Climate-panel chief Hoesung Lee wants focus on solutions

Climate-panel chief Hoesung Lee wants focus on solutions

South Korean economist Hoesung Lee was elected as the fourth chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Ipcc) on 6 October. He will lead the panel through its sixth major assessment of climate-change science, impacts and solutions. Lee, at Korea University in Seoul, says that he has developed a deep understanding of the climate panel since he began participating in 1992.

Nature talks to Lee about his plans and hopes for the Ipcc.

What changes do you plan to make to IPCC structures and procedures?

I look forward to improving coordination among the three working groups. This will improve the efficiency of writing the synthesis report and above all make it more meaningful. There are also opportunities to streamline and upgrade our administrative processes so as to lessen the burden on our workers. Our process needs to be more bottom-up and inclusive.

We need to continue to improve how we communicate. Our reports have to be understandable. I support the idea to induct professional science writers and graphics experts into the working groups. We still need to consider this proposal. I also intend to increase our outreach activities, especially to business and finance.

Some say that the Ipcc should produce shorter assessments and focus more energy on rapid special reports. What do you think?

Since 2010, we have published more than a dozen reports of varying length and depth. Whether we should focus more energy on rapid special reports really depends on financial resources and also the constraints of intellectual manpower. We need to give more thought to that.

How will you bridge the divide between the developed and developing world?

I grew up in a country impoverished by war, and I experienced later how we recovered and grew through separate stages of development, including a growing awareness of the need to protect the environment. This has given me a very personal understanding of the differences and similarities between developing, developed and transition economies. That gives me a very valuable insight that will be very, very useful in working with delegates from all around the world.

How do you plan to involve more scientists from developing countries?

We need to identify and communicate with local centres of excellence in areas of climate science, adaptation and mitigation as well as in disciplines related to economic development and poverty reduction. We also need to train promising young scholars from developing countries. We need to approach this goal of improving scientists from developing countries in a more systematic way.

 

Source: Nature

Date: October 2015

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