The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is one of the most important voices in debates around how to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Its findings influence governments, business leaders and even teenage protestors on one of the biggest issues facing the planet.
But most people may never have heard of the IPCC.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a UN body that evaluates climate science. Its scientists look at the current impacts and future risks of a changing climate. They analyze options to mitigate the damage and adapt to a changing world.
Founded in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, the IPCC produces major reports every few years. It selects hundreds of scientists from across the world to prepare them. The experts evaluate peer-reviewed scientific literature and, less often, government and industry reports, bringing together thousands of studies to develop comprehensive analyses of the state of climate change.
The most recent publications, a series of special reports published over the last year, cover living on a planet with 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming, and the effects of climate change on land, oceans and icy places.
IPCC climate scientists stress that they do not tell governments what to do, but rather assess possible policy options. They also say their conclusions for the future are projections — based on different warming scenarios — not predictions.
The IPCC publishes summaries for policymakers that are prepared by experts and reviewed, line-by-line in marathon plenary sessions, by UN member states, who must then unanimously approve them. These documents guide decision makers.
In the scientific community and media, its reports are broadly viewed as the most comprehensive and reliable assessments of climate change. In 2007, the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.