It led to the creation of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which publishes major climate reports every five-ish years. These reports are the primary source for many policy maker’s (and media’s) climate science and knowledge. I play a minor role in the IPCC’s reports. Here’s how.
Organized by the World Meteorological Organization, it was held in Geneva, Switzerland. Researchers and a few policy makers gathered to present new scientific observations about global warming and its impacts. It also explored new techniques on monitoring systems.
One of the main drivers of holding a Climate Conference was increased awareness that food, drought, and other climate related systems were much more sensitive to fluctuations. Several disasters in the 1960s and 70s created a fundamental need for more climate science to better understand these systems. It was showcased increased scientific knowledge that GHGs caused warming, and that governments around the world needed to take some sort of pre-emptive action before system collapse.
The First World Climate Conference recognized climate change as a serious problem in 1979. This scientific gathering explored how climate change might affect human activities. It issued a declaration calling on the world’s governments “to foresee and prevent potential man-made changes in climate that might be adverse to the well-being of humanity”. It also endorsed plans to establish a World Climate Programme (WCP) under the joint responsibility of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). Via UNFCCC
Several programs were created as a result of the World Climate Conference, including the World Climate Programme and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (e.g., the IPCC).
The IPCC was established in 1988, and released its first report in 1990. The IPCC issues highly peer-reviewed, non-political climate reports about every 5 years. Their 5th report will be published in 2014. Here’s a link to the 4th report summary, published in 2007.
These reports are written by the top scientists and researchers in the world. I play a minor role in the IPCC.
The reports are divided into three chapters: The Physical Science; Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability; and Mitigation. Each chapter is written by a committee, called a Working Group, comprised of several hundred to over a thousand scientists. These Working Groups peer review the available climate science. They then write a meta-analysis and conclusions based on their reviews.
Next, each of the three chapters are reviewed and edited by what’s called Expert Reviewers, of which I am one. I’m currently reviewing/editing Working Group II’s 5th Report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Fun stuff…
You can see some of the work the WGII has done, here.