Researchers from CICERO will contribute to the world's most prominent assessment of climate knowledge in areas such as regional impact, investment and finance, political science, climate scenarios and atmospheric sciences.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
Since its inception, the panel has "overseen thousands of scientists pulling together tens of thousands of academic papers on atmospheric physics, meteorology, geography, marine science, economics, land-use and much more". A process of expert assessment takes place every six or seven years, specifying what we know about climate change. A new process is now underway, involving several Norwegian climate scientists.
The IPCC has produced five large assessment reports and several special reports. The fifth and latest assessment was finalized in November 2014 and contained contributions from 11 CICERO researchers.
Recently the panel has elected its lead authors for the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). From 2,858 nominations received from national focal points and IPCC observer organizations, 721 Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead authors, and Review Editors have been selected.
Among them are six CICERO reseachers.
What will your specific contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report be?
Why do we need a new assessment report on climate change?
Sillmann, a research director at CICERO Center for International Climate Research and a geo-ecologist by training, specializes in analyses of climate extremes in climate models. She studies various factors that can drive changes in climate extremes, such as climate variability and anthropogenic factors (e.g., greenhouse gases and air pollution). In her current research activities, Sillmann strives for interdisciplinary approaches, involving natural and social sciences, which allow for better integration of climate and impact modelling in the analysis of changes in climate extremes and associated risks for human and natural systems.
- I will be Lead author for Chapter 12 in Working Group 1 (WG1), which assesses climate change information for regional impact and for risk assessment. This is a new and very ambitious chapter in AR6, which is aimed at supporting the handshake between WG1 and WG2 in terms of providing relevant climate hazard information and data to perform a risk assessment for different regions and sectors that will be done by WG2. If we are successful with coordinating and collaborating closely across Working Groups in the 6th assessment cycle of IPCC, this will lead to a better integration of knowledge across different disciplines and hence more coherent risk information across regions. In combination with the Regional Atlas, Chapter 12 will have an important role for illustrating regional climate change and climate hazard data. It is crucial, particularly for Chapter 12, that interdisciplinary research and associated publications will be targeted in the coming years to underpin this “handshake” between IPCC WGs in order to be reflected in the forthcoming AR6.
- The IPCC ARs are the most credible and comprehensive assessment of current state-of-the art knowledge of climate change and its consequences. With the approved outline of AR6, it seems that a new era of IPCC ARs has started, which strongly supports more cross-WG activities (see also the Special Reports), a homogenized risk framing across WGs and a focus on providing climate change information that can be more relevant in economic and policy decision making contexts. The need for more integrated and societal relevant climate sciences is and will be shaping national research agendas and the priorities of international research programmes (e.g., World Climate Research Programme, Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Programme), and thus will inspire new and exciting interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research projects. AR6 is our opportunity to reflect and assess this and provide policy makers and other stakeholders with the necessary scientific foundation for their decision making.
Clapp leads the climate finance work at CICERO, including second opinions on green bonds and research on financing for climate action. She has over 15 years of experience in climate policy and economic analysis. Christa previously held positions at the OECD and the US Environmental Protection Agency, where she earned a National Honor Award Gold Medal for climate policy analysis for US Congress, and AllianceBernstein investment management. She served as a Contributing Author to the IPCC 4th Assessment Report on Mitigation.
- As Lead Author for WGIII chapter on Investment and Finance, I will be contributing my experience in analyzing the public and private sector roles in financing the climate transition and in working with investors on climate risk and green bonds.
- The IPCC assessment reports provide valuable overviews of the international state-of-the-science.
Lerum Boasson is an associate professor at the Political Science Department, the University of Oslo, and a senior researcher at CICERO. She has published extensively on national and EU climate and energy policies; exploring the role of policy entrepreneurship, business influence and political steering. She applies sociological institutional theories as well as historical institutionalism and public policy theories. Boasson gives political science master courses on climate policy, public policy theory and EU studies.
- The IPCC has done an impressive job in examining and exploring the factors that cause climate change and the long term consequences, but it has not been equally successful in highlighting solutions to the problem. The new IPCC leadership has however signalized that they want to strengthen their work on the discussions on governance of climate change. I hope to contribute with knowledge about state of the art knowledge about comparative national climate policy and politics.
- Thus far, the political scientists specialized in climate policy and politics have not payed much attention to the IPCC; but I hope that this assessment cycle will be different. The world needs more tangible knowledge about which policies and measures are politically feasible, and I hope the AR6 process succeeds in mobilizing more research on this.
Peters is research director at CICERO. His scientific work focuses on past, current, and future trends in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Peters' research involves seeking to understand human drivers of global change, global carbon cycle, bioenergy, scenarios, sustainable consumption, international trade and climate policy, emission metrics, and "too much more", as he writes in his CICERO bio. Peters is for example one of the main contributors to the Global Carbon Project which each Fall launches its Global Carbon Budget. He is also an ardent blogger and a prolific tweeter, see @Peters_Glen.
- I will be a lead author for the Working Group 3 report on mitigation, in the chapter on long-term scenarios. I have worked a lot on how scenarios can be communicated and better used to inform he policy discussion, and I suspect I was selected as an author to bring forward those ideas and a fresh critical perspective on the scenario literature.
- As a scientist, it is useful to have regular assessment on where the state-of-the-art is, and what knowledge gaps need to be filled. However, I see the real value of AR6 as facilitating a dialogue with policy makers. The IPCC is an intergovernmental panel, which basically “orders” the assessment reports. Through this process, policy makers and their bureaucracy have a stake in the reports, and they need the reports as a common and shared understanding on which to base future policies. They help frame the report, and provide feedback through review comments, which requires them to understand and comprehend the science. For me, the value of the IPCC and AR6 is to ensure policy makers have access to the best available science on which to base their policy decisions.
Samset is, nationally, CICERO's most salient physicist and science disseminator, with broad experience in atmospheric science and global climate modelling. Samset studies precipitation and the role of atmospheric aerosols in a changing climate, mainly through climate modelling. He is a regular newspaper columnist and science commentator in Norwegian media. Previously, he worked on particle physics, with the ATLAS collaboration at CERN and the BRAHMS collaboration at RHIC.
- I am an author in Chapter 1. Our job is to set the stage for the report, discuss some of the methods that will be used, and also to cover some common themes like scenarios. My background is in aerosols, precipitation and climate modelling, so parts of my job will likely be to ensure that what is discussed in the dedicated chapters on these topics gets properly reflected in the opening chapter - and vice versa.
- Three things are currently happening at once: Climate science is evolving rapidly. National and international climate policy is being developed. And the climate itself is changing, more rapidly with each passing year. The IPCC is uniquely placed at the interface between these three trends. Its job is to evaluate how they connect, and this is a massive undertaking. AR6 will be the next step in this ongoing evaluation, and it will come at a critical time - for the climate, for policy and for us.
Berntsen is a professor at the Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, and a researcher at CICERO Center for International Climate Research. He served as lead author in the Fourth Assessment Report, the report that helped the IPCC earn the Nobel Peace Price in 2007.