The director and deputy director of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) have been appointed to prestigious international scientific leadership roles for the next wide-ranging climate change report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is this month marking its 30th anniversary.
NZAGRC director Dr Harry Clark and deputy director (international) Dr Andy Reisinger were contributors to the last IPCC Assessment report which was released in 2014. The pair’s involvement continues New Zealand’s and the NZAGRC’s strong ties to the IPCC – researchers funded by the NZAGRC have been contributing to IPCC assessment reports since 1990.
Dr Clark will be a lead author for the Working Group III contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), the IPCC’s next comprehensive scientific assessment of climate change. Working Group III will be assessing the current international knowledge around climate change mitigation, with his chapter focused on mitigation in agriculture, forestry and other land uses.
Clark says his involvement is a great opportunity to ensure New Zealand perspectives, and those of other countries with pastoral production systems, are reflected in the IPCC report and how the need to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions can be combined with challenges around food security.
“For New Zealand to be represented in the authorship of this chapter signals the importance that this country places on the development of mitigation technologies but also the impact of climate change on our agricultural industry.”
He says he is honoured to be involved in climate change mitigation at this top international level.
“The IPCC continues to be the most authoritative scientific advisory voice for governments around the world. New Zealand is a signatory to the Paris Agreement and this latest assessment report will help us understand how New Zealand can meet our commitments now and in the future.”
At the same time, Dr Andy Reisinger has been appointed to act as Review Editor for another chapter in the same report. Review Editors ensure that lead authors carefully consider and address all comments that the IPCC receives at multiple stages during the global review process. Dr Reisinger’s chapter will deal with cross-cutting issues, including the role of energy and food systems and bio-energy to deliver the stringent emission reductions that countries have agreed to under the Paris Agreement.
“Review Editors don’t write the reports, but they play a vital role in the IPCC process,” says Dr Reisinger. “Our task is to ensure that reports have scientific integrity and reflect a balance of viewpoints, rather than just the personal views of the authors. The painstaking global review process makes the IPCC unlike any other source of information on climate change.”
Work on the AR6 starts in 2018 and the report will be completed in 2021. Other IPCC Special Reports are due for completion later this year and in 2019.