How could it happen that more than a dozen of the most prestigious scientific associations signed and submitted this letter on ‘climate change’ without having ensured that the used terminology is sufficiently defined. Read the rest of the entry
The UNFCCC does not define ‘climate’ at all, while
WMO says: 'climate' is average weather.
This website will provide information and ask, does science know what climate is?
Should Governments object when IPCC scientists neglect the working conditions of the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)? Can IPCC use its own term: ‘Climate change’, and in different versions?
Has the WMO/UNEP sponsored IPCC to apply international law? Should IPCC be permitted to circumvent the text of the UNFCCC? Should IPCC required to apply the FCCC definition on ’climate change’ to avoid confusion and misunderstanding?
The United Nations initiated the UNFCCC in 1990. At its 45th Session the General Assembly decided to establish a Committee for preparing a framework convention on climate change taking into account – inter alias – the work of the IPCC . The Committee (INC) was to be established in consultation with WMO and UNEP. This increased their influence further since the joint setting up of the IPCC in 1988, which submitted its first report in 1990, and thus played an important role in establishing the INC for preparing the climate change convention . Insofar the UNO, WMO, and UNEP are not free from responsibility for the outcome of the UNFCCC and its implementation since 1994. There are at least three items, which the mentioned organizations should have addressed since long:
In the following only the matter with the ‘climate change’ definition shall be addressed, as the IPCC is according mandate assigned to “concentrate its activities on the tasks allotted to it by the relevant WMO Executive Council and UNEP Governing Council resolutions and decisions as well as on actions in support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process” . Although IPCC is fully aware that its task is to provide Special Reports and Technical Papers on topics where independent scientific information and advice is deemed necessary and to support the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)  , IPCC seems to care little for the legal conditions its mandate is based.
The difference is immense. The UNFCCC definition focuses exclusively on the impact by human activities. This consequence is enhanced by the objective (Article 2), namely the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations”. As Article 2 also requires that this shall be achieved “in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention”, the FCCC definition on ‘climate change’ is highly relevant and a mandatory condition for the application of the UNFCCC and any subsequent document (e.g. Kyoto Protocol). For a detailed discussion see: Roger Pielke Jr, 2005.
In contrast, applying the IPCC term on ‘climate change’ means that IPCC can virtually take in consideration what ever it deems necessary. The IPCC term permits elaborating the range of topics form far distant sunspots and meteorites to the impact of a perspiring mouse, or the clapping of a butterfly in the Amazon Forest.
Having highlighted a very fundamental question of the work of IPCC, ‘whatisclimate’ would like to return to its aim on questioning, whether the use of the term ‘climate’ in politics and science is of any help or only makes matter less transparent up to the point of confusion and misunderstanding. Even on ‘climate change’ neither WMO nor IPCC seem to be able to be consistent. The presentation of examples will be done without questions and remarks, but will elaborate the “Frequently asked Questions” by IPCC-WG I in two further contributions: 205b and 205c:
Varying definition texts
+) The glossary gives no indication that the definition deviates significantly from the corresponding UNFCCC definition, see: *).
*) The Footnote text continues with a reference to the UNFCCC as follows: “This usage differs from that in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, where climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”.
 Details and reference in: Environmental Policy and Law, 21/2 (1991), p.76
 Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC)
 PRINCIPLES GOVERNING IPCC WORK, Approved at the Fourteenth Session (Vienna, 1-3 October 1998) on 1 October 1998, amended at the 21st Session (Vienna, 3 and 6-7 November 2003) and at the 25th Session (Mauritius, 26-28 April 2006);
 Article 2 (UNFCCC): The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
 See item: “E-510” on this site referring to: Roger A. Pielke Jr, 2005, “Misdefining ‘‘climate change’’: consequences for science and action”; in: Environmental Science & Policy, No 8. p.548–561.
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