Archived: Instructions: 44th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The main decision items for IPCC-44 are the approval of outlines for the Special Report on 1.5°C and for the Methodology Report to update the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. In addition, the Panel will consider decisions on the IPCC’s budget, the Conflict of Interest Policy, a proposed workshop and expert meeting, the path forward to restructure the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA), communications, and the IPCC Scholarship Program.
Canadian delegation (Candel) to IPCC-44
- George Enei (Environment and Climate Change Canada [ECCC] - Assistant Deputy Minister, Science & Technology; Head of Delegation [HoD])
- Marjorie Shepherd (ECCC - Director, Climate Research Division)
- Gregory Flato (ECCC - Senior Research Scientist and IPCC Bureau member)
- Lauren Walshe-Roussel (ECCC - Science & Technology Policy Analyst)
Canadian objectives and approach
Canada’s overarching objectives for IPCC-44 are to support and preserve the scientific integrity of the IPCC; to enhance the IPCC’s ongoing relevance to decision-making on climate change in Canada and international fora, especially the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and to maintain the integrity of the Paris decision.
As a corollary, Canada will seek to increase emissions reporting confidence and confidence in science findings by signalling interest and partnering bilaterally to inform domestic and international policy discussions.
During IPCC-44, the following principles will apply to Candel’s participation:
- Candel will make interventions to move discussions towards outcomes aligned with its objectives
- Candel will work with like-minded countries to advance common positions on the outline for the Special Report on 1.5°C.
- Candel will support consensus building and will be flexible in looking for solutions in order to minimize the likelihood of outcomes to which Canada would object
- Should Parties broadly support decisions that are not aligned with Canadian objectives, Candel will participate constructively and will not block consensus. In these cases, Candel will consult the HoD and ECCC headquarters, including International Affairs Branch, for further instructions.
Delegation members can speak to the media about their work and field of expertise. Media inquiries outside of the scope of the event should be referred to back to Headquarters if they cannot be addressed by the delegation.
Candel will produce a report on meeting outcomes and will immediately notify ECCC headquarters of any sensitive issues that arise.
Candel will confirm its offer to host an IPCC Working Group meeting in 2019 with the head of the Technical Support Unit for Working Group I (Physical Science Basis of Climate Change) and the IPCC Secretariat. The approximate cost for Canada to host this meeting is $200,000 and will be managed by S&T Branch going forward.
Candel will also commit to support targeted TGICA work (see item 8).
Meetings with like-minded countries
Candel will meet with like-minded countries on the margins of IPCC-44. The objectives will be to establish relationships with Canada’s new IPCC Focal Point and to discuss how to advance common objectives, particularly with respect to the approvals for the outlines of the Special Report and the Methodology Report, and TGICA. Candel will also participate in anticipated broader like-minded-country meetings to develop a coordinated approach on the approval of the outline for the Special Report.
Item 2: Approval of the draft report of the 43rd session
Candel can approve the draft report of the 43rd session.
Item 3: IPCC program and budget
3.2 Budget for the years 2016, 2017 (for adoption), 2018 and 2019
Candel does not support the proposed 2017 budget of CHF 9.7M as it greatly exceeds the IPCC’s net assets (CHF 6.6M as of Dec. 31, 2015) as well as annual budgets over the last five years. Further, it is not reflective of financial constraints facing member countries. In reviewing the budget, Candel views that reasonable expenditure related to core IPCC deliverables should be prioritized. Candel can thus support the proposed 10% increase related to the development of the Methodology Report, providing that the IPCC budgets can be reduced in other areas without compromising IPCC Working Group deliverables. Candel will participate in meetings of the Financial Task Team to help revise the budget for 2017 such that it is more reflective of the IPCC and member governments’ current financial situations.
Item 4: Admission of observer organizations
Canada can endorse the recommendation by the Secretariat and the Bureau to grant observer status to the 10 applicants: (1) Climate Alliance, (2) C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, (3) Climate and Clean Air Coalition, (4) World Climate Research Program, (5) Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, (6) Friends World Committee for Consultation, (7) Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, (8) Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils, (9) Université catholique de Louvain, and (10) Pacific Community (SPC). Canada co-chairs the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and Minister McKenna is a member of the Troika group of women leaders on climate change, which is led by the Mary Robinson Foundation
Candel welcomes the inclusion of additional observer organizations. Engaging with these stakeholders enhances transparency and broadens the exchange of information between the IPCC and other organizations. Noting the growing list of observer organizations (currently 116), Candel may wish to suggest that those participating in IPCC meetings contribute to the logistical costs associated with hosting.
Item 6: Procedural matters
6.1 Review of the IPCC conflict of interest policy
Candel fully supports the need for a strong conflict of interest policy, but may wish to express concern with regards to the proposed revisions to the conflict of interest form. Candel is concerned that the form’s design will not efficiently guide the Conflict of Interest committee in identifying and facilitating decisions on conflicts of interest. Candel also views that the length of the form should be shortened and overall clarity improved. Candel could suggest that the conflict of interest identification process of the form be streamlined and that additional information be required of respondents where conflicts of interest are identified (e.g., on how the conflict may affect responsibilities and proposed steps to mitigate the conflict).
Candel supports all other recommendations of the Conflict of Interest sub-committee, which entail:
- Requiring that curriculum vitae be attached to conflict of interest declaration forms
- Downsizing the Committee from 15 to 8 members
- Discontinue the Conflict of Interest Expert Advisory Group and instead hire a consultant as needed
- Allow the Conflict of Interest committee to evaluate the conflict of interest forms of the TSU staff for the Synthesis report in lieu of the Bureau
Item 7: Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) products
7.1 Outline of the Special Report 1.5°C
Candel values the Special Report on 1.5° and sees it as a critical contribution to the 2018 UNFCCC discussions. The current outline of the Special Report goes beyond the scope of the original request made by the UNFCCC. As such, it is important the scope of the report be brought in-line with the original request.
In support of this objective, Candel will take a principle-based approach focused on:
- Ensuring that the scope of the Special Report remains within the bounds set out by the original UNFCCC request, as enshrined in decision 1/CP.21 paragraph 21, that invites the IPCC to provide a Special Report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.
- Assessing available science, without being prescriptive as to future mitigation pathway choices or adaptation strategies.
- Ensuring fair/equitable treatment of global and regional information, and a representative (not comprehensive) range of natural, social, economic and technological impacts.
- Avoiding inclusion of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions/Nationally Determined Contributions as a basis for warming scenarios since these are subject to change
- Ensuring that material is not duplicative of anticipated Working Group reports, or other Special Reports.
- Advocating for timely delivery of the Special Report in order to respect the timelines of the UNFCCC, as well as the accessibility of its content to policy audiences.
- Voicing that chapters 4 and 5 of the outline, which concern socio-economic analysis of climate policies and measures, will be more appropriately addressed in the AR6, and should therefore be removed from the Special Report (Candel may raise this point in reference to other components of the outline should they also be more appropriate for AR6.)
Candel will engage with like-minded countries to coordinate on approach for the outline approval given anticipated proposals to re-focus the scope on the UNFCCC’s specific request. Candel is supportive of an outline that responds directly to the UNFCCC’s request, and will not support an outline that strays beyond the requested scope. Candel views that the outline should be respectful of and traceable to the prior scoping process for this Special Report.
Candel should be aware that some participating countries will raise the need to include consideration of short-lived climate pollutants (SLPCs) in the Special Report. Canada supports consideration of the contribution of SLCPs to mitigation pathways, and their instrumental role in helping meet the Paris Agreement temperature goals. Candel will engage with like-minded countries as to where in the report outline consideration of SLCPs is best placed.
7.2 Outline of the Methodology Report(s) to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories
Candel agrees with the proposed scope, outline and format of the report, recognizing that an updated and sound scientific basis is necessary to support future climate actions, particularly under the Paris Agreement. Pending the feasibility and acceptability of reducing IPCC budgets in other areas, Candel can approve the proposed work plan, including the 10% budget increase for 2017-19 to enhance developing country involvement in the development of the report.
The following principles will guide Candel’s participation in discussions on the report’s outline:
- Availability of robust scientific evidence and relevance to inventory needs should determine where guidance will be updated/improved
- Balance between prescriptive vs. flexible methodologies and generic vs. specific guidance
- Focus on developing broadly applicable (not country-specific) methodologies supported by robust parameters and realistic data requirements
- Outline quality standards for advanced country-specific methodologies
- Allow adjustments to sections not flagged for updates in order to maintain consistency, but ensure review of draft material to preserve scope and balance.
- Respect the mandate of the TFI, i.e. developing practical guidance for GHG inventory preparation, with a focus on quantifying (as opposed to accounting) GHG emissions and removals occurring at a specific point in time and associated with specific anthropogenic activities, technologies or practices.
7.3 Workshop on climate change and cities
Candel can support the proposed 2018 international scientific Conference on Climate Change and Cities. This was agreed to in principle at IPCC-43 and supports associated decisions to enhance the focus on climate change and cities in AR6 and produce a Special Report on this topic in AR7. Candel may wish to note the possibility for synergies between the proposed Conference and the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Climate Summit in 2018, which relates to the socio-economics of climate services and will include a focus on cities.
The area of focus has international policy relevance and strong potential to impact near-term decision-making. It also aligns with GoC priorities on clean growth and green infrastructure, including GoC commitments to invest in public transit.
7.4 Expert meeting on mitigation, sustainability and climate stabilization scenarios
Candel can support the proposal from Working Group III, recognizing the need to develop dialogue between scenario-builders and modelers and those with a sectoral, bottom-up perspective, and the value of interdisciplinary research in this area in support of AR6. Candel may wish to highlight the importance of planning this workshop in coordination with the World Climate Research Program’s Coupled Modelled Inter-comparison Project (CMIP6).
Canadian participation in this workshop would help to advance the priority of broadening the influence of Canadian scientific contributions to AR6 to complement the strength of Canada’s contributions to Working Group I.
Item 8: Future of TGICA
Candel should actively support implementation of the IPCC-44 decision via the establishment of an Ad Hoc Task Force to design a strategic plan and revised mandate for TGICA by IPCC-46 (provisionally scheduled for September 2017).
In the interim, Candel supports focusing on the completion of priority TGICA activities from the current workplan, and should note that particular priority to be placed on the “Guidelines on the use of scenario data for climate impact and adaptation assessment” given strong relevance to the current Assessment Report cycle. Recognizing the expertise that Canada can offer and the value of this work for Canada, Candel can offer in-kind support in the form of ½ a Full Time Equivalent over the next 18 months from the Government of Canada’s Department of Environment and Climate Change, targeted at completing this scenarios guidance document.
Item 9: Communications for the AR6
9.1 Communications and scoping processes
Candel agrees with the proposed options under consideration in order to obtain contributions from relevant stakeholders prior to IPCC scoping meetings. However, Candel views that no additional travel costs should be incurred for the sole purpose of a pre-scoping activity as these could be scheduled on the margins of other IPCC activities. Candel may wish to express the importance of representative and balanced input from the proposed pre-scoping activities, as well as the need to define target stakeholders.
9.2 Review of the IPCC communications strategy
Candel can support the update of the IPCC Communications Strategy and the associated requirements of the Executive Committee, e.g., updating and reviewing the Implementation Plan and considering rapid response procedures.
Item 10: IPCC scholarship program
Candel can support options ‘b’ (Partnership/Delegation to academic institution or Foundation) or ‘c’ (Alternative options for capacity building activities), but not option ‘a’ (Scaling up the program) given the IPCC’s current budget limitations. Candel views that developing countries should lead decision-making on this item as they are the beneficiaries of the IPCC Scholarship Program resources. Candel may wish to suggest that it would be helpful to make a decision on this item on the basis of concrete proposals under options ‘b’ and ‘c’ at IPCC-45.
Report on outcomes
44th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-44)
October 17-20, 2016, Bangkok, Thailand
- The Canadian delegation participated actively in IPCC-44 and identified opportunities for bilateral cooperation on the margins of the meeting.
- Governments approved the outlines for 1) the IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, and 2) the Methodology Report to update the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
- Canada confirmed its commitment to host an IPCC working group meeting in 2019.
- Some international media sources reported on the approval of the 1.5°C special report outline.
Approval of report outlines
- Governments approved the outlines for the first two reports of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report cycle: 1) the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (due in 2018) and 2) the Methodology Report to update the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories (due in 2019)
- Canada worked with like-minded countries to re-focus the outline of the Special Report on 1.5°C to address the specific COP21 UNFCCC request for information on impacts and emissions pathways associated with 1.5°C. The approved outline places greater emphasis on responding directly to the UNFCCC’s request, thus respecting the intent for the report to inform the 2018 facilitative dialogue to take stock of Parties’ collective progress towards the long-term goal. There was consensus among governments on the need for a concise report focused on 1.5°C. As a result, the scope of some content was significantly reduced. The approved outline strikes a balance between respecting the IPCC expert scoping process (held in August 2016), responding to the UNFCCC’s request, and addressing governments’ comments. It was stressed that the availability of robust scientific literature will ultimately determine content.
- On the Inventory Methodology Report outline, Canada supported amendments related to updating the report, and notably supported CO2 emission factors for land converted to flooded land (Wetlands Chapter) based on Canadian experience and leadership. This refinement will help UNFCCC Parties apply good practice for inventory methodologies based on the latest scientific knowledge. The approved outline will allow the IPCC to provide an updated and sound scientific basis for supporting the preparation and continuous improvement of national greenhouse gas inventories where gaps or out-of-date science have been identified vis-à-vis the 2006 IPCC Guidelines. In bilateral conversations, Canada identified opportunities to collaborate with Australia and the U.S. on methodologies for emissions reporting in the Land use, Land-use change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, and with the U.S. on country-specific emissions factors for priority energy sectors.
- Governments approved the organization’s budget for 2017. Canada worked with other countries to reduce the proposed budget by approximately 20% (from Swiss Francs [CHF] 9.75 million to CHF 8.15 million), such that it better reflects the financial constraints of the IPCC, without compromising the work required to develop the IPCC’s core products. Nonetheless, the approved budget is not a balanced budget and the IPCC’s resource needs continue to outweigh the contributions it receives from member governments and United Nations organizations. As a result the IPCC is currently undertaking a resource mobilization campaign to increase contributions from member countries and is exploring the idea of funding partnerships.
- In line with Canada’s commitment to demonstrate international leadership on climate change, Canada confirmed that it will host an IPCC author meeting in 2019, which will convene leading experts that are working on the IPCC’s assessment of the physical science basis for climate change.
- Canada also committed to provide approximately ½ FTE over the next 18 months to support the completion of IPCC guidelines on the use of scenario data for climate impact and adaptation assessment
Under the IPCC Chair (Dr. Hoesung Lee), the IPCC continues to be diligent with respect to transparency in process, as evidenced by discussions around Conflict of Interest.
Additional information from the meeting is available through the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Reporting Services.
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