Union of Concerned Scientists Experts Attending IPCC Meeting in Istanbul Focused on Planning Next Report, Available for Interviews

Published Jan 15, 2024

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WASHINGTON—Experts from the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will be attending the 60th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—being held in Istanbul, Türkiye, from January 16-19—as participants from an official observer organization. At this meeting, policymakers and scientists will focus on finalizing the process, content, and timeline for the IPCC’s forthcoming Seventh Assessment Report (AR7). IPCC assessment reports are released every six to seven years and use peer-reviewed literature to analyze the present realities of the climate crisis and the dangers of continued global warming, as well as assess the options available to rein in heat-trapping emissions and increase climate resilience. Government representatives and scientists will also consider if new special reports on topics such as Loss and Damage from climate change or tipping points should be greenlit.

The IPCC reports—requiring years of work by scientists from around the world and drawing on an exhaustive foundation of peer-reviewed scientific literature via a process that demands intensive scrutiny and consensus—are meant to serve as the backbone for decisionmakers across the globe as they strive to address the climate crisis. Though up to this point, world leaders—often unable or unwilling to stand up to lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry and petrostates—have not yet agreed to take the urgent collective action that is needed to stop global warming emissions from rising. This glaring failure by policymakers has left people in communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis reeling from the loss of lives, livelihoods, infrastructure, cultural heritage and critical ecosystems.

The upcoming IPCC session comes as scientific agencies confirm that 2023 was the hottest year on record globally, reflecting a long-term trend: the last 10 years have been the 10 hottest on record. It also comes on the heels of the conclusion of the annual U.N. climate change talks, COP28, where for the first time in 30 years countries agreed to transition away from fossil fuels towards clean energy. This next IPCC assessment will be forged over a critical time period for humankind and ecosystems.

In addition to the types of data included in previous IPCC report iterations, UCS considers it imperative that there is a deliberate focus on ensuring IPCC processes and reports continue to include more perspectives from the Global South and underrepresented communities across the world. Scientists must also venture into new areas of interdisciplinary and policy-relevant research. Scientific topics for consideration could include advances in climate attribution such as studies attributing climate impacts to fossil fuel producers, sources and impacts of growing climate disinformation, mounting risks unabated global heating poses to irreplaceable cultural heritage sites, impacts of climate change on displacement and migration of people, equitable and just solutions available to accelerate clean energy momentum and the phaseout of fossil fuels, and opportunities to align climate solutions with broader sustainable development goals.

UCS Experts Attending the IPCC Meeting:

Adam Markham, the deputy director of the Climate and Energy Program at UCS

Markham has several decades of experience with international climate policy, and currently works with policymakers to spur action to safeguard cultural heritage, national parks, and protected areas around the globe from worsening climate change impacts. He is an internationally recognized expert on climate change vulnerability, impacts and resilience strategies at UNESCO World Heritage sites, and also advocates to have cultural heritage preservation included within implementation frameworks for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He was a contributing author to the 2nd IPCC Assessment Report on forest impacts. He is currently leading an international project to have cultural heritage, including Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge, better represented in Loss and Damage frameworks and financing. Markham is based in Wilton, Connecticut, and will be attending the entire IPCC meeting in Türkiye. Click here for Markham’s biography. His latest blogposts can be found here.

Dr. Delta Merner, the lead scientist for the Science Hub for Climate Litigation at UCS

Dr. Merner provides scientific evidence, including peer-reviewed research, to support legal cases that hold fossil fuel companies accountable for climate-related damages and deceptive practices. As the lead scientist for the Science Hub for Climate Litigation at UCS, she also connects legal teams with scientists working at the intersection of climate science and law. Dr. Merner can speak to Loss and Damage litigation, the U.N. International Court of Justice advisory opinion process, deception and interference from fossil fuel interests in international venues tasked with addressing climate change, and climate and source attribution science. She is based in Baltimore, Maryland, and will be attending the entire IPCC meeting in Türkiye. Click here for Dr. Merner’s biography and a list of her peer-reviewed publications. Her latest blogposts can be found here.

Other UCS Experts Available in the United States:

Dr. Rachel Cleetus, the policy director and lead economist for the Climate and Energy Program at UCS

Dr. Cleetus works with lawmakers to develop effective and equitable climate and clean energy policies at the state, national and international level. She has been attending the U.N.’s international climate talks and has partnered with the international community on climate and energy policies for more than 16 years. Dr. Cleetus can discuss the connection between the IPCC reports and the UNFCCC negotiations, Loss and Damage, fossil fuel phaseout, climate finance, the Global Stocktake, the U.S. climate pledge, pathways to reducing U.S. heat-trapping emissions, U.S. climate and clean energy policies, risks and costs of climate change impacts, relevant climate change reports (including those from the IPCC, IEA and UNEP), and increasing resilience to climate change. She is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and can take media requests remotely. Click here for Dr. Cleetus’ biography and a list of her peer-reviewed publications. Her latest blogposts can be found here.

Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel, the director of climate science and a senior climate scientist at UCS

Dr. Ekwurzel researches the influence of major carbon producers on rising global average temperatures, sea levels, and ocean acidification; the effect of global warming on the Arctic; and the costs of climate inaction. She is a co-author of the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment and the book Cooler, Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living. In addition to the aforementioned topics, Dr. Ekwurzel can discuss climate impacts such as sea level rise, hurricanes, wildfires and drought; climate change adaptation; recent climate change reports; protecting cultural heritage sites from worsening climate change impacts; and practical climate solutions. She is based in Washington, D.C., and can take media requests remotely. Click here for Dr. Ekwurzel’s biography and a list of her peer-reviewed publications. Her latest blogposts can be found here.

UCS experts have extensive experience doing live and taped TV, radio, and print interviews with major national and international media outlets. Please contact UCS Climate and Energy Media Manager Ashley Siefert Nunes if you have questions or would like to arrange interviews with these experts before, during or after the IPCC meeting.

Relevant UCS Analyses and Resources:

  • UCS Statements on the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Reports, including the Synthesis Report, Working Group I Report, Working Group II Report and Working Group III Report.
  • “Accelerating Clean Energy Ambition: How the US Can Meet Its Climate Goals While Delivering Public Health and Economic Benefits,” found here.
  • “The Fossil Fuels Behind Forest Fires: Quantifying the Contribution of Major Carbon Producers to Increasing Wildfire Risk,” found here (peer-reviewed).
  • “Too Hot to Work: Assessing the Threats Climate Change Poses to Outdoor Workers,” found here (peer-reviewed).
  • “Attributing Ocean Acidification to Major Carbon Producers,” found here (peer-reviewed).
  • “Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days,” found here (peer-reviewed).
  • “Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for U.S. Coastal Real Estate,” found here.
  • “The Rise in Global Atmospheric CO2, Surface Temperature, and Sea Level from Emissions Traced to Major Carbon Producers,” found here (peer-reviewed).
  • “When Rising Seas Hit Home: Hard Choices Ahead for Hundreds of U.S. Coastal Communities,” found here (peer-reviewed).
  • “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate,” found here.
  • “The Climate Deception Dossiers: Internal Fossil Fuel Industry Memos Reveal Decades of Corporate Disinformation,” found here.