IPCC - Introduction
Understanding something as large and complex as climate change requires input from experts across many disciplines. However, it is not always obvious to the public how scientists and governments have been able to state with confidence that climate change is happening and that human activities are a part of such change. What process has been employed to enable the majority of the world's governments to agree on the underlying principles of natural and anthropogenic climate change? Further, how can such a complex issue take account differing scientific viewpoints and challenging uncertainties?
The IPCC assesses our current scientific knowledge on climate change through reports written by many hundreds of scientists all around the world, including several leading researchers from New Zealand.
The aim of these webpages is to provide a transparent account of what the IPCC is and does, and to introduce the key authors contributing to this process from New Zealand. This information will become increasingly relevant as the next IPCC assessment (the Fifth Assessment Report or the ‘AR5') has just started. This will culminate in the release of those reports in 2013/14 following an extensive writing and review process.
The pages also focus on the Working Group chapter that will be particularly relevant to New Zealand - that of the ‘Australasia' Chapter 25 from IPCC Working Group II, which assesses the current state of knowledge regarding impacts of climate change and options to adapt to those changes for Australia and New Zealand.
The NZCCC hopes that these pages will collectively provide more of an insight into this unique, international process from a New Zealand perspective, and also explain how you can contribute to this huge field of research via the IPCC process.
Confused by all the acronyms? For a list of commonly used acronyms relating to the IPCC process click here.
On 30 August 2010 The InterAcademy Council (IAC) released its report: Climate Change Assessments: Review of the Processes and Procedures of the IPCC.
In response to criticisms plus heightened public scrutiny following the release of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) the United Nations and the IPCC invited the IAC to assemble a committee to review the processes and processes of the IPCC and to make recommendations that would further enhance the authority of the IPCC Reports.
The IPCC Panel discussed the recommendations of the IAC Report at its Plenary session in Busan, South Korea in October. These discussions may result in some changes to the structure, management, processes of the IPCC reports. These pages communicate the IPCC process as it currently stands and they will be updated only if/when the IPCC Panel has formally agreed to change any procedures or processes based, in part or whole, on the recommendations by the IAC.