Inside the Technical Support Unit: an interview with Shreya Some

Shreya Some, Scientist in the WG III Technical Support Unit (TSU), talks about the responsibilities of the TSUs, joining the WG III unit, and work in the time of COVID-19.

Shreya Some is a Scientist in the IPCC WG III TSU and is based in Kolkata, India. Her research interests include emission trend analysis, sustainability and co-benefits analysis of various adaptation and mitigation options. She has a Masters degree in Economics from Jadavpur University, 2015.

She has worked as a Contributing Author in Chapter 5 of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming 1.5°C and World Resources Insitute Ocean Report. Prior to joining IPCC, for a short while, she has worked as a Business Analyst with Wipro Technologies (India) and was a Summer Intern at Reserve Bank of India (Kolkata).

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What is your background and expertise?

Hi! I am Shreya Some from Kolkata, West Bengal (the artistic and cultural capital of India). I’m an economist by training. My research interests broadly include analysing the additional socio-economic and development related benefits and costs of taking climate actions (actions that help to adapt to and prevent further climate change). This benefit-cost analysis basically helps in policy prioritization for a sustainable future. I am very passionate about reducing emissions from the agricultural system and a transition, to something more sustainable, in a fair way for all, especially supporting those marginalised workers/farmers engaged in the agricultural system who must shift their ways for their better future.

What were you doing before you arrived at the WG III TSU?

I was in the last year of my Ph.D. working on the economics of emission mitigation from Indian agriculture and was about to give my pre-submission seminar (which got postponed due to Covid-19) at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. I was also an exchange scholar (UGC-DAAD- 2019-21) at TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany working on sustainability of CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) projects in India.

As I was about to submit my Ph.D. thesis, I was looking for post-doc/ research opportunities in the field of climate change. The advertisement for an IPCC TSU member looked promising and I applied for it. I was interested in IPCC work because during my Ph.D. days, I assisted Prof. Joyashree Roy (Coordinating Lead Author) on the IPCC SR 1.5 report as a Contributing Author.

For people who aren’t familiar with the IPCC, can you explain what the TSU does?

The TSU (Technical Support Unit) has a lot on its plate! It primarily provides support to the IPCC co-chairs and vice-chairs to prepare IPCC reports.

Firstly, it provides scientific support. TSU members can provide scientific research inputs as Contributing Authors or Lead Authors in different Chapters of the report. They also prepare technical papers and Supplementary Materials as and when required. I am a Contributing Author on the WG II report, Drafting author of the WG III-Summary for Policymakers and Lead Author on the WG III- Technical Summary, for the AR6 report.

Secondly, it provides technical support. The TSU does the final checks (editing, formatting and sometimes providing scientific inputs) before the Chapters go for several stages of review. It helps to support the preparation of figures/exhibits.

Finally, it provides organisational support. This is the most crucial part. Large numbers of authors are involved in preparing IPCC reports. Coordination among them is very important. The TSU helps in building coordination among authors by organising meetings (recently e-meetings!)

What is your role in the TSU Science team? What does your day to day look like?

I’m a Scientist in the WG III TSU. I joined the TSU in the latter part of the IPCC AR6 cycle, so my role is to provide final checks of the Chapters before they go for Expert and/or Government Review. I am also involved in preparing the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and Technical Summary (TS).

Days are not always packed, so I can concentrate on my own research as well. The days before the reports go out for Government Review are somewhat packed but there is no pressure-I do my work at my own pace. Oh also, we have Monday meetings in TSU to catch up where each of us are in our task (given the pandemic- for me Mondays are happy days as I can see my colleagues’ faces—ha ha!)

What has been your favourite thing about the job so far?

The best thing about the job is that I (an early career climate researcher) am getting to learn ‘hot topics’ (relatively new to me) related to the climate by participating in so many e-meetings. Those discussions are very helpful in broadening my knowledge base.

I would also like to mention that for an early career researcher like me it is very important to work in a friendly and very efficient team- I am elated to be a part of AR6 WG III TSU- Thanks to my wonderful London and Ahmedabad Colleagues!!

What are you most looking forward to for the remainder of the AR6 cycle?

I am looking forward to meeting my colleagues physically. Since I’ve joined during the Pandemic lock-down I haven’t actually been to the TSU office in Ahmedabad in person and I haven’t even met my India-TSU colleagues. Besides these, I am looking forward to the final approval session of the report. We are really working very hard!

Do you have any new hobbies this year thanks to the pandemic?

I am suddenly extremely interested in learning about historic literature, mostly related to WW2 and world politics (maybe because I am getting to know more about climate related politics). These have become sort of my new hobbies now. I have also started playing indoor cricket with my mother (and my brother whenever he is home). I love cricket and used to play a lot when I was a kid. So, the pandemic has given me an opportunity to pursue my long lost ‘passion’.

An IPCC Specialist on Technology and Transport in the 6th Assessment Report

Suzana Kahn-Ribeiro, Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) WG III Coordinating Lead Author, talks about the link between fuels, transport, and technology in the context of climate change.

Suzana Kahn Ribeiro is a professor at the school of engineering Graduate institute (COPPE), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) Brazil. She is the deputy director of COPPE and the Coordinator of the university Green Fund for promoting the campus sustainable infrastructure.

She is also an ad-hoc consultant for the Brazilian Research and Development Council She was Vice-Chair of WG III of the IPCC and President of Scientific Committee of Brazilian Panel on Climate Change. She acted as lead author in the Fourth Assessment IPCC-2007. She worked as the Sub Secretary of Green Economy of Rio de Janeiro State Government and also had a position at the Brazilian Federal Government as the National Secretary of Climate Change at the Ministry of Environment.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and experience with the IPCC?

I’m a mechanical engineer and for 10 years I worked in the private sector. I have a background in engineering, fuels, and climate change. Now, I’m the deputy director of my institution. I work with fuels and here in Brazil biofuels, such as ethanol, are quite important in relation to climate change, because of carbon sequestration. In this report I am a Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of the Transport chapter. I have a long history with IPCC. I was also a CLA in AR4 on the Transport chapter, and prior to that I worked in AR3 as part of the technology chapter. In AR5 I was a Vice-Chair of Working Group III. Now, I’ve returned to be a CLA in AR6, again for the transport sector.

What does a CLA do?

We coordinate the whole chapter. It’s a challenging task because you manage people from different parts of the world, with different levels of expertise, personalities and amounts of time available, since they are volunteers. You rely on the goodwill of each other and you must make sure everyone is on-board. I enjoy the interaction and find it really interesting. It’s more a matter of communication and handling the relationships right than the technical parts of the process.

What’s your favourite part of the process?

When you get to the end! We’ve all become a family and we’re a team. There’s a sense of collective accomplishment that I really enjoy when a report is approved.

What is the transport chapter about?

Well, transport is responsible for a large portion of the world’s carbon emissions. It’s a sector with less alternative fuels – we rely a lot on fossil fuels. For example, it’s different from electricity where you can have other non- fossil fuel energy sources. Transport is mainly fossil fuel based (e.g. gasoline, diesel) and there’s a huge amount of infrastructure around transport that would be changed if fuels changed. It poses a big challenge, and due to an increased population, income etc. transport use has tended to increase, including land, air and sea transportation.

How is technology changing things?

Nowadays we are experiencing some transformation due to electrification, the Internet of Things (IoT), digitalisation, and artificial intelligence. For example, people use video teleconferencing rather than traveling. It may not always replace a face-to-face meeting, but there’s a lot of potential. In terms of the IoT and transport, there’s the potential to extend services to people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who may be able to travel to places for education, health etc.

We are in a changing world in terms of transport and mobility. How these changes happen will impact how much our emissions are reduced and at what cost.

The Work of an IPCC Chapter Scientist

Zyaad Boodoo talks about international co-operation and his role as a Chapter Scientist in WG III’s contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

I’m a dedicated environmentalist with a passion for global and local climate change issues and ways of addressing them. I have a somewhat unusual background of both practice – through over 16 years of professional experience in environmental and climate change mitigation and adaptation policymaking – and academia, ranging from engineering, climate change management, and international development.

As a result, I am both a researcher with a climate-practice background and a practitioner with research skills in the field of low-carbon development. This particular combination allows me to quench my thirst towards undertaking a meaningful scientific career while contributing towards the production of evidence-based policymaking. I currently work for the Government of Mauritius in the environment sector. A sports enthusiast, I love swimming at sea and spend some days per week at the gym on spinning bikes.

What is your research background?

I have a background in Chemical and Environmental Engineering. After some professional experiences in policy-making and environmental legislation, I followed a Master of Sciences in Carbon Management from the University of Edinburgh in 2008/2009. Further working experiences on climate change issues in Mauritius were followed by a Ph.D. in “Low-Carbon Transitions through Donor Support” from the UNEP DTU Partnership, Technical University of Denmark. Within my Ph.D., I have made theoretical and empirical contributions to the literature on the challenges faced by donor organisations through their interventions in developing countries while attempting to sustain transformational change to low-carbon development. I have 16 years of practice in government and worked in policymaking and legislation for the environment.

What does a Chapter Scientist do?

I’m new to the Chapter Scientist role. We (chapter scientists) provide scientific and administrative support to the author teams. For example, we assess the overall themes that the Lead Authors and Coordinating Lead Authors develop and assist in the review of literature. Administratively, we assist in the write-up, the management of references, archiving of any grey literature that may be used, etc. It’s time-consuming and demanding, but our role is to assist the authors in any way we can towards the successful finalisation of our chapters.

How did you become a Chapter Scientist?

There was a call for volunteers on the web and I thought that it was really exciting given that I’m interested in the work of the IPCC. Indeed, an initiative whereby the most brilliant minds of the globe cooperate voluntarily to undertake a scientifically rigorous exercise in synthesising latest research on climate change is extremely laudable, as was evidenced with the Peace Nobel Prize awarded to the IPCC. So, I applied to the Technical Support Unit for Working Group III of the IPCC and received support from my government: the Government of Mauritius (my host institution), as 1/3 of my job is now dedicated to the IPCC. It was quite efficient. It’s a great opportunity, especially for experts from different research backgrounds, developing countries, and small island developing states. I’m really glad to be working for the IPCC because, while there’s a lot of volunteer out of hours work, it’s really gratifying to contribute to an initiative that aims at encouraging meaningful change for the greater good of humanity.

Can you tell us about your Chapter’s focus on International Cooperation?

Yes! Our chapter reviews the literature pertinent to international cooperation published since the 5th Assessment report (2013/2014). Since the Paris Agreement was not yet a reality at that point in time, we will obviously cover that scholarship. Furthermore, given the number of conditional Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – that is political declarations on climate change mitigation and adaptation pledges/targets set by countries – that are in the Paris Agreement, and as someone from a developing country background, I understand such a theme as an important part of our chapter

What’s the report writing process like, and why do you think it’s valuable?

This is my first experience at a Lead Author Meeting (LAM) and as a newbie I’m impressed. To observe and interact with 200 of the brightest minds in climate change research is inspiring. As the meeting has progressed, I’ve become more confident in what I’m contributing. To me, the important thing is that we produce a report that is both scientifically accurate and communicable to the public at large. There’s quite a rigorous process to follow in order to produce a credible report. We have different cutting-edge competences in the same room as we aim to reach an agreement on what is credible and what can be written on each topic. What I really like is that this scientific process will produce different outputs, depending on the chapter, but within a coherent narrative across chapters. The report itself will be significant, but there’s also going to be a Summary for Policymakers (SPM) with very clear messages for policymakers and the public. Large reports can be tough for some people to digest, so the SPM is a good communications tool. I have a sort of dual background in both research and policy, which I believe will help within such an important part of the report writing process.

There are authors from all over the world working on this report, but what does Climate Change look like in your home of Mauritius?

Empirical observations in Mauritius have shown a drastic increase in the number of flooding events, episodes of heatwaves and an increase in sea-level rise. The impacts of climate change are compounded with the rate of development. Given that developmental issues are, by their own nature, multidisciplinary and multisectoral, this shows how complex the climate change challenge is to address. For small islands like Mauritius, there’s a strong focus on adaptation since there’s a lot at stake, such as sea-level rise and flooding. That doesn’t mean mitigation isn’t attended to. In Mauritius, there are conditional NDCs that are aiming towards mitigation through resources the country has and supplemented with international support.  

IPCC Working Group III at COP25

Updated 1st December 2019.

Welcome to the IPCC WG III programme for COP25, hosted by Chile in Madrid. Please find below a list of events hosted by WG III at the IPCC Pavilion and a list of events at which WG III authors and bureau members will be speaking or chairing.

Please note that some details are still to be confirmed. Updates will be posted here.

We look forward to seeing you there! 

WG III Events at the IPCC Pavilion

3rd December, 2-3:30pm
Land Emissions and the Global Stocktake

  • Raphael Slade, Head TSU Science, WG III
  • Giacomo Grassi, Lead Author (LA) of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL)
  • Lou Verchot, SRCCL LA
  • María Amparo Martínez, IPCC Focal Point for Mexico
  • Guest Speaker TBC

5th December, 9:30-11am
Introduction to the Special Report on Climate Change and Land

  • Hoesung Lee, IPCC Chair
  • Youba Sokona, IPCC Vice-Chair
  • Raphael Slade, Head TSU Science, WG III
  • Jo House, SRCCL LA
  • Lou Verchot, SRCCL LA
  • Francis X Johnson, SRCCL LA
  • Guest Speaker TBC

5th December, 11:00am-12:30pm
Land Degradation and Desertification around the Globe

  • Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair IPCC WG I
  • Minal Pathak, Senior Scientist, IPCC WG III
  • Eamon Haughey, Senior Scientist, IPCC WG III
  • Balgis Osman Elasha, SRCCL LA
  • Pirawan Wongnithisathaporn, Program Officer, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact
  • Guest Speaker TBC

5th December, 2-3:30pm
The Future Food System

  • Jim Skea, Co-Chair IPCC WG III
  • Renée Van Diemen, Senior Scientist, IPCC WG III
  • Tim Benton, SRCCL LA
  • Koko Warner, SRCCL LA
  • Diane Holdorf, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • A.G. Kawamura, Western Growers

9th December, 6-7:30pm
Demand and Supply-side Policy

  • Jim Skea, Co-Chair IPCC WG III
  • Frank Jotzo, 6th Asessment Report (AR6) LA 
  • Leon Clarke, AR6 Coordinating Lead Author (CLA)
  • Jun Arima, AR6 LA
  • Sha Fu, AR6 LA

Other events and talks from WG III authors and bureau at COP25

3rd December 2019

Time: 17:00 
Pavilion: UK
Speaker: Marie-Fanny Racault (AR6, Chapter 3 author) 
Talk title:  Earth Observations of the Oceans
Event: Earth Observation and Climate Change: A Critical Capability in Understanding Our Changing World, hosted by DEFRA 

4th December 2019

Time: 9:00, 
Pavilion: IPCC
Speaker: Koko Warner (SRCCL Chapter 7 and SPM author)
Talk: Risk management and policy options for climate land interactions, from the SRCCL
Speaker: Heleen de Coninck (SR1.5 Chapter 5 and AR6 Chapter 16 author)
Talk: IPCC SR1.5 discussion of systems transitions and sustainable development
Speaker: Zinta Zommers (SRCCL Chapter 7 and SPM author)
Talk: Introduction to SRCCL and reasons for concern about land and climate interactions
Event: Sustainable development pathways compatible with 1.5 and 2 degrees, hosted by IPCC

Time: 15:00
Pavilion: TBC
Speaker: Nobuko Saigusa (SRCCL Chapter 6 author)
Talk title:  TBD
Event: Standardized observations are the base of all climate science, hosted by Integrated Carbon Observation System European Research Infrastructure Consortium * (ICOS ERIC) 

Time: 16:45
Pavilion: TBC
Speaker: Glen Peters (AR6 Chapter 3 author)
Talk title:  Global Carbon Budget 2019
Event: Global Carbon Budget 2019, hosted by Stanford, Leeds

Time: 17:30
Pavilion: Spanish Pavillion 
Speaker: Heleen de Coninck (SR1.5 Chapter 4 and AR6 Chapter 16 author)
Talk title:  TBD
Event: Climate Friendly Materials Platform, hosted by DIW/Comillas 

5th December  

Time: TBD
Pavilion: Japan Pavillion 
Speaker: Nobuko Saigusa (SRCCL Chapter 6 author)
Talk title:  Integrated Observation and Analysis System for Monitoring Anthropogenic and Natural Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks
Event: TBD, hosted by JAXA  

Time: 12:30
Pavilion: EU Pavillion 
Speaker: Francis Johnson (SRCCL author)
Talk title: TBC
Event: Responsible Land Use and Agriculture Management, hosted by IKEA 

Time: 13:15
Pavilion: GEF-GCF Pavillion 
Speaker: Louis Verchot (SRCCL Chapter 2 author)
Talk title: The potential of nature based solutions for enhanced climate action
Event: Harnessing Nature-based Solutions for Enhanced Climate Action, hosted by GEF-GCF 

Time: 14:30
Pavilion: EU Pavillion 
Speaker: Giacomo Grassi (SRCCL LA on Chapter 6)
Talk title: TBD
Event: Reconciling differences on anthropogenic forest CO2 fluxes between global models and GHG inventories, hosted by European Commission

Time: 16:45
Pavilion: Room 2 (UNFCCC event)  
Speaker: Heleen de Coninck (SR1.5 Chapter 4 and AR6 Chapter 16 author)
Talk title: The IPCC Special Report on global warming of 1.5C and the financial sector
Event: Following Paris Agreement, Implications for Finance, A Living Narrative, hosted by EBRD

Time: 18:00
Pavilion: TBC
Speaker: Koko Warner (SRCCL Chapter 7 and SPM author)
Talk title: Food is the new climate action – But how? (and at 18:30, Daily Briefing – Eating away at climate change: the latest IPCC special report and food)
Event: COP25 Briefing to Nordic ministers and citizens

6th December

Time: 11:30
Pavilion: TBC
Speaker: Nobuko Saigusa (SRCCL Chapter 6 author)
Talk title: GHG analyzing platform using ground sites, aircraft, ships, and satellite-based data
Event: Satellites in support of national Green House Gas (GHG) reporting and Global Stocktake, hosted by ESA, NIES, RESTEC, WUR

Time: 15:00
Pavilion: Room 2, Area 4 (UNFCCC event facility)
Speaker: Steven Rose (AR6 Chapter 4 CA, AR6 WGII Chapter 18 author)
Talk title: Realizing the Potential Value of International Cooperation – Under Article 6 and Otherwise
Event: The value of Article 6: Lessons from research and practice (a part of COP25 Business & Industry Day (BINGO DAY), Beyond Business as Usual – Leading for a Net Zero Future), hosted by EPRI, ICC, IETA, WBCSD

Time: 15:45
Pavilion: Japan Pavillion
Speaker: Jim Skea (Co-Chair IPCC WG III)
Talk title: TBD
Event: LCS-RNet Side Event: Can “our” long-term strategies make 1.5°C societies a reality?

7th December

Time: 10:00
Pavilion: CaixaForum Madrid Pavillion
Speaker: Oswaldo Lucon (AR6 Chapter 8 author)
Talk title: TBD
Event: Under2 Coalition General Assembly (side event), hosted by Under2 Coalition 

9th December 

Time: 9:00
Pavilion: China Pavilion
Speaker: Frank Jotzo (AR6 Chapter 13 author)
Talk title: Green Steel
Event: Global Alliance of Universities on Climate Change event, hosted by Tsinghua University

10th December 

Time: 15:00
Pavilion: NDC Partnership Pavillion 
Speaker: Osman Elasha Balgis (SRCCL Chapter 1 author)
Talk title: Access to financial and technical support for climate action of developing countries: best practices, challenges and needs
Event: TBC 

Time: 16:00
Pavilion: Green Zone
Speaker: Tania Guillén Bolaños (SR1.5 Chapter 3 author)
Talk title: TBC
Event: Latin American women & science

Time: 18:00
Pavilion: China Pavillion 
Speaker: Jim Skea (Co-Chair IPCC WG III)
Talk title: TBC
Event: Latest Development of Climate Economics, hosted by 7th Global Climate Change Think Tank Forum 

11th December 

Time: 11:30
Pavilion: TBC 
Speaker: Elena Verdolini (AR6 Chapter 16 author)
Talk title: TBC
Event: TBC 

Time: 12:30
Pavilion: EU Pavillion 
Speaker: Zinta Zommers (SRCCL SPM and Chapter 7 author)
Talk title: Session 2: Research insights – How can development cooperation boost climate ambition?
Event: The EU’s external cooperation post-2020: boosting ambitious and coherent climate action, hosted by DG DEVCO and German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Time: 13:30
Pavilion: IPCC Pavillion 
Speaker: Tania Guillén Bolaños (SR1.5 Chapter 3 author)
Talk title: N/A – moderator
Event: Early Career Scientists and IPCC, hosted by IPCC

12th December 

Time: 10:30
Pavilion: EU-side events pavilion
Speaker: Elena Verdolini (AR6 Chapter 16 author)
Talk title: TBC
Event: EU Technology Transition for industry – – the role of research and innovation programmes

Time: 13:15
Pavilion: Room 1 (UNFCCC events)
Speaker: Youba Sokona (IPCC Vice-Chair)
Talk title: TBD
Event: Strengthening Synergies, Accelerating Progress, hosted by UNDRR, DESA and other agencies

Time: 16:45
Pavilion: TBD
Speaker: Elena Verdolini (AR6 Chapter 16 author)
Talk title: TBD
Event: Global Climate Change Policy

Time: 18:30
Pavilion: Room 6 
Speaker: Nadia Maïzi (AR6 Chapter 5 author)
Talk title: TBD
Event: Considering social acceptance in the energy transition of states, hosted by MINES ParisTech, ParisTech and CIRED

Climate Change in our Everyday Lives

Felix Creutzig talks about people and climate change, and his role as a Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) in WG III’s contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

Felix Creutzig is Head of the Land-use, Infrastructures and Transport’ Group at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and Chair of Sustainability Economics of Human Settlements at Technical University Berlin. Before becoming CLA of chapter 5 on ‘demand, services and social aspects of mitigation’ in AR6 he was a Lead Author (LA) in the transport chapter of AR5, during which time he lead

the ambiguity-laden task of reconciling diverse expertise on bioenergy and climate change. Felix was previously a Visiting Fellow at the “Princeton Institute for International and Regionals Studies”, postdoc at the Berkeley Institute of the Environment and Visiting Fellow at the Energy Foundation China in Beijing. Read his full bio here.

What is your research background?

I studied Physics and have a Ph.D in Computational Science. For the past 12 years, I’ve worked in climate change science, specialising in the economics of climate change mitigation. More recently I’ve been looking at the link between the social sciences and climate change mitigation.

Does that mean you look at the impact of Climate Change on peoples’ everyday lives?

That’s one of the perspectives that our chapter is working with in the Sixth Assessment Report. Our chapter, chapter 5, is about demand, services and the social aspects of mitigation. We take people as a point of study – their wellbeing, their lives – and we are looking at climate change mitigation from their perspective. The challenge is that there are many different perspectives on that, for example academic, scientific and social perspectives. Our chapter will consider and assess these as we look at what social science can contribute to climate mitigation and what the entry points for action are.

Are these actions that individuals can take?

It starts with people and how individuals can act. For example, the Special Report on Climate Change and Land showed that dietary choices are an action that individuals can take. Another example is changing your mode of transportation. However, this alone is not enough to mitigate climate change and it puts the responsibility on only individuals when oftentimes policies and structures are partly responsible for the current situation. Individuals can be part of the answer, but this mitigation is more effective if integrated with other parts of society that include, for example, how culture and social norms evolve, the structures and institutions around us, available physical infrastructure, like in cities, etc.

Does this change depending on the region/part of the world?

Yes, there is a different ‘behaviour capacity to act’ from one place to the other, which is something we’ll be considering. In many situations, people are bound by the structures around them. These could be social structures and practices, or physical structures. These structures affect their ability or capacity to act.

We also need to look at what constitutes wellbeing and what is important in different regions. So we will be considering access to services, food, health or employment. And there isn’t only one policy or way to respond to these, rather there’s a whole social system, within which policymaking is very important.

Could you tell us about the demand and services aspect of climate mitigation?

It’s important to differentiate between demand for services and demand for energy. There is a lot of demand for services, rather than energy, insofar as people aren’t invested in having a huge amount of a particular type of energy to consume. They’re more interested in the services that energy delivers, for example, the light in their homes, or the opportunity to access hospitals or other facilities. These are important services. There are opportunities to provide these services in a very low carbon way.

What’s it like being a CLA? What do you do?

There’s lots of coordinating for myself and my colleague (Joyashree Roy) as Chapter 5 CLAs! There are many requests for our chapter to deliver and a lot of input and figuring out how to make it come together.

III AR6 authors deliver an outreach event at the Second Lead Author Meeting in New Delhi.

We need to communicate with other chapters and make sure that our concepts come together. We also need to consider what other chapters are writing. I was previously an LA, and being a CLA is more work, but it’s a lot of fun to work with so many talented people and other areas of expertise.

What happens at a Lead Author Meeting (LAM)?

The main point of the meeting is to communicate with other authors and prepare the report. It involves a lot of working in a conference room all day. It’s really the only time we all see each other in person and it wouldn’t work without really meeting. There’s a lot to discuss!

IPCC 6th Assessment Report: Working Group III selects its authors

The countdown begins for the IPCC 6th Assessment Report! Renée van Diemen, scientist in the Working Group III Technical Support Unit, talks about the scientists who will draft the Working Group III contribution, how they were selected and how else to get involved with the IPCC during this cycle.

Last month, the IPCC published the list of authors who will be writing its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), the next comprehensive assessment of the science related to climate change. 721 experts from 90 countries will soon get started on this work. Out of these, 228 will focus on the contribution of Working Group III. These experts from around the world will be volunteering their time and expertise to assess the knowledge relevant to the mitigation of climate change.

For each of the 17 chapters of the Working Group III contribution to AR6 the carefully selected author teams will work together to assess the state of knowledge relevant to topics such as transport, cities, industry or social aspects of mitigation. Here at the Working Group III Technical Support Unit, we are really excited at the prospect of working with such an incredible range of experts during the production of the AR6.

How were authors selected?

The author teams of the Working Group III contribution to the AR6 were selected by the IPCC Working Group III Bureau, with support from the Technical Support Unit. The Bureau is the scientific leadership of each Working Group and of the IPCC as a whole, elected by governments at the start of each new IPCC cycle. Over the course of three months, the Working Group III Bureau carefully considered 873 AR6 author nominations from Governments, Observer Organisations and IPCC Bureau Members.

P.R. Shukla and Jim Skea, Co-Chairs of Working Group III. Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera

One of the most important underlying principles of the IPCC is that its assessments are comprehensive and objective.  All IPCC reports seek to reflect internationally agreed scientific consensus and be free from bias. Therefore, when author teams are selected, care and attention is given to ensuring that the author teams are composed of a diverse range of experts representing different geographical regions, a variety of relevant specialist disciplines as well as ensuring that author teams are balanced in terms of gender and ensuring that the teams are adequately inclusive of experts who do not have previous IPCC experience.

To select authors, the Bureau developed an iterative process to ensure that the author teams were composed of a range of scientific, technical and socio-economic views and expertise, taking into account all the IPCC balance considerations. Each individual author nomination was carefully considered in a series of international web conferences between the Bureau members. To make the final selection, the Bureau met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29-30 January 2018.

The Working Group III Bureau finalises the selection of authors in Geneva (January 2018).

What are the different author roles?

In total, 228 authors from 63 countries will contribute to the WG III AR6 report, but they will not all play the same role.

Each of the 17 chapters is composed of Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs) and 7 to 15 Lead Authors (LAs). As a collective, authors are responsible for the contents of the chapter. They will be in charge of drafting specific sections of each chapter based on their area of expertise. The CLAs oversee this process and are responsible for the coordination of the chapters, so the Bureau paid attention not only to scientific excellence, but also to the qualities of leadership required to lead multidisciplinary and international chapter teams.

Together, these authors will produce two drafts of the report that will go out for an external review, the first one by experts and the second by both experts and governments. All the comments made during the review period are collected and must be addressed by the author teams when they produce their next draft. To support this process, each chapter also has at least two Review Editors. The role of Review Editors is to ensure that comments from the review process are taken into consideration by the team.

Watch AR5 experts talk about what it means to be an IPCC author.

What’s next for the authors?

Authors are from all around the world, so their work involves a mixture of online and physical meetings. The latter, called Lead Author Meetings, or LAMs, happen four times in the production of an IPCC report. Working Group III authors will meet at the first Lead Author Meeting in April 2019 and will be working together until the approval of the report in 2021.

I’m not an author… are there other ways to get involved in AR6?

Yes! Although the author teams for the Working Group III contribution to the AR6 have been selected, there are a number of other ways to get involved with AR6 and the IPCC more broadly.

As author teams develop the content of their chapter, they may also draw on other experts. Each cycle, hundreds of Contributing Authors provide specific knowledge or expertise in a given area. This could be in the form of a short section of text, figures or graphs, or data. Contributing Authors are important for ensuring that the full range of views in the scientific community is reflected in the report. Contributing Authors do not attend author meetings, but they fill gaps in expertise and are acknowledged in the final publication. Contributions may be enlisted by the CLAs and LAs of the author teams, although the IPCC also encourages unsolicited contributions. As the writing process is naturally dynamic, this can occur at different stages of the report drafting.

IPCC Coordinating Lead Author Myles Allen, Working Group I Vice-Chair Jan Fuglestvedt and Chapter Scientist Richard Millar working on an IPCC Special Report

Chapters are also often supported by a Chapter Scientist, who provides technical and logistical support to author teams. They can be recruited directly by the CLAs of a specific chapter, or through a call issued by the Technical Support Unit. This is a fantastic opportunity for early career researchers to be at the heart of the IPCC process. Keep an eye out on this blog and the IPCC social media channels for future opportunities.

Are you and early career researcher interested in getting involved with the IPCC? Read more about the different opportunities here.

Finally, anyone with relevant expertise can register to review the first or second draft of an IPCC report. Expert reviewers are crucial to the IPCC process, so look out for announcements and make sure to contribute to the review process. The Expert Reviews of the Working Group III contribution to the AR6 will be in 2019 and 2020.

Interested in the IPCC expert review process? Find out which sections or chapters might be relevant to your area of expertise by looking at the outline of the report.

Click here for more information on the IPCC 6th assessment cycle. The full list of Working Group III AR6 authors and review editors is available on the IPCC website.

If you are interested in regular updates about our activities, subscribe to the IPCC WGIII Newsletter here.

Meet the IPCC: Interview with Youba Sokona, Vice-Chair of the IPCC

Youba Sokona has over 35 years of experience addressing energy, environment and sustainable development issues in Africa. He is currently Special Advisor on Sustainable Development at the South Centre, an Intergovernmental Organization of Developing Countries intended to meet the need for analysis of development problems and experience. Until May 2012, he was Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He was the Executive Secretary of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) in Tunis, Tunisia from 2004 to 2010. He has been involved with the IPCC since 1990, first serving as a Lead Author, then as Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III for the Fifth Assessment Report. He was elected Vice-Chair of the IPCC in October 2015.

What is your research focus and how does that feed into your work at the IPCC?

My research vision focuses on energy and development issues in Africa. Access to modern energy services is the fundamental prerequisite for development. Africa has urgent needs to address “modern energy access” through a rapid and wide scale expansion of both electricity generation capacity – on-grid and off-grid – and the supply of other forms of energy.

However, jumpstarting and operationalizing a meaningful energy transition that addresses the development needs of African countries while responding to the challenge of climate change is a major challenge. Many Developing Countries are struggling to address a wide range of pressing needs such as nutrition, food, water, education, health, and reducing poverty. They are trying to tackle these issues while adequately combating climate change with limited capacity, resources, and finance.

The challenge is especially daunting for rural areas in Africa given the isolated nature of rural settlements. This requires serious assessments of technology needs, innovations in finance and institutional development, and the design of appropriate policy instruments.

Making development more sustainable requires relying on sustainable energy systems. One issue that features increasingly in this objective is the need to grow in a carbon-constrained world. In this context, a number of African countries have shown ambition and creativity over the past few years in the way they intend to meet this objective.

Pursuing a low carbon development strategy is therefore central to development plans, and this will continue to be the case in the future.

What do you think is the greatest challenge in meeting the long-term aim of the Paris Agreement?

Meeting the long-term aim of the Paris Agreement requires deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions without further delay. This, as already documented in previous IPCC assessment reports, will entail challenging technological, economic, institutional, cooperation, and behavior change. The longer we wait to take action, the greater the challenge will be, and the more it could risk compromising prospects for adaptation.

Achieving this requires a concerted, worldwide and ambitious set of actions, as well as a high degree of coherence among the fragmented policy areas, instruments, and tools within which different countries operate.

Workers in Yunnan Province, China.

It also implies finding solutions to address the aim of the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the national priorities of individual countries. Indeed, climate policies can be more effective when consistently embedded within broader strategies designed to make national and regional development paths more sustainable.

Ensuring that we meet nations’ short-term needs at national, regional and local levels, as well as the long-term aim of the Paris Agreement, is highly complex but absolutely necessary.

Dr Sokona talks about themes of sustainable development and equity in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (April 2014).

The IPCC is working on a Special Report on climate change and land. How are climate change and land linked, and why is it important to look at these relations?

Land represents both an important source of greenhouse gas emissions and a great potential carbon sink.

Climate change and land degradation are closely intertwined, as intensive land use increases greenhouse gas emissions and loss of soil and vegetation reduces carbon sequestration. Managing land and land use sustainably provides multiple benefits not just for tackling climate change, but also for nutrition, food and energy security, livelihoods and poverty reduction.

In previous IPCC reports, land-related issues were assessed independently within the individual contexts of each working group. This Special Report will provide a comprehensive and integrated assessment going beyond the specific boundaries of individual Working Groups and disciplines.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the IPCC, and what is most challenging?

Immersing yourself in a multicultural and multidisciplinary scientific environment for the 6 to 7 years of an IPCC cycle is an exceptional and invaluable experience, and something that cannot be taught by any university. But it also requires a huge time commitment, which can make it challenging to secure a fully participatory process. For many developing country authors, time is a critical issue.

Youba Sokona and Working Group I Vice-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte chair a session at the First Lead Author Meeting of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land.

How can the IPCC increase the policy relevance of its reports?

The IPCC should significantly increase and widen the review of the draft report by policymakers. It must also work to improve the readability of its report.

What would you tell researchers who are thinking of getting involved in the IPCC?

To be ready for intense workload and not be intimidated by some colleagues.

What is your favourite hobby?

My favorite hobby is a “Sahel Tea Ceremony” with friends listening to James Brown’ “it’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”.

Subscribe to the IPCC WGIII Newsletter here.

2018: A busy year ahead for Working Group III

IPCC Working Group III Co-Chairs, P.R. Shukla and Jim Skea, discuss some of the big achievements of 2017, and what to expect from Working Group III in the year to come.

Working Group III Co-Chairs P.R. Shukla and Jim Skea at the 45th session of the IPCC in Guadalajara, Mexico (March 2017). Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera.

2017 was a year of firsts for the IPCC: The first Lead Author Meetings of this cycle’s Special Reports took place in March (Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C) and October (Special Reports on Climate Change and Land and on Oceans and the Cryosphere). The First Order Draft of the 1.5°C report went out for expert review over the summer. It generated nearly 13,000 comments by hundreds of experts from around the world. These fed directly into the Second Order Draft that is currently under review.

Participants of the IPCC AR6 scoping meeting in Addis Ababa (May 2017).

2017 was also the year that laid the groundwork for the 6th Assessment Report (AR6). Hundreds of scientists and technical experts got together in Addis Ababa in May to scope the content of AR6. This directly followed an influential Expert Meeting on scenarios convened by Working Group III. In September, governments agreed the final outlines at the 46th IPCC Plenary in Montreal, Canada.

Working Group III during the approval session of the outlines of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report. Photo by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis.

These are no small feats and are the product of months and years of planning and preparation.

In 2018, we will pick up the pace: the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, the first IPCC report of this cycle, is due for approval in October 2018 and there is a range of meetings and conferences in the pipeline. Here are just a few of the Working Group III activities that will be coming up this year:

  • The author teams that will draft the Working Group III contribution to AR6 will be announced soon, following their selection at the IPCC Working Group III Bureau meeting at the end of January. This will be the start of the next big assessment of the science related to the mitigation of climate change.
  • In March, scientists, practitioners and policymakers will come together for

    Beijing. Credit: M. Ferrat.

    the CitiesIPCC conference in Edmonton, Canada to inspire the next frontier of research focused on the science of cities and climate change. The conference aims to assess the state of academic and practice-based knowledge related to cities and climate change, and to establish a global research agenda to help fill knowledge key gaps across the academic, practitioner and urban policy-making communities.

  • The following week, we will attend, along with other IPCC Bureau members, the 47th plenary session of the IPCC in Paris, France. This session is expected to consider the participation of developing countries in IPCC, the alignment of the cycles of the IPCC and the Paris Agreement global stocktake, and author selection for the 6th assessment cycle.
  • Later that month, the authors of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land will meet in Christchurch, New Zealand, for their second Lead Author Meeting. Gaining a better understanding of the feedbacks between climate change and land was seen as a priority for governments at the start of this cycle and this meeting will be the opportunity for these authors to plan the First Order Draft of the Special Report. This will then be available for expert review in the summer.

IPCC authors at the first Lead Author Meeting of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land. Credit: M. Ferrat.

  • In April, the fourth and final Lead Author Meeting of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C will take place in Gaborone, Botswana. At this meeting, the authors will discuss experts’ and governments’ comments on the Second Order Draft of the report and the first draft of the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), currently out for review. Following this meeting, the authors will produce a final version of the report, as well as an updated draft of the SPM that will be reviewed once more by Governments.
  • October will then see the approval session of the 1.5°C report, the first IPCC report of the cycle. The approval session will take place in time to inform

    Exhibition hall at COP23 in Bonn, Germany (November 2017). Credit: M. Ferrat.

    discussions and negotiations at the Talanoa Dialogue of the 24th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24). At this critical meeting, Parties to the UNFCCC will participate in a facilitative dialogue on the collective efforts in relation to progress towards the goal of the Paris Agreement. IPCC has an important role to play in that dialogue.

These are but a few of the big milestones of the year, so we have a lot of work to do.

But 2018 is also a year of celebration as the IPCC turns 30. In 1988, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation established the IPCC.

First Session of IPCC. Credit: IPCC.

For 30 years, it has provided policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

We hope that this year, and this cycle, will continue to do so and be more relevant than ever.

Jim Skea and P.R. Shukla, Co-Chairs of IPCC Working Group III

Subscribe to the IPCC WGIII Newsletter here.

Meet the IPCC: Interview with Professor Carlo Carraro, Vice-Chair of IPCC Working Group III

Carlo Carraro is President Emeritus and Professor of Environmental Economics at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE) for the biennium 2018-2019. He has worked as an IPCC Lead Author since 1995 and has been a Vice-Chair of Working Group III since 2008. In this post, he speaks about his research, the role of economics in the IPCC, and the challenges of meeting the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement.


What is your research focus and how does that feed into your work at the IPCC?

My research focuses on modeling the interactions between climate and economic variables. Economic, social, technological and demographic dynamics determine climate change, whereas climate change has relevant impacts on economic and social systems. Understanding and modeling these interactions is crucial to design cost effective policies to control climate change and minimize its impacts.

What policy-relevant questions do economics models help us answer?

Economics models help prioritizing choices and identifying the crucial elements that can make climate change control possible and affordable. Economic models tell us how many resources should be invested in technological innovation, and/or in mitigation, and/or in adaptation. They tell us how to allocate these financial resources over time, across economics sectors, and in different world regions.

What is the distinctive contribution that economics can make to IPCC assessments?

Economics is the main pillar of IPCC assessments. Without an economic assessment, climate change would be considered as irrelevant by business leaders, policymakers and most citizens. Without an economic assessment, it would be difficult to identify the policies to be implemented to control climate change and its impacts. Without economic, technological and demographic scenarios, it would be impossible to predict future climate change.

What do you think is the greatest challenge in meeting the long-term aim of the Paris Agreement?

The greatest challenge is the development of technological innovation at a pace faster than climate change. We need a quick development and diffusion of energy efficient solutions in most sectors and all countries. We need affordable and large-scale solutions for energy storage and above all for the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Climate is changing rapidly, more rapidly than expected by science in the past years. We need an even more rapid technological development, otherwise the Paris Agreement, and its subsequent revisions, will not be sufficient to limit temperature increase below 2°C.

How can the IPCC increase the policy relevance of its reports?

By using a different language and different communication tools. IPCC reports are largely incomprehensible to policymakers and to the large public that shape, through elections, policy decisions.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the IPCC, and what is most challenging?

My favorite thing is working in a very interdisciplinary, international, and diverse environment. There is always something new to learn. The most challenging one is to make IPCC work policy relevant and policy effective, where the word “policy” also refers to business strategies and decisions at all levels: cities, regions, sectors….

What is your best memory of your work with IPCC?

The scoping meeting of the Fifth Assessment Report that took place in Venice in 2009. Five days of good work and fun with outstanding colleagues.

What would you tell researchers who are thinking of getting involved in the IPCC?

To fight against IPCC rules and traditions. IPCC is a very conservative organization.

What is your favorite book?

One hundred years of solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez.

Building bridges: Enhancing collaboration and multi-disciplinarity in the IPCC 6th assessment cycle

IPCC Working Group I Vice-Chair Jan Fuglestvedt writes about the importance of cross-disciplinary and cross-Working Group collaboration in the IPCC 6th assessment cycle.

After a long history of emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we are now in a situation where we observe deep and broad changes in the climate system. Consequently, we are facing a complex set of challenges: how to reduce the warming, how to adapt to the broad range of changes – and how this can be done within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.

reportsThese challenges are huge, and knowledge is needed on a scale beyond what one single scientific discipline can provide alone. We need a solid and deep understanding of the climate and human systems and the interlinkages and couplings between them. This means that science – and the IPCC – cannot work in siloes.

Early in the sixth cycle, the IPCC took important steps towards a new way of working. It is now developing a more integrated approach to assessing the science related to climate change, one that can support these multi-perspective challenges.

How to enhance collaboration and integration

These new ambitions will require new modes of writing and new mechanisms to remove obstacles and to enhance contact across scientific borders – both within working groups and across working groups.

CaptureBut we are not starting from scratch. In the Synthesis Report of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), authors from three working groups and with a range of expertise worked together in new constellations. They produced an integrated report that was structured more by issue rather than by discipline.

In this cycle, the IPCC has many activities and several reports to prepare. Before the main reports come out, we will publish three special reports. These three special reports have already implemented a cross-Working Group mode of working – they are all cross-Working Group projects.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) is the first example of deep cross-Working Group collaboration in this cycle.

The IPCC’s report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

In Paris in December 2015, the United Nations 21st Conference of Parties, also known as COP21, invited the IPCC to provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of 1.5°C global warming above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. More knowledge about low-level temperature change scenarios was needed and it was a direct result of an increased ambition that emerged during the Paris negotiations. The IPCC accepted this invitation in April 2016.


The Co-Chairs of the three IPCC Working Groups talk to the IPCC authors of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C at the first Lead Author Meeting in Brazil in March 2017.

This Special Report represents something entirely new – it involves the three IPCC Working Groups and the Co-Chairs of all three groups have joint scientific leadership.

The first main step in the production of this report was the scoping meeting in August 2016. The purpose of a scoping meeting is to develop a report’s overall structure, with chapters, topics and themes. A range of experts with a broad set of backgrounds were present at this meeting and the report was scoped in a way that will require input from several disciplines, and all Working Groups, within each chapter.


The authors of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C at the Second Lead Author Meeting in Exeter, UK, in June 2017.

Having multi-disciplinary chapter author teams represents opportunities to develop new interfaces and ways of working across borders. This had previously been harder to achieve from an early stage in the assessment process.

At the first Lead author meeting for SR15 in early 2017, we immediately felt that this was a new way of working. Authors told us they felt inspired by having colleagues with different backgrounds within each chapter.

Capture2The first draft of the special report was reviewed by experts over the summer. We received 12,895 comments, by 489 experts from 61 countries, spanning a broad set of expertise. The Authors are now revising the chapters and producing a second order draft, which will be sent out for Government and Expert review in January. The authors will then produce a final draft and a Summary for Policymakers (SPM) that will be presented at the report’s approval session in October 2018. This will be in time to provide input to the Talanoa dialogue, the COP24 meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change next year, where countries will take stock of efforts since the Paris Agreement.

The cross-Working Group experience from SR15 gives a useful experience for the other two special reports, on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and on Climate Change and Land, both due to be approved in fall 2019. The author teams for these are established and are now working towards their first order drafts.


Co-Chairs of Working Groups II and III and of the Task Force on Inventories at the First Lead Author Meeting of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land in Oslo, Norway, in October 2017.

The collaborative experience of SR15 will also be useful for the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), particularly the Synthesis Report.

Working across working groups for the main Assessment Report

In Montreal, Canada, in September 2017, the governments approved the outlines of the 6th Assessment Report for each Working Group. These outlines were developed at a scoping meeting in Addis Ababa in May 2017. 170 experts participated at that meeting. They came mainly from academia, but also from governments, NGOs and business.


The 46th IPCC Plenary in Montreal, Canada.

It was an intense and packed week where participants operated together in full meetings, in Working Group meetings, in breakout groups and cross-Working Group meetings, all to achieve outlines that reflected new science, in an integrated way, across borders between disciplines and scientific communities.

The result of this process was a set of outlines that reflect the multiple dimensions of climate science and the stronger integration across disciplines and working groups. Some topics were highlighted as strongly based on integration across all three Working Groups (for example scenarios and mitigation pathways, Short-lived Climate Forcers (SLCF) and air quality). In addition, many topics will need collaboration between two Working Groups, for example remaining carbon budgets and regional projections and impacts.

Nearly 3000 experts were nominated as authors for the three Working Group reports of AR6. The IPCC Bureau is currently working on the selection, which will be finalized in early February. The real work will start when the first Lead Author Meeting for the Working Group I report takes place in late June 2018.

IMG_20171023_101042_876Clearly, IPCC is in a very busy cycle now. In addition to the three Special Reports, three AR6 Working Group reports and the Synthesis report, the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI) is writing a methodology report for calculations of emissions. Furthermore, the Working Groups and TFI are also in collaboration organizing experts meetings to support the coming reports. In May 2017 we organized an expert meeting on Mitigation, Sustainability and Climate Stabilization Scenarios, and two more expert meetings will take place in 2018: one on regional climate change and one on short-lived climate forcers (SLCF). In addition, there will be a conference on cities and climate change in March 2018.

Coordination within a working group

The challenges are not only related to working across Working Groups but also within one working Group. That has of course always been emphasized in previous assessment reports, but is becoming even more important with the new outlines and structures. It requires authors to work closer with their colleagues from other chapters.

An author team working on the Special Report on Climate Change and Land. Credit: M. Ferrat.

An author team working on the Special Report on Climate Change and Land.

This is particularly relevant for Working Group I, where there has been a significant change in structure compared to earlier reports. Some topics that have traditionally had separate chapters (e.g. aerosols and clouds, radiative forcing, model evaluation) will instead be discussed in the context where they are needed. For example, model evaluation will be an integrated part of the scenario chapter and radiative forcing will be used in several chapters for understanding past, present and future changes.


IPCC Vice-Chair Thelma Krug and Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte.

Several chapters have – as Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte described it – an “end-to-end” approach. They will combine observations, paleoclimate, process studies, theory and modelling into a complete picture. They will essentially be a “one-stop-shop” for each topic and will require much more cross-chapter interaction. New perspectives and angles may be developed from this new approach but more efforts will also be needed to ensure that the reports are cohesive.

Supporting and paving the way to the Synthesis Report

At the scoping meeting in Addis Ababa, the IPCC bureau also started the preparations for the final and integrative report of the sixth assessment cycle: the IPCC Synthesis Report. This report will provide policymakers with the integrated high levels conclusions of the entire cycle. It will build on all the assessment reports coming out this cycle and will be published in time for the global stock take, the first of the five-yearly meetings of the Parties to the Paris Agreement to assess the collective progress towards achieving the long-term goals of the agreement.

Discussions at the AR6 scoping meeting took a holistic and policy perspective and led us to lay down some broad elements that could be included in the report. Five main topics were identified:

  • Global Stocktake
  • Interactions among emissions, climate, risks and development pathways
  • Economic and social costs and benefits of mitigation and adaptation in the context of development pathways
  • Adaptation and mitigation actions in the context of sustainable development
  • Finance and means of support

This set of topics will be further developed 2019, when a complete draft outline will be produced.

Inspiring engagement across and within communities


IPCC Working Group I Vice-Chair Jan Fuglestvedt, Chair Hoesung Lee and Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts talk about the IPCC at an outreach event at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo.

There have in the past been many fruitful interactions between IPCC and science communities, and this could be enhanced through more multi-disciplinary collaboration within the scientific community. The IPCC assesses the science related to climate change based on the scientific literature. For topics that lend themselves to a multi-disciplinary discussion, the more integrated the papers in the underlying peer-reviewed literature, the less additional integration needs to be done by the IPCC authors.

More integrated assessment work will also strengthen the communication of the IPCC findings, and there is also a drive to place a greater emphasis on effective communications within the IPCC. All three Working Groups’ Technical Support Units have hired communications experts responsible for communication strategies of the working groups and for improving the way IPCC communicates its findings. They will work closely across the Working Groups and with the communication staff in the Secretariat in Geneva.


Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea and Heads of Communication in the Technical Support Units of Working Groups I and III, Roz Pidcock and Marion Ferrat, visit Jan Fuglestvedt and CICERO Director Kristin Halvorsen.

Overall, 2017 was a very busy year for IPCC with the beginning stages of three special reports and scoping of the main AR6 report. The schedule for 2018 is already packed with important activities, with the finalization of SR15 and input to the Talanoa dialogue as important milestones. If you are interested in the science of climate change and the scientific input to the Paris process: Keep in touch – sign up for the Newsletters, follow us on twitter, visit our webpages, and read and review our reports.

Jan Fuglestvedt is Vice-Chair of IPCC Working Group I and Research Director at CICERO Center for International Climate Research. His research focuses on atmospheric chemistry and climate interactions, atmospheric modelling and climatic impacts of different human activities.

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