Synthesis Report- Forword

Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established in 1988, by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its present terms of reference are to:

  • Assess available information on the science, the impacts, and the economics of -- and the options for mitigating and/ or adapting to -- climate change.
  • Provide, on request, scientific/technical/socio-economic advice to the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Since its establishment, the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports (1990, 1995, and 2001), Special Reports, Technical Papers, and methodologies, such as the Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, which have become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, scientists, and other experts and students.

This Synthesis Report completes the four-volume Third Assessment Report (TAR). It addresses specifically the issues of concern to the policymaker, in the context of Article 2 of the UNFCCC -- issues such as the extent to which human activities have influenced and will in the future influence the global climate, the impacts of a changed climate on ecological and socio-economic systems, and existing and projected technical and policy capacity to address anthropogenic climate change. It explores briefly the linked nature of a number of multilateral environmental conventions. It draws on the work of hundreds of experts from all regions of the world who have in the past and at present participated in the IPCC process. As is customary in the IPCC, success in producing this report has depended first and foremost on the dedication, enthusiasm, and cooperation of these experts in many different but related disciplines.

We take this opportunity to express our heart-felt gratitude to the authors and reviewers of all the IPCC reports and Technical Papers, particularly the TAR. We thank likewise the IPCC Bureau; Dr. Sundararaman, Secretary of IPCC, and his Secretariat staff; and those staffing the Technical Support Units of the three Working Groups. We acknowledge with gratitude the governments and organizations that contribute to the IPCC Trust Fund, and provide support to the experts and in other ways. The IPCC has been especially successful in engaging in its work a large number of experts from the developing countries and countries with their economies in transition; the Trust Fund enables extending financial assistance for their travel to IPCC meetings.

We thank the Chairman of the IPCC, Dr. Robert T. Watson, for guiding the effort in completing the TAR.

G.O.P. Obasi
Secretary General
World Meteorological Organization
K. Töpfer
Executive Director
United Nations Environment Programme
and Director-General
United Nations Office in Nairobi

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