Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 12 No. 276
The twenty-fourth session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-24) opened on Monday, 26 September, in Montreal, Canada. In the morning, delegates heard opening addresses, adopted the IPCC-23 draft report, approved the actions of WGIII-8 on the CCS Special Report, and commenced discussions on the IPCC programme and budget for 2006-08. In the afternoon, delegates heard progress reports on: the activities of Working Groups I, II and III; the AR4 Synthesis Report; the Task Group on Data and Scenarios Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA), National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme (NGGIP), and commenced discussion of the election procedures for the IPCC and Task Force Bureaus. The Financial Task Team also met at lunch time to consider the IPCC programme and budget for 2006-08.
OPENING OF THE SESSION
IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri (India) opened the session and welcomed delegates. Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Environment, Canada, remarked on the importance of the IPCC, highlighted the influence of the existing assessment reports, and suggested the IPCC turn its attention to adaptation. He noted the importance of the CCS Special Report given Canada’s current and planned use of CCS, and outlined Canada’s preparations for the eleventh Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP-11/COP-MOP-1). He stressed the importance of issues such as adaptation, carbon markets, and technology to a successful outcome of the conference.
Chair Pachauri referred to the work scheduled for IPCC-24, including consideration of a fifth assessment report. He said work on the AR4 is at a critical juncture, cited policy relevance as the reason for cross-cutting themes in the AR4, and highlighted outreach and financial support as keys to future IPCC work.
Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, emphasized the importance of the CCS Special Report, noting that CCS has an important role to play in addressing climate change. He referred to UNEP’s commitment to the IPCC, and stated that, in cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), UNEP could help to disseminate the results of the AR4.
Hong Yan, Deputy Secretary-General, WMO, highlighted the importance of the recent IPCC/TEAP Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System (Ozone Special Report), and encouraged the IPCC to work with WMO members to disseminate it. On emission scenarios, he noted that future scenarios should not only describe emissions but also look into broader socioeconomic conditions, and that different approaches might be needed for short and long-term scenarios. He also encouraged increased participation during the expert review of the first draft of the AR4.
Halldor Thorgeirsson, UNFCCC Secretariat, noted the relevance of the CCS Special Report, the Ozone Special Report, and the AR4 to policy making, and the importance of effective and balanced outreach activities. He also noted the importance of the IPCC’s work on inventory guidelines and scenario development. He informed delegates that the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body on Implementation had forwarded a proposal to COP-11 to delay COP-13 by three weeks, to allow further time for preparation of the AR4 Synthesis Report.
Delegates approved the provisional agenda. The US, AUSTRALIA and the UK suggested early introduction of agenda items on emissions scenarios, outreach and election procedures so that discussions could be held in smaller groups during IPCC-24. The NETHERLANDS stressed that outreach discussions could have budgetary implications.
APPROVAL OF THE IPCC-23 DRAFT REPORT
IPCC Secretary Renate Christ said only minor, editorial comments were received on the draft IPCC-23 report, which was approved without comment.
APPROVAL OF WGIII-8 ACTIONS
WG III Co-Chair Ogunlade Davidson (Sierra Leone) introduced the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) of the CCS Special Report (8th WG III/Doc. 2a, Rev. 1) and the Adjustments to the Technical Summary and Chapters for consistency with the approved SPM (8th WG III/Doc. 2c). WG III Co-Chair Bert Metz (the Netherlands) said that constructive contributions during WGIII-8 had improved the SPM. Delegates then approved the actions of WGIII-8.
GERMANY, with support from many countries and GREENPEACE, and opposed by SAUDI ARABIA, proposed the development of a special report on renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, and BELGIUM suggested inclusion of this issue on the agenda for IPCC-25. AUSTRALIA, the UK, the NETHERLANDS, and BANGLADESH said that given the timing and substance of the AR4, the IPCC guidelines for the commencement of special reports, and resource constraints, it is not appropriate to consider such a special report at this time.
HUNGARY, AUSTRALIA, AUSTRIA, CANADA, NORWARY and the NETHERLANDS noted the importance of outreach on the CCS Special Report. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION suggested that a sub-title be included in the CCS Special Report, noting that it was prepared with a view to addressing climate change. No further action was taken on this issue.
IPCC Secretary Christ outlined outreach activities on the CCS Special Report already underway. Chair Pachauri said timing and capacity constraints relating to the AR4 mean it is prudent to wait until its release before considering a special report on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and noted that outreach activities would be addressed later in the IPCC-24 agenda.
IPCC PROGRAMME AND BUDGET FOR 2006-08
Introducing the budget, Chair Pachauri urged delegations to step up revenue flows. IPCC Secretary Christ presented the IPCC Programme and Budget for 2006-08 (IPCC-XXIV/Doc.4), highlighting that the annual rate of contributions for recent years was around, or slightly above, annual expenditures, but below the annual budget approved by the Panel.
During the lunch break, the Financial Task Team, co-chaired by Marc Gillet (France) and Zhenlin Chen (China), convened consultations on this issue. Discussion centered on lower than expected expenditures. The Secretariat and the Technical Support Units (TSU) explained that some meetings were postponed or scheduled with other meetings, and that host countries often provide support. The UK, with GERMANY and others, said governments needed guidance on required contributions. The group will reconvene on Tuesday morning.
Working Group I: Susan Solomon (US), WG I Co-Chair, presented on progress towards the AR4, noting that the second Lead Author meeting for WG I had taken place in Beijing, China, from 10-12 May 2005, and that the first order drafts of all chapters of the WG I report had been received. She explained that an extensive list of potential expert reviewers had been compiled from various sources, including a publicly available web page to allow for open registration, and that initial contact had been made with more than 1,000 potential reviewers, with over 400 now confirmed. She noted that the Ozone Special Report is being printed, and that the Uncertainty Guidance Note for authors is available on the IPCC website.
Working Group II: Osvaldo Canziani (Argentina), WG II Co-Chair, said progress included the submission of the WG II first order draft and the commencement of its expert review, and the initial drafting of the Technical Summary and the Summary for Policy Makers. He highlighted the development of a regional database on source material used in the WG II fourth assessment, and plans for a joint meeting at COP-11 of WG II and WG III on the cross-cutting issue of adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development. Given time constraints related to preparation of the AR4 and the importance of the subject matter, Canziani requested, and delegates agreed, to postpone delivery of the Technical Paper on Water for six-months.
Working Group III: WG III Co-Chair Metz presented the WG III progress report, and said the CCS Special Report should be ready by the end of 2005. He noted progress on the WG III first order draft, with the third Lead Author meeting to take place in Beijing, China, in February 2006, and said that a web-based Virtual Coordination Group had been created to further discuss the WG II and WG III cross-cutting issue of adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development. Metz also noted an expert meeting in Washington DC, US, in January 2005, on emission scenarios used in the AR4, and one in Laxemburg, Austria, in June 2005, on new emission scenarios.
AR4 Synthesis Report: Chair Pachauri informed delegates of: the arrangements for management of the AR4 Synthesis Report; the results of a meeting of the IPCC Bureau Co-Chairs and Heads of the TSU in Baarn, the Netherlands; and the budgetary implications of the AR4 Synthesis Report, estimated at SF 634,000. On a question from SLOVENIA about the content and form of the AR4 Synthesis Report, Chair Pachauri noted these issues were decided at IPCC-22. AUSTRIA requested that explicit reference be made in the meeting minutes to the need to postpone COP-13 by three weeks.
Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Assessment: TGICA Co-Chair Richard Moss (US) highlighted the problems posed by lack of data in specific regions or sectors, and by the need for training and capacity building in developing countries. He outlined TGICAï¿½s proposal to enhance capacity in developing nations, as contained in the TGICAï¿½s progress report. Delegates endorsed the proposal, based on the understanding that the TGICA will act as a facilitator but will not, itself, provide training.
NATIONAL GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORIES PROGRAMME
Taka Hiraishi (Japan), Co-Chair of the Task Force on NGGIP, presented progress reports on the IPCC 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2006 Guidelines) and Emission Factors Database, and on further work on aerosols. He noted that progress on the 2006 Guidelines is on schedule, and that the importance of the Emission Factors Database should increase as the 2006 Guidelines advance. On aerosols, he presented the report of the expert meeting on Emission Estimation of Aerosols Relevant to Climate Change, and a proposal for a follow-up meeting.
FRANCE and GERMANY questioned whether work on aerosols is sufficiently advanced to give rise to work on inventories. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION noted the importance of continuing work, but questioned whether understanding of aerosols is adequately developed. Citing a ï¿½uniform expression of doubtï¿½ regarding how to proceed, Chair Pachauri postponed further discussion of this item until Tuesday.
David Warrilow (UK) and Richard Odingo (Kenya), co-chaired the discussions on election procedures for the IPCC Bureau and Task Force Bureau. IPCC Secretary Christ explained the draft procedures for line-by-line discussion. After requests from several delegates for copies of the revised text, the discussion was postponed until Tuesday.
IN THE CORRIDORS
After the late nights and detailed nature of deliberations towards the end of WGIII-8, the tone of the opening day of IPCC-24 appeared more relaxed. Some delegates speculated that the second day of IPCC-24 might be more intensive, particularly given that a number of potentially controversial issues were held over for discussion until later in the meeting.
Along with the timing of the AR4 Synthesis Report, attention both in the
corridors and in plenary shifted to consideration of election
procedures, emission scenarios, aerosols, outreach and the budget. One
issue that caught the passing attention of many delegates was Minister
Dionï¿½s reference to COP-11 and COP/MOP-1 as the ï¿½Climate Change
Conference.ï¿½ Most thought this was simply a matter of word choice, but
one observer wondered if the changing terminology represented a desire
to shift the attention towards ï¿½climate changeï¿½ more generally.