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Evaluation of the procedures to conduct IPCC assessment reports
Independent review by the InterAcademy Council (IAC)
The InterAcademy Council (IAC) will conduct an independent review of the IPCC’s processes and the Procedures for preparing IPCC reports to further strengthen the quality of the Panel’s reports on behalf of the UN and IPCC. The IAC is the umbrella organization for various national academies of science from countries around the world.
In recent months, a very small number of errors have been brought to light in the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the IPCC, a document containing thousands of peer-reviewed and independent scientific studies. However, the bedrock scientific consensus on climate change as described in the Fourth Assessment Report remains unchanged.
Given the gravity of the global threat posed by climate change, it is vitally important to ensure full confidence in the scientific process underpinning the assessments of the IPCC. Governments and the public at large look to the IPCC as the world's most authoritative scientific body for assessing climate risk and informing climate policy.
On 10 March 2010 the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon and the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asked the InterAcademy Council (IAC) to conduct an independent review of the IPCC’s processes and the Procedures for preparing IPCC reports to further strengthen the quality of the Panel’s reports. The IAC is the umbrella organization for various national academies of science from countries around the world. The decision to engage the IAC was supported by the executive heads of the IPCC parent organizations, the Executive Director of UNEP and the Secretary General of WMO.
The review will examine every aspect of how the IPCC’s reports are prepared, including the use of non-peer reviewed literature and the reflection of diverse viewpoints. The review will also examine institutional aspects, including management functions, as well as the Panel’s procedures for communicating its findings with the public.
The review will be led by the IAC Co-Chairs Robbert Dijkgraaf, Ph.D., President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science, and Professor Lu Yongxiang, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The IAC will conduct its work independently according to its procedures for carrying out expert studies. The international experts who serve on IAC studies are not paid for their participation and are pro bono volunteers.
The outcome of the review should be available by the end of August 2010. and will be submitted for consideration by the Panel at its 32nd Session, which will be held in Busan, Republic of Korea on 11-14 October 2010. It is hoped that at the 32nd Session decisions about revisions of the IPCC Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval and Publication of IPCC Reports (Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work) can be taken, since they are essential for the commencement of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) work.