BLOG: All Levels of Governments Must Support the IPCC

All Levels of Governments Must Support the IPCC

From September 5 to September 11, 2017, the Intergovernmental Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met in Montreal, Canada for their 46th session since its creation in 1988. The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. It has 195 member states.

I was an observer at the 46th plenary of the IPCC.

On the agenda were various reports in the works, including the outline for a Sixth Assessment Report (AR 6) due out in October 2022. Happily, we will not have to wait until 2022 for reports from the IPCC. Three reports are in the works including a 2018 special report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC, and two more special reports in 2019 on the Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and on Climate Change and Land.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Katia, the Earthquake in Mexico, as well as the devastating monsoons in Asia loomed over this conference. Often, when delegates spoke in plenary they acknowledged their colleagues in affected countries.

Attention to gender imbalance at the IPCC and inclusion of Indigenous knowledge were part of the discussions. I can confirm that a review carbon pricing studies will be found in the Working Group III section of AR6 in 2022.

I am confident in the integrity of the process and delegates. However, I have a serious concern which I’m sure many people are not aware of.

There is a funding shortfall of approximately $6 million USD for 2018 that is potentially jeopardizing future work of the IPCC because the IPCC is prohibited from operating deficit budgets. The funding shortfall is due in part to President Trump suspending funding for the UNFCCC and IPCC in August. The United States has usually contributed approximately a third of the IPCC budget.

On September 7, the US Senate’s Appropriations Committee voted to restore the UNFCCC funding that includes the IPCC commitments. The Senate will now wrangle with the House of Representatives, which sided with Trump on the issue.

Proudly I can announce that Canada has pledged to double their commitment to the IPCC from approximately $170K per year to $340K per year ($CDN ). Patricia Espinosa, head of the UN climate negotiations forum, welcomed the move, tweeting: “Canada’s climate leadership is exemplary!”

That still leaves just under $6 million USD before the IPCC’s budget will be safeguarded.

In June 2017,  the world’s leading climate analysts warned that we only have three years left to safeguard our climate. The good news is that it is still possible to meet the Paris temperature goals if emissions begin to fall by 2020 (see ‘Carbon crunch’).

Governments and civil society, including Citizens’ Climate Lobby, depend on the work of the IPCC. The IPCC reports are invaluable documents to help all governments make smart, evidence-based decisions for our future. The price tag of $6 million dollars is priceless in comparison to the real world scenarios of mounting climate-related disasters.

What will future generations say if the 195 member states of the IPCC fail to come up with $6 million to support the work of the IPCC?

The “I” In “IPCC” stands for intergovernmental. All levels of government, cities, states, provinces, regional and national,  must support the IPCC’s work.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
– African Proverb


FOR REFERENCE:
Opening statement from IPCC chair:  http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/press/P46_Chair_opening_%20statement.pdf
IPCC-XLVI/Doc. 4 – IPCC Trust Fund Programme and Budget – Communication and outreach for the Special Reports in the Sixth Assessment Report cycle
IPCC-XLVI/INF. 14 – Collated comments from members of the Ad Hoc Task Group on financial stability of the IPCC

The draft outlines being considered are available here:
Working Group I contribution to AR6 – http://bit.ly/2vQGoqR
Working Group II contribution to AR6 – http://bit.ly/2gMfGpa
Working Group III contribution to AR6 – http://bit.ly/2wMEerS
All the documents for the meeting are available here: http://bit.ly/2xSAF1e

Photo Credits: http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/PR17-IPCC46_Press.shtml

Cathy Orlando has put her words to work for the climate by getting letters and opinion pieces published in newspapers in every province in Canada. When she’s not safeguarding the climate alongside the best volunteers on the planet, you can probably find her stargazing, dancing, reading books not about climate change, hanging out with her husband Sanjiv, and mothering her three cherished daughters.