Archived: 46th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
September 6-10, 2017 - Montreal, Canada
The main decision item for the 46th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-46) is the approval of the scope of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), the principal product of the IPCC’s AR6 cycle. This includes the outlines for the three Working Group reports as well as the approach to the Synthesis Report. The Panel will also consider decisions related to the IPCC’s budget, the alignment of the cycles of the IPCC and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) global stocktake and a proposal for an IPCC Expert Meeting on Short-Lived Climate Forcers (SLCFs).
- Head of Delegation: George Enei, Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
- Alternate Head of Delegation: Laird Shutt, Director General, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, ECCC
- Policy and Secretariat Support: Lauren Walshe-Roussel, Policy Analyst, Science and Technology Strategies Directorate, ECCC
- Advisors on Indigenous Knowledge and perspectives:
- Leah George-Wilson, Member and former elected Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, attending on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations
- Frankie Coté, Senior Manager of Engagement, attending on behalf of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
- Leah George-Wilson, Member and former elected Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, attending on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations
In addition, Gregory Flato (ECCC, Senior Research Scientist) will participate in his capacity as a member of the IPCC Bureau.
Item 2: approval of the draft report of the 45th session
Canadian Delegation (Candel) can approve the draft report of the 45th session.
Item 3: IPCC Trust Fund program and budget
3.1 Budget for the year 2018
Candel will participate in meetings of the Financial Task Team (FiTT) to review the proposed budget for 2018 and ensure that the budgetary implications of decisions made throughout the course of the plenary session are accurately reflected. When discussing budget issues, Candel will continue to stress that the IPCC should operate within its means, optimize the use of resources and prioritize the delivery of its core products.
Item 4: Ad Hoc Task Group on Financial Stability
Candel will encourage governments to be innovative and flexible in deliberations on this decision item. Due to the urgency of the budget situation, Candel favours an approach that would advance several of the proposed fundraising options in parallel.
Candel supports continued efforts to increase contributions from member governments, but recognizes that this is likely not sufficient. Candel will recommend capitalizing on the interest that has already been expressed by scientific, research and philanthropic institutions (Option e), as well as opportunities to broaden the donor base to include other UN entities and international financial institutions (Option f). At the same time, Candel will support advancing discussions with UN organizations to determine if there are opportunities to offset the costs associated with crowd funding (Option d) by working with existing platforms. With consideration to implementation, Candel can support amendments to IPCC policies and procedures, as required, to address conflict of interest, preserve integrity and protect against influence over the IPCC program of work.
Candel will also encourage the IPCC to continue to identify new opportunities for operational efficiencies. Noting that there are no key decisions related to AR6 products scheduled for the next plenary session, Candel may wish to suggest for consideration shortening or forgoing this meeting in light of the potential for cost-saving.
Item 5: admission of observer organizations
Supporting documentation will only be made available following the IPCC Bureau’s consideration of this item on September 5, 2017.
Candel supports the presence of observer organizations. Their involvement in plenary meetings enhances transparency and broadens the exchange of information between the IPCC and other stakeholders.
Item 7: scoping of the Sixth Assessment Report
Candel commends the strategic and integrative approach taken to develop a strong set of outlines that provide a clear narrative for understanding climate change in a solution-oriented structure.
Candel will take a principled approach to the consideration of the Working Group report outlines centered on the following:
- ensuring representation of the most current and policy relevant science, as well as enhanced treatment of regional issues
- encompassing the breadth of science that provides a compelling narrative of the causes of climate change, through to assessment of the impacts and understanding of adaptation and mitigation opportunities
- endorsing the treatment of Indigenous Knowledge, gender, and diversity and inclusion as cross-cutting themes
- responding to the appetite for more succinct and focused IPCC reports, with information that is accessible to users and logically presented (e.g., ordering and organization of chapters for smooth progression)
- avoiding policy prescriptive language
7.1- 7.3 Working Group I, II and III Sixth Assessment Report outlines: overarching positions
Enhance inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in Sixth Assessment Report
- Include reference to Indigenous, local and traditional knowledge systems and practices as key concepts in the introductory chapter of each Working Group report, and profile examples within case studies as appropriate
- Include reference to cross-cutting consideration of Indigenous, local and traditional knowledge systems and practices in any chapeau statements that accompany the approved outlines as well as in the guidance for authors
- Stress that the IPCC should support enhanced inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge and perspectives through the call for nominations and author selection processes
- Adequate Treatment of Polar Regions
- Include Polar Regions as a regional chapter in the Working Group II report instead of the proposed treatment through cross-chapter boxes on the Arctic and Antarctica
- Candel recognizes the desire to minimize duplication with the Special Report on Oceans and the Cryosphere, but would prefer a chapter on Polar Regions in the AR6 for the following reasons:
- The climate systems of the Arctic and Antarctic have a distinct interrelationship, whereas the other proposed cross-chapter boxes do not
- Ability for Polar Regions to be incorporated appropriately into the Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers and AR6 Synthesis Report and to maximize uptake of information by decision-makers
- Consistency with treatment in previous IPCC Assessment Reports and with the proposed AR6 Working Group I report outline, which retains a separate chapter on Ocean, cryosphere and sea level change (Chapter 9)
Integrated assessment of mitigation options in Working Group III report
Add a cross-cutting or systems-based analysis to the proposed chapter by chapter treatment of sectors, which may not be conducive to an integrated understanding of mitigation options.
It is anticipated that there will be discussion on how climate engineering is addressed in AR6 products. Candel concurs with the proposed approach of addressing it across the three Working Group reports, and would support additional clarity in the chapter outlines, including the continued use of precise terminology (e.g.: Carbon Dioxide Removal, Solar Radiation Management, BioEnergy with Carbon Capture and Storage).
Include Executive Summaries for all chapters across the three Working Group reports, noting that they are not included as part of the proposed outlines for Working Groups II and III despite their important role in facilitating the communication of IPCC findings.
7.4 Sixth Assessment Report Synthesis Report
Candel is supportive of the scope of the Synthesis Report, which was agreed upon at the AR6 Scoping Meeting in May 2017 and which serves as preparatory work for a dedicated Synthesis Report Scoping Meeting, tentatively planned for April 2019.
In particular, Candel may wish to note the importance of establishing the Cross-Working Group Task Group to foster and facilitate the extensive integration that will be required to link the narrative across all three reports, and support development of the Synthesis Report.
Item 8: future of the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impacts and Climate Analysis
Candel can support the proposal to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Task Force on the Future of Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impacts and Climate Analysis (TGICA) until IPCC-47 and for TGICA to continue its work with its current membership and chairmanship in the interim. Recognizing that discussions on the future of TGICA pre-date the start of the AR6 cycle, Candel should urge for completion and timely resolution at IPCC-47.
Item 9: alignment of the cycles and the global stocktake
- Recognizing the IPCC’s key role in informing the work of the UNFCCC with the best available scientific knowledge on climate change, Candel supports efforts by the IPCC to align its work with the needs of the global stocktake foreseen under the Paris Agreement. The first global stocktake in 2023 is already aligned with the timing of the AR6 cycle, to be completed by 2022. Options proposed are for future stocktakes, beginning in 2028.
- Candel supports Option 3, i.e., maintaining the approximately seven-year IPCC cycle and producing a targeted report when the release of an Assessment Report does not align with the timing of the global stocktake. Option 3 allows the IPCC to continue to deliver its mandate effectively, respecting the needs of the stocktake process on an ongoing basis.
- However, Candel should suggest a slight modification to Option 3, namely that the targeted report be a ‘Supplemental Report’ instead of a ‘Special Report’. The latter implies “an assessment of a specific issue”, which may not accurately reflect the needs of the global stocktake.
Item 11: short-lived climate forcers
- Noting Canada’s strong support for action on short-lived climate pollutants to address short term warming and achieve the Paris Agreement objectives, Candel endorses a path forward for the IPCC that includes organizing an Expert Workshop that builds on past work on the topic. The Expert Workshop should review the state of understanding related to both the estimation of emissions as well as the understanding of the climate and air quality response to those emissions, with an emphasis on aerosols including black carbon. Emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases are currently well-addressed in the methodological guidance.
- Candel supports Option 2 so that both emissions and radiative forcing are considered at the workshop, with an emphasis on aerosols, recognizing that a comprehensive assessment of the climate and air quality response to changes in emissions and radiative forcing will occur in the AR6 (in particular chapter dedicated to SLCFs and air quality in the proposed outline for the Working Group I report).
- Option 1, which limits the scope of an Expert Workshop to emissions estimation could also be effective, though it lacks an opportunity to review the linkages between emissions and atmospheric monitoring and modeling, with related implications for characterizing the climate response and for developing appropriate metrics.
- Timing and funding for this Expert Workshop should take into account the current schedule and workload associated with the Methodology Report update, Special Reports and Working Group reports, such that it does not impact the delivery of AR6 products. Candel should encourage the IPCC to deliver this Expert Workshop jointly with appropriate partners, ideally with their financial support.
Canadian objectives and approach
Canada’s overarching objectives for IPCC-46 are to support and preserve the scientific integrity of the IPCC, and to enhance the IPCC’s ongoing relevance to decision-making on climate change in Canada and international fora, especially the UNFCCC.
Opportunities will be sought to highlight Canada’s action on climate change, including local and regional activities, noting the critical role of the IPCC’s scientific assessments in informing evidence-based decision-making.
During IPCC-46, the following principles will apply to Candel’s participation. Candel will:
- make interventions to move discussions towards outcomes aligned with its objectives
- collaborate with other countries to advance common positions, particularly on the Working Group report outlines and on enhancing the treatment of Indigenous Knowledge within AR6
- support consensus-building and be flexible in looking for solutions in order to minimize the likelihood of outcomes to which Canada would object
- participate constructively and not block consensus should Parties broadly support decisions that are not aligned with Canadian objectives. In these cases, Candel will consult the Head of Delegation and ECCC for further instructions
Delegation members can speak to the media about their work and field of expertise. Media inquiries specific to Canada’s engagement in the IPCC or outside of the scope of the event should be directed to the Head of Delegation or referred to back to headquarters.
Communications Branch is expected to issue a press release and social media postings during IPCC-46 to showcase Canada’s participation in the IPCC, Canada’s approach to clean growth and climate change and the Government of Canada’s contribution to climate change science at home and abroad.
Candel will produce a report on meeting outcomes and will immediately notify ECCC of any sensitive issues that arise.
Canada’s participation in IPCC-46 was guided by an inclusive approach, which involved collaboration on position development with other Government Departments, provincial Governments and National Indigenous Organizations. The Canadian delegation consisted of management, scientists, and Indigenous representatives.
The main outcome of IPCC-46 was the approval of the outlines for the three Working Group reports that will make up the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), available here:
- Working Group I report (PDF): Physical science basis of climate change
- Working Group II report (PDF): Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability
- Working Group III report (PDF): Mitigation of climate change
This media article followed the event.
See also the press release: Canada doubles funding for leading international body for climate change science.
Canada advanced key objectives with respect to the scope of the AR6 related to the adequate treatment of polar regions and enhancing the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge and perspectives. In addition, Canada championed the issue of gender balance in the work of the IPCC by hosting a side meeting on the topic and profiling the outcomes in the formal plenary session. Canada also supported continuation of the IPCC’s work on Short-lived Climate Forcers, for which the next step will be an expert meeting in 2018. The agenda items related to budget matters and the alignment of the AR6 and global stocktake cycles remain work in progress. Time management of IPCC plenary sessions should be area of focus for improvement moving forward.
Canada’s contributions to scoping the Sixth Assessment Report
To ensure that Canadian interests would be reflected, Canada led the development of guidance for authors on topics to be covered in the cross-cutting paper on polar regions within the Working Group II report, working closely with the United States and Sweden.
Canada also took a strong stance on the need to make progress on the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge and perspectives, noting the absence of IPCC guidelines and mechanisms needed to ensure access and communication of Indigenous Knowledge in a manner that respects the holders of that knowledge and allows it to be objectively assessed, alongside other forms of knowledge. Canada stressed the value of Indigenous Knowledge and the blind spots that exist in existing IPCC reports due to the lack of procedures to enable its inclusion. As a path forward, Canada suggested an expert workshop on this issue, which it could support and work in collaboration on with interested parties.
Supporting gender balance
Canada hosted an event to raise awareness and identify opportunities to enhance gender balance in the IPCC based on Canadian and international examples. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Associate Deputy Minister, Martine Dubuc, was among the distinguished panelists and shared examples of the Government of Canada’s leadership on advancing gender equality, such as applying a Gender-Based Analysis Plus framework when assessing policies, programs and services. Over 50 countries/organizations participated and many delegations requested that a report on the event be provided during the formal plenary session. Here is a link to a media article that followed the event.
Canada noted the opportunity for the IPCC to build on efforts to develop a gender action plan under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We emphasized our own commitment to applying a gender lens to the Canadian AR6 author nomination process and to highlight the importance of considering gender more broadly, across the IPCC’s governance and products.
Leadership on short-lived climate forcers
Progress on this item has been slow, but is increasing in profile. At IPCC-46, Canada demonstrated its leadership on short-lived climate forcers by chairing side-meetings to exchange views and inform decision-making on a proposed IPCC expert meeting on the topic. This facilitated consensus-building and governments’ agreement to hold a meeting in 2018, which will consider emissions and radiative forcing, with an emphasis on aerosols. It is expected that recommendations for future work will be presented to the IPCC in Fall 2018.
During IPCC-46, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that Canada will double its financial contribution to the IPCC (from $150K to $300K) until the release of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) in 2022.
The issue of how to address to the IPCC’s current budget constraints remains unresolved. While emphasizing the need to protect the integrity of the IPCC, Canada suggested that a combination of strategies should be considered and highlighted the need for flexibility and innovation. The thrust of interventions stressed that contributions from member governments should remain the IPCC’s primary source of funding and that more information is needed in order to make a decision on any hybrid model of financing. The mandate of the Ad-hoc Task Group on the Financial Stability of the IPCC was extended to respond to these requests and report back at the next plenary session.
Alignment between the cycles of the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s global stocktake
There was not time to consider this item during IPCC-46. France and Mexico were designated to lead a task group on the issue, the mandate for which will be discussed during the next IPCC plenary session (February/March 2018 in Paris). It is anticipated that governments will be invited to submit their views on the scope of the mandate and the proposed options for alignment prior to the next session.
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