Archived: Instructions: 45th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Instructions: 45th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change March 28-31, 2017, Guadalajara, Mexico
The main decision items for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-45) are the approval of outlines for the ‘Special Report on climate change, oceans and the cryosphere’ and the ‘Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems’. In addition, the Panel will consider decisions on the IPCC’s budget, resource mobilization strategy and scholarship program. It is expected that the issue of modifying the mandate of the Task Force Bureau on Inventories (TFI) will be raised from the floor and included as a discussion item. The IPCC Secretariat will announce that Canada will host the 46th Session of the IPCC (IPCC-46) in September 2017.
Item 2: approval of the draft report of the 44th session
Candel can approve the draft report of the 44th session.
Item 3: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) program and budget
3.1 Budget for the year 2017 (revised budget for adoption)
Candel will participate in meetings of the Financial Task Team (FiTT) to review the revised budget for 2017 and may wish to seek clarification on the justification for the line item on resource mobilization. Canada can support the revised budget, but should continue to stress that the IPCC operate within its means.
3.2 Resource mobilization
Candel will participate in meetings of the FiTT to discuss the proposed Resource Mobilization Strategy and the IPCC Partnership Policy and Procedures.
Canada recognizes the urgent budgetary needs of the IPCC and the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat to date to address the situation. Acknowledging that new partnerships could play a pivotal role in helping to address the budget situation, Canada is supportive of having the IPCC pursue donor partnerships. However, Canada views that these agreements should be subject to member states’ consideration, as is the case with the admission of observer organizations, to enhance risk mitigation as well as transparency and robustness of the decision-making process. Canada could support a revised Partnership Policy and Procedures document that allows a voice for the governments that have been supporting the IPCC since its inception.
On the Resource Mobilization Strategy, Canada should encourage ongoing assessments on effectiveness such that timely adjustments can be made if funding targets are not being met (as was the case in 2016). Further, Canada may wish to suggest that the Resource Mobilization Strategy be broadened to include activities other than soliciting funds from member governments and establishing donor partnerships.
Item 4: admission of observer organizations
No supporting document available at the time of drafting.
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 126), Candel may wish to suggest that those participating in IPCC meetings contribute to the logistical costs associated with hosting.
Item 6: Sixth Assessment Report products
6.1 Outline of the Special Report on climate change, oceans and the cryosphere
Canada is pleased with the results of the scoping efforts and can commend the work that has gone into developing this strong outline.
In discussions on this item, Candel will make constructive suggestions, to support balance of topics, consistency between chapters and inclusion of key areas of interest, such as:
- Indigenous Knowledge: strong support for use of Indigenous and local/community knowledge, which has been identified as a cross-cutting theme across all chapters.
- Physical science questions: seek clarification on how these questions will be covered between the Special Report and the core Assessment Report (namely WG I report) noting the strong focus on impacts in the Special Report outline
- Freshwater ice: suggest explicit reference to freshwater ice (in Chapter 3, bullet 3) recognizing that this is critical for transportation in northern communities.
- Coastal erosion and inundation: suggest explicit reference to these key impacts, recognizing that they are implicitly covered in Chapter 3 and 4, respectively.
- Accessibility of content to policy audiences: suggest inclusion of maps to demonstrate where high mountain areas and Polar Regions are located (Chapter 2 and 3), where transportation passages may open or close, or other regional impacts.
Recognizing the breadth of topics to be covered and the need for a concise report, Canada may wish to suggest that efforts be made to further streamline the outline.
- E.g., suggest the removal of acidification from Chapter 3 as it is treated in Chapter 5, and also since there is a recent Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) Report on Ocean Acidification.
- E.g., suggest grouping socio-economic impacts in Chapter 3 under one bullet
6.2 Outline of the Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems
Canada can express its gratitude for the work that has gone into developing this coherent outline.
In discussions on this item, Candel will make constructive suggestions, to support inclusion of key areas of interest, such as:
- Analysis of interactions between issues: recognizing that this underlies the added value of the Special Report
- Greenhouse gas (GHG) flux information: seek clarification to ensure that this includes specific content on the role of forests, and anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic terrestrial GHG fluxes and related stocks (Chapter 2).
- Negative emissions: suggest replacing bullet with ‘including efforts to reduce emissions and increase removals associated with land management’ (Chapter 2, bullet 4).
- Order of Chapters: stress that Chapter 4 on Land Degradation precedes Chapter 3 on Desertification as the general case (degradation) should be presented before the specific/extreme case (desertification), and because this would likely reduce redundancy.
- Complementarity with forthcoming United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) report: recognizing that the UNCCD is undertaking a report on land degradation, the Special Report should cover status, current trends and future projections of land degradation that focuses primarily on the context of climate change (Chapter 4, bullet 3).
- ‘Competition for land’: Broaden to cover all contexts e.g., prime agricultural land, marginal land, and food vs. fuel (Chapter 6, bullet 7).
Consideration of the Special Report outlines vis-à-vis the scope of AR6:
- Canada may wish to seek an explanation of the relationship between the Special Report topics and coverage in AR6.
- Canada may wish to note that it would be helpful to hear from the co-chairs of WG III on their vision for addressing climate engineering within the WG III report on mitigation. The Special Reports on Cryosphere and Oceans (Chapter 5) and on Land (Chapters 2, 5 and 6) both reference climate engineering related topics. Canada views that the WG III report may be better suited to address these topics in an integrated and comprehensive manner given that broader context can be provided. This would help to avoid the risk that broad conclusions be drawn based on a specific topic featured in a Special Report.
Item 7: IPCC scholarship program
Canada views the proposed path forward for the scholarship program as reasonable and will defer to the perspectives of developing countries as they are the intended beneficiaries.
Item 8: any other business
It is anticipated that the issue of modifying the mandate of the TFI will be raised from the floor. If so, Canada should make a constructive contribution to the discussion based on the following:
- Canada agrees that reductions of the short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and black carbon can play an important role in achieving the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement as a complement to the central role of CO2 mitigation. We are supportive of discussions related to improving the scientific understanding of the role of SLCPs as forcing agents, particularly black carbon, given the conclusions in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) about the large uncertainties associated with aerosols forcing.
- The TFI mandate already covers methane and HFCs, and updates specific to these forcers will be part of the 2019 Methodology Report. Black carbon is outside the scope of national GHG inventories reported to UNFCCC.
- IPCC held an aerosols expert meeting to address issues related to estimation of aerosols emissions and climate forcing in 2005. There is value in the IPCC re-assessing the science related to aerosols forcing and the potential for improving the quantification of black carbon emissions. Such attention encourages the range of science work needed to develop robust emissions reporting and characterization of warming potential.
- Canada anticipates that the 1.5°C Special Report and the AR6 scoping process can inform how the IPCC may wish to address black carbon. We could also support IPCC holding an expert meeting on aerosols to guide further IPCC discussion, with appropriate partners. This aligns with Canada’s principles that IPCC work focus on scientific assessment that informs UNFCCC and national climate policy.
- The TFI is currently fully tasked to deliver the Methodology Report update which should remain the priority. Canada does not support modification of the TFI mandate or workplan at this time.
Canadian objectives and approach
Canada’s overarching objectives for IPCC-45 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 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Canadian delegation (Candel) will look for opportunities to highlight Canada’s approach to clean growth and climate change, noting the critical role of the IPCC’s scientific assessments in informing evidence-based decision-making.
Candel also aims to liaise with the IPCC Secretariat and host country officials to support planning efforts for Canada’s role as host for IPCC-46.
During IPCC-45, 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 other countries to advance common positions on the Special Report outlines and other decision items.
- Candel will support consensus-building and 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 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.
Communications Branch is expected to issue a press release and social media postings during IPCC-45 to announce that Canada will be hosting the 46th Session of the IPCC in September 2017 and to profile Canada’s participation.
Candel will produce a report on meeting outcomes and will immediately notify ECCC headquarters of any sensitive issues that arise.
Meetings with other countries
Candel will meet with other countries on the margins of IPCC-45 with a view to advance common objectives, particularly with respect to the approvals for the outlines of the Special Reports.
Canadian delegation to IPCC-45
- George Enei (Environment and Climate Change Canada [ECCC] - Assistant Deputy Minister, Science & Technology Branch; Head of Delegation [HoD])
- Marjorie Shepherd (ECCC - Director, Climate Research Division)
- Gregory Flato (ECCC - Senior Research Scientist and IPCC Bureau member)
- Tina Cobb (ECCC - Canadian project lead for IPCC-46)
- Lauren Walshe-Roussel (ECCC - Science & Technology Policy Analyst)
IPCC-45 Report on Outcomes
IPCC Special Report Outlines
The main decision items for IPCC-45 were related to determining the scope of two (2) IPCC special reports, which are expected to be finalized in 2019.
Canada supported the process of reaching consensus on the report outlines. The Special Report on Climate Change and Land will address climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. The few concerns that Canada had with the outline were resolved, notably forests are now included.
Canada was successful in obtaining explicit reference to freshwater ice in the outline for the Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and noted its support for the use of Indigenous Knowledge, which has been identified as a cross-cutting theme across all chapters.
Small Island Developing States made a strong push for reference to loss and damage in the report outlines. The compromise was to include language on “vulnerability assessments, adaptation limits, and residual risks” in the framing and context chapter of each report.
IPCC Budget Issues
Canada played a constructive role in discussions on how to address the IPCC’s budget shortfall following broad agreement that it was premature to adopt the IPCC’s proposed policy and procedures for donor partnerships. Canada encouraged governments to be innovative and flexible in their approach to supporting the IPCC and contributed to the development of Terms of Reference for an Ad Hoc Task Group on the Financial Stability of the IPCC. The purpose of this group is to propose options to IPCC member governments for providing predictable, sustainable and adequate means for a smooth implementation of the IPCC’s program of work.
Short-Lived Climate Forcers (SLCFs)
On the margins of the meeting, Canada participated in discussions on how the IPCC can advance work on SLCFs, and Black Carbon in particular. There was broad agreement that the IPCC needs to explore how to advance the treatment of SLCFs and that a path forward will be presented to governments for consideration at the next plenary session.
Canada to Host Next IPCC Plenary Session
It was announced that Canada will host the next IPCC plenary session in September 2017 in Montreal. The delegation worked closely with the IPCC Secretariat to support planning efforts and begin development of an event plan, including outreach activities.
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