Policy ForumClimate Change

Added value from IPCC approval sessions

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Science  02 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6256, pp. 36
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa8976

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Approval sessions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) generate broadly shared ownership of scientific knowledge on climate change—a key contribution to the influence of IPCC reports (1, 2). Yet several recent essays have highlighted weaknesses of the approval process (3, 4). We draw on our experience cochairing Working Group II to provide some balance and to characterize important strengths. Although the governmental approval process can be cumbersome, sleep-depriving, and tinged with risk of political influence (5), successful approval sessions sharpen policy-relevant findings to make them more clear and useful (6).