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Research and innovation

International cooperation (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.

The Commission participates as enhanced observer in IPCC negotiations, defending European priorities and ideals in the approval of the summaries for policy makers.

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

Background

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.

2022 is a special year for climate science as it brings the finalisation of the IPCC sixth assessment cycle. The four assessment reports will constitute the most authoritative references on the state of knowledge on climate change for the coming years.

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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