When the United Nations embarked on controlling climate change it needed a clearing house for climate science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC was set up in 1988, parented by two UN organisations: the World Meteorological Organsation WMO and the UN Environment Programme.
The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for addressing it. The IPCC does not carry out research itself but bases its assessment on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature.
It has been six years since the last assessment report and according to the IPCC’s Working Group I, humans are the primary cause of the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases are causing global climate change.
The IPCC has three Working Groups and a Task Force
Main Activities and Products
- Working Group I assesses the scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change.
- Working Group II assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change.
- Working Group III assesses options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise mitigating climate change.
- The Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories is responsible for the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme.
A key activity of the IPCC is to provide in regular intervals an assessment of the state of knowledge on climate change.
The First IPCC Assessment Report was completed in 1990. The Report played an important role in establishing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Its Second Assessment Report, Climate Change 1995, provided key input to the negotiations, which led to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC in 1997.
The Third Assessment Report (TAR), Climate Change 2001, was completed in 2001. It was submitted to the 7th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and Parties agreed that it should be used routinely as a useful reference for providing information for deliberations on agenda items of the Conference of the Parties.