Climatic Change

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 605–620 | Cite as

Context and Early Origins of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • Shardul Agrawala


Climate change is a problem which is global both in terms of causes and consequences. The uncertainties are large and likely to persist. Meanwhile, the political and economic stakes of both action and inaction are much higher than those in other transboundary concerns such as acid rain and ozone depletion. The public policy impact of scientific opinions on climate change, therefore, not only depends upon what is being said, but also, who is advancing those conclusions and how they were arrived at. This was the rationale behind the setting up of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. The paper examines the IPCC in the context of prior assessment efforts. It attempts to unravel the processes which caused the IPCC to be set up when it was and how it was, as opposed to different times and different forms.


Climate Change Ozone Public Policy Stake Acid Rain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agrawala, S.: 1998, ‘Structural and Process History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’, Clim. Change.Google Scholar
  2. Anonymous: 1987, US Draft Proposal on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Google Scholar
  3. Arrhenius, S.: 1896, ‘On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air Upon the Temperature of the Ground’, Phil. Mag. 41, 237-271.Google Scholar
  4. Bolin, B.: 1997, Interview with author, Stockholm, Sweden, March 6.Google Scholar
  5. Brenton, T.: 1994, The Greening of Machiavelli: The Evolution of International Environmental Politics, Earthscan Publications, London.Google Scholar
  6. Do E: 1985, State of the Art Reports,Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  7. Döös, B.: 1997, Interview with author, Vienna, Austria, February 4.Google Scholar
  8. EPA: 1983, Can We Delay Greenhouse Warming?: The Effectiveness and Feasibility of Options to Slow a Build-Up of Carbon-dioxide in the Atmosphere, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  9. EPA: 1986, Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate, United Nations Environment Programme / Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  10. Fourier, J. B.: 1827, cited in Kellogg, W. W.: 1991, ‘Overview of Global Climate Change: The Science and Social Issues’, MTS Journal, 25(3).Google Scholar
  11. Hecht, A. D. and Tirpak, D.: 1995, ‘Framework Agreement on Climate Change: A Scientific and Policy History’, Clim. Change 29, 371-402.Google Scholar
  12. IPCC: 1989, WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Report of the First Session of the IPCC Bureau, WCP TD - No. 294. Geneva, 6-7 February.Google Scholar
  13. Jäger, J. (ed.): 1988, Developing Policies for Responding to Climatic Change’, WCIP-1, WMO/TD - No. 225, World Meteorological Organization, Geneva.Google Scholar
  14. Keeling, C. D., Carter, A. F., and Mook, W. G.: 1984, ‘Seasonal, Latitudinal and Secular Variations in the Abundance and Isotope Ratios of Atmospheric CO2’, J. Geophys. Res. 89, 4615-4628.Google Scholar
  15. Kellogg, W.: 1987,’ Mankind’s Impact on Climate: The Evolution of an Awareness’, Clim. Change 10(2), 113-136.Google Scholar
  16. Kellogg, W. W., Coakley, J. A., and Grams, G. W.: 1975, ‘Effect of Anthropogenic Aerosols on the Global Climate’, Proc. WMO/IMAP Symposium on Long-Term Climatic Fluctuations, pp. 323-330.Google Scholar
  17. Mormino, J., Sola, D., and Patten, C.: 1975, Climate Impact Assessment Program: Development and Accomplishments 1971-1975, DOT-TST-76-41, Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., December.Google Scholar
  18. NRC: 1977, Energy and Climate, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  19. NRC: 1979, Carbon-dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment, Climate Research Board, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  20. NRC: 1983, Changing Climate: Report of the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  21. Obasi, G. O. P.: 1988, Letter to WMO Member Governments, WMO, Geneva, March 25.Google Scholar
  22. Oppenheimer, M.: 1989, ‘Developing Policies for Responding to Climatic Change’, Clim. Change 15, 1-4.Google Scholar
  23. PSAC: 1965, Restoring the Quality of our Environment: Report of the Environmental Pollution Panel, President’s Science Advisory Committee, The White House, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  24. Ramanthan, V., Singh, H. B., Cicerone, R. J., and Kiehl, J. T.: 1985, ‘Trace Gas Trends and Their Potential Role in Climate Change’, J. Geophys. Res. 90, 5547-5566.Google Scholar
  25. Revelle, R.: 1985, ‘Introduction: The Scientific History of Carbon Dioxide’ in: E. T. Sundquist and W. S. Broecker (eds.), The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO2: Natural Variations Archean to Present, Geophysical Monograph 32, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., pp. 1-4.Google Scholar
  26. Ripert, J.: 1997, Interview with author, Paris, France, March 14.Google Scholar
  27. SCEP: 1970, Man’s Impact on Global Environment, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  28. SMIC: 1971, Inadvertent Climate Modification, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  29. Sundararaman, N.: 1988, Background Materials for the First Session of the WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva, Switzerland. November 6-11.Google Scholar
  30. Tolba, M.: 1988, ‘Warming:Warning’, Opening Speech at the First Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva, November 9.Google Scholar
  31. Tyndall, J.: 1863, ‘On Radiation Through the Earth’s Atmosphere’, Phil. Mag. 4, 200-207.Google Scholar
  32. UNGA: 1988, Conservation of Climate as Part of Common Heritage of Mankind. Draft resolution proposed by Malta, October 26.Google Scholar
  33. Usher, P.: 1997, Interview with author, Bonn, Germany, March 4.Google Scholar
  34. WMO: 1979, Proceedings of The World Climate Conference, Report No. 537, WMO, Geneva. Switzerland.Google Scholar
  35. WMO: 1985, International Assessment of the Role of Carbon Dioxide and of Other Greenhouse Gases in Climate Variations and Associated Impacts, Villach, Austria.Google Scholar
  36. WMO: 1989, Proceedings of the World Conference on the Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security, Toronto, Canada, June 27-30.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shardul Agrawala
    • 1
  1. 1.Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Program, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International AffairsPrinceton UniversityPrincetonU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations