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Research and innovation

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

How the EU contributes to the scientific base that supports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Why the IPCC matters

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), consisting of the world’s leading climate scientists, plays a unique role within climate science: providing policymakers with regular, comprehensive, and authoritative scientific assessments on climate science knowledge, building on the work of thousands of scientists worldwide.

The IPCC has been instrumental in creating a broad, evidence-based consensus on the link between human activity and climate change, and its impacts, future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCC reports thus represent an essential source of information for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and our commitment to limit global warming to 1.5ºC.

The IPCC reports also provide an important guidance for the strategic programming of EU-funded research, helping to focus on the most pressing knowledge gaps and policy-relevant research.

What is the EU doing?

The EU, through Horizon Europe, is among the top funders of the evidence base underpinning the IPCC reports.

EU-funded projects have given and continue to give a substantial contribution to pushing the boundaries of the underlying science — a work the Commission has been doing now for decades.

DG R&I (Unit B3, Climate and planetary boundaries) is the EU focal point to the IPCC, in charge of organising the review of the reports by Commission services and leading the EC delegation in the IPCC meetings. To prepare EC positions, we work closely with DG CLIMA, DG JRC as well as with other services and units inside our DG.

The Commission also revises and comments all the underlying reports, to ensure their alignment with the European Green Deal.

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Factsheet20 March 2023
EU research and innovation top funder of leading climate science

By helping us understand how the climate system works and how it will change over time, climate science is fundamental for making informed and wise decisions about reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate.


With the ever-worsening climate crisis unfolding worldwide, rapid and radical action is needed to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement. The current decade is qualified by scientists as the make-or-break moment in the fight against global warming and its adverse, potentially catastrophic effects.

The EU has set very ambitious target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, securing a green, fair, and healthy future for all Europeans. This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal and reflects the EU’s commitment to global climate action.

Science will continue to play a central role in dealing with this existential challenge: its contribution will go well beyond provision of innovative climate-friendly solutions.

Crucially, evidence from the research community will be needed, more than ever, to drive ambition, guide policy responses, and clarify the roles of different actors: from governments, through businesses, to local communities.

In 2023, the IPCC concludes the Sixth Assessment Cycle (AR6) with the release of the Synthesis Report, integrating the main findings produced by the Panel over the past 8 years. This report builds on the contributions of the three IPCC Working Groups to the AR6: 

  • The Physical Science Basis (2021) 
  • Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (2022) 
  • Mitigation of Climate Change (2022) 

And the three Special Reports of the cycle:

  • Global Warming of 1.5°C (2018);
  • Climate Change and Land (2019); and
  • The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019). 

EU-funded research plays an important role in filling critical knowledge gaps, thereby increasing the robustness of IPCC findings, and building consensus among the international scientific community.

EU research also plays an important role in building public support for more ambitious climate action.


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Report20 March 2023
Contribution of the framework programmes to IPCC

This flash summarises lessons learned from the analysis of references cited in the six reports produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during its sixth assessment cycle, and their link to the European Union Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation (FPs), notably the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and Horizon 2020 (H2020).