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last modified Jun 04, 2015 12:36 PM
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Name: IPCC
Contact: IPCC Secretary
Start: Jan 01, 1998
Lead: UN
Funded by: UNEP
IPCC Trust Fund
United Nations Member States
Homepage: www.ipcc.ch

Project Description

The IPCC has provided assessments of climate change, including:

  • causes of climate change
  • impacts and vulnerability
  • response strategies - mitigation – adaptation


One of the main IPCC activities is the preparation of comprehensive assessment reports about the state of scientific, technical and socioeconomic knowledge on climate change, its causes, potential impacts and response strategies. Since its inception in 1988 the IPCC has prepared four multivolume assessment reports. They can be viewed under Publications and Data.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. The UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.

The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.

Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis. Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment of current information. IPCC aims to reflect a range of views and expertise. The Secretariat coordinates all the IPCC work and liaises with Governments. It is supported by WMO and UNEP and hosted at WMO headquarters in Geneva.

The IPCC is an intergovernmental body. It is open to all member countries of the United Nations (UN) and WMO. Currently 194 countries are members of the IPCC. Governments participate in the review process and the plenary Sessions, where main decisions about the IPCC work programme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. The IPCC Bureau Members, including the Chair, are also elected during the plenary Sessions.

Because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature, the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers. By endorsing the IPCC reports, governments acknowledge the authority of their scientific content. The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.


IPCC history

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was created in 1988. It was set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as an effort by the United Nations to provide the governments of the world with a clear scientific view of what is happening to the world's climate. The initial task for the IPCC as outlined in the UN General Assembly Resolution 43/53 of 6 December 1988 was to prepare a comprehensive review and recommendations with respect to the state of knowledge of the science of climate change; social and economic impact of climate change, possible response strategies and elements for inclusion in a possible future international convention on climate. Today the IPCC's role is also, as defined in Principles Governing IPCC Work, "...to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy, although they may need to deal objectively with scientific, technical and socio-economic factors relevant to the application of particular policies."

The scientific evidence brought up by the first IPCC Assessment Report of 1990 unveiled the importance of climate change as a topic deserving a political platform among countries to tackle its consequences. It therefore played a decisive role in leading to the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the key international treaty to reduce global warming and cope with the consequences of climate change.

Since then the IPCC has delivered on a regular basis the most comprehensive scientific reports about climate change produced worldwide, the Assessment Reports. It also continued to respond to the need of the UNFCCC for information on scientific technical matters through Special Reports, Technical Papers and Methodology Reports. Methodologies and guidelines were prepared to help Parties under the UNFCCC in preparing their national greenhouse gas inventories.

The IPCC Second Assessment Report of 1995 provided key input in the way to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The Third Assessment Report came out in 2001 and the Fourth in the course of 2007. "Climate Change 2007", clearly brought to the attention of the world the scientific understanding of the present changes in our climate and led the organization to be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize at the end of that same year.

Along with Comprehensive Assessment Reports, the IPCC has produced several Special Reports on various topics of growing interest, and many other papers and contributions to the advancements of the climate change science.

The participation of the scientific community in the work of the IPCC has been growing greatly, both in terms of authors and contributors involved in the writing and the reviewing of the reports and of geographic distribution and topics covered by the reports.

Below the following document provides more information on the foundation of the IPCC, the evolution of the organization, its work over time with respect to the Climate Convention and reviews the evolution of the state of knowledge on various aspects of climate change from 1990 (First Assessment Report) until 2007 (Fourth Assessment Report).




IPCC Reports:

The main activity of the IPCC is to provide at regular intervals Assessment Reports of the state of knowledge on climate change.

The IPCC produces also Special Reports; Methodology Reports; Technical Papers; and Supporting Material, often in response to requests from the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, or from other environmental Conventions.

The preparation of all IPCC reports and publications follows strict procedures agreed by the Panel. Review by governments and experts is also an essential element of the preparation of IPCC reports.

IPCC Data Distribution Centre:

The DDC provides climate, socio-economic and environmental data, both from the past and also in scenarios projected into the future. Technical guidelines on the selection and use of different types of data and scenarios in research and assessment are also provided. The DDC is designed primarily for climate change researchers, but materials contained on the site may also be of interest to educators, governmental and non-governmental organisations, and the general public.

Emission Factor Database:

EFDB is a project supported by NGGIP (National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme), which is managed by the IPCC's Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI). 

EFDB is meant to be a recognised library, where users can find emission factors and other parameters with background documentation or technical references that can be used for estimating greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The responsibility of using this information appropriately will always remain with the users themselves.


Most of these information have been collected from IPCC´s homepage .They have been last updated on Jun 04, 2015
Filed under: International, Initiative