UN climate panel IPCC appoints Dutch co-chair for first time in 16 years

Dutch scientist Bart van den Hurk has been appointed co-chair of one of the panel’s working groups by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is the first time since 2007 that a Dutchman has held this position. Van den Hurk, who is the scientific director of the knowledge institute Deltares, knows it is an “influential” job and believes the Netherlands can make a big difference.

“The Netherlands is, of course, an expert in water management,” Van den Hurk says. “How we should prepare the world for the consequences of climate change is an important question that sits well with us.” There is a strong desire among the new IPCC group, he says, for the new reports to show concretely how countries can address the various climate issues.

The IPCC was established by the UN to track climate change and its impacts. In a cycle, the IPCC’s working groups produce major climate reports. The latest round was recently completed. This week in Nairobi, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change discussed what the new cycle should look like. It is expected to last until 2030.

The panel has produced increasingly comprehensive final reports in recent years. Van den Hurk says that’s because more and more scientific papers are being written on climate change. “With this new cycle, we really want to take the next step,” Van den Hurk says. “Less comprehensive, but engaging readers by showing where it is already possible to become more sustainable. Climate scientists then have to decide which topics they want to cover in the report and which they don’t. That’s scary, it takes courage.”

Meanwhile, Van den Hurk is also aware that not all of his ideas can be implemented. As co-chair of the working group, he is a conductor of sorts, he explains. “You don’t produce a note yourself, but we make sure the notes are nicely synchronized,” he emphasizes. He’s used to that, after all, he does it in his work at Deltares, and he’s also a conductor in a choir.

The information from the IPCC reports is very important for policymakers’ negotiations, including at the climate summit. Among other things, the IPCC concluded that between 2030 and 2035, the Earth will most likely already be 1.5 degrees warmer than it was before the industrial age. World leaders have just agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees or at most 2 degrees.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/07/29/un-climate-panel-ipcc-appoints-dutch-co-chair-first-time-16-years UN climate panel IPCC appoints Dutch co-chair for first time in 16 years

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