What is the IPCC?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), created by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in 1988, is the “international body for assessing the science related to climate change.” Its purpose is to provide policymakers with assessments of the scientific literature on climate change, the impacts and future risks, and strategies for adaptation and abatement.
In order to combat the established phenomenon that is anthropogenic climate change, governments around the world must understand the science surrounding climate change; IPCC assessments provide the the scientific literature in synthesized and analyzed form, so that governments can develop climate policies. However, the IPCC avoids using policy-prescriptive language; they leave the actual policy making up to politicians.
Membership in the IPCC is open to member countries of the WMO and the UN; the IPCC fills a difficult role of providing “rigorous and balanced scientific information”, due to its intergovernmental nature.
IPCC reports are co-written by thousands of leading scientists and other experts and they undergo many rounds of drafting and revision, so that they are comprehensive, objective, representative of multiple perspectives, and “produced in an open and transparent way.” The IPCC functions by assessing published scientific literature; it does not conduct any of its own studies. The authors are organized into three working groups: Working Group I (the Physical Science Basis), Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability), and Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change).
OSU Professors Alan Mix and David Wrathall
Alan Mix is a distinguished professor of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, specializing in Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry. Mix is in Working Group I and is a lead author on the chapter “Ocean, Cryosphere and Sea Level Change.”
David Wrathall is an Assistant Professor, also of CEOAS, who specializes in Geography, Environmental Sciences, and Marine Resource Management. Wrathall is in Working Group II and is a lead author on the chapter “Poverty, Livelihoods, and Sustainable Development.”
“IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” AR4 SYR Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers – 2 Causes of Change, www.ipcc.ch/.
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