed concern that time constraints would compromise the preparation of a high quality report. BELGIUM said producing the Synthesis Report by COP-13 need not compromise quality, and opposed postponing delivery.
SPAIN, SWEDEN, ARGENTINA, KENYA, JAPAN and others supported taking a decision on the Synthesis Report at this session. The US suggested postponing the decision until the production schedule, and scope and content of the Synthesis Report have been adequately addressed. SAUDI ARABIA stressed the importance of agreeing on the content and substance of the report and of addressing the regional impacts of mitigation measures.
Chair Pachauri established a contact group to examine content and length of the Synthesis Report. The US, UK and CHINA suggested that the group consider timing issues as well. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION recommended that the group consider the inclusion of quantitative data in the Synthesis Report.
IPCC Secretary Christ introduced a document on AR4 Products (IPCC.XXII/Doc.6), noting that it reflected points raised by a contact group convened at the 31st Session of the IPCC Bureau in April 2004.
Several delegates supported the preparation of graphics for the Synthesis Report and the Working Group reports, but SWITZERLAND and BELGIUM questioned the estimated cost.
NEW ZEALAND stressed the importance of providing regionally relevant information and datasets, and SAUDI ARABIA called for addressing regional issues in the Working Group reports. Working Group II Co-Chair Parry described two possible approaches for indexing regional information. He explained that the first is based on a content analysis of the final text, while the second involves the authors making note of the topic and region concerned by each reference in the report. For the latter option, he noted the need to first discuss such an approach with authors. Not opposing the use of regional centers to disseminate information, SWITZERLAND stressed the need for integrity in the process of selecting information to be disseminated. AUSTRALIA said comprehensive indexing and cross-referencing of products enhances the utility of the Working Group reports and underlined the value of establishing an electronic search facility. CANADA stressed the need to explore the feasibility of introducing an index, noting that the IPCC is not the body to discuss how it is done. Jean Palutikof, Working Group II Technical Support Unit, stated that the AR4 process is too advanced to ask Lead Authors to index their work, as their terms of reference have already been agreed. GERMANY stressed the urgency of indexing regional information and the need to make a decision on outreach at this session.
On making models, datasets, scenarios and visualization tools available, the NETHERLANDS questioned labeling datasets or models as “IPCC approved,” but acknowledged the usefulness of making available supporting materials for graphs, referring to similar practices in science journals. DENMARK, with BELGIUM, called for easy access to graphs and tables in the final report, and asked that the translation of figure text be facilitated. Citing the need for transparency and accountability, BELGIUM and DENMARK called for making the simple model used to produce those graphics available with its source code and parameters. BELGIUM said user requirements for the technical papers must be determined.
John Stone, Outreach Task Group Co-Chair, reported on progress in the Task Group, explaining that discussions had focused on the fact sheets with broad agreement that they should be translated into the six UN languages and formally sent to governments. He noted that some participants suggested that fact sheets should be produced as guides or roadmaps to new reports and other participants proposed that fact sheets should include a statement making it clear that the materials they contain are derived from previously approved IPCC documents. He said the task group would reconvene on Thursday.
IPCC Secretary Christ introduced the document on outreach (IPCC-XXII/Doc.7), highlighting sections on interaction with the media and on the distribution of IPCC publications.
Several countries stressed the urgent need for developing an outreach strategy. CANADA called attention to meeting stakeholder needs, and CHINA suggested that governments and research institutions play an active role. AUSTRALIA, supported by GERMANY, called for examining the need for formal procedures. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION stressed the importance of raising awareness of IPCC activities through the mass media. BELGIUM noted the need for an outreach specialist in the Secretariat.
The NETHERLANDS, with the US, stressed the importance of reviewing fact sheets. On producing a list of speakers, AUSTRIA and BELGIUM said experts must be clear about the capacity in which they are speaking. Stressing the need for improved outreach in his region, IRAN, supported by AFGHANISTAN, proposed that the IPCC hold workshops focusing on Asia and the Middle East.
SWITZERLAND and BELGIUM recommended exploring synergies with activities taken under UNFCCC Article 6 (education, training and public awareness).
Working Group III Co-Chair Bert Metz warned against postponing a decision on outreach, noting that two upcoming Special Reports will be completed prior to IPCC-24.
FINANCIAL TASK FORCE: This group, co-chaired by Marc Gillet, met once in the morning and convened again in the evening. In the morning, participants addressed options for enhancing the flexibility of the budget to apply funding for unused journeys to one meeting to support additional participantsï¿½ travel to other meetings. Participants also debated the necessity of an increased budget for outreach.
In the evening, the Task Force continued to address the proposed budget for 2005-8. In particular, participants debated at length the feasibility of sponsoring Lead Authorsï¿½ participation in non-IPCC meetings, and discussed co-sponsoring workshops and the existing IPCC provisions and past experiences with such matters. Participants then turned to the draft decision on the Secretariatï¿½s programme and budget for 2005-8, discussing how and whether to reflect the annual carry-over amount of CHF 4 million, and the implications that this reference may have on contributions by governments. Some supported defining clearly the rationale for the carry-over.
SCOPE, CONTENT AND PROCESS FOR AN AR4 SYNTHESIS REPORT: This contact group, co-chaired by Geoff Love (Australia) and Ismail Elgizouli (Sudan), met in afternoon and evening sessions. The group discussed procedure, content, length and timing of the Synthesis Report. On content, delegates stressed that listing topics should not constrain authors but should instead provide guidance, with some stating that the debate was preliminary and that content should not be finalized at this time. Other issues raised with respect to specific topics included proposals to, inter alia: incorporate the concept of sustainable development in the overarching principles; add a reference to costs and benefits; integrate cross-cutting themes throughout the report; and include a section on robust findings and key uncertainties. No consensus was reached on the details of the topics to be addressed. On length, many countries agreed that a report of approximately 30 pages would be appropriate, but disagreed on whether it should also include a shorter Summary for Policymakers. On the timeline for preparing the Synthesis Report, several participants were concerned that the proposed timetable is too tight, noting in particular that it calls for approval by the IPCC one week prior to COP-13.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As discussions on the scope, timing, length and content of the Synthesis Report continued to dominate the session on Wednesday, mumblings were heard in the corridors regarding the rationale behind proposals that would delay publication of the Synthesis Report until after UNFCCC COP-13 in November 2007. According to some, the desire to accommodate the UNFCCC process was causing unease, along with fears that the quality of the report may be weakened by tight timelines. Others were more optimistic about reaching consensus in New Delhi, noting that concerns about quality could be addressed through careful time management.
The ENB summary report of IPCC-22 will be available on Saturday, 13 November, and can be accessed at http://www.iisd.ca/climate/ipcc22/