In 1988, UNEP and WMO jointly established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as concern over changes in the climate 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 these issues, and its assessments had a profound influence on the negotiators of the United Nations Framework Convention, UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol. 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 changes in the climate, the negative and positive consequences of changes, and options for adapting to them; and Working Group III assesses options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise mitigating changes, as well as economic issues.
From collection: Vital Climate Graphics