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among others had substantial potential for emissionsreduction, which remained relatively unaffected bydifferent levels of cost associated with GHG emissions.Another area that has significant potential is theforestry sector, and perhaps in the short term thiswould provide some attractive opportunities. Mitigation therefore presents a range of benefits,which can be achieved at very low, and sometimeseven negative, costs. In the negotiations to followduring the coming days, it is important for thoseinvolved to remember that delay in mitigation actionswould only increase costs globally and unfairly forsome regions of the world.The second, perhaps even more important point toremember is that delays in action would only lead toimpacts of climate change which would be muchlarger and in all likelihood more severe than we haveexperienced so far. Again, these impacts are likely tobe most severe for some of the poorest regions andcommunities in the world. Significantly, in most casesthese communities have hardly contributed to thecumulative emissions of GHGs in the past.Furthermore, even if we could limit global averagetemperature increase to between 2 and 2.4°C abovepre-industrial levels at equilibrium, some impactswould be unavoidable and global average sea-level riseon account of thermal expansion alone would liebetween 0.4 and 1.4 metres. To this we should add thecontribution to sea-level rise from melting of ice acrossthe globe.The year 2010 has been a challenging period for theIPCC and we have learnt many valuable lessons. InMarch last year the UN Secretary General and Irequested the InterAcademy Council (IAC) to carry outa review of IPCC procedures and processes and providerecommendations for strengthening the organisationand its functioning. The IAC submitted its report in August 2010, and thelast IPCC plenary held in Busan, Republic of Korea, in058GLOBAL VOICESOctober 2010 deliberated on the IAC report, andinitiated prompt action to consider and implement itsfindings. We are confident that the IPCC will emergestronger as a result of this exercise and live up to theexpectations of the global community and stand up tointense public scrutiny of its work. Work on IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is wellin hand, and the scientific community has respondedsplendidly to the Panel's request for its dedicatedinvolvement. A record number of around 3,000nominations of outstanding scientists were submittedfor the AR5, and from these a total of 831 have beenselected by the IPCC as lead authors and review editors.Left:Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri

The scope of the AR5 has also been expanded over andabove previous reports, and would include, forinstance, focused treatment of subjects like cloudsand aerosols, geo-engineering options, sustainabilityand equity issues, and much greater focus on theeconomics and social implications of climate change.The next four years will be marked by intense activityin the IPCC, with two important special reports onrenewable energy and extreme events, respectively,due to come out within the next year. In September2013, the Working Group 1 report as part of the AR5would be completed, followed rapidly thereafter by the reports of Working Groups II and III respectively.The Synthesis Report of the AR5 will be completed in November 2014, marking the culmination of theAR5 cycle.As an organisation whose relevance to climate changepolicy is treated as a sacred trust by those working forthe IPCC, every effort is being made to ensure that theAR5 is robust, strong and comprehensive, advancingour knowledge and understanding of climate changesignificantly beyond what we already know. nThe above article is based on the statement DrRajendra K. Pachauri, the Chair of the IPCC, deliveredat the opening session of the 16th Conference of theParties, in Cancun, Mexico, on 29 November 2010.