IASC 25 years - Page 47

2.5 IASC and the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) Robert W. Corell and Terry Callaghan Reviewer: Lars-Otto Reiersen - There is continuing imperative to communicate research advances in terms that are relevant to decision-making. The Second Assessment Report (SAR), also chaired by Bert Bolin, was issued in 1995 and provided key input to the negotiations which led to the adoption How ACIA came about is here split into two of the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC in 1997. One sub-chapters: The first is the more detailed account of its main conclusions was “The balance of evi- written by Robert W. Corell, chief architect for the dence suggests a discernible human influence on initiation of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment climate change.” (ACIA) program and setting the global stage for this initiative. In the second sub-chapter, one of the It is important to note that during the mid-1990s, leading scientists in ACIA, Terry Callaghan, gives an Bert Bolin (member of the IASC Executive Commit- account of the initiative from his perspective. tee) and Robert Corell (Chair of the IASC Regional Board and as such also member of the IASC Exec- 2.5.1 utive Committee) from the US NSF began a series of off-line discussions about the importance of assessing the consequences of climate change for ‘hot zones of change’ across the planet. Those dis- The Development of ACIA Robert W. Corell cussions, actually held outside the preview of IASC, focused on three regions: Amazonia and its central importance to global-scale climate change process- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change es; the Indian Monsoon and its relation to global (IPCC) was established in 1988 by two United climate change; and the Arctic region with substan- Nations (UN) Organizations—the World Meteorolog- tial changes that appeared to exceed the global ical Organization (WMO) and the UN Environment norms of climate change. These two then decided Programme (UNEP) to assess “the scientific, techni- to approach IASC with the idea of an Arctic climate cal and socioeconomic information relevant for the change assessment, that later became known as understanding of the risk of human-induced climate ACIA. There were several drafts of documents, pre- change.” pared by Bolin and Corell and presented to the IASC Executive Committee, and eventually the Council The First Assessment Report (FAR), chaired by Bert and the Regional Board of IASC. Bolin from Sweden, was completed in 1990 (the same year as IASC was founded) and played an im- IASC was a non-governmental official observer to portant role in establishing the Intergovernmental the Arctic Council (as it had been to the predeces- Negotiating Committee for the UN Framework Con- sor of the Arctic Council, the AEPS). The IASC rep- vention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which pro- resentative (as the Regional Board Chair) was Rob- vides the overall policy framework for addressing ert Corell. The IASC Executive Committee decided the climate change issue. In its scientific findings, that IASC should propose an assessment of climate the FAR concluded that: change in the Arctic region. Such a presentation was made during the US Chairmanship of the Arctic - Anthropogenic climate change will persist for many centuries. hensive assessment built on principles that guided - Further action is required to address remaining implementation of the IPCC. Those principles were gaps in information and understanding. 46 00 Council; i.e., 1998-2000. IASC proposed a compre- presented by IASC to the Arctic Council. 02 IASC Initiatives