Thursday, May 29, 2014

Reforming IPCC Communications

The IPCC is currently discussing whether to change its approach to publications and communications in future years. We (Frank Jotzo and I) were asked about our opinions as former lead authors by the people in the relevant government departments here. It seems to make sense to have more of a continuous reporting model given the capability of the web. Perhaps each chapter could be updated one at a time on an ongoing cycle or even a Wikipedia style format could be adopted. On the other hand, the large septennial assessment reports do generate a big media splash for a few days when they are released, which the continuous communication format would not. If assessment reports are continued, then maybe they should all be released simultaneously, or each Working Group release its report 2 years apart. The 5th assessment report cycle saw WG1 release its report in September 2013 and then WG2 and WG3 released their reports two weeks apart in April 2013, which was somewhat confusing. We also thought that the IPCC plenary should be less prescriptive about the contents of each chapter including sub-sections and what should be in each subsection.

COIN in the UK have released a short report with some more radical suggestions. In particular, they think the IPCC should do human interest stories that are more suitable for most media outlets and use social media more effectively.

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