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UNEP Chief Welcomes the Election of New IPCC Chair

Nairobi Oct 7 - UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner today welcomed the election of Hoesung Lee, of the Republic of Korea, as the new Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Tuesday.

"I warmly welcome the election of the new IPCC Chair, Hoesung Lee. The IPCC's leadership on climate change is crucial in the run-up to COP21 and will continue to be critical after an agreement is reached in Paris. We look forward to continued close collaboration in the all-important task of tackling the challenges of climate change," said Mr. Steiner.

Hoesung Lee was elected by 78 votes to 56 in a run-off with Jean-Pascale van Ypersele. A total of six candidates had been nominated for the position.

"I am honoured and grateful that the Panel has elected me as the IPCC's new Chair," said Hoesung Lee. "The IPCC remains deeply committed to providing policymakers with the highest quality scientific assessment of climate change, but we can do more."

"The next phase of our work will see us increase our understanding of regional impacts, especially in developing countries, and improve the way we communicate our findings to the public. Above all, we need to provide more information about the options that exist for preventing and adapting to climate change. I look forward to working with my IPCC colleagues to reach these goals and I thank them for their support."

The election took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where the IPCC is holding its 42nd Session. Elections for other positions on the IPCC Bureau, including the Co-Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups, will take place over 6-8 October.

Lee, aged 69, is professor in the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development at Korea University's Graduate School of Energy and Environment in the Republic of Korea. He is currently one of the IPCC's three vice-chairs.


The election of the new Bureau, which will have 34 members including the Chair, opens the way for work to start on the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report, expected to be completed in 5-7 years..

The IPCC completed its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in November 2014.

The key findings of the AR5 Synthesis Report are:

  • Human influence on the climate system is clear;

  • The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts; and

  • We have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future.

The candidates for Chair, with the countries that nominated them, were:

  • Ogunlade Davidson (Sierra Leone)

  • Chris Field (United States of America)

  • Hoesung Lee (Republic of Korea)

  • Nebojsa Nakicenovic (Austria and Montenegro)

  • Thomas Stocker (Switzerland)

  • Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Belgium)

A webcast press conference with Hoesung Lee will be held at 10.00 CET (08.00 GMT) on Wednesday, 7 October.

For further information, contact:

IPCC Press Office, Email: ipcc-media@wmo.int

Dubrovnik landline +385 20 449 219 Werani Zabula, +385 919 154 094

Notes for editors

What is the IPCC?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the world body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly, to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCC does not do its own research, conduct climate measurements or produce its own climate models; it assesses the thousands of scientific papers published each year to tell policymakers what we know and don't know about the risks related to climate change. The IPCC identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion, and where further research is needed.

Thus the IPCC offers policymakers a snapshot of what the scientific community understands about climate change rather than promoting a particular view. IPCC reports are policy-relevant without being policy-prescriptive. The IPCC may set out options for policymakers to choose from in pursuit of goals decided by policymakers, but it does not tell governments what to do.

To produce its reports, the IPCC mobilizes hundreds of scientists who work as volunteers. These scientists and officials are drawn from diverse backgrounds. Only fourteen permanent staff work in the IPCC's Secretariat.

The members of the IPCC, comprising the Panel, are the195 member states of the UN and WMO. They work by consensus to endorse the reports of the IPCC and set its procedures and budget in plenary meetings of the Panel. The word "Intergovernmental" in the organization's name reflects this.

IPCC reports are requested by the member governments and developed by authors drawn from the scientific community in an extensive process of repeated drafting and review. Scientists and other experts participate in this review process through a self-declaration of expertise. The Panel endorses these reports in a process of dialogue between the governments that request the reports and will work with them and the scientists that write them. In this discussion the scientists have the last word on any additions or changes, although the Panel may agree by consensus to change something in the summaries for policymakers of the reports.

The IPCC produces comprehensive assessment reports on climate change every six years or so. Among its other products it also issues special reports on particular topics requested by its members, and methodology reports and software to help members report their greenhouse gas inventories (emissions minus removals).

The IPCC completed the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) with the release of the Synthesis Report on 2 November 2014. AR5 is the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken. Over 830 scientists from over 80 countries were selected to form the author teams producing the report. They in turn drew on the work of over 1,000 contributing authors and over 1,000 expert reviewers. AR5 assessed over 30,000 scientific papers.

A note explaining the IPCC election process can be found at:


A note explaining the role of the IPCC Bureau and Executive Committee can be found at:


For more information, including links to the IPCC reports, go to www.ipcc.ch

Hoesung Lee is professor in the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development at Korea University’s Graduate School of Energy and Environment in the Republic of Korea



Further Resources

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


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