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Korean Hoesung Lee emerges new IPCC chair

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 elected Hoesung Lee of the Republic of Korea as its new Chair.

Hoesung Lee. Photo credit: www.seoulclimate2014.org
Hoesung Lee. Photo credit: www.seoulclimate2014.org

Hoesung Lee was elected by 78 votes to 56 in a run-off with Jean-Pascale van Ypersele. A total of six candidates had been nominated for the position.

“I am honoured and grateful that the Panel has elected me as the IPCC’s new Chair,” said Hoesung Lee. “The IPCC remains deeply committed to providing policymakers with the highest quality scientific assessment of climate change, but we can do more.”

“The next phase of our work will see us increase our understanding of regional impacts, especially in developing countries, and improve the way we communicate our findings to the public. Above all, we need to provide more information about the options that exist for preventing and adapting to climate change. I look forward to working with my IPCC colleagues to reach these goals and I thank them for their support.”

The election took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where the IPCC is holding its 42nd Session. Elections for other positions on the IPCC Bureau, including the Co-Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups, will take place over 6-8 October.

Lee, aged 69, is professor in the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development at Korea University’s Graduate School of Energy and Environment in the Republic of Korea. He is currently one of the IPCC’s three vice-chairs.

The election of the new Bureau, which will have 34 members including the Chair, opens the way for work to start on the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, expected to be completed in 5-7 years. The IPCC completed its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in November 2014.

The key findings of the AR5 Synthesis Report are:

– Human influence on the climate system is clear;

– The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts; and

– We have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future.

The candidates for Chair, with the countries that nominated them, were:

– Ogunlade Davidson (Sierra Leone)

– Chris Field (United States of America)

– Hoesung Lee (Republic of Korea)

– Nebojsa Nakicenovic (Austria and Montenegro)

– Thomas Stocker (Switzerland)

– Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Belgium).

The IPCC is the world body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

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