TABLE OF CONTENTS
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ActivitiesJames P. Bruce
Co-chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group 3
With the completion of the Second Assessment Report (SAR) at the end of 1995, and its publication by Cambridge University Press in 1996, IPCC participants had been hoping for a breathing space before launching further work. However, it was not to be.
The subsidiary bodies of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) requested on an urgent basis, several reports and workshops on some scientific technical issues that could influence current international negotiations. These negotiations are under the Berlin Mandate regarding a post-2000 A.D. climate change limitation agreement to be decided in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997.
In response, three IPCC reports, labelled "Technical Papers" have now been completed and approved, drawing on material from the Second Assessment Report and earlier IPCC reports. These are:
In addition, two other reports are being prepared and will be considered for IPCC approval by September. One is a Technical Paper on climate implications of some of the emission limitation proposals now under discussion. The other will be a "Special Report" that draws material both from the SAR and from more recently published literature on regional impacts of climate change. In the SAR, impacts information was presented on a sectoral basis (agriculture, water, coastal zones, etc.) but this Special Report will focus on multi-sectoral impacts in major regions of the world. Roger Street, Director of the Environmental Adaptation Research Group of Environment Canada, is actively involved in the preparation of this report.
The COP has also requested a Special Report on economic impacts of emission limitation actions in developed countries (Annex 1 of the FCCC) on all countries. Working Group 3 of IPCC advised that there were insufficient published analyses to support such an assessment. It was thus agreed that the IPCC would stimulate modelers, especially trade modelers, to undertake analyses, and sponsor a workshop to compare and critique the models and model results. This workshop will be held in Oslo, Norway during the third week of August, 1997.
Several actions are also under way to lay the groundwork for the Third Assessment Report to be undertaken in the period 1998-2001. One is a series of Integrated Assessment Modeling (physical science and economics) workshops involving more intensive developing country participation, with the first in Tokyo, 10-12 March, 1997. A second is the co-sponsorship with Denmark of a workshop on developing guidelines for "Costing Methodologies for Mitigation and Adaptation Measures" (Copenhagen, 16-18 June, 1997).
Working Group 3 was also charged with developing a new set of reference emission scenarios (without further greenhouse gas limitation policies) to replace the IPCC-IS92 scenarios used to drive climate models assessed in the SAR. The scenarios are to cover all significant greenhouse gases and aerosols, to be internally consistent and more regionally specific. They should reflect the range of expert views on evolution to the year 2100 of population, economic development, consumption patterns, energy sources availability, land use, non-climatic policies that may influence emissions (e.g. sulfur emission controls, deregulation, freer trade), etc. This complex task is being undertaken through a Lead Author team headed by Dr. N. Nakicenovik of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and involving a number of emission scenarios modeling groups. Dr. Erik Haites (Toronto), Head of Working Group 3's Technical Support Unit, is providing support to this activity.
Dr. Robert Watson (World Bank), has been designated as Chair-elect of IPCC and will take over from Professor Bert Bolin (Sweden) after the September 1997 Plenary Session, at which time a new Bureau and the leadership of the three Working Groups will be decided. Professor Bolin has very effectively chaired the IPCC since its organization in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme.