Published on Jun 30, 2010

The Earth System Governance Project congratulates Prof. Joyeeta Gupta, Prof. Arun Agrawal, and Prof. Lennart Olsson with their appointments to the selection of authors for the fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

Professor Joyeeta Gupta (UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, and VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is a member of the Earth System Governance Scientific Steering Committee and has been selected as lead author in Working Group III of the IPCC for the chapter on International Cooperation: Agreements and Instruments.

From the Associate Faculty of the Earth System Governance Project, Professor Lennart Olsson (Lund University, Sweden) is appointed coordinating lead author in IPCC Working Group II for the chapter on Livelihoods and Poverty. For the same chapter, Professor Arun Agrawal (University of Michigan, USA) has been selected as lead author. This chapter is included for the first time in the IPCC reports. According to Prof. Agrawal, this “is a stark reminder of the fact that even as climate change offers new environmental challenges that must be met, older challenges around poverty and inequality have not been wished away. Indeed, the fact of climate change greatly complicates the capacity of human societies to conquer poverty, and points anew to the need for effective environmental governance to meet multiple social goals.

Other members of the Earth System Governance Project were invited but will not be able to participate. Many scientists informally related to the project have been selected as well.

In total, 831 experts have been selected. They will dedicate almost four years to the three Working Group Reports of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) to be published between 2013 and 2014. More than 3.000 scientists have been nominated which is an increase of more than 50% in comparison to the fourth Assessment Report. The IPCC says that “This increase reflects the high regard of the IPCC’s work within the scientific community”. Authors have been selected with particular attention to relevant expertise to ensure that IPCC author teams consist of leading experts in the respective fields with a range of scientific views on climate change. The full list of authors is available at the IPCC website.

Global scientific assessments like the IPCC Assessment Reports are an important instrument to provide decision-makers with a scientific view on and summary of the current state of global environmental change and its consequences. They are also providing valuable input for the international negotiations. The Earth System Governance Project, while being essentially a scientific effort, is also designed to assist policy responses to the pressing problems of earth system transformation. “The fact that three members of the Earth System Governance Project have been selected to serve as (coordinating) lead authors by the IPCC is testimony to the importance of the work the Earth System Governance Project is doing – both in terms of its attempts to highlight the need for and possibilities of governance, and in terms of its capacity to meet these needs and possibilities”, says Prof. Agrawal.

Contributing to the IPCC therefore is an important task for the project and an honor as well as a substantial amount of work for the selected authors.