The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during its 43rd Session in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 11-13 April 2016 have agreed to proceed with the Special Report on 1.5°C overwhelming previous opposition from some sections of the scientific community who strongly opposed doing a Special report on 1.5°C.

The Paris Agreement invited the IPCC to provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.

“This is indeed a milestone achievement in terms of not only The Paris Agreement but also for our Pacific Island nations and for the Suva Declaration as well,” said Pacific Islands Development Forum Secretary General, Mr François Martel, upon receiving the text approved in plenary in Nairobi.

The 1.5°C Special report will provide scientific assessments and benchmarks related to the 1.5°C limit that are essential for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement and its goals and also provide best available scientific advice on closing the emissions gap implied by the current INDCs and emission pathways in 2025, 2030 consistent with 1.5°C.

A few key elements of this Special report is that it should give a comprehensive overview on climate projections, extremes impacts around 1.5°C in relation to higher levels of warming over relevant time scales, including sea-level rise, ocean acidification, extreme weather events and socio-economic impacts with implications for adaptation, vulnerability and sustainable development.  “

In relation to the Oceans, one of the key topic not included in the conclusion of COP21, the IPCC, also at the request of the Paris agreement, has agreed to prepare a Special Report on climate change, oceans and the cryosphere. “This is really critical for the Pacific Islands, as we are all large oceanic states, and we need climate science to assess the impacts of climate change over different pathways on the oceans and their marine resources and ecosystems so we avoid their collapse – this is essential to consolidate actions related to blue economies in the Pacific” continued Mr. Martel.

The IPCC has approved that all of the topics in the Special Report proposals in IPCC-XVlll/Doc.8 are important and should be addressed in the AR6 suite of products and it was also agreed to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, and to prepare a Special Report on this topic.

Apart from that an agreement was also made to prepare a Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems whereby the scoping process may consider challenges and opportunities for both adaptation and mitigation.

“Overall, one needs to congratulate our Pacific Islands and other SIDS negotiators and participants at this critical session of the IPCC.  These two key scientific reports on 1.5°C warming and on the Oceans were two specific achievements of SIDS within the Paris Agreement at COP21, as they are likely to anchor the 1.5°C as the upper limit to be achieved under the less than “2°C”.  “After two cyclones of category 5 in two years – of a severity never seen before in Vanuatu and Fiji – Pacific Islanders are at the frontline of climate-induced disasters – and we are only at 1.0°C degree of warming in 2016 and only 4 years away from reaching the 1.5°C. It is essential for development partners, large emitters and islanders to understand the impacts of a 1.5°C degree warming, so that we could adjust our climate adaptation actions and build resilience accordingly” concluded Mr. Martel.

During the discussions it was also agreed to that the AR7 cycle will include as Special Report on Climate Change and Cities and to consider working with academia, urban practitioners, and relevant scientific bodies and agencies, early in the AR6 cycle, to organize an international scientific conference on climate change and cities to stimulate scientific reports and peer reviewed publications on this subject and consider modalities for addressing regional issues in the product suite of the Sixth Assessment at its scoping session.