The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has rescheduled the approval session for the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) to 26-30 July 2021 from April.
The 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 political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.
The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change.
The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed scientific work, including the preparation of scientific literature to be assessed in AR6. The work of the IPCC authors has also been disrupted. As a result the IPCC has made several changes to the timing of milestones in the preparation of the AR6 reports.
The IPCC also postponed the review of the Final Government Draft of the Working Group I report to 3 May-20 June 2021 and agreed on a one-week reduction in the length of the Final Government Draft (FGD) review, starting the review on 3 May instead of 26 April 2021 to relieve pressure on the drafting process.
“I would like to pay tribute to the authors, contributors and reviewers of this report, whose commitment in the challenging conditions of the pandemic around the world allows us to provide a timely, comprehensive and rigorous assessment of the state of climate science, with many novel aspects,” said Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.
Working Group I will be the first of the IPCC working groups to release its AR6 contribution, which will be considered by the 54th Session of the IPCC. On this timetable, the Working Group I report would be released in early August.
The location and modalities of the 54th Session are still under consideration.
The timing of the approval sessions for the other two IPCC working group reports and for the AR6 Synthesis Report is still under consideration.
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.
Comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every 6 to 7 years; the latest, the Fifth Assessment Report, was completed in 2014 and provided the main scientific input to the Paris Agreement.