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Vital Climate Graphics

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

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14. In 1988, UNEP and WMO jointly established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as concern over climate change became a political issue. The purpose of the IPCC was to assess the state of knowledge on the various aspects of climate change including science, environmental and socio-economic impacts and response strategies.

The IPCC is recognized as the most authoritative scientific and technical voice on climate change, and its assessments had a profound influence on the negotiators of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol. The IPCC continues to provide governments with scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to evaluating the risks and developing a response to global climate change.

The IPCC is organized into three working groups plus a task force on national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. Each of these four bodies has two co-chairmen (one from a developed and one from a developing country) and a technical support unit. Working Group I assesses the scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change; Working Group II addresses the vulnerability of human and natural systems to climate change, the negative and positive consequences of climate change, and options for adapting to them; and Working Group III assesses options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise mitigating climate change, as well as economic issues. Approximately 400 experts from some 120 countries are directly involved in drafting, revising and finalizing the IPCC reports and another 2,500 experts participate in the review process. The IPCC authors are nominated by governments and by international organizations including NGOs.