Dr. Pörtner served as one of the two coordinating lead authors for the Ocean Systems chapter of the IPCC AR5 WG2 Report that was finalized and officially released in 2014. He is a professor in Integrative Ecophysiology at the Alfred-Wegener Institute in Germany and attended COP 20 to present during a special event on the AR5 Synthesis Report. In Lima, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Pörtner and hear about his experiences serving as a coordinating lead author for the Ocean Systems chapter, and ask about his perspective on how the IPCC reports are used by COP negotiators to arrive at decisions about national climate change targets.
First, a brief overview – the IPCC stands for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was first established in 1988. Every few years, the IPCC puts out an assessment report that represents the international scientific consensus on climate change. Now, we are on the 5th full assessment report, called AR5. Each assessment report consists of 3 working groups that are released sequentially. Working Group 1 (WG1) is on the Physical Science Basis of Climate Change (and the final was released last year in 2013). Working Group 2 (WG2) is on the Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerabilities from Climate Change and was released in 2014. And Working Group 3 (WG3) is on the Mitigation of Climate Change.
The creation of an assessment report is a huge international effort. To put it in perspective, 308 authors from 70 countries were involved in writing the WG2 report that Dr. Pörtner contributed to, and the final version of the WG2 report is 1,820 pages long.
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