The 30th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
was held from 21-23 April 2009 in Antalya, Turkey, with approximately 320 participants in attendance.
During the meeting, the Panel focused mainly on the scoping process for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) with a view to providing guidance to the climate change experts who will define the outline of the AR5 during the AR5 scoping meeting to be held in Venice, Italy, from 13-17 July 2009. For this purpose, the Panel adopted a number of proposals on the near-term future of the IPCC and the scoping of the AR5. The Panel also decided to proceed with the preparation of a Special Report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters, and agreed to hold a number of expert meetings on topics such as human settlements and the detection and attribution of anthropogenic climate change. Other issues included the revised rules of procedure for the election of the IPCC Bureau and the Task Force Bureau, work on new scenarios and the IPCC Peace Prize Scholarship Fund. Most of the meeting outcomes will serve as guidance for the AR5 scoping meeting, while others will be taken up at the next session of the IPCC, to be held from 26-28 October in Bali, Indonesia.
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 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, impacts of climate change, and adaptation options; and Working Group III addresses options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. Each Working Group has two Co-Chairs and six Vice-Chairs, except Working Group III, which for the Fifth Assessment cycle has three Co-Chairs and five Vice-Chairs. The Co-Chairs guide the Working Groups to fulfill the mandates given to them by the Panel, and are assisted in this task by Technical Support Units.
The IPCC also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. The Task Force 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 countries participating in the IPCC and by parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The IPCC Bureau is elected by the Panel for the duration of the preparation of an IPCC assessment report (normally 5-6 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 30 members: the Chair of the IPCC, the Co-Chairs of the three Working Groups and of the Bureau of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFB), the IPCC Vice-Chairs, and the Vice-Chairs of the three Working Groups. The IPCC Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and is hosted by the WMO.
IPCC REPORTS: Since its inception, the IPCC has prepared a series of comprehensive assessments, special reports and technical papers subject to extensive review by experts and governments, providing scientific information on climate change to the international community, including policymakers and the public. This information has played an important part in framing national and international policies.
The IPCC has so far undertaken four comprehensive assessments of climate change, each playing a key role in advancing the 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 lastly, the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), completed in 2007. At its 28th session the IPCC decided to undertake a Fifth Assessment Report and to complete it in 2014.
The AR4 is structured in three volumes, one by each of the three Working Groups; each volume comprises an underlying assessment report, a Technical Summary and a Summary for Policymakers (SPM). All sections undergo a thorough review process, which generally takes place in three stages: a first review by experts, a second review by experts and governments, and a third review by governments. The SPM is approved line-by-line by the Panel. The AR4 also includes a Synthesis Report (SYR), highlighting the most relevant aspects of the three Working Group reports, and a SPM of the SYR, also approved line-by-line by the Panel. Overall, 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 undertaken, 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), and Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (2005).
Technical papers have been prepared on Climate Change and Biodiversity (2002) and Climate Change and Water (2008) among others.
The IPCC also prepares 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, and a guide with Definitions and Methodological Options to Inventory Emissions from Direct Human-induced Degradation of Forests and Devegetation of other Vegetation Types was completed in 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 contribution to “build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations that are needed to counteract such change,” the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Al Gore, in December 2007.
IPCC-29: This session, which commemorated the IPCC’s 20th anniversary, was held from 31 August to 4 September 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland. During the meeting, the Panel elected the new IPCC Bureau and the TFB, and re-elected Rajendra Pachauri as IPCC Chair. The Panel also continued its discussions on the future of the IPCC, agreed to create a scholarship for young climate change scientists from developing countries with the funds from the Nobel Prize and asked the Bureau to consider a scoping meeting on a Special Report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters.
In opening the meeting, IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri underscored the importance of the session as the Panel begins work on the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and addresses the future of the IPCC. Noting the growing demand for outreach, he stressed the need to understand the shifting landscape and rising expectations of a better informed and more impatient audience. On the work ahead, he highlighted the importance of reducing uncertainties and gaps in knowledge, increasing regional detail, providing adequate coverage of the humanitarian consequences of climate change, and improving possible scenarios.
Geoffrey Love, WMO, noted the importance of a process that engages both governments and the scientific community. He also noted the need to address the relative lack of meteorological and hydrological data and knowledge of regional impacts in developing countries. He stressed relevant WMO activities such as the World Climate Conference-3 and its initiative to establish a global climate services network.
Peter Gilruth, UNEP, stated that the world is now facing even stronger climate challenges than the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) anticipated. He discussed the concept of “climate-proof development,” the need to build scientific capacity in developing countries, and the creation of a new chief scientist position within UNEP. He welcomed the Panel’s consideration of extreme events and disasters in a Special Report (SR) and said UNEP looks forward to contributing to the AR5.
Florin Vladu, UNFCCC Secretariat, noted the intensification of negotiations under the UNFCCC this year and the need for these negotiations to be continuously informed by science. As areas for contribution by IPCC, he highlighted, inter alia, information on mitigation pathways, historical responsibility, long-term global goals, alternative common metrics, and new greenhouse gases. He also stressed the relevance of the IPCC’s work on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters and on renewable energy.
Veysel Eroğlu, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Turkey, welcomed participants and underscored the important role of the IPCC in improving and disseminating knowledge on climate change. He highlighted Turkey’s active engagement in climate policies, noting ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and domestic measures such as national afforestation and erosion control campaigns and the utilization of wind and hydrology resources.
Delegates adopted the provisional agenda (IPCC-XXX/Doc.1) and approved the draft report of IPCC-29 (IPCC-XXX/Doc.5).
FUTURE IPCC ACTIVITIES
Under this agenda item, the Panel considered proposals by the Task Group on Future IPCC Activities to help the production of the AR5 (IPCC-XXX/Doc.10). This agenda item also included new scenarios and reinforcement of the IPCC Secretariat. A separate agenda item on the Scoping of the AR5 addressed other issues such as proposals for expert meetings and comments from governments and organizations.
PROPOSALS: IPCC Vice-Chair Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Belgium), presented 14 proposals to help the production of the AR5, on behalf of the Task Group on Future IPCC Activities. The Netherlands, supported by Saudi Arabia and others, asked to discuss the proposals in more detail, particularly on how to handle regional issues. Austria, supported by Australia and Germany, focused on the importance of swift conclusions to inform the AR5 scoping meeting in July.
After an initial exchange of views, parties discussed the specific proposals one by one and adopted decisions addressing most of the proposals. These decisions appear summarized here at the end of the each proposal or group of proposals, in accordance with how they were addressed by the Panel.
Scoping of the AR5 synthesis report (SYR) (proposals 1-3): Chair Pachauri underscored that the primary task of the AR5 scoping meeting is to generate chapter outlines for the three WG reports, as well as to consider the structure and broad content of the SYR. He called for governments to submit policy-relevant questions as early as possible. Germany, Austria and the Netherlands supported inviting governments to submit their views on policy-relevant questions for the SYR and on cross-cutting topics. Sudan, supported by Switzerland, cautioned against an imbalanced and non-representative list of policy-relevant questions. The US highlighted that early identification of policy-relevant questions for the SYR will help integrating them into the structure of the WGs’ reports and thus provide better synthesis of information. The US and Australia highlighted the iterative nature of the process of developing policy-relevant questions for the SYR. Parties agreed to establish a contact group to discuss this.
In the contact group, co-chaired by Ian Carruthers (Australia) and Antonina Ivanova Boncheva (Mexico), delegates discussed whether parties should submit policy-relevant questions, issues or topics; the need for authors to have authorship over questions; and the need for dialogue between authors and the policy community during the assessment process. The US noted that any identified policy-relevant questions should not send a wrong signal to authors that policy makers do not need a comprehensive assessment. Delegates deliberated on ways to categorize questions, for instance around the past, present and future, and the need to explain a rationale for questions to scientists. Delegates also discussed that the AR4 SYR could be a basis for policy-relevant questions and that the policy context will change by the time of preparation of the SYR in 2014.
In the final plenary, Co-Chair Carruthers presented Co-Chairs’ notes, summarizing discussions of the contact group. He noted that it was only an initial exchange of views and suggestions and that the process of developing policy-relevant questions will continue in the coming months.
Final Decision: In its decision, the Panel notes that the scoping of the SYR begins at the AR5 scoping meeting but, as in the past, a special meeting will be dedicated to the scoping of the SYR. The Panel also requests the IPCC Vice-Chairs to carry out an evaluation of the treatment of cross-cutting topics in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) and the AR4 before the AR5 scoping meeting. In addition, the Panel invites governments to submit their views on questions they would like to see addressed in the AR5. The Co-Chairs’ notes of the contact group discussions will be appended to the report of the session and will be forwarded to the AR5 scoping meeting.
Elaboration of special reports (proposals 4-5): Delegates considered whether to seek proposals on possible topics and consider a slate of SRs at the beginning of the AR5 cycle, or whether to consider proposals for SRs, such as requests from the UNFCCC, on an ad hoc basis, applying existing practice and criteria. China suggested that some themes could be incorporated as cross-cutting issues in the AR5, and Japan said requests from the UNFCCC should be a priority.
Final Decision: In its decision, the Panel agreed to consider proposals for SRs on an ad hoc basis, applying existing practice and criteria.
Enhancing coordination among the Working Groups (proposal 6): WG I Co-Chair Thomas Stocker (Switzerland) noted that some joint expert meetings focused on specific problems are already taking place. The UK supported holding joint expert meetings and the appointment of “bridge authors” for dealing with cross-cutting topics among WGs but, with Chair Pachauri and Stocker, he noted the logistical difficulties of scheduling back-to-back meetings. Chair Pachauri proposed, and delegates agreed, not to attempt a decision on this matter at this session but to keep the goal of enhancing coordination among WGs in mind as a matter of intent.
Strengthening regional assessments (proposals 7-8): WG II Co-Chair Christopher Field (US) elaborated on the possibility of presenting regional material in a separate volume, saying this would have the advantage of better incorporating new downscaling activities, presenting a unique product, better integrating the findings of the three WGs, serving as a “one-stop shop” for regional policy-makers, and addressing local issues related to adaptation and mitigation. On the timing for such a report, Field suggested it could be late in 2014 as part of the regular AR5 cycle, or early in 2016 as a SR that would serve as a major update on the AR5.
Austria, France, Italy, Spain and others supported two volumes but preferred a delivery in late 2014 along with the rest of the AR5. New Zealand cautioned that a separate report for regional impacts, if released in 2016, might be perceived as an update between assessments and set an undesirable precedent. China favored preparing a single volume with information on regional and global aspects presented in parallel. Saudi Arabia also favored a single report, underscoring the risks of focusing on regions and subregions where data is limited.
Australia noted that the regions in the AR4 were primarily defined by geologic considerations, and queried what criteria would be used to define regions in the AR5. China called for economic issues to be considered alongside geographic considerations in defining regions. The UK questioned what regional information countries actually need and suggested considering a web-based approach to deliver the information. On a question by Japan about how mitigation fits this detailed regional approach, Mexico emphasized economic links and trade agreements and drew attention to mitigation policies at the regional level. France, Italy and Turkey underscored that the Mediterranean should be considered as a separate region. Norway noted that oceans are not sufficiently addressed within the existing structure of WG II. Morocco stressed the need for close cooperation between authors of regional and global-scale chapters.
Deliberations continued in a contact group, co-chaired by Yadowsun Boodhoo (Mauritius) and Sergio Castellari (Italy). Delegates exchanged views on what the scope or basis for a new regional division might be, whether to seek to integrate adaptation and mitigation, whether to have a separate report or not, and, if the former, the timing of such a report. IPCC Secretary Renate Christ noted the need for consistency with the AR5 and, with WG II Co-Chair Field, emphasized the need to provide guidance to WG II on how to structure its chapters at the AR5 scoping meeting.
On regional divisions, Mexico highlighted existing regional organizations as a source of information and pointed to a vast literature on economic regionalization, while Mali stressed the importance of focusing on socioeconomic differences to ensure policy relevance.
On integration of adaptation and mitigation, Mexico emphasized the need to link adaptation and mitigation for sustainable development planning. Japan preferred focusing first on adaptation as the basis for regionalization and then seeing how mitigation might be included. France, Switzerland and China also expressed concern with attempting to integrate adaptation and mitigation. WG III Co-Chair Ottmar Edenhofer (Germany) suggested focusing on infrastructure as a means to integrate adaptation and mitigation and, supported by many delegates, proposed holding a scoping meeting on regional assessments with a view to developing a SR for inclusion in the AR5.
On the timing of a possible SR, Canada supported delivery after completion of the AR5, possibly early in 2016, to allow sufficient time for models and other information to percolate. WG I Co-Chair Stocker, supported by the Netherlands, the US and others, stressed focusing on what makes sense in terms of science. He supported a Special SYR combining work across the WGs to be delivered, as proposed by Canada, in early 2016. To aid the preparation of the report, engage stakeholders and access “grey” literature, WG I Co-Chair Stocker proposed a series of expert meetings in the regions with participation of scientists and government representatives. WG III Co-Chair Ramón Pichs Madruga (Cuba) and others supported this approach and noted that it could also ensure the inclusion of non-English literature. IPCC Vice-Chair van Ypersele, supported by Morocco and others, suggested delivery immediately after the AR5 SYR, in early 2015, since delivery in 2016 would create a lengthy nine-year interval between the AR4 and the new regional information. He also underscored the need for coherence in the entire series of AR5 products, and cautioned against doubling the amount of work of the WGs, since WG II would need to include some regional information in the AR5.
Contact group Co-Chair Castellari elaborated on options for the possible SR on regional aspects of climate change. He emphasized the value added from integrating adaptation and mitigation, and noted that each WG report would contain its own regional information, which would be included in the special report, although new regional information would also be added. The report could continue the work of the AR5, building from regional and sectoral expert meetings, and it could be finalized in the first half of 2015. Many delegates underscored that the special report should be seen as part of the same assessment cycle as the AR5. Brazil, supported by Saudi Arabia, expressed concern about the AR5 appearing as an incomplete report.
South Africa, the UK, the US and others suggested that the discussion on a SR was premature, given that the issue of a separate SR had not even been considered by the Task Group on Future IPCC Activities, and that such a decision needed input from the AR5 scoping meeting, and delegates agreed.
Back in plenary, IPCC Vice-Chair van Ypersele presented a “Compromise proposal on the improved treatment of regional information in AR5.” The proposal stresses that all reports are part of the AR5 and feed into the SYR, WG II drives the process, and the regional contributions of WGs I and III are enhanced, and all the while coherence must be maintained between regional and global approaches. In terms of process, the proposal inverts the timing of contributions by WGs III and II, so that both WG I and WG III would finalize their work and provide material for WG II. The WG II contribution would then be split in two volumes: one on global and sectoral aspects and another on a regional approach to vulnerability and adaptation, including sections on mitigation. There would be only one Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) and one technical summary, both included in each volume.
Many parties supported the compromise proposal. Brazil, supported by Sudan, proposed having a single volume in two parts instead of two volumes. China recalled the decision agreed to in Budapest to maintain the format of the AR4. Norway and Malaysia preferred two technical summaries, one for each part or volume. The UK expressed concern with the attempt to bring in mitigation under WG II and called for a more open-ended approach – possibly with one part on regional aspects of adaptation under WG II and another on mitigation under WG III. Saudi Arabia preferred the focus be on adaptation and to integrate the contributions of WGs I and III in the SYR.
Italy, supported by France, Madagascar, Austria, Morocco and others, and opposed by the US, suggested the creation of a Task Group to address the issue in time for the AR5 scoping meeting in July. Madagascar and Mali proposed focusing on gaps in coverage. The US expressed concern with leaving all decisions to the authors and said the matter should be driven by the scientific literature.
Final Decision: In its decision, the Panel agrees that much greater attention is required to improve the treatment of regional issues, and that the AR5 scoping meeting should take note of the compromise proposal presented by IPCC Vice-Chair van Ypersele as well as other options to improve the treatment of regional issues. The Panel also agrees that the scoping meeting should consider a more detailed regional division.
Increasing the involvement of scientists from developing countries and countries with economies in transition (EITS) (proposals 9 and 10): After brief statements on the need to increase the involvement of scientists from developing countries and EITs, delegates adopted the proposal as presented.
Final Decision: The Panel agrees to encourage the Technical Support Units (TSUs) to formalize agreements such as the one set up by WG I, whereby free online access to major scientific journals is granted to lead authors from developing countries and EITs. The Panel also agrees to charge the Vice-Chairs to carry out, over the next six months, an assessment of the current shortcomings of involving developing country/EIT scientists and to propose approaches to address this issue.
Accessing “grey” literature (proposal 11): The Republic of Korea proposed creating a “grey” literature pool through suggestions from IPCC focal points, and Sudan highlighted National Adaptation Programmes of Action. Morocco and Spain suggested consideration of “grey” literature at the subregional level and in various languages, and Belarus called for practical mechanisms to include non-English literature. The Russian Federation supported the inclusion of government publications and called for a careful approach towards other types of “grey” literature.
Final Decision: In its decision, the Panel encourages access to “grey” literature and literature in all languages around topics particularly relevant to the AR5, through expert meetings or workshops to be organized by the WG Bureaux and TSUs.
Frequently Asked Questions (proposal 12): The US suggested the questions address key messages of the report and cautioned against tailoring them for specific audiences. In its decision, the Panel agrees that Frequently Asked Questions would be considered as part of all future assessments, and reviewed accordingly.
Using electronic technologies to enhance accessibility of IPCC products (proposal 13): The US cautioned against including material that has not been assessed. Secretary Christ stressed that the primary goal is accessibility, and Vice-Chair van Ypersele underscored that certain facets, such as animations and zoom features, could not be provided in printed form. WG I Co-Chair Stocker said, once approved, the databases from which interactive electronic features would be generated would not be changed.
Final Decision: In its decision, the Panel agrees to set up a Task Group to explore using the full range of electronic technologies to enhance the accessibility of approved and accepted IPCC products. The Panel further agrees that the Task Group be composed of Vice-Chair van Ypersele, Co-Chair Stocker, Secretary Christ, New Zealand, Austria, India, Uganda, and Singapore, with support from the TSUs, and invites the Task Group to submit a report to the Panel at its next session.
Creation of an easily searchable version of the AR4 (proposal 14): Secretary Christ explained that the current search technology for the AR4 is insufficient and requires an upgrade, and asked that the unused portion of the budget assigned to search technology for 2008 be applied in 2009 for this purpose.
Final Decisions: In its decision, the Panel agrees, as a matter of urgency, to develop an easily searchable version of the AR4 (including the SYR and possibly all UN language versions of the SPMs and Technical Summaries) and make it accessible in the same way as the Third Assessment Report.
Two additional decisions were taken on the scoping of the AR5 and the future of the IPCC: to make the paper prepared by Chair Pachauri for the AR5 scoping meeting available to the governments in late May or early June for the sake of transparency; and to charge the Task Group on the Future of the IPCC to prepare a new report on the longer-term future of the IPCC on issues beyond the scoping of the AR5, and to send it to governments by July for comments before the Panel’s October meeting.
NEW SCENARIOS: Ismail Elgizouli (Sudan), Co-Chair of the Steering Committee on New Scenarios, presented the report from the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium evaluation panel regarding the lowest Representative Concentration Pathway, RCP3-PD (IPCC-XXX/Doc.18), noting that the Panel confirmed its technical soundness and replicability. Secretary Christ noted that the full report of the evaluation panel (IPCC-XXX/INF.6) is available online.
Discussions in the plenary and contact group meetings focused on whether the IPCC should accept the report and whether there are any additional questions for the evaluation panel. Delegates also discussed the future role of the IPCC in scenario development.
Many countries stressed that the process of scenario development should not be delayed and that the Panel should play a catalytic role in scenario development through a possible Task Group.
Referring to little time to study the report, China suggested postponing the acceptance of the report until the next session. Many countries opposed this, noting the urgency of sending a positive signal to the modeling community. The US and Australia expressed their trust in the professionalism of the evaluation panel.
Germany expressed concern that the report addresses the behavior of the RCP3-PD only up to 2100 and stated an interest in its behavior beyond 2100 to ensure that its key characteristics, particularly “peaking and declining” and net negative emissions, are kept. Switzerland proposed a request to the modeling community to ensure comparability of new scenarios with scenarios from the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES).
As a result of these discussions, the Panel agreed to welcome the report on the lowest RCP and the fact that its robustness has been confirmed and note that there is an urgent need to move forward with scenario development. The Panel also invited the evaluation panel to provide information on how the lowest RCP is extended beyond 2100.
In the final plenary, China expressed concerns over the lowest RCP and encouraged the modeling community to continue work to address uncertainty and inconsistency.
In addition, the Panel agreed to set up a Task Group to provide interaction with the scientific community on scenario development, co-chaired by WG II Co-Chair Field and WG I Co-Chair Dahe Qin (China). This Task Group is expected to address, inter alia, the concept paper for an expert meeting on the socioeconomic consequences of low stabilization scenarios (IPCC-XXX/Doc.15).
REINFORCEMENT OF THE IPCC SECRETARIAT: David Warrilow (UK) presented the results of the Report on the Reinforcement of the IPCC Secretariat (IPCC-XXX/Doc.19), which recommends hiring additional staff to meet the increasing and projecting workload of the IPCC and calls for further investigation of ways to strengthen the day-to-day support and management of the Secretariat.
Secretary Christ reflected on how the IPCC remains vulnerable to staff changes and illness. She explained the need for additional staff with scientific and information technology backgrounds, and highlighted the role of the Secretariat in liaising with governments to actively promote developing country participation. She asked the Panel to authorize the hire of two additional programme officers with scientific backgrounds, one additional person for secretarial support, and a dedicated information technology officer, as well as to approve the continuation of outreach consulting.
Belgium, the Maldives, Brazil, Sweden, Norway, Niger, Sudan and Argentina supported additional hires, while France, Canada and the US questioned Secretary Christ’s request for staff with scientific backgrounds, noting that the role of the Secretariat is meant to be administrative. France and Canada questioned the budget implications of new hires, and the US suggested that outreach could be done by the WMO and UNEP. Brazil underscored the vulnerability of the Secretariat, but the Netherlands cautioned against bureaucracy and potential competition between scientific staff within the Secretariat and the TSUs. Austria supported the request, highlighting the importance of institutional memory and quality management.
Chair Pachauri proposed a step-by-step process for hiring. The Panel authorized the immediate hire of one information technology officer and one programme officer with a scientific background, and agreed to suggest that governments consider creating a rotating position for their nationals to spend time with the IPCC Secretariat, and thereby fulfill the role of a second programme officer.
SCOPING OF THE AR5: OTHER ISSUES
EXPERT MEETINGS: WG II Co-Chair Field presented the proposal for an IPCC expert meeting on detection and attribution related to anthropogenic climate change (IPCC-XXX/Doc.12), saying the meeting presented an opportunity to include data sets from observations in developing countries that were not previously available, and improve the quality of regional assessments. He added that this would also help cement interactions between WGs I and II, especially on methodologies and terminology. The Panel agreed to the proposal.
WG III Co-Chair Edenhofer presented the proposal for an expert meeting on human settlements, water, energy and transport infrastructure – mitigation and adaptation strategies (IPCC-XXX/Doc.16), highlighting this as an effective way to integrate adaptation and mitigation, draw attention to different sectors and address urban planning.
Belgium, China, New Zealand and others highlighted human settlements as an important cross-cutting issue and stressed the involvement of all WGs. New Zealand proposed that the meeting address infrastructure not just for mega-cities, but also for low population urban zones. Mexico proposed that housing and construction – important sectors in developing countries – should be considered along with transport, energy infrastructure and water. Mauritius suggested that health-related infrastructure, such as sanitation and drainage facilities, should also be taken up in the meeting. Canada, supported by Austria, noted a need for well-defined objectives and outcomes for the meeting, and the UK called for a focused report attending to the transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy.
The Panel accepted the proposal for an expert meeting and agreed that the matter of creating a more detailed proposal for the meeting could be left to the WG III Co-Chairs, the IPCC Vice-Chairs and Chair Pachauri.
The Panel also agreed to the proposal for an IPCC expert meeting on assessing and combining multi-model climate projections (IPCC-XXX/Doc.11). Brazil and Niger stressed the importance of engaging developing country scientists, and Sweden highlighted the need to involve experts on observations and impact research.
COMMENTS FROM GOVERNMENTS: IPCC Secretary Christ presented Comments from Governments and Organizations on the Scoping for the AR5 (IPCC-XXX/INF.7). Noting that some aspects of the climate are changing faster than foreseen in the AR4, such as those leading to the rapid reduction in Arctic sea ice, the UK explained its proposal for an update report on current climate trends and emerging science, to be prepared within the next 18-24 months. He also noted the UK’s proposal for a separate report on climate change impacts on marine ecosystems, including ocean acidification. The US also expressed support for an assessment of ocean ecosystems.
Expressing concern about work overloading, Mali, Netherlands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, China, Brazil and Austria opposed the special report on climate trends and emerging science. Sweden, the US, Kazakhstan and Germany supported it, and suggested identifying key issues and areas. The Panel agreed to include these proposals for consideration at the AR5 scoping meeting. Chair Pachauri also invited Japan to host and finance an expert meeting on ocean acidification and marine ecosystems. Japan said he would take the proposal back home and respond in due course.
SPECIAL REPORT ON EXTREME EVENTS AND DISASTERS
WG II Co-Chair Vicente Barros (Argentina) presented a Scoping Paper for an IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (IPCC-XXX/Doc.14). WG II Co-Chair Field elaborated on the structure for the SR, which includes case studies, projections of future risks and strategies for dealing with those risks.
Australia, supported by Austria and China, stressed that the SR should focus on practical information for decision makers. Benin, supported by Mali, suggested the SR begin by clearly defining the concepts of climate risks, extreme weather events and disasters. The US emphasized that costs should include not just the costs of damages but also the costs of response in order to emphasize the value gained by preparedness and, supported by Canada, called for going beyond the climate extremes and impact information contained in the AR4. The Netherlands called for the focus of the report to be on case studies to avoid overlap with the work of the AR5. He also preferred to see the IPCC as the sole author of the report, while Norway, Canada, Japan, Argentina and Belgium supported co-sponsorship of the SR with the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). Canada and Spain underscored the importance of linking the disaster management and climate science communities. New Zealand noted that the topics in the SR are of critical importance to small island nations, and Sudan underscored the urgency of the issue. Mauritius and Bangladesh drew attention to tropical cyclones; Peru, Colombia and Chile discussed their experiences during the 1997-1998 El Niño; the Central African Republic noted the importance of equatorial forests; Iran and Uganda stressed droughts; Mali highlighted floods and underscored the need for an early alert system; and Turkey, Chile and Colombia offered to contribute case studies from their own experiences.
Egypt questioned how the case studies would be selected and, supported by the US, called for parallel emphasis on the local, regional, national and global scales. Mexico suggested that the authors consider producing a synthesis report for policy makers as part of the SR and, supported by China, Morocco and WG III Co-Chair Pichs Madruga, called for special attention to the regional balance of the case studies. Uganda encouraged the authors to make use of “grey” literature in developing countries in preparing the SR. Belgium called for the inclusion of more social scientists, such as property rights specialists, economists, and experts capable of estimating the havoc that disasters will wreak on social structures. The UK, supported by Peru, underscored that the report should not be a commentary on current disaster relief, but rather focus on future adaptation to climate change. He also called for a greater level of interaction with governments in preparing the SR.
WG II Co-Chair Field noted that new information beyond the AR4 would be included and that all the comments of the delegates would be considered in preparing the SR. Chair Pachauri proposed appointing one person from the ISDR to join the SR steering committee, noting that the IPCC has collaborated with other organizations in drafting several SRs in the past. The Panel accepted the proposal and agreed to the preparation of the SR.
MATTERS RELATED TO THE UNFCCC
WG I Co-Chair Stocker presented a Summary Report of the IPCC Expert Meeting on the Science of Alternative Metrics (IPCC-XXX/Doc.13), which was held from 18-20 March 2009 in Oslo, Norway, in response to a request from the UNFCCC. Explaining that the state of science has not yet arrived at the ability to provide alternative metrics, Stocker noted that meeting participants unanimously agreed that: Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a useful and well defined metric; effectiveness of the use of a given metric depends on the primary policy goal; numerical value of the GWP can depend markedly on the choice of time horizon; and timely information on future policy goals would facilitate research on alternative metrics. He also said the IPCC will forward the full report of the expert meeting to the UNFCCC and further inform parties on the meeting outcome at the UNFCCC sessions in June in Bonn.
PROGRAMME AND BUDGET FOR 2009 TO 2014
Chair Pachauri announced the reconstitution of the Financial Task Team, co-chaired by Concepción Martinez (Spain) and Ismail Elgizouli (Sudan). Secretary Christ drew attention to the IPCC Programme and Budget (IPCC-XXIX/Doc.3), noting that few contributions to the IPCC Trust Fund have been received for the year 2009. She summarized the expenditures from the Fourth Assessment cycle, mentioned the possibility of dedicating some travel funding to carbon offsets, and identified the option of revisiting the IPCC budget in light of the outcome of the AR5 scoping meeting. Chair Pachauri expressed concern that contributions had gone down, and urged parties to ensure adequate contributions to implement the tasks before the Panel.
The Financial Task Team met throughout the session and during the final plenary the Co-Chairs presented their recommendations on the IPCC Programme and Budget, highlighting meetings for SRs and the participation of experts from developing countries and EITs. In response to a question by Canada, Chair Pachauri confirmed that the budget would include funds to support a secretary for the Secretariat. The Panel approved the budget.
RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE ELECTION OF THE IPCC BUREAU AND THE TASK FORCE BUREAU
Recalling a request from IPCC-29 to revise the rules of procedure, Secretary Christ introduced a list of possible changes to the rules, which were prepared in collaboration with the WMO Legal Counsel (IPCC-XXX/Doc.2). She noted corrections in regard to several topics, including the calculation of applicable majority and ensuring regional representation. Chair Pachauri proposed, and delegates agreed, to set up a Task Group on the rules of procedure, co-chaired by the US and Mauritius, to report back to the Panel at the next session. The Netherlands and Belgium suggested developing guidance on how to organize the work of regional groups during the elections. Brazil proposed submissions from governments on changes to the rules of procedure.
Chair Pachauri further noted that as a result of increasing the number of WG III Co-Chairs and decreasing the number of WG III Vice-Chairs, the region of Asia did not receive a seat in the WG III Bureau. In this regard, Saudi Arabia proposed to increase the size of the Bureau by one to accommodate its candidate. China, Sudan, Egypt, Iran, the Russian Federation and others supported the proposal. The US, the UK and others stressed this should not set a precedent for the future. Australia and New Zealand noted a lack of a representative from the South-West Pacific region on the WG III Bureau, and suggested this, too, should be addressed if the proposal from Saudi Arabia is accepted.
Chair Pachauri proposed allowing the Saudi Arabian candidate, Taha Zatari, to become WG III Vice-Chair, emphasizing this as a one-time exception. Delegates approved the suggestion by Chair Pachauri, leaving open the possibility that an additional representative from the South-West Pacific region could be added to the Bureau at a later date.
ADMISSION OF OBSERVER ORGANIZATIONS
IPCC Deputy Secretary Gilles Sommeria introduced the document on IPCC observer organizations (IPCC-XXX/Doc.4), noting new applications for observer status. Austria requested to defer a decision on Energy Research Austria, pending confirmation of its non-profit status. The Panel accepted the document with this exception.
Deputy Secretary Sommeria then introduced the sub-item that deals with granting a special observer status to Regional Economic Integration Organizations that are parties to the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol (IPCC-XXX/Doc.6), a status the European Community (EC) already holds in other international fora. He noted that the EC submitted a revised proposal on necessary amendments to the current IPCC Policy and Process for Admitting Observer Organizations, granting the IPCC observer organizations that are also parties to the UNFCCC procedural rights at IPCC meetings. Many countries supported the proposal, but Belarus opposed it, noting that to become a member of the Panel the EC should be a member of the WMO or UNEP as well as a state, which it is not.
During a contact group discussion, co-chaired by Hiroshi Ono (Japan) and Andrej Kranjc (Slovenia), the EC elaborated on the revised proposal, noting that the new status would include the right to take part in meetings of the Panel and the groups there under, to speak in turn, to reply, to introduce proposals and to propose amendments to text. The EC clarified that the new status would remain very different than that of members of the Panel, underscoring that the EC does not seek to take part in the decision-making aspects of the Panel. South Africa noted that there are a number of NGOs with a high level of expertise, and that organizations with structures similar to the EC exist within the African Union. The EC underscored that only the EC currently meets the criteria for the new status, although the status would be open to future bodies that reach a similar level of organization. Belarus, supported by the US, Canada, China and Australia, asked for more time to assess the revised proposal.
The Co-Chairs recommended, and the Panel agreed, that the EC would further revise the proposal, taking into account the concerns of delegates, and would communicate a new proposal to governments well ahead of the next session.
IPCC PEACE PRIZE ScHOLARSHIP FUND
Regarding the use of funds from the Nobel Peace Prize, Secretary Christ reported on the IPCC Peace Prize Scholarship Fund for Climate Change Research (IPCC-XXX/Doc.8). The Panel approved the recommendation of the Science Board, which was set up by the Bureau, to invite the following people to serve on the Board of Trustees: Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico; Valli Moosa, former Minister of Environment, South Africa; Brice Lalonde, former Minister of Environment, France; and Khempheng Pholsena, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Head of Water Resources and Environment Authority, Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The Panel also agreed to discuss the name of the Fund and the composition of the Board of Trustees at the next session.
WG III Co-Chair Edenhofer reported on the progress of the SR on Renewable Energy Sources (IPCC-XXX/Doc.7), noting completion of the report by the end of 2010, and Taka Hiraishi (Japan), Co-Chair of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI), briefly reported on activities of the TFI (IPCC-XXX/Doc.9).
On Thursday afternoon, Indonesia confirmed preparations for IPCC-31, to be held in Bali from 26-28 October 2009. The Republic of Korea offered to host IPCC-32 in Busan, and Belgium announced its invitation to hold IPCC-33 in Liege, Belgium. Because of the heavy agenda, the UK suggested that the next Panel meeting be extended to four days.
Chair Pachauri and Secretary Christ thanked the local support staff, interpreters and Turkey for its hospitality, and closed the meeting at 6:30 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF IPCC-30
NEW TIMES FOR THE PANEL
Over the years the IPCC reports have nearly erased the question of climate change. As the IPCC looks ahead to its fifth assessment report, the question is now what climate change means for individuals and what it means for the regions in which they live. Indeed, the Panel’s latest assessment, the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), published in 2007, provided near certain evidence of human-induced climate change. With that question put to rest, attention has turned to the mitigation and adaptation policies required, which necessitates an understanding of the social and economic implications of climate change at regional and local scales. This shift of focus towards policy in the international climate change community is also underscored by the intensely political negotiations on the post-2012 climate change regime under the UNFCCC. That the IPCC is aware of this shift and attempting to address it was evident by how little the discussions in Antalya concerned the contribution of Working Group I (the physical science basis) compared to previous assessments, and how much of the attention was placed on WG II (impacts and adaptation) and WG III (mitigation).
This brief analysis focuses on the key discussions held at IPCC-30, especially those related to future activities of the Panel and the scoping of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), with particular attention to how the Panel will address these new challenges.
In this context, work on the AR5 began in earnest in Antalya. With lessons learned from the AR4 process still fresh in their minds, participants began by reviewing the comments on what lies ahead for the IPCC, submitted by governments, authors involved in the AR4 cycle and observer organizations. These comments were the basis of the specific proposals prepared by the Task Group on the Future of the IPCC that dominated much of the discussion.
Of those key issues, one that will heavily shape the process for the next several years relates to improving regional assessments. While there was consensus on the need for more detailed information at the regional level, there was no clarity on how such information should be presented, or what the basis for a more realistic regional division should be. After stressing communities and legislative units as the mechanisms of change, the Co-Chairs of WG II introduced the concept of regional zooming, which could allow policy makers to simultaneously explore global, national, regional and local facets of climate change issues using electronic resources. The regional focus culminated in one of the central debates of IPCC-30: whether or not to create a Special Report on regional assessments to be released at the time of the AR5 or shortly thereafter. Delegates were divided over how the idea of having a separate report on regional assessment would affect the other AR5 products, some asserting that it would serve as a much-needed single source of regional information for policy makers, and others arguing that there would be too little regional data to merit a separate report. After extensive discussion, much of it relating to timing of a Special Report and possible regional divisions, delegates agreed that attempting a decision was premature and in any case would best be informed by expert advice. Still, they sent a clear message to the participants of the AR5 scoping meeting in July that a more discerning division of regions is needed in the AR5 and asked them to consider how to strengthen and restructure the regional assessment in the WG II report and enhance the contributions by WG I and WG III.
SCIENCE FOR POLICY
Other discussions in Antalya spoke to the policy relevance of IPCC even more directly. In light of the demand to start planning early for the Synthesis Report, the Panel discussed the need to identify policy-relevant questions to be addressed in the SYR. Although countries did not define specific questions as yet, they came up with some general considerations that will help the participants of the AR5 scoping meeting. For instance, there was a strong feeling that the SYR should still be comprehensive and integrate information across the three WGs to the extent possible. Delegates agreed to invite submissions of additional inputs to the process of identifying policy-relevant questions by the end of May.
In the search for ways to provide policy-relevant and focused information, the Panel examined and adopted several proposals for expert meetings. Thus, in the next couple of years, expert meetings will take place to discuss a number of issues, including human settlements and detection and attribution of anthropogenic climate change.
Some earlier proposals and requests were also on the table during this three-day meeting. The Panel gave a green light to the preparation of a Special Report on Managing Risks of Disasters and Extreme Events, a long-awaited report linking the disaster management and climate change communities, which also heavily responds to policy needs. In addition, the IPCC promptly replied to the request from its main policy client, the UNFCCC, on assessing alternative common metrics. Not only did the Panel organize and hold an expert meeting in March 2009, it also prepared a report from that meeting, which will be forwarded to the UNFCCC sessions in June in Bonn. This was most welcome, and seemed to show the capacity of the Panel to respond quickly to its main client’s policy demands.
ACCESSIBILITY AND INCLUSION
Accessibility and inclusion also emerged as watershed issues for the future. The Panel has long stressed the need to increase the participation of developing country experts, and it is now using its share of the funds from the Nobel Peace Prize for this purpose. In Antalya delegates also discussed the need to provide additional links to the material underlying the WG chapters, offer free access to scientific journals for developing country lead authors, and extend the assessment basis to cover “grey” literature and publications in other languages. Improving general accessibility of IPCC products through electronic means was also a subject of deliberations, and delegates agreed that future IPCC products would each contain a section dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions.
THE ROAD AHEAD
The agenda for this thirtieth session was filled with a jumble of issues that the Panel needed to address quickly. Some delegates, however, noted that there is room for improvement in the way agenda items are addressed and how decisions are taken and recorded. But, in the words of one participant, “as usual with the IPCC, out of confusion and chaos comes order.” Next up is the AR5 scoping meeting in Venice in July, and the schedule ahead looks even busier in terms of the approval of the AR5 outline, scoping of the Synthesis Report and a plethora of expert meetings. Ensuring inclusiveness and robust assessments takes time, and the question remains whether the IPCC will be able to keep up with the changing policy demands for scientific knowledge. Although the Panel has a reputation as a cautious body, this session showed an IPCC fully conscious of the need to adapt to the accelerated pace of policy making, particularly given the urgent need for mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. This is not happening a day too soon.
MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM ON ENERGY AND CLIMATE: The Major Economies Forum will take place from 27-28 April 2009 in Washington, DC, US. The Forum will seek to facilitate a dialogue among key developed and developing countries in an effort to generate the political leadership necessary to achieve a successful outcome at the UN climate change negotiations in December 2009. This meeting will serve as a preparatory session for a Major Economies Forum Leaders’ meeting that Prime Minister Berlusconi has agreed to host in La Maddalena, Italy, in July 2009. The 17 major economies invited to attend are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Denmark, in its capacity as the President of the December 2009 Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the UN have also been invited. For more information, visit: http://www.state.gov/g/oes/rls/other/2009/120980.htm
UNFCCC TECHNICAL WORKSHOP ON INCREASING ECONOMIC RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND REDUCING RELIANCE ON VULNERABLE ECONOMIC SECTORS THROUGH ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION: This workshop, which is held under the Nairobi work programme on impacts and vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, will take place from 28-30 April 2009 in Cairo, Egypt. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://unfccc.int/adaptation/adverse_effects/items/4781.php
REVISITING THE USE OF MANAGED LAND AS A PROXY FOR ESTIMATING NATIONAL ANTHROPOGENIC EMISSIONS AND REMOVALS: This meeting will take place from 5-7 May 2009, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact: IPCC Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-730-8025/13; e-mail: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int; internet: http://www.ipcc.ch/
C40 LARGE CITIES CLIMATE SUMMIT – SEOUL 2009: The C40 Large Cities Climate Summit will be held from 18-21 May 2009 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group was established in 2005 by London’s then mayor Ken Livingstone and comprises the world’s largest cities committed to taking action on climate change. The C40 previously met in London in 2005, New York in 2007, and will meet in Seoul in 2009 for its third Summit. The theme of the Seoul Summit is “Cities’ Achievements and Challenges in the Fight against Climate Change.” The Summit is expected to attract the mayors from the C40 Group to share their policies and experiences on this issue through plenaries and sessions. For more information, contact Mr. Chul-woong CHOI; tel: +82-2-2115-7796; fax: +82-2-2115-7799; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.c40seoulsummit.com/
30TH SESSIONS OF THE UNFCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES, AWG-LCA 6, AND AWG-KP 8: The 30th sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies of the UNFCCC – the Subsidiary Body for Implementation and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice – are scheduled to take place from 1-12 June 2009 in Bonn, Germany. At the same time, AWG-LCA 6 and AWG-KP 8 will also take place. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://unfccc.int/meetings/items/2654.php
IPCC AR5 SCOPING MEETING: The first scoping meeting for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will be take place from 13-17 July 2009 in Venice, Italy. For more information, contact: IPCC Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-730-8025/13; e-mail: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int; internet: http://www.ipcc.ch/
WORKSHOP FOR A DIALOGUE ON HIGH-GLOBAL WARMING POTENTIAL ALTERNATIVES TO OZONE-DEPLETING SUBSTANCES: This workshop, organized by UNEP, will take place on 14 July 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-20-762-3851; fax: +254-20-762-4691; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://ozone.unep.org/Events/meetings2009.shtml
TWENTY-NINTH OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP OF THE PARTIES TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: This meeting is scheduled to take place from 15-18 July 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-20-762-3851; fax: +254-20-762-4691; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://ozone.unep.org/
INFORMAL MEETINGS OF THE AWG-LCA and AWG-KP: Informal meetings of the AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP are scheduled to take place from 10-14 August 2009 in Bonn, Germany. Observers will be allowed. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://unfccc.int/
WORLD CLIMATE CONFERENCE 3: The Third World Climate Conference, to be held from 31 August to 4 September 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, will take as its theme “Better Climate Information for a Better Future.” The conference will serve as an input to COP 15. For more information, contact: Buruhani Nyenzi, WCC-3 Secretariat, WMO; tel: +41-22-730-8273; fax: +41-22-730-8042; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.wmo.int/pages/world_climate_conference
AWG-LCA 7 AND AWG-KP 9: The seventh session of the AWG-LCA and the ninth session of the AWG-KP are scheduled to take place from 28 September - 9 October 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://unfccc.int/meetings/items/2654.php
The thirty-first session of the IPCC will be held from 26-28 October in Bali, Indonesia. For more information, contact: IPCC Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-730-8025/13; e-mail: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int
; internet: http://www.ipcc.ch/