The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says it will release its next report, the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), on August 9, 2021 following an approval session held remotely to consider the document from July 26 to August 6.
It will be the first time that the IPCC has conducted a virtual approval session for one of its reports, although it has held plenary sessions of the Panel and IPCC Bureau remotely to conduct other urgent business on several occasions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change. The report will provide the latest assessment of scientific knowledge about the warming of the planet and projections for future warming and assess its impacts on the climate system.
“Holding an approval session remotely is unprecedented and we are addressing many practical questions to ensure that all member countries, developing and developed, can participate in adherence to the IPCC Principles and Procedures, and values of openness, transparency, inclusiveness and equitable participation,” said IPCC Secretary, Abdalah Mokssit.
Since it became clear earlier this year that containment measures for the pandemic would make it difficult to hold an approval session for the report in person, the IPCC has been exploring options to ensure a timely completion of the report.
Since March the IPCC Secretariat has been consulting with the IPCC’s 195 Member Governments on options for holding the meeting, and the Working Group I Co-Chairs and Bureau are working with the Secretariat to make the appropriate arrangements, considering the guidance and the feedback from the Panel.
Formally the meeting in July and August consists of sessions of both the IPCC and of Working Group I.
The 14th Session of Working Group I will consider the Summary for Policymakers of the report for approval in line-by-line scrutiny by government representatives in dialogue with around 70 report authors and accept the underlying scientific-technical assessment. Then the 54th Session of the IPCC will accept the work of the Working Group, formally accepting the report.
The aim of this process is to ensure that the Summary for Policymakers is accurate, well-balanced and presents the scientific findings of the underlying report clearly.
The approval plenary is the culmination of the rigorous process of drafting and review that IPCC reports undergo. The first-order draft of the Working Group I report received 23,462 review comments from 750 expert reviewers, the second-order draft received 51,387 review comments from governments and 1,279 experts, and the final government distribution of the Summary for Policymakers that ended on June 20 received over 3,000 comments from 47 governments – 23 developing, 23 developed plus the European Union. Over 14,000 scientific papers are referenced in the report.
The IPCC says it will issue media advisories in the coming weeks explaining how media can follow the opening ceremony of the 54th Session of the Panel, register for access to materials under embargo after approval and acceptance of the report and before the press conference, participate in the press conference, and request interviews with IPCC officers and authors after the press conference.