On February 2, 2007 a major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that climate change observed over the last several decades is “very likely” due to human impacts on the environment . The report stresses that the time for debating whether or not climate change is occurring is over, and it is now time for action. On October 12, 2007 the IPCC received half of the Nobel Peace prize for its contributions to stop global climate change. But who is the IPCC?
Two United Nations groups established the IPCC: the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The WMO was established in 1950 and consists of members from 188 countries. A few of their goals are to monitor changes in climate patterns and promote research. The WMO also names tropical cyclones. The UNEP was established in 1978 and is responsible for helping countries develop environmentally sustainable practices and activities. The IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and the UNEP. The aim of the IPCC is to examine and assess science from all relevant sources on how human impacts are affecting the earth's abrupt climate change. 
What they do
The panel was formed in 1988 and immediately undertook a review of the existing climate change science. Their first assessment report was published in 1990, with a supplementary publication in 1992. A second assessment report was released in 1995, followed by a third assessment report in 2001 . The fourth and most recent assessment report released in February 2007 has attracted the most media attention of all the documents published by the IPCC.
The latest IPCC report on climate change examined thousands of reports by hundreds of people and took five years to put together. Over 600 authors from 40 countries, and 620 reviewers representing 113 countries contributed. In the past there has been debate over whether or not the current climate changes are caused by human actions. The new IPCC report states with a 90% certainty that climate change is “very likely” caused by human development .
Critics have suggested that the IPCC consists of government officials and policy makers working towards a political agenda, and not towards true science, even though the majority of IPCC members are world-renowned scientists in fields such as oceanography, biology and climatology. The IPCC do not carry out their own climate change studies they simply assess the scientific validity of previously published studies from across many fields and make decisions based on a variety of resources . For their contributions to science and society, the IPCC were named co-winners of the 2007 Noble Peace Prize.
Canada, as one of the member countries, has made contributions to the IPCC reports over the last several decades; there were over 30 Canadians that contributed to the fourth assessment report. There are also many scientific studies that have been carried out in Canada looking at how climate change is affecting this country, and many studies around the world to which Canadians are contributing to better understanding abrupt climate change and its impacts on the earth's ecosystems .
1. Alley, R., et al., Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Summary for Policymakers. 2007, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. p. 18.
2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2007, IPCC.
3. International Relations: United Nations Organizations/Agencies. 2007, Environment Canada.