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PARIS, Feb 24, 2020 – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) opened a meeting on Monday to consider the outline of the Synthesis Report for the Sixth Assessment Report, which will provide policymakers in 2022 with the most up-to-date scientific information related to climate change.
The Synthesis Report will integrate the findings of all the reports that the IPCC is working on in its current assessment cycle for the Sixth Assessment Report. It is timed to be available in 2022, one year before the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement, when governments will review the targets they set under the accord and their progress towards implementing them.
The 52nd Session of the IPCC, hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), runs from 24 to 28 February 2020. Among other business it will also elect a member of the Bureau of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories and launch the regular review of IPCC procedures.
“Like all IPCC products, the Synthesis Report will be policy-relevant,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. “It will help policymakers in government at all levels and decision-makers in business and civil society develop climate-resilient development pathways, and connect climate action to economic and societal concerns and options,” he told the opening session of the meeting.
Over the past 18 months the IPCC, the world’s leading body for assessing the science related to climate change, has released three special reports – on global warming of 1.5ºC, on land use, and on the ocean and cryosphere – and a methodology report. The three IPCC Working Groups are now preparing their contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report, which will be released in 2021.
The Synthesis Report, due to be released in the first part of 2022, will present the latest state of climate knowledge by drawing on information from these other IPCC reports. It will serve as the basis for international negotiations and will be ready in time for the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement in 2023.
Governments agreed in Paris in 2015 to respond to climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to hold it to 1.5ºC. Each government decides its own actions in furtherance of this goal, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. They agreed to review progress towards the goal in a global stocktake every five years starting in 2023.
The agenda and supporting documents for the IPCC’s 52nd Session can be found here.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, and to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. It has 195 member states. In the same year the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.
IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.
The IPCC assesses the thousands of scientific papers published each year to inform policymakers about the state of knowledge on climate change. The IPCC identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences and where further research is needed. It does not conduct its own research.
To produce its reports, the IPCC mobilizes hundreds of scientists. These scientists and officials are drawn from diverse backgrounds. Only a dozen permanent staff work in the IPCC’s Secretariat.
The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I (the physical science basis of climate change); Working Group II (impacts, adaptation and vulnerability); and Working Group III (mitigation of climate change). It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for estimating emissions and removals. All of these are supported by Technical Support Units guiding the production of IPCC assessment reports and other products.
IPCC Assessment Reports consist of contributions from each of the three working groups and a Synthesis Report. Special Reports undertake a shorter assessment of specific cross-disciplinary issues that usually span more than one working group.
About the Sixth Assessment Cycle
At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle.
The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was released in October 2018, Climate Change and Land in August 2019, and The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate in September 2019.
The three Working Group contributions to AR6 will be released in 2021, with the Synthesis Report completing the cycle in April 2022.
More information about the AR6 Synthesis Report is available here:
The Global Stocktake
The global stocktake is a process under the 2015 Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to take stock of collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Agreement and its long-term goals. It takes place every five years, with the first one in 2023.
The outcome of the global stocktake will inform Parties to the Agreement in updating and enhancing, in a nationally determined manner, their actions and support for the goals of the Agreement, as well as enhancing international cooperation for climate action.
The UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) decided in 2016 that the products of the IPCC will be key inputs into the global stocktake, and that the IPCC products of the current sixth assessment cycle will be key inputs into the first global stocktake in 2023.
For more information go to www.ipcc.ch