August 9, 2021 marked the beginning of the release of the sixth round of major reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC.
As illustrated in the graphic novel Because IPCC, the IPCC has a 33 year history as the world’s ultimate authority on climate change.
The IPCC is the ultimate authority in part because of the word “intergovernmental” in it’s name. Virtually every government in the world participates in reaching consensus on reports generated by scientists from all over the world.
In the case of AR6—the report just released—721 scientists from 90 nations collaborated for almost eight years to come to consensus on what the latest science says about climate change. As if that weren’t enough, the final stage before release of the report involves gaining consensus (line-by-line and word-by-word consensus) among the 195 member nations of the IPCC.
AR6 stands for the Sixth Assessment Report. It was AR4 back in 2007 that earned the IPCC the Nobel Peace Prize.
The reason this sixth Assessment Report took so long to produce is due to the IPCC’s rigorous process.
Once the 721 authors were identified they began with reviewing many thousands of scientific studies. This in turn involved contributions from many many more scientists than the 721 scientific authors. Those thousands of experts also got to submit comments and editorial suggestions on the draft reports. This input adds up to many more than 100,000 items that the IPCC authors are required to review and take account of.
Amazingly IPCC scientists are volunteers who get involved because of the importance of the issue and the prestige of the organization. Many all-nighters and heated discussions are endured for the sake of the IPCC.
But this AR6 report is only the first of several which will come out over this year and next.
AR6 WGI—this report—is focused on the the physics of climate change. WGI stands for Working Group One.
WGII’s AR6 report looks at how we can stop contributing to climate change; WGIII in turn reports on what the impacts of climate change will be and how humanity might adapt to those changes; finally, the three WGI, WGII & WGIII reports are each massive tombs, so the IPCC will produce the AR6 Synthesis Report to tie the earlier reports together with language a little easier for non-scientists to understand.
These latter three reports are all due in 2022.
The graphic novel Because IPCC celebrates this process—because it is an amazing achievement—in an approachable format that anyone can enjoy in 15 or 20 minutes.
Because IPCC helps us understand the work of scientists before the IPCC process kicks into play: the scientific method; peer review; citations in scientific journals.
As well it gives info on the reasons the IPCC came into existence and the rigors of the report preparation process.
The whole graphic novel is set 100 years in the future and imagines a world where humanity has solved the climate crisis. It hints at how we’ll get there, by acting together on changes that are quite achievable.
Please read Because IPCC and share it with your friends and family.
Knowing the how and why behind the authority of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives us all a sense of certainty.
It washes away our nagging notions of whether it can all actually be true.
It underlines our sense that we must act; we must get involved in acting now.
We are the change that’s needed.