FACTBOX-Role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

by Reuters
Friday, 20 September 2013 13:13 GMT

Sept 20 (Reuters) - The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release a report in Stockholm on Sept. 27 to guide governments in tackling global warming.

Drafts show that it will raise the probability that global warming is man-made to at least 95 percent from 90 in its previous assessment in 2007.

The following outlines the IPCC's role:


It was set up by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information from all over the world about climate change.

The IPCC does not conduct any research itself or collect or monitor climate data, but thousands of scientists contribute on a voluntary basis.

Currently, 195 governments participate in the review process of IPCC reports and in its plenary sessions, where the main decisions about the IPCC's work programme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved.

The IPCC is chaired by Rajendra Pachauri, of India. The IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 2007.


The IPCC has published four assessment reports since 1990. The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will be released in stages in 2013 and 2014.

AR5 is composed of three working group reports and a synthesis report. The first working group report assesses the physical science basis for climate change and will be released on Sept. 27 in Stockholm.

The second will be about climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and released on March 29 next year in Japan. The third report will focus on ways to solve the problem and be released on April 11 in Germany.

The synthesis report is based on material from the three working group reports and will be released on Oct. 14, 2014 in Copenhagen. More than 830 authors are involved in writing the reports.


Previous IPCC reports have sometimes spurred action at U.N. climate talks with ever stronger warnings that greenhouse gases will cause more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising seas.

Among past reports, a 1995 IPCC report that concluded it was more than 50 percent likely that mankind was to blame for climate change contributed to negotiations that led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol for cutting emissions by developed nations.

The 2007 report spurred two years of negotiations that led to a summit in Copenhagen where world leaders failed to clinch a global deal. Governments agreed two years ago to have another try, giving themselves until 2015.

The IPCC faces extra scrutiny this year after errors were found in the 2007 report, which exaggerated the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers. A review by outside experts found that the main conclusions were unaffected.

The IPCC subsequently set up a more rigorous and formal process for dealing with errors. (Reporting by Nina Chestney)

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