2011 Lunchtime Discussion Series

On Tuesday 13 September Professor Jean Palutikof, Director, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility will present— Working for the IPCC: extreme interdisciplinarity—at the 2011 Lunchtime Discussion Forum from 12:30pm to 2pm.

JeanProfessor Palutikof managed the production of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report for Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) while based at the UK Met Office; prior to that she was a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, and Director of the Climatic Research Unit, at the University of East Anglia, UK. 
Her research interests focus on climate change impacts, and the application of climatic data to economic and planning issues.


The role and structure of the IPCC are frequently misunderstood. Its role is to produce expert assessments of the scientific literature to support the work of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Its structure is lean — there is little internal continuity between assessments apart from a relatively small secretariat based in Geneva. Yet, the outputs of the IPCC carry tremendous authority, and therefore come under intense and sometimes unfriendly scrutiny.
For the Fourth Assessment, I worked as Head of the Technical Support Unit (TSU) for Working Group II, and was responsible on a day-to-day basis for the production of the Assessment Report, together with the Working Group Chairs who provide strategic scientific guidance. Working Group II brings together several hundred authors from a diverse range of disciplines. Each chapter writing team must develop a common language and appropriate working practices to complete their chapter at the end of several years and four cycles of review. The writing team for the whole Working Group must produce a summary for policymakers, which must be approved by the government representatives who make up the IPCC.  
These activities require a high level of interdisciplinary and collegiality at all levels.  
This presentation will reflect on the process of production of IPCC assessment reports, from the selection of author teams to final government approval of the report.  It will look at some of the controversies surrounding report findings, and their origins and outcomes.  Finally, it will contribute some thoughts on the likely future of the IPCC.

What: Working for the IPCC: extreme interdisciplinarity- seminar by Professor Jean Palutikof, Director, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility

Where: La Trobe University Melbourne campus, Room 221, Physical Sciences 1 (PS1) 12.30 pm to 2.00 pm (videoconferences can be arranged to other campuses)

When: Tuesday 13 September, 12:30pm-2pm
For more information on La Trobe University’s sustainability initiatives, please visit: www.latrobe.edu.au/sustainability
Let us know if you require videoconference set up for other campuses by RSVP to generations@latrobe.edu.au by the Wednesday before the seminar date.