Governments discussed a range of possibilities for the path forward, “illuminat[ing] diverging views and priorities”.
Key divergences concerned the set of outputs for the cycle, delivery timelines for the Working Groups’ contributions and production of a Synthesis Report, and the topics of potential Special Reports.
Prioritized by many delegations, alignment with the second global stocktake under the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2028 was also a sticking point.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) held the first substantive meeting of its seventh assessment cycle. Following extensive deliberations and significant compromises, delegates agreed on a workplan for the cycle “that will include contributions from the [Panel’s] three working groups, a synthesis report, a Special Report on Climate Change and Cities, two methodology reports, and revision of technical guidelines on impacts and adaptation.”
According to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary report of the meeting, governments discussed a range of possibilities for the path forward, “illuminat[ing] diverging views and priorities.” In the end, “what might have been a fairly straightforward exercise in agenda setting evolved into fraught deliberations that ran overnight on Friday and well into Saturday morning.”
Key divergences, as identified by ENB, concerned the set of outputs for the cycle, delivery timelines for the Working Groups’ contributions and production of a Synthesis Report, and the topics of potential Special Reports. Prioritized by many delegations, alignment with the second global stocktake (GST) under the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2028 was also a sticking point.
Most Panel members, the ENB analysis of the meeting notes, “broadly agreed on the need to ensure that a balanced set of scientific inputs, covering both mitigation and adaptation, would be available in time for GST-2 in 2028.” However, several countries strongly objected. “These governments,” ENB writes, “maintained that the IPCC should not bend to the needs of other bodies” as this “would compromise the integrity of the IPCC’s scientific assessment process.” Stressing “difficulties developing countries have in effectively participating in the assessment process,” these delegations “called for a longer timeline for delivery of some of the reports.” This, ENB notes, might mean that major outputs such as “the contributions of Working Groups II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) and III (Mitigation of Climate Change) would not be finalized in time to feed into the GST.”
The meeting “was also a test for the newly-elected Bureau and, in particular, Chair Jim Skea, who took the helm of IPCC for the first time,” ENB writes. At the conclusion of the session, IPCC Chair Skea lauded the Panel’s “extraordinary efforts,” which “will enable it to move ahead with scoping and other work that will be essential to timely delivery of policy relevant outputs.” However, the final decision on the programme of work makes no mention of a 2028 deadline for the assessment reports. “Instead, it requests the IPCC Bureau to prepare a document outlining the month and year of delivery of the reports on the basis of a strategic plan, taking into account the different views expressed during IPCC-60, for consideration by IPCC-61.”
IPCC-60 convened in Istanbul, Türkiye, from 16-19 January 2024. However, delegations worked through the last night, concluding in the morning of 20 January. [ENB Coverage of IPCC-60]