IPCC: Everything You Need to Know (2022)

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. Its mandate is to provide the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts. The IPCC is currently in its Sixth Assessment cycle, with the first report of this cycle being released in 2021.

The IPCC produces in-depth Assessment Reports on climate change knowledge, its causes, probable implications, and response choices. Additionally, the IPCC publishes Special Reports, which analyse a particular topic, and Methodology Reports, which give recommendations for preparing greenhouse gas inventories.

In this article, we will see about IPCC and the latest IPCC report AR6 2021. We will begin with how IPCC formed, then we will see how IPCC works, a brief discussion on the various IPCC reports published since its formation in 1988. The latest 2021 report titled Climate Change 2021-The Physical Science Basis is also discussed briefly


  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) collaborated and formed the IPCC in the year 1988.
  • H.Q in Geneva
  • Aim of the IPCC is generate an Assessment report by analysing numerous reoprts from around the world. And offer governments at all levels with scientific data that they’ll use to develop climate policies.
  • IPCC studies are also a key input element for international climate change negotiations.
  • The IPCC is an organization of governments which are members of the United Nations or WMO.
  • The IPCC has 195 members as of 2021
  • The IPCC doesn’t conduct its own research.

How IPCC works?

  • The IPCC doesn’t conduct its own research.
  • Hundreds of individuals from all around the world contribute to the work of the IPCC.
  • For the evaluation studies, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to evaluate the 1000’s of scientific papers published annually worldwide.
  • This evaluation offers a complete picture of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future dangers, and the way adaptation and mitigation can reduce these dangers.
  • IPCC gives an objective and complete evaluation and its reports reflect a diverse range of views and experience.
  • By way of its assessments, the IPCC identifies the strength of scientific agreements in several areas and signifies where additional analysis is required.

IPCC Report

Name of ReportYear
The Overview of the First Assessment Report1990
The IPCC Second Assessment Report Synthesis of Scientific-technical Information Relevant to Interpreting Article 2 of the UNFCCC1995
The Synthesis Report of the Third Assessment Report2001
The Synthesis Report of the Fourth Assessment Report2007
The Synthesis Report of the Fifth Assessment Report2014
The Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report2021

The IPCC is the world’s leading body for assessing the science related to climate change, and its mandate is to provide policymakers with objective, scientific information about climate change. Their reports are based on the work of hundreds of scientists from around the world, and it paints a grim picture of what will happen if we don’t take action to reduce emissions.

As the world’s climate continues to change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) keep analysing and producing new assessment reports. The IPCC Assessment Reports Cycle is a process that assesses the state of scientific knowledge on climate change. It is designed to be an authoritative source of information for policymakers. The Assessment Reports (AR) Cycle consists of four reports: the Working Group I Report, the Working Group II Report, the Synthesis Report, and the Special Report.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released five Assessment Reports so far and is currently in the Sixth Assessment cycle. The first one was published in 1990, the second in 1995, the third in 2001, the fourth in 2007, and the fifth in 2014. Each report comprehensively assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the risk of human-induced climate change.

The IPCC does not conduct original research but rather assesses the existing scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to human-induced climate change. The Assessment Reports are generally released every five or six years. 

  • 1990- The First IPCC Assessment Report highlighted the significance of climate change as a global concern needing international collaboration in 1990. It was instrumental in forming the UNFCCC, the primary international convention to minimise global warming and mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • 1995- The Second Assessment Report (SAR) (1995) supplied nations with crucial information before the 1997 approval of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • 2001- The Third Assessment Report (2001) focuses on climate change consequences and the need for adaptation.
  • 2007- Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) (2007) provided the groundwork for a post-Kyoto agreement, emphasising reducing global warming to 2°C.
  • 2013- The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was finalised between 2013 and 2014. It contributed scientific knowledge to the Paris Agreement.
  • 2022- Currently, the IPCC is on its Sixth Assessment cycle.

Three Special IPCC Reports

  • Global Warming of 1.5°C
  • Climate Change and Land
  • The Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.

Importance of IPCC Assessment Reports

The 5 earlier Assessment reports of IPCC since it was established in 1988 have formed the ground of international climate change negotiations and the actions that governments across the globe have been taking within the last three decades to limit and control the rise of global mean temperatures.

The First Assessment Report led to the creation ofUnited Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Second Assessment Report was the basis ofthe 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
The fourth assessment report, of 2007, won the IPCC the Nobel Peace Prize.
 The Fifth Assessment Report, of 2014, guided thethe Paris Agreement.

IPCC Report 2021 AR6

Report Title: Climate Change 2021-The Physical Science Basis

The Latest report cites the growing Climate Change crisis and is Code Red for Humanity. Here are the brief Points from Report

 Indian Situation as per IPCC AR6

  • India is the third-largest emitter of carbon on this planet.
  • The main sources of PM2.5 emissions in India were biomass and coal fuel-based cooking and heating, with secondary contributions coming from energy and industry sectors.
  • IPCC stated that India will witness increased heatwaves and flooding, which would be the irreversible effects of climate change.
  • The continuing global warming trends are more likely to increase annual mean precipitation over India, with more extreme rainfalls over southern India in the coming decades.
  • Modifications in monsoon precipitation will also occur, with both annual and summer monsoon precipitation projected to increase. 
  • The Indian Ocean is warming at a higher rate than other areas, and it will also influence other areas.
  • Coastal areas will witness continued sea-level rise all through the twenty-first century, leading to coastal erosion and more frequent and extreme flooding in low-lying areas.
  • All these evaluations about India from IPCC could increase pressure on India to comply with a net-zero goal by 2050, a deadline by which India should bring down its emissions levels that equals the absorptions made by its carbon sinks, like forests.
IPCC AR6 on Air pollution
  • IPCC latest report certified that Air pollution continues its meteoric and exponential rise throughout India and different parts of South Asia.
  • The concentrations of deadly air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ammonia (NH3), ozone (O3) and PM 2.5 are at their highest levels in South Asia.
  • Short-Lived Climate Forcers (SLCF):  
    • Greenhouse gases like CO2, have an impact on the climate which lasts for centuries. However, the effects of SLCF compounds are short-term. SLCP include black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and are related to refrigeration, diesel-fueled vehicles, and solid-fuel cooking fires.
    • They have a warming or cooling impact on the climate.
    • The report by the IPCC states that a serious geographical shift had taken place in SLCFs emission from the 1950s to the 1980s. Till 1990’s North America and Europe had dominated SLFC emissions. However, starting from the 1990s, Asia turned the leading emitter as a result of strong economical growth in lots of its nations.
    • The only SLCF that India showed a decrease in was black carbon.
IPCC AR6 on 1.5 Degree Warming
  • For the first time, the IPCC has declared that the 1.5 degrees warming was inevitable even in the very best case situation.
  • Even if emissions are brought to net-zero by 2050, there will likely be an ‘overshoot’ of the 1.5°C limits by 0.1°C
  • The average surface temperature of the Earth will cross 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next 20 years, and 2°C by the middle of this century if the situation remains the same.
  • The IPCC stated that global net-zero emission by 2050 is the minimum requirement to maintain the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Without India, this might not be attainable. Even China, the world’s largest emitter, has a net-zero aim for 2060.
IPCC on changes underway in Earth’s oceans and Ice
  • One example of a system that will undergo abrupt change is the ocean circulation system of the Atlantic Ocean generally known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, of which the Gulf Stream is a part.
  • Paleoclimate evidence tells us that AMOC has changed quickly in the past, and IPCC anticipate that AMOC will weaken over this century.
  • If AMOC will weaken, it would make Europe warmer gradually, will lead to an increase in sea level along the US Atlantic coast, and will shift storm tracks and monsoons. However, IPCC also stated that most evidence suggests that such a collapse is not going to occur in this century.
IPCC on Volcanic Eruptions
  • IPCC predicted that there can be at the very least One Giant Volcanic Eruption before the end of this century, the scientists at IPCC made their predictions primarily based on research of ancient climates and historic evidence.
  • Such a huge eruption will lower the global surface temperature for several years, lower land precipitation, alter monsoon circulation and will lead to extreme precipitation, at both global and regional scales.
  • Giant volcanic eruptions shoot aerosols (small particles) into the higher atmosphere. These Aerosols reflect sunlight and induce a long-term cooling effect on the Earth’s surface.
  • Volcanoes are one of the two natural factors that affect the Earth’s climate in the long term. The second one is the variation in solar irradiance.

IPCC AR6 in brief

  • IPCC AR6 states that the warming of the Indian Ocean will lead to an increase in sea levels inflicting more frequent and extreme coastal flooding throughout low-level areas.
  • Wil leads to intense and frequent heat waves and heat stress in the twenty-first century across South Asia.
  • The Earth is irrevocably headed in direction of warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels in the next twenty years. IPCC highlights, even if the temperature is restricted to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, extreme climate events will be witnessed.
  • Heatwaves, heavy rainfall events, and melting of glaciers will occur frequently, impacting nations like India.
  • IPCC AR6 warned developed nations to undertake deep emission cuts and decarbonisation.
  • IPCC AR6 recommended that nations strive to attain net-zero emissions (no additional greenhouse gases are emitted) by 2050.
  • Human influence is the primary cause of hot weather extremes in the present world (which have become more frequent and intense since the 1950s).
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are the highest in at least two million years. People have emitted 2,400 billion tonnes of CO2 since the late 1800s. In reality, emissions have grown way more quickly than anticipated by IPCC in 1988, when the IPCC was established.
  • The last decade was hotter than the past 125,000 years. The global surface temperature was 1.09°C higher in 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900
  • Sea-level rise has tripled in contrast with 1901-1971.
  • The Arctic Sea ice is at the lowest level in 1,000 years.

IPCC Members list

AlbaniaColombiaGuineaMaliRepublic of KoreaTrinidad and Tobago
AlgeriaComorosGuinea-BissauMaltaRepublic of MoldovaTunisia
AndorraCongo (Republic of the)GuyanaMarshall IslandsRomaniaTurkey
AngolaCook IslandsHaitiMauritaniaRussian FederationTurkmenistan
Antigua and BarbudaCosta RicaHondurasMauritiusRwandaTuvalu
ArgentinaCote d'IvoireHungaryMexicoSaint Kitts and NevisUganda
ArmeniaCroatiaIcelandMicronesia (Federated States of)Saint LuciaUkraine
AustraliaCubaIndiaMonacoSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesUnited Arab Emirates
AustriaCyprusIndonesiaMongoliaSamoaUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
AzerbaijanCzech RepublicIran (Islamic Republic of)MontenegroSan MarinoUnited Republic of Tanzania
BahamasDemocratic People’s Republic of KoreaIraqMoroccoSao Tome and PrincipeUnited States of America
BahrainDemocratic Republic of the CongoIrelandMozambiqueSaudi ArabiaUruguay
BelarusDominicaJamaicaNauruSeychellesVenezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
BelgiumDominican RepublicJapanNepalSierra LeoneVietnam
BeninEgyptKazakhstanNew ZealandSlovakiaZambia
BhutanEl SalvadorKenyaNicaraguaSloveniaZimbabwe
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)Equatorial GuineaKiribatiNigerSolomon Islands
Bosnia and HerzegovinaEritreaKuwaitNigeriaSomalia
BotswanaEstoniaKyrgyzstanNiueSouth Africa
BrazilEswatini (the Kingdom of)Lao People's Democratic RepublicNorth MacedoniaSouth Sudan
Brunei DarussalamEthiopiaLatviaNorwaySpain
BulgariaFijiLebanonOmanSri Lanka
Burkina FasoFinlandLesothoPakistanSudan
Cabo VerdeGabonLibyaPanamaSweden
CambodiaGambiaLiechtensteinPapua New GuineaSwitzerland
CameroonGeorgiaLithuaniaParaguaySyrian Arab Republic
Central African RepublicGhanaMadagascarPhilippinesThailand

In conclusion, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a vital organization in the fight against climate change. Without the IPCC, we would not have the scientific data necessary to make informed decisions about how to best combat this global problem. The IPCC is also important because it provides a forum for international cooperation on this issue. With the help of the IPCC, we can continue to make progress in the fight against climate change.


What is IPCC?

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a United Nations body formed in 1988, that assess and produce reports on climate change. These REPORTS are utilised worldwide to make climate change policies.

What is the role of the IPCC?

IPCC is a United Nations body formed in 1988, that assess and produce reports on climate change. These REPORTS are utilised worldwide to make climate change policies.

Who is the current chairperson of the IPCC?

Dr Hoesung Lee (Seoul, Korea) is the current chairperson of IPCC elected in October 2015.

Where is the IPCC headquarters?

IPCC headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland

How many IPCC reports are there?

As of 2021, there are Six IPCC reports and Three Special Reports.

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