Prof van Ypersele vows to transform IPCC into global voice of climate change


An aspiring candidate to the position of Chair, Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and award-winning Science Commentator, Prof. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele has vowed to transform the global climate science forum into the world’s strongest and rigorous global voice of climate change if elected.

In an interview with Business & Financial Times on the sidelines of his visit to Ghana to court the support of Ghana, Prof. van Ypersele said he had set a clear-cut agenda of taking the IPCC to new heights of excellence and glory, as the global environmental body already enjoys great repute and prestige internationally.

He said the IPCC is an intergovernmental organisation involving a variety of scientists who know the reality of their regions and that it was important to involve as many developing country scientists as possible so that the IPCC would really have a 360-degree angle view of both the climate challenge and its solutions.

Prof. van Ypersele said the decisions taken by the relevant stakeholders had serious repercussions and impacts that needed to be guided through proper and accurate science-based data.

Meanwhile, Prof. van Ypersele, who is contesting for the Chair of the IPCC for the second time, had earlier lost the polls to the Republic of Korea’s Hoesung Lee, but managed to receive the second highest votes.

He has the official support of the Belgian Government for his candidacy. He has a vast experience of four decades in climate science and diplomacy, as he was IPCC Vice-chair from 2008-2015 and has remained active at the forum since 1995.

Prof. van Ypersele also expressed his intentions to turn the institution into an all-inclusive institution and emphasised that he has the experience of working in an inclusive manner, as inclusivity according to him, means gender equality and better developing country scientists’ participation.

He added that the paramount principle of IPCC should be respect for all, making the working environment as collegially sound as possible because the IPCC had people from different regions and cultures.

“I want to take IPCC to new heights of glory as it already had received a Nobel Peace prize. I believe we can still serve the needs of the international community better. The IPCC needs to be a strong voice to raise the awareness and to fill those gaps in effective action and funding on climate change. It’s not the mandate of the IPCC to fill those gaps, whereas it can work in partnerships for the cause with not only the UN and donor agencies, but with everybody,” he said.

Dr. van Ypersele said another side effect of solar radiation management is potential impact on monsoon stability and the health of the ozone layer.

Being a strong supporter of the global target of limiting earth warming below 1.5°C to avert worst climate impacts, such as heat waves and floods, Dr. van Ypersele said if carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are left unattended to spike up in business-as-usual fashion, then it will have wide ranging effects, causing worst climate catastrophes.

He added that out of the total annual global CO2 emissions of 40 billion tonnes through human activities – such as burning coal, oil or gas, some 10 billion tonnes were absorbed by the ocean and 10 billion tonnes by the forests and soils and the remaining accumulates in the atmosphere, which is the main reason the global temperature increases.

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