IPCC activities and procedures

The main mission of the IPCC consists in evaluating, at each of its cycles, the state of the most advanced knowledge relating to climate change.

To do this, it produces during each of its cycles:

  • an evaluation report consisting of several volumes. Five assessment reports were published between 1990 and 2014. In May 2017, the IPCC defined the plan for the sixth assessment report (AR6) which will be published between 2021 and 2022.
  • special reports that provide an assessment relating to a specific theme. During his 6and cycle, the IPCC produced 3 special reports whose themes were chosen by the States.

The IPCC can also produce:

  • methodological reports in which the experts set the methods to be applied for the national inventories of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • technical documents on subjects that require information and scientific opinions drawn up collectively, independently and transparently.

IPCC reports should not prescribe policy choices. The formula constantly recalled on this subject is that the content of the reports must be “policy relevant, but not policy prescriptive” (politically relevant, but not prescriptive).

If the originality of the IPCC is to involve the States in the process of drawing up the assessment reports, they only intervene during the final phase: the drafting of the “summary for decision-makers”. This text is examined and then adopted line by line by the government representatives under the control of the scientists, authors of the initial text. Thus, the States effectively intervene in the process of acceptance of the summary of assessment reports, which gives them a universal character, but not in the process of scientific expertise which consists in drafting the extensive report.

The production of the IPCC constitutes the scientific contribution feeding the international negotiations on the climate which take place under the aegis of the UNFCCC, in particular for the implementation of the Paris Agreement which entered into force on November 4, 2016.
During international negotiations, the IPCC has observer status.

The work of the IPCC follows a set of clearly defined principles and procedures for all its activities, and is constantly reviewed and updated to ensure its effectiveness, transparency and reliability in all circumstances.

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