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The White House: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Finalizes Report

Contact: Kristin Scuderi, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, 202-456-6124

 

Washington, Feb. 2 /Standard Newswire/ -- The United States joined 112 other nations in finalizing and approving a landmark climate change science report today in Paris, France. Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acted to finalize its contribution to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report.  The Fourth Assessment Report, consisting of three Working Group contributions and a Synthesis Report, will be released in the fall.  The Working Group I portion of the Assessment Report released today represents a comprehensive assessment of the most recent state of knowledge of the physical science of climate change.  A Summary for Policymakers, which is a condensed summary of the Working Group I assessment was approved on a line-by line basis by the participating nations over this past week and released in Paris today. The last IPCC assessment of the physical science aspects of climate change was issued in 2001.

 

"This Summary for Policymakers captures and summarizes the current state of climate science research and will serve as a valuable source of information for policymakers," said Dr. Sharon Hays, the leader of the U.S. delegation at the meeting and Associate Director/Deputy Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "It reflects the sizeable and robust body of knowledge regarding the physical science of climate change, including the finding that the Earth is warming and that human activities have very likely caused most of the warming of the last 50 years." 

 

The United States has played a leading role in advancing climate science and observations.  Since 2001, the President has devoted nearly $29 billion to climate-related science, technology, international assistance, and incentive programs.  Since 2002, the President has spent nearly $9 billion on climate science research –leading the world with unparalleled financial commitment.

 

These investments have played a key role in enabling the research results summarized in the IPCC Working Group I report.  The U.S. delegation to the Working Group I meeting included climate science experts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of State.  The delegation's participation in the meeting followed significant U.S. involvement in the generation of the report, as numerous U.S. climate scientists were involved in its drafting and expert review.  In addition, a NOAA climate expert, Dr. Susan Solomon, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado served as co-chair of Working Group I.

 

The IPCC was established under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Programme and the World Meteorological Organization to periodically undertake comprehensive and objective assessments of scientific and technical aspects of climate change.  The first IPCC Assessment Report was completed in 1990, the second in 1995, and the third in 2001.  Today's Working Group I summary represents the first of the current series of three reports, and is focused on the physical science basis of climate change.   IPCC's Working Group II meets in Brussels in April to issue a Summary for Policy Makers on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability issues.  Working Group III will meet in Bangkok in May to consider a summary report on technical aspects of climate change actions.

 

IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed by several hundred scientists who are leading experts in their fields from around the world, and contain extensive scientific and technical information and analysis.  The drafts go through both expert and government reviews.  U.S. government scientists led the U.S. review of the draft, and provided an opportunity through the Federal Register for citizens in the United States to provide expert comments in preparation for this review.