2 May 2016

Push for Pacific nations to engage with IPCC

2:39 pm on 2 May 2016
The IPCC's newly elected mitigation co-chair, Professor Jim Skea

The IPCC's newly elected mitigation co-chair, Professor Jim Skea Photo: Supplied

There's a push for Pacific countries to have a stronger engagement with the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC.

The IPCC is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change, and was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation and United Nations Environment Programme.

The IPCC's newly elected mitigation co-chair, Professor Jim Skea, was in New Zealand recently and met with Pacific representatives at Victoria University.

Professor Skea says Pacific countries were instrumental in pushing to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century at the Paris climate change conference.

He also said it was important for Pacific nations to engage more with the IPCC because they had a better understanding of what was happening on the ground.

"People have a kind of intuitive understanding obivously that sea level rise is a major, major threat to Pacific Islands but I don't think people really understand the consequences on the ground"

IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate-related policies, and they underlie negotiations at the UN Climate Conference - the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The assessments are policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive: they may present projections of future climate change based on different scenarios and the risks that climate change poses and discuss the implications of response options, but they do not tell policymakers what actions to take.