The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is the world's most authoritative scientific and technical source of climate change information. Its assessments provided an essential basis for the negotiation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and of the Kyoto Protocol. With these agreements now in place, it is vital that the IPCC's findings be communicated more effectively to a wide range of decision-makers. The IPCC's work also needs to be made more readily accessible to the general public.
For years, UNEP has been active in disseminating information for decision-making and promoting awareness of climate change. In cooperation with the Convention's secretariat, UNEP is taking action to promote the implementation of Article 6 of the Convention, which addresses public awareness, education and training. As part of this effort, UNEP's Global Resources Information Database (GRID) office in Arendal conceived an idea to develop an information package called Vital Climate Graphics.
This first set of graphics focuses on the environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change. The graphics are based primarily on the IPCC's Second Assessment Report (SAR), especially the contribution of Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change and on the IPCC Special Report on Regional Impacts of Climate Change. It is our hope that these Vital Climate Graphics find a wide and receptive audience.