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59th Session of the IPCC (Nairobi, Kenya) - 25 July

As the world reels from the latest climate disasters, delegates to the 59th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gathered in Nairobi on Tuesday to elect a new leadership team.
The new Bureau will be responsible for guiding the IPCC through its Seventh Assessment Cycle, which will provide the most comprehensive assessment of the science of climate change to date.
Photo by IPCC
Photo by IPCC

The IPCC is the world's leading authority on climate change, and its reports are used by governments, businesses, and individuals to make decisions about how to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The new Bureau will need to be strong and decisive in order to meet the challenges of the coming years.
The meeting in Nairobi comes at a critical time for the planet. The latest IPCC report, released in March 2023, warned that we are running out of time to avert catastrophic climate change. The new Bureau will need to work urgently to ensure that the IPCC's recommendations are implemented by governments and businesses around the world.
Photo by IPCC
Photo by IPCC

Outgoing IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee welcomed delegates to the 59th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Tuesday and highlighted the achievements of the Sixth Assessment Cycle. He noted that the IPCC had received the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity in 2022, and expressed confidence that the new Bureau would “raise the bar” for the IPCC's work even higher.
Photo by IPCC
Photo by IPCC

In opening remarks at the 59th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), several dignitaries noted the dire impacts of climate change that the world is currently experiencing. United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Inger Andersen underscored that the world the IPCC has repeatedly warned of is now upon us, with record high temperatures every day, droughts, dying oceans, and ferocious infrastructure-destroying storms.
Andersen said that hopes of staying below 1.5℃ global warming are fading fast, but she encouraged the IPCC to keep sounding the alarm and to give hope. She emphasized that we can and must change and that the IPCC's work is essential to guiding us towards a more sustainable future.
Photo by IISD/ENB
Photo by IISD/ENB

Soipan Tuya, Cabinet Secretary of Kenya's Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, welcomed delegates to Nairobi on behalf of the president and congratulated the outgoing Bureau for its exemplary service in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Tuya noted that East Africa has less than ten years before the glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya are lost, and lamented that only 11 percent of the Sixth Assessment Report authors were from Africa, despite the continent's vulnerability to climate change impacts. She called for mitigation and adaptation options based on needs and said that Africa must be at the forefront of climate action.
Photo by IISD/ENB
Photo by IISD/ENB

Paul Egerton, of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), spoke via pre-recorded video on behalf of WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas and emphasized that we are experiencing extreme weather events and climate impacts around the world. He highlighted that the WMO's highest priority is to establish early warning systems, and underscored the need for climate justice.
Egerton said that the IPCC's work is vital for the planet and humankind, and is key to ensuring that we stay on a sustainable track for the future. He called on delegates to the IPCC meeting to work together to elect a new Bureau that will be strong and effective in guiding the IPCC through its Seventh Assessment Cycle.

Photo by IISD/ENB
Photo by IISD/ENB

Delegates then turned to the business of the meeting, reviewing the procedures that will guide the elections and engaging in regional consultations.
How will the IPCC Chair be elected?
The IPCC Chair will be elected in a closed-door session and by secret ballot. All 195 member states of the IPCC will have a vote. To win the election, a candidate must receive a simple majority of the votes cast. If no candidate receives a simple majority in the first round, the top two candidates will compete in a run-off. The results of the election are expected on Wednesday or Thursday.

Candidates for IPCC Chair



Photo by IPCC
Photo by IPCC

Thelma Krug (Brazil), a mathematician who previously led efforts to monitor deforestation in the Amazon, told Reuters she was inspired to run following the election of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who has prioritised the climate change issue.
Krug, who became the first female IPCC vice-chair in 2015, would also be the first Latin American chair. She told Reuters she has overcome career challenges like financing her degree while raising a child. If elected, she would seek to boost regional representation and promote science in languages other than English.
Photo by IPCC
Photo by IPCC

Jim Skea (United Kingdom), a sustainable energy professor who co-chaired the IPCC's work on mitigating climate change, started with the IPCC 30 years ago. "I think I know how to pull the strings to make things happen," he said.
Skea said it was important for future reports to address overshoot scenarios — how to prepare and respond to a situation where the Paris deal warming limits are surpassed and to explore all options for mitigation through technology. He heads Scotland's Just Transition commission and stresses his track record on forging consensus in negotiations.
Photo by IISD/ENB
Photo by IISD/ENB

Debra Roberts (South Africa), a natural scientist and the current co-chair of the IPCC group on climate change's impacts, is one of two female candidates.
She has just been endorsed by the African Union and, if elected, would be the first African chair. Her extensive practical experience including in urban reforestation could be an advantage, analysts say, especially since the body will soon produce a report on cities. The IPCC's upcoming work "can inform more real-world decisions than ever before," she told Reuters.
Photo by IISD/ENB
Photo by IISD/ENB

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Belgium), a physicist involved with the IPCC's work as an author and vice-chair since 1995, is running for the top job a second time. A nature lover, he sent an emotional letter to his great-grandchildren about biodiversity loss and released a campaign photo on top of Mont Blanc pledging to "lead the IPCC to new heights".
He advised Fiji's presidency at past U.N. climate talks and has emphasised climate justice. He told Reuters that the IPCC's messages needed to be made more relevant for policymakers.



Photo by IISD/ENB
Photo by IISD/ENB


  • Sven Fautley

    47 w

    Good luck to all the candidates - may the most suitable person be elected to lead the IPCC to achieve the necessary influence/guidance to world leaders in this global crisis that all life on Earth finds itself ... #WeDontHaveTime #ClimateClock #ActNow

    6
    • Sarah Chabane

      47 w

      Maybe it's time for a woman to lead the IPCC, never happened before!

      8
      • zelda ninga

        47 w

        Hoping the newly elected teams will be more reliable and better.

        4
        • john linus Tom

          47 w

          We wish the new leadership success

          12
          • Patrick Kiash

            47 w

            May the new president lead beyond where the previous leaders lend to...

            6
            • Jordan Edmondson

              47 w

              The IPCC does incredible and vital work and it's great to see that this session is in Kenya. Hopefully this will bring more attention to scientific literature from under represented nations.

              15
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