• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .
Published: May 3, 2010
IGBP statement supporting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

IGBP statement of support for IPCC

Press release |
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's process for assessing climate change, its causes, its impacts and responses, is reliable.

(On behalf of the IGBP Scientific Committee)

Set up in 1987, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) is an international research programme sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU). IGBP coordinates research and sets research agendas that aim to describe and understand planetary-scale physical, chemical and biological processes. Much of this research relates to climate.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) assessments cover the physical basis of climate change; the sensitivity, vulnerability and adaptive capacity of natural and human systems to climate change; potential consequences of climate change; and potential mitigation strategies. Research conducted by IGBP's network of scientists in 74 countries has been assessed by all four IPCC reports.

IGBP accepts the overall conclusion of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fourth Assessment: "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal", and "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations".

Additionally, the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Fourth Assessment concluded that changes in many physical and biological systems are likely linked to anthropogenic warming. More than 29,000 observational data series show significant change in many physical and biological systems and more than 89% of these data series are consistent with the direction of change expected as a response to warming.  IGBP accepts this conclusion unreservedly.

IGBP can state that the IPCC process for assessing climate change, its causes, its impacts and responses, is reliable and unbiased. Since the 2007 publication of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, new evidence has emerged that further supports all overarching conclusions of the Fourth Assessment Report.

Recently, a small number of errors have been reported in the contribution of Working Group II to the IPCC Fourth Assessment.  IGBP can state that these errors in no way detract from the substantive findings of the Working Group II contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report.

All processes, including those of the IPCC assessment, can be improved and benefit from regular re-evaluation. IGBP welcomes the recently-announced review of IPCC's processes by the InterAcademy Council. This will further strengthen an already robust process.

Finally, IGBP expresses unreserved support for the ICSU statement issued on 23 February 2010.

This statement is endorsed by IGBP's Scientific Committee.

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IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

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