Through its assessments, the IPCC determines the state of knowledge on climate change. It identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community on topics related to climate change, and where further research is needed. The reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency. The IPCC does not conduct its own research. IPCC reports are neutral, policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive. The assessment reports are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. Created by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988, the IPCC has 195 Member countries. In the same year, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.
The IPCC prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place. It also produces Special Reports on topics agreed to by its member governments, as well as Methodology Reports that provide guidelines for the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories. The IPCC is working on the Sixth Assessment Report which consists of three Working Group contributions and a Synthesis Report. The Working Group I contribution was finalized in August 2021 and the Working Group II contribution in February 2022.
The main activity of the IPCC is the preparation of reports assessing the state of knowledge of climate change. These include assessment reports, special reports and methodology reports. To deliver this work programme, the IPCC holds meetings of its government representatives, convening as plenary sessions of the Panel or IPCC Working Groups to approve, adopt and accept reports. Plenary Sessions of the IPCC also determine the IPCC work programme, and other business including its budget and outlines of reports. The IPCC Bureau meets regularly to provide guidance to the Panel on scientific and technical aspects of its work. The IPCC organizes scoping meetings of experts and meetings of lead authors to prepare reports. It organizes expert meetings and workshops on various topics to support its work programme, and publishes the proceedings of these meetings. To communicate its findings and explain its work, the IPCC takes part in outreach activities organized by the IPCC or hosted by other organizations, and provides speakers to other conferences. More information on sessions of the IPCC, its Working Groups and the Bureau can be found in the Documentation section.