Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

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Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed in 1988 by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The IPCC released some of the most striking research and forecasts into the evidence and possible results of climate change, releasing three reports, in 1990, 1995 and 2001, and released the fourth in 2007. Along with Al Gore, the IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on October 12, 2007 for its work. [1]


  • 1988: IPCC established
  • 1990: First IPCC report recommends the development of an international treaty
  • 1992: At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 130 member nations of the United Nations sign the Convention on Climate Change
  • 1997: The Kyoto Protocol established specific mandatory emission reduction or increase targets for developed countries. The U.S. and Australia refused to ratify the protocol.
  • 2005: The European Union established the EU emissions trading scheme.

UK Split Ruling on Climate Change Skeptics

In July 2008, the British government's media regulator, Ofcom, issued a split ruling on "The Great Global Warming Swindle," a film commissioned and broadcast by Channel 4. Ofcom received 265 complaints about the film, including "a detailed 'group complaint' from scientists and concerned individuals that ran to 176 pages and accused Channel 4 of seriously misleading viewers." [1]

Ofcom found that Channel 4 broke impartiality guidelines and the film misrepresented statements by former British government scientist David King, in a scene with global warming skeptic Fred Singer. Ofcom also found that the film unfairly treated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and MIT professor Carl Wunsch. However, Ofcom ruled that the program did not "cause harm or offence" by "materially" misleading viewers. Ofcom also said that its impartiality rules did not apply to the majority of the film, because the rules require balance on "matters of political or industrial controversy" and human-induced climate change has "been almost universally accepted by governments around the world." [1]

Efforts to undermine the IPCC

In February 2007, The Guardian reported that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) think tank was offering scientists and economists $10,000 each, "to undermine a major climate change report" from the IPCC. AEI asked for "articles that emphasise the shortcomings" of the IPCC report, which "is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science." AEI visiting scholar Kenneth Green made the $10,000 offer "to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere," in a letter describing the IPCC as "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent." [2]

AEI "has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil, and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees," added The Guardian. [3]

Contact details

IPCC Secretariat
C/O World Meteorological Organization
7bis Avenue de la Paix, C.P. 2300
CH- 1211 Geneva 2
Phone: +41-22-730-8208
Fax: +41-22-730-8025
E-mail: IPCC-Sec AT

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