Director of UQ’s Global Change Institute, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg has been selected to help structure two special reports on climate change for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC).
Professor Hoegh-Guldberg is a part of a select group of internationally recognised scientists who will scope a report on the implications of 1.5° C warming above the pre-industrial period, and a special report on climate change and the world’s oceans and cryosphere (glaciers, ice fields).
The reports are part of the UN assessment cycle – designed to bring a solid scientific consensus to negotiations such as those which occurred at COP21 talks in Paris, December 2015.
The resulting Paris Climate Agreement provides a critical backdrop to the next cycle of IPCC assessment reports due for release in several years’ time. It calls for the international community of more than 195 countries to limit global warming to two degrees over pre-industrial levels with an ideal target of 1.5 degrees.
Professor Hoegh-Guldberg, who has been a strong voice in the science community on the urgent need to limit global warming to less than two degrees over pre-industrial levels, said it was a great honour to be chosen to help provide a structure for the reports.
“Once the scope of the reports has been established, scientific experts will be selected from the international community to produce these reports in time for consideration as part of the sixth cycle of the IPCC reporting process,” he said.
Starting in 1988, the IPCC has produced five major reports with the latest being due for release in 2021–2022.
The criteria for selection are highly competitive and involved the best-of-the-best in terms of scientific papers and standing within the focal areas identified by the international community.
“Given the rapid changes occurring with the earth system that supports us, receiving the latest scientific consensus on the threats and solutions associated with these key issues couldn’t be more important,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.
As we see more and more evidence that we have underestimated the speed and scale of the serious impacts that are now affecting us, many experts and political leaders are calling for a better understanding of how we might achieve a minimal warming of about 1.5° C above the pre-industrial period.
“Going above 1.5° C would see over 90 per cent of the coral on Great Barrier Reef eliminated, for example,” he said
“We need to understand the broader impacts – hence the call by the international community (including Australia) for a special report on the issues surrounding keeping below 1.5°C is not only smart but vital to the future of our planet.”
World Meteorological Organisation – Media Release
IPCC agrees special reports, AR6 workplan