Photo Credit: Rockaway Youth on Banner by Flickr.com user Light Brigading

Unlocking the IPCC Assessment Process

Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its fifth big report, bringing with it a flurry of news coverage and strong reactions from both industry and environmental advocates. Does the assessment overstate or understate the dangers of global warming? Can the skepticism about whether humans are driving climate change finally be put to rest? As journalists, scientists, and citizens parse the findings, it’s worth pausing to consider just what the IPCC is and how it reaches its conclusions. This chapter, The Dance of the Mice and Elephants, from The Climate Solutions Consensus: What We Know and What to Do about It, authored by The National Council for Science and the Environment, provides an accessible overview of the process. Understanding how the IPCC conducts the assessment is the first step to evaluating its analysis.