The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will hold its first virtual Bureau meeting from May 19 to 20, 2020 to ensure that the preparation of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) and other urgent business continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IPCC Bureau usually meets two or more times a year to prepare Sessions of the Panel, the IPCC’s governing body, to provide guidance to the Panel on the scientific and technical aspects of its work, and to advise on related management and strategic issues.
“The pandemic is making it harder for our authors, who volunteer their time and expertise, to work on the assessment. So we must keep our timelines under review to ensure that quality is not compromised,” said IPCC Chair, Hoesung Lee. “We are very grateful for their commitment.”
“At the same time, we must be creative and make the best use of technology to ensure that the work of the IPCC continues,” he said.
The virtual meeting, with participation from all over the world, will consist of two three-hour electronic sessions, following a week of on-line consultations, instead of the typical 1-1/2 days for an in-person meeting, requiring a less ambitious agenda than usual.
This 58th Session of the Bureau, it was gathered, will focus on the selection of the Core Writing Team for the AR6 Synthesis Report, the regular review of IPCC Principles and Procedures, and consideration of recent changes to the AR6 schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among recent changes, the IPCC has extended the government and expert review of the Second Order Draft of the Working Group I contribution (physical science basis of climate change) to AR6 to 5 June and prolonged several 2020 deadlines for Working Group II (impacts, adaptation and vulnerability). Working Group III (mitigation of climate change) also held its third Lead Author Meeting remotely last month instead of in person. Further changes are under discussion.
The IPCC Bureau has 34 members, including the Chair of the IPCC. At Sessions of the Bureau they may each be joined by one government representative from their country, and are supported by staff from the IPCC Secretariat and the Working Group and Task Force Technical Support Units