WMO welcomes election of Jim Skea as IPCC Chair


The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) welcomes the election of Jim Skea of the United Kingdom as the new Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme are co-sponsors of the IPCC, which provides authoritative scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to adaptation and mitigation strategies.

With nearly forty years of climate science experience and expertise, Jim Skea will lead the IPCC through its seventh assessment cycle.

“WMO welcomes the election of Jim Skea as Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at such a critical moment. The extreme heatwaves, unprecedented sea surface temperatures and rapid changes in the cryosphere show that climate change mitigation and adaptation is gaining in urgency on a monthly – even daily – basis,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

“Our decisions now and in the future must be based on the best possible climate science. WMO is proud to be a co-founder of the IPCC and looks forward to working with Prof. Skea to tackle the greatest challenge facing our planet,” said Prof. Taalas.

The election took place at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, where the IPCC is holding its 59th Session. Elections for other positions in the IPCC Bureau, including the Co-Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups, will take place from 26-28 July.

“Climate change is an existential threat to our planet. My ambition is to lead an IPCC that is truly representative and inclusive, an IPCC looking to the future while exploiting the opportunities that we have in the present. An IPCC where everyone feels valued and heard,” said Skea in his address to the delegates attending the IPCC elections.

“In this, I will pursue three priorities – improving inclusiveness and diversity, shielding scientific integrity and policy relevance of IPCC assessment reports, and making the effective use of the best available science on climate change. My actions as the Chair of the IPCC will ensure that these ambitions are realized.”

Four candidates ran for the Chair of the IPCC. These were the first elections in the history of the IPCC with women candidates running for this position. They are:Thelma Krug (Brazil); Debra Roberts (South Africa); Jim Skea (United Kingdom) and Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Belgium).

Prof. Skea, aged 69, is Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College in London. During the IPCC’s just completed sixth assessment cycle, Skea was the Co-Chair of Working Group III, assessing the mitigation of climate change. Most of his career, spreading over decades, has been dedicated to ensuring that the challenges of climate change are understood, and actions to avert them are taken.

The IPCC completed its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) in March 2023. The key findings of the AR6 Synthesis Report are:

The pace and scale of climate action are insufficient to tackle climate change.

Multiple, feasible, and effective options are available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change.

Enabling conditions include finance, technology, capacity building, and international cooperation.