El IPCC necesita socios alrededor del mundo para difundir los resultados de su reporte
We held a conversation with Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about the rigorous preparation process of the IPCC scientific report.
What is the process that leads to the final scientific findings? How do you manage to coordinate thousands of scientist’s worldwide?
The IPCC has established very good procedures. The first thing that has to be done is to come up with an outline of what is going to go in a particular report. We start with a scooping exercise and typically this is carried out by getting 200 people of different backgrounds who know and understand climate change. They come together for 3 or 4 days and discuss and debate on what should be the contents of a particular report. They come up with a document, which give you a scope of what the report should do. Then this is agreed, after discussions and comments by Governments, in what is call the outline of the report.
Base on that outline we write to all the governments of the world and some international organizations to get nominations of scientists who would work as authors of that report.
To give you a set of numbers in the Fifth Assessment Report we got more than 3,000 nomination of scientist with CVs and out of that 831 were selected. These are essentially those scientists who are directly involved in the writing of the report, most of them as authors and small number as review editors. There is also a large number that gets involved as expert reviewers of drafts, because at each state of the draft there is peer review by experts. Typically in one working group report we could get over 5,000 comments and each one of them has to be take into account. You have to record whether you accept the comment or rejected. If you reject it, you have to give reasons, so it is a very transparent and very objective process.
The final draft goes for reviews to Governments and their comments are taken into account and the draft modified.
The Summary for Policy Makers, which is a document summarizing the major technical contents parts is approved word by word by all the Governments of the world. This could take five days because we have to arrive to a consensus on everything. This seems like a very laborious exercise but the benefit is that you have the best scientists in the world preparing the report and all the Governments of the world accepting that report, so they have a sense of ownership.
This is a very unusual exercise, I can’t think of any scientific effort, on any subject, which goes trough this kind of process and which has the ownership of all the Governments of the world.
The good think is the scientists who work in the whole effort are doing it without any compensation from the IPCC. They do it for the pride, for the professional satisfaction, and for what you may call the labor of love. That is the strength of the IPCC.
How you effectively communicate the findings of the report? How you disseminate this knowledge?
In the past we were not very effective in disseminating the findings or contents of our report. We are trying to do a lot more now because we are better equipped to do that. Despite that, I think what we really need is partners all over the world who pick up the findings of the IPCC report and disseminate them in a manner that would be acceptable to population in each country, to each segment of society and to every age.
We need to make this message out. There is a lot more than others can do that we can do. I hope this involves the media apart of other organizations like NGOs who can also make the best use of our findings and then disseminated effectively.
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