Vol. 12 No. 272
EIGHTH SESSION OF WORKING GROUP THREE AND THE 24th
SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
The eighth session of Working Group III (WGIII-8) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will begin today in Montreal, Canada, to continue deliberations over the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. After presentations on aspects of the Special Report, participants will consider approval of a Summary for Policymakers and acceptance of the scientific and technical assessment underlying the Special Report. WGIII-8 will be followed by the twenty-fourth session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-24), where participants will discuss: the IPCC-23 draft report; the IPCC programme and budget for 2006-08; the actions of WGIII-8 regarding the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage; further work on aerosols and on emissions scenarios; outreach activities; and election procedures. Participants will also hear progress reports on: the activities of the three IPCC Working Groups; management of the Synthesis Report of the Fourth Assessment Report; the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories; and the work of the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IPCC
The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The purpose of the IPCC is to assess the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant to understanding the risks associated with human-induced climate change. The IPCC does not undertake new research, nor does it monitor climate-related data, but bases its assessments on published and peer-reviewed scientific and technical literature. Its Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and is staffed by WMO and UNEP.
Since its inception, the IPCC has prepared a series of comprehensive assessments, special reports and technical papers, providing scientific information on climate change to the international community, including policymakers and the public. This information has played an important role in the negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC, which provides the overall global policy framework for addressing climate change, was adopted in 1992 and entered into force in 1994.
The IPCC currently includes three working groups: Working Group I addresses the scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change; Working Group II addresses the vulnerability of socioeconomic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of climate change, and options for adapting to it; and Working Group III addresses options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise mitigating climate change.
The IPCC also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. This Task Force oversees the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme (NGGIP), which aims to develop and refine an internationally-agreed methodology and software for the calculation and reporting of national greenhouse gas emissions and removals, and to encourage the use of this methodology by countries participating in the IPCC and by UNFCCC signatories. The IPCC Bureau, which has roughly 30 members elected by the Panel, assists the IPCC Chair in planning, co-ordinating and monitoring progress in the work of the IPCC.
KEY IPCC PRODUCTS: The IPCC completed its initial comprehensive assessments of climate change in the First Assessment Report in 1990 and the Second Assessment Report in 1995. The IPCC’s Third Assessment Report (TAR) was completed in 2001. It addresses policy-relevant scientific, technical, and socioeconomic dimensions of climate change, and concentrates on findings since 1995 at both regional and global levels. The TAR, which was subject to extensive peer review from experts and governments, is composed of a comprehensive assessment from the three IPCC Working Groups, a Summary for Policymakers and a Technical Summary of each Working Group report, and a Synthesis Report. The TAR Synthesis Report is written in a non-technical style aimed at policymakers and addresses nine policy-relevant questions identified by the IPCC based on submissions by governments. The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) is due to be released in 2007.
Since 1991, the IPCC has also worked on technical guidelines for assessing greenhouse gas inventories. The IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories were first released in 1994, and a revised set was released in 1996. The UNFCCC’s 1997 Kyoto Protocol reaffirmed the use of the Guidelines for preparing national greenhouse gas inventories by Parties to the UNFCCC and, in the future, by Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. In 2000 and 2003, the Panel approved additional good practice guidance reports that complement the Revised 1996 Guidelines and, also in 2003, approved a process for producing a further revised set of Guidelines in early 2006.
NINETEENTH SESSION: Beginning at its nineteenth session, held from 17-20 April 2002, in Geneva, Switzerland, the IPCC began work on the AR4. Participants made a number of decisions, including in relation to a draft work plan for developing definitions for forest degradation and devegetation, methodological options for recording and reporting on emissions from these activities, and aspects of the procedures for agreeing on NGGIP products. Participants also decided: on the timing of the AR4; to hold a workshop on geological and oceanic carbon separation, capture and storage; to draft a scoping paper on climate change and water; and to hold an expert meeting on climate change and development.
TWENTIETH SESSION: IPCC-20 was held from 19-21 February 2003, in Paris, France. Participants agreed on a work plan for two expert “scoping meetings” on how to structure the AR4. They also discussed a framework and a set of criteria for establishing priorities for special reports, methodology reports and technical papers for the period of the fourth assessment. They also decided to hold a high-level scientific meeting to survey the processes affecting carbon stocks and human influences upon them and to produce two special reports: one on safeguarding the ozone layer and the global climate system; and the other on carbon dioxide capture and storage.
TWENTY-FIRST SESSION: At IPCC-21, held from 3-7 November 2003, in Vienna, Austria, participants reviewed the outlines of the proposed Working Group contributions to the AR4 and the Chair’s proposal for an AR4 Synthesis Report. Participants agreed that a technical paper on climate change and water should be completed in 2007, discussed terms of reference for a document on the AR4 product set, and reviewed the report of the IPCC expert meeting on processes affecting terrestrial carbon stocks and human influences upon them. The IPCC also approved the terms of reference for the revision of the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories and agreed on a revised mandate and changed the name of the Task Group on Scenarios for Climate and Impact Assessment to Task Group on Data and Scenarios Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA).
TWENTY-SECOND SESSION: IPCC-22 convened from 9-11 November 2004, in New Delhi, India. Participants discussed the scope, content and process for an AR4 Synthesis Report, AR4 products, outreach, the IPCC programme and budget for 2005-08; and election procedures. Participants also heard progress reports on: Working Group contributions to the AR4; the Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System; the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage; the 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories; and the work of the TGICA. The Panel adopted a decision on the IPCC programme and budget for 2005-08 and agreed to work towards a 30-page AR4 Synthesis Report with a five-page Summary for Policymakers to be approved by the IPCC in late October 2007. The Panel also discussed activities for IPCC products.
TWENTY-THIRD SESSION: IPCC-23 was convened on 8 April 2005, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to consider the joint activities of Working Groups I and II on the Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System. The Panel accepted this Special Report along with a Summary for Policymakers. In adopting the draft report of IPCC-22, the participants also agreed that the IPCC Bureau would further consider arrangements for management of the AR4 Synthesis Report and report on its progress to the IPCC.
IPCC EXPERT MEETING ON EMISSION ESTIMATION OF AEROSOLS RELEVANT TO CLIMATE CHANGE: This expert meeting, organized by the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories with the assistance of WGI, was held from 2-4 May 2005, in Geneva, Switzerland, to conduct a preliminary assessment of issues related to developing estimates for anthropogenic emissions of aerosols and to discuss methodological approaches. Participants concluded that further meetings should be held, involving WGI, NGGIP and other aerosol inventory experts, and that these meetings should focus on several issues, including: the needs of speciated aerosols emission data and definitions; the use of existing inventory information; and improvements in certain key source sectors.
TWENTY-SECOND SESSIONS OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODIES TO THE UNFCCC: At SB-22, held from 19-27 May 2005, in Bonn, Germany, the UNFCCCï¿½s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) considered the Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System prepared by the IPCC and the Technology and Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol. In its conclusions, SBSTA: encouraged parties to the UNFCCC to use the information in the Special Report when developing national climate change strategies; noted the ongoing need for research and measurement relevant to the ozone layer, the global climate system and potential interrelations; welcomed information from the Secretariat for the Montreal Protocol on consideration of the Special Report by the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol; and invited parties to submit their views to the UNFCCC Secretariat on aspects of the Special Report relevant to the UNFCCCï¿½s objective for consideration at SBSTA-24.
IPCC WORKSHOP ON EMISSION SCENARIOS: At this meeting, held from 29 June to 1 July 2005, in Laxenburg, Austria, participants investigated the possible roles that the IPCC could play in the development and assessment of new emission scenarios in the period after AR4 by identifying: various user needs and requirements; scenarios for meeting those needs; and options for the IPCC with regard to the development of such scenarios.