Data-Driven Lab Director and Associate Professor Angel Hsu has been selected as one of six US scientists to participate this week to scope an upcoming Special Report on Climate Change and Cities for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

The IPCC is the leading UN body charged with synthesizing and advancing climate change science to inform policy processes at all levels of government. The Special Report on Climate Change and Cities is the first IPCC report focused specifically on the role cities play in global climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. Given that cities are among the most vulnerable to climate impacts and generate more than 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the report is a necessary step to addressing climate change.

This week, over 140 experts from 65 countries convened in Riga, Latvia for the scoping meeting. This meeting is the first step in the production of the Special Report, which is slated for release before the next assessment report, the panel’s seventh. Dr. Hsu was a contributor to the Sixth Assessment Report’s Working Group III, focused on climate mitigation, where she helped author content focused on the role of cities and other non-state actors in contributing to global decarbonization efforts. Other experts assisting in the first draft outline have expertise in a wide variety of subjects including biophysical interactions, risk analysis and energy systems, primarily focused in the urban context. 

The IPCC develops comprehensive assessment reports every 5-7 years to provide governments at all levels with the information necessary to make data-driven climate policy decisions; their reports are especially crucial to international negotiations aimed at tackling climate change. The last assessment report was published in March 2023 and included the AR6 Synthesis Report, which provided input to the first Global Stocktake at COP28 in Dubai.

To prepare delegates to draft an outline that will form the basis of the special report, Dr. Hsu was asked to give a keynote presentation that detailed the state of city-level climate mitigation efforts. The draft outline developed this week in Riga will be considered in the IPCC’s next Session in July. The final report is expected to launch in early 2027 and will be the only Special Report produced by the IPCC in the seventh assessment cycle.