The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific and intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations, set up at the request of member governments, dedicated to the task of providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts.
It was first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 43/53. Membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and UNEP.
The IPCC produces reports that support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is the main international treaty on climate change.
The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic [i.e., human-induced] interference with the climate system”.
IPCC reports cover “the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.”
The IPCC does not carry out its own original research, nor does it do the work of monitoring climate or related phenomena itself. The IPCC bases its assessment on the published literature, which includes peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed sources.
The IPCC provides an internationally accepted authority on climate change, producing reports which have the agreement of leading climate scientists and the consensus of participating governments. The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was shared, in equal parts, between the IPCC and Al Gore.
In addition to climate assessment reports, the IPCC is publishing Special Reports on specific topics.
The preparation and approval process for all IPCC Special Reports follows the same procedures as for IPCC Assessment Reports.
In the year 2011 two IPCC Special Report were finalized, the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) and the Special Report on Managing Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). Both Special Reports were requested by governments.