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Brussels, 28 October 2009

Climate change: Commission welcomes IPCC decision to grant EC full participation

The European Commission today welcomed the decision by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC) to let the European Community participate fully in IPCC meetings, a prerogative normally reserved for governments. The IPCC is a United Nations organisation which acts as an objective source of information on climate change. The decision, taken at the IPCC meeting this week, recognises the special status of the European Community and gives Commission representatives the right to speak and to introduce proposals like any IPCC Member, but not to vote. This is in line with what the Commission requested.

Research Commissioner Janez Poto č nik and Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas welcomed the decision. Commissioner Poto č nik said: " Supporting climate research and the development of low carbon technologies is one of the EU research priorities . The European Commission's research-funding programme, the 7 th Framework programme, is also one of the main drivers and funding sources of international climate research and cooperation in this area. This is why I strongly welcome that we have a voice in the main UN forum that provides policymakers with sound climate science. "

Commissioner Dimas added: " The European Community is a Party to the UN climate change convention and the Kyoto Protocol, and our recent decisions and proposals in the global fight against climate change underline that we will continue to lead. It is important that we will now be fully involved in the IPCC's future scientific assessments of climate change which of course shall remain the basis for our policies, both nationally and globally. Fundamentally, the agreement that we need in Copenhagen shall be guided by science developed by the IPCC."

At its meeting this week in Bali, Indonesia, the IPCC agreed to amend its policy on observers and to recognise the special status of the European Community as an enhanced observer to IPCC. This gives the European Community the possibility to participate actively in all scientific discussion and to introduce proposals at IPCC meetings, but without the right to vote.


The IPCC was established in 1988 to assess the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for understanding the risk of man-made climate change. Its regular assessment reports – the fourth was published in 2007 – represent the most authoritative global scientific consensus on the issue.

The members of the IPCC are countries which are either Member of the World M eteorological Organisation (WMO) or the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) (State-based organisations). As a member of neither the WMO nor UNEP, the European Community cannot become a full member of the IPCC. However, in a number of international fora (such as UN Conferences) the EC's special status is recognised through an enhanced observer status. This practice has now been adopted by the IPCC.

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