Why the Head of the UN Climate Panel Might Be Axed
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) management structure needs to change, according to a review of the organization by the InterAcademy Council. The UN ordered five-month review by the InterAcademy Council pointed out that the IPCC’s “fundamental management structure” has “remained largely unchanged” since the organization’s founding. However, it’s the IPCC’s management structure that “comprises” it, according to the review.
The review gave the following reasons why the IPCC’s management structure must change:
The world has changed considerably since the creation of the IPCC, with major advances in climate science, heated controversy on some climate-related issues, and an increased focus of governments on the impacts and potential responses to changing climate. A wide variety of interests have entered the climate discussion, leading to greater overall scrutiny and demands from stakeholders. The IPCC must continue to adapt to these changing conditions in order to continue serving society well in the future.
The review recommends that the IPCC create an executive committee which would be elected by its members and would report to them. The executive committee would “act on issues and any other task specifically delegated by the Panel.” It should consist of no more than 12 members consisting of IPCC leaders, plus scientists, leaders from NGOs and the private sector.
One of the main reasons the review suggested an executive committee be created is that all major decisions by the IPCC are currently made at annual plenary sessions. The review said that “important decisions need to be made more often, and the bureau has too limited a set of responsibilities and meets too rarely to meet this need.”
IPCC Chair position may go
Another recommendation by the review concerning changing the management structure could jeopardize the position of the current IPCC chair, Rajendra Pachauri. The review recommended that an executive director be elected by the IPCC to lead the organization and “handle day-to-day operations.” The executive director’s term, the review suggested, should be limited to the “timeframe of one assessment.”
Pachauri said he will accept what the IPCC’s member-states decide. The 194 national governments that form the IPCC will review recommendations at the plenary in October and decide what actions to take.
“The IPCC will be strengthened by the IAC review and by others of its kind this year,” said Pachauri. “We already have the highest confidence in the science behind our assessments. We’re now pleased to receive recommendations on how to further strengthen our own policies and procedures.”